Restaurant Review, The Alex Cafe Bar, Felixstowe: “A buzzing spot for brunch and lunch”

Fish and chips with peas and tartare sauce. Picture: Charlotte Smith-Jarvis

Fish and chips with peas and tartare sauce. Picture: Charlotte Smith-Jarvis - Credit: Archant

We visited this favourite haunt on Felixstowe’s seafront.

A full English breakfast. Picture: Charlotte Smith-Jarvis

A full English breakfast. Picture: Charlotte Smith-Jarvis - Credit: Archant

Food

Weekends in our house are inherently lazy. Apart from the odd Sunday when I fall out of bed for a country run with friends, non-working day mornings are for lay-ins and baking – or brunch.

And so we found ourselves recently, after much begging from the children to go play at the huge amusement arcade on the swish new pier, in Felixstowe and at The Alex.

I have to say, it’s quite swanky inside for a café, and the menu looked very promising too.

Hoi sin duck wrap with salad. PictureL Charlotte Smith-Jarvis

Hoi sin duck wrap with salad. PictureL Charlotte Smith-Jarvis - Credit: Archant


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Being late morning/early afternoon I was swayed by the temptation of an all-day breakfast (always better when someone else cooks it).

Served without a lick of grease on the (hot) plate, were a couple of high quality Suffolk sausages, two rashers of bacon (nice crispy fat but soft meat), a grilled tomato, fried mushrooms, eggs and not one but two rounds of toast. Every element had been cooked to perfection and it felt like there was a real sense of pride about this brekkie. There was a sprinkling of pepper over the tomato. And the mushrooms had been beautifully cooked and seasoned too. It’s just a shame I couldn’t finish it!

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Mr Jarvis helped finish off the remnants of my plate while devouring Adnams battered cod, which came with a hefty portion of chips, peas and tartare sauce. The batter could have been seasoned a little more, but on the whole it was a really decent plate and could easily hold its own against our favourite chippies in the town (Fish Dish and The Regal).

There was a nice range on the children’s menu and our two both went for a shredded duck and hoisin wrap with salad (sauce on the side for these sometimes picky eaters).

Triple chocolate mousse with hazelnut praline. Picture: Charlotte Smith-Jarvis

Triple chocolate mousse with hazelnut praline. Picture: Charlotte Smith-Jarvis - Credit: Archant

The duck was plentiful and hadn’t been dried out to within an inch of its life, the hoi sin was tasty, and Ella loved the hints of garlic and ginger in the salad – which was a bit red pepper heavy for Ethan.

I really couldn’t manage pud but sampled spoonfuls of the others’. A New York baked cheesecake was a pretty decent size and while the cheesecake itself wasn’t anything remarkable, the pecan butter sauce that oozed over the top took it to another level – I could have eaten that by the bucketload. Triple chocolate mousse with hazelnut praline was wolfed down by the children and had a decent texture with not too much gelatine, but I felt the layers could have been more defined in flavour. The dark chocolate mousse part needed a bit more cocoa to differentiate it from the milk chocolate.

Drinks

There was local beer at the bar, and interesting gin and cocktail lists.

Ella and I loved the mocktails – one the café/bar’s take on a Bellini (served in a Champagne flute) and the other a refreshing virgin Margarita. Nicely done.

Ambiance

This place was busy. Very very busy. In fact, I’d be inclined to book in the future if we went back. The high turnover of customers gives the café a pleasant hum of activity and a ‘happening’ feel. The décor is slick. And there are tables outside for warmer days, looking right out to sea.

Service

You order at the bar, so you can order when you’re ready. And staff were very pleasant and helpful. I liked that there were lots of them working the bar. Often in cafes you’ll have one or two people at the till – both trying to operate a tricky coffee machine which always takes an age! Here the level of staffing meant ordering food and receiving drinks was very quick.

Parking

There isn’t a car park so you’ll have to try and find a space along the seafront or at the leisure centre near the pier. We were lucky as it was a bit drizzly out so we could pretty much park outside!

Price

It was just over £60 for four main courses, two desserts and four drinks. A little over what you’d spend in the average café, but this was a cut above for quality so we felt it was worth it.

Accessibility

The entry is on one level and there seemed to be ample space on the ground floor to get around the tables. If you want to eat at The Alex Brasserie on the top floor there’s a lift.

Highlight

The full English. It was huge and every element couldn’t have been cooked any better.

Summary

A really buzzing place to be at the weekend with well-cooked food and choices that will please every member of the family. There’s even a separate gluten-free menu.

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