Review: Vegeterian and seafood options were plentiful at Westerfield’s at The Orwell Hotel - and breakfast was fit for a king

Orwell Hotel Suffolk plaice

Orwell Hotel Suffolk plaice - Credit: Archant

On a warm, sunny day, where better to head to than the coast? My husband Phil and I often visit Felixstowe, cooling down with a paddle in the sea or an ice cream.

Orwell Hotel bakewell tart

Orwell Hotel bakewell tart - Credit: Archant

Often, we’ll make a day of it, but then return home to Ipswich for dinner. But on the hottest day of the year so far, we’d booked to eat and stay at the Orwell Hotel in Felixstowe.

You must have seen this historic building on your way into the town centre. It stands on the corner of Hamilton Road and High Road East, near the train station.

After parking in the large car park, we headed into the grand reception area. The hotel was built in 1898 and extended in the 1960s, and the downstairs was restored to its former glory in 2003.

This year, another renovation scheme has begun, with the bedrooms being given a brand new look.

A refurbished double bedroom at the Orwell Hotel in Felixstowe.

A refurbished double bedroom at the Orwell Hotel in Felixstowe. - Credit: Su Anderson

We’d booked to stay in one of the updated rooms and, after a quick and easy check-in with the friendly receptionist, we headed up in the lift to the second floor.

Our room really had the ‘wow’ factor – it was light and airy, with fashionable grey carpet, curtains and headboard.

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The feature wall, along with the mirrored shelves, really gave it the feel of a boutique hotel room.

There was plenty of hanging space for our clothes, and Phil sat in the comfy armchair and flicked through the Freeview channels on the television.

The Westerfield Restaurant at the Orwell Hotel in Felixstowe.

The Westerfield Restaurant at the Orwell Hotel in Felixstowe. - Credit: Su Anderson

There was also a desk and a chair where you could work if needed, and free Wifi is available.

I noticed that there were plenty of plug sockets – essential nowadays when there are so many gadgets which always seem to need charging up!

The room was well-stocked with essentials – on one of the shelves was a kettle, along with good-sized mugs, tea, coffee, milk, hot chocolate, bottled water and biscuits.

And on the double bed, on top of two towels for each of us, were a selection of toiletries.

Orwell Hotel chocolate brownie

Orwell Hotel chocolate brownie - Credit: Archant

There were also tissues in the room and cotton wool balls and buds in the bathroom.

After relaxing in the bedroom for a couple of hours, we headed down to Westerfield’s restaurant.

Despite the hot day, the room was nice and cool. We were shown to our table and were soon offered some water.

The large room features large, sparkling chandeliers and there are paintings dotted around on the walls, but despite its opulence appearance we felt relaxed and at ease in the hotel.

Orwell Hotel Suffolk grill breakfast

Orwell Hotel Suffolk grill breakfast - Credit: Archant

As someone who doesn’t eat meat, I sometimes find that choices are limited for me at restaurants, but that wasn’t the case at Westerfield’s. In fact, it took me a while to decide what to choose!

You can pick from the set menu or the a la carte menu, or mix dishes from each, and there were vegetarian and seafood options on both.

Starters you could choose from included chicken liver parfait with chutney and toast, smoked mackerel salad with chive crème fraiche and baked field mushrooms with Devon blue and leek crust.

We’d decided to go straight for mains – to make sure we’d have room for dessert!

Vegetarian options included tomato braised lentils with roast squash and yoghurt, and there were fish dishes such as pan fried fillet of sea bass with crushed new potatoes, fennel and lemon and chilli and coriander butter.

Other choices included breast of guinea fowl with fondant potato and a tarragon, bacon and mushroom sauce and slow-roasted Dingley Dell belly pork with wholegrain mustard mash and sage jus.

I eventually decided on the fillet of plaice with a lemon, caper and parsley butter and Phil went for the slow-roasted shoulder of lamb with roasted Mediterranean vegetables and pesto mash.

When the dishes came out, we were both impressed by the presentation – arty, but a decent-sized portion.

My plaice came with new potatoes, chargrilled courgette and French beans. The plaice was perfectly cooked and melted in the mouth, and the salty capers cut through the aromatic flavour of the sauce.

Phil’s lamb was succulent and we both enjoyed the vegetables, which were fresh and al dente.

Plates cleared, we took a look at the dessert menu. I thought Phil would opt for the cheese and biscuits, but he surprised me and ordered the Bakewell tart with cream – we’ll just have to come back another time for him to try the Neal’s yard cheeses and accompaniments!

I couldn’t resist ordering the warm chocolate brownie with pistachio ice cream. It came from the kitchen with a biscuit decoration, which was delicious in its own right!

The dessert was also decorated with white chocolate sauce and a strawberry. The chocolate brownie was gooey inside – just as I like them – and the ice cream complemented the sweetness.

Phil said the Bakewell tart had just the right ratio of sponge, jam and pastry. I had a cheeky bite and I had to agree!

We both enjoyed the food, but also the relaxed atmosphere – a pianist added to the ambience.

We also commented on how attentive the staff were – helpful and friendly, without coming over to the table too often.

One thing which struck us was just how reasonable the prices were – the shoulder of lamb was only £11.

If you order from the set menu, which is available from 12noon to 9pm every day, two courses cost £10 and three courses are £13.

Also, fish and chips are two for the price of one on a Friday – how can you resist that offer in a seaside town?

We both slept well that night – the bed was very comfortable and, despite being near the town centre, it was very quiet.

Breakfast is served from 8am to 10.30am at the weekends, so we got ready leisurely before walking back down to Westerfield’s.

We were seated by the window and offered a choice of white or brown toast and tea or coffee – decaffeinated were available – then given some time to look at the menu and decide if we wanted a cooked breakfast.

There were also cereal, fresh fruit, pastries and Greek yoghurt available on the buffet table along with water and a selection of juices.

Again, there was plenty of choice on the menu, including vegetarian options. I considered the eggs Benedict and scambled eggs with smoked salmon, but opted for the vegetarian breakfast. I asked for no tomato or mushrooms, so I got vegetarian sausages, fried egg, hash browns and baked beans.

Phil went for the Suffolk grill, and asked for no tomato or black pudding. He had Suffolk bacon, sausages, a mushroom, hash brown and scrambled egg.

We both enjoyed breakfasting like kings that morning!

After collecting our bags from the room, we checked out and bid a fond farewell to the Orwell – we’ll definitely be back!