Review: The New Wolsey Theatre cafe, Ipswich

Theatre goers eat at the New Wolsey Theatre Cafe.

Theatre goers eat at the New Wolsey Theatre Cafe. - Credit: Su Anderson

There might be countless eateries in Ipswich town centre, yet when the girls suggest we ‘do lunch’ we always seem to veer towards one of three venues.

Theatre goers eat at the New Wolsey Theatre Cafe.

Theatre goers eat at the New Wolsey Theatre Cafe. - Credit: Su Anderson

And never have we considered going along to the New Wolsey Theatre for a sandwich or a coffee and cake.

The New Wolsey Theatre Cafe.

The New Wolsey Theatre Cafe. - Credit: Su Anderson

Having now sampled their menu, and enjoyed a peaceful lunch break sat outside in this quiet corner of Ipswich, we will be considering this option favourably.

The New Wolsey Theatre Cafe.

The New Wolsey Theatre Cafe. - Credit: Su Anderson

The New Wolsey Theatre offers light lunches, snacks and pre-theatre meals.

Paninis served at the New Wolsey Theatre cafe

Paninis served at the New Wolsey Theatre cafe - Credit: Archant

The café on the ground floor is open most days, from 10am until the interval of the evening performance, when there is one.


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On the menu was jacket potatoes, quiche, salad and a selection of sandwiches.

Both my lunch guest and I went for toasted paninis.

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The chicken and red onion option came with a thick pesto, giving it a real kick. Pesto can be a greasy addition, but the herby cocktail was quite dry, giving it a flavoursome texture without being too oily.

My panini had a generous helping of ham, although a little extra mozzarella would have helped bind it together more. The bread was baked with herbs, giving it an Italian flavour which worked well with the sweet chilli sauce.

Both came with a generous, crisp side salad, drizzled in a vinaigrette dressing.

There were an array of drinks available from the café – red or white wine, a selection of bottled beer, including an alcohol free option, and a great choice of bottled soft drinks.

On a warm summer day it was refreshing to have such a choice instead of being limited to a sugary option served from the pump.

I went for a Grapetiser, while my guest had a lager.

We made our selection at the counter, then took our drinks outside – with our toasted sandwiches being served to our table just a few moments later.

And this is where the New Wolsey really comes into its own.

Sat under the shade of the umbrella, the sun shining down around us, our lunch break felt like just that – a break.

The theatre sits on the outer edge of the main town centre but the buzz of the shopping area seemed a long way away.

And the line of greenery around the edge of the terrace area created a natural boundary between us and the busy ring road, create a tranquil zone that belies its location.

The staff were friendly and helpful, and although our paninis left us full, there was a delicious-looking selection of cakes – possibly best enjoyed with coffee as an afternoon treat – on offer.

The average cost of a panini is a very reasonable £3.50, making it an affordable lunch option.

So why not take a proper lunch break every now and then and try out the New Wolsey café for yourself?

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