Review: @ Twenty5, Ipswich is a hot ticket
Charlotte Smith-Jarvis finds out what all the fuss is about at @Twenty5 in Ipswich.
Since it opened just over a year ago, there’s been lots of chat on the local food scene about @ Twenty5.
Family run, with carefully prepared, bistro style food at its heart, it’s become one of ‘the’ places to eat and was even handed a Good Food Award days ago.
I’m often hearing rumblings around the office from colleagues who’ve tried and failed to get a table – such is the eatery’s growing popularity.
Naturally I had to go and check it out.
I was expecting, being a Tuesday night, for things to be maybe a little quieter than usual. But, it appears, there’s no mid-week let-up for the kitchen. The engine room (a slim, galley-style kitchen) showed the chefs dancing around one another in the squeezed space to get their dishes out to hungry diners.
Inside, the timbered building is clean and simple with no fussy décor to detract from the main ingredient – the food.
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Being a hot summer’s day (and how many of those do we get these days?) we decided to sit outside.
There’s a pretty, enclosed courtyard, fringed by blooming hydrangeas, with a covered, twinkly fairylight-lit space. We sat in the full, but fading sun amongst a real mixture of other patrons.
A table having a business meeting. A group of four mates sharing a bit of banter. A large party who arrived ready to enjoy themselves.
It showed that Ipswich folk have already positioned the restaurant as a multi-purpose spot – for work, play and those intimate soirees too.
From the concise wine list I picked a Saint Desir Sauvignon Blanc which was refreshing in the heat, clean and zippy, having an aroma of pineapple and passion fruit but layering lemon and grapefruit acidity on the palette. It was the perfect foil for the dishes I chose.
From the menu, which was like a listing of all my top things to eat – including grilled prawns and crispy squid, I chose to start with the Mediterranean-inspired arancini.
Beneath a crisp, thin veneer, the risotto within was gorgeously gooey and beautifully seasoned, with a piquant touch from sundried tomatoes.
Served alongside were pesto and a salad. It was like sunshine on a plate. In fact, I could have scoffed them all night.
Jarv picked the pulled pork with plum sauce. A generous mound of soft pork, decent salad and good, sweet sauce that came together in harmony and put a smile on his face.
For the main event, from options such as chicken and wild mushroom tagliatelle, asparagus gnocchi and cod and chips with homemade tartare sauce, I chose the Thai green prawn curry.
It wasn’t a particularly authentic outing for the classic Asian dish. I couldn’t detect coconut milk, and the heat wasn’t as overpowering. But this was one brilliant plate of food.
More king prawns than even I could manage, cooked absolutely perfectly, were bound in a creamy, fragrant, herbal, gently spiced sauce which had a flavour that developed with every mouthful. Served with rice and pak choi to mop up all that expertly delivered sauce, there was nothing at all I could fault. I only wish I could have taken the leftover rice and sauce home to huddle up with on the sofa in my pyjamas later.
Jarv was swayed by one of the day’s specials – a tarted up macaroni and cheese with bacon and truffle.
He totally swooned over the bubbling, golden-crusted dish when it arrived at the table. Being a total truffle fiend, he gobbled down the lot and declared it the best mac and cheese he’d ever had. It was all at the same time comforting, tasty, and a touch glamorous – over and above your run-of-the-mill homestyle version.
It’s beyond me how we managed to move onto pudding.
After the first two dishes I really was fit to burst, but there’s always a small part of me that’s willing to stay the course and struggle through a pud.
Chocolate featured heavily on the menu, and that’s never a bad thing.
There was a brownie, a chocolate and orange torte and even a white chocolate and raspberry brioche pudding.
Jarv knew instantly he was going to have the day’s cheesecake, flavoured with Mint Aero – a pairing of two of his very most favourite things.
It was a great, hulking beast of a dessert. A gargantuan portion that was almost as tall as it was wide. Suffice to say, he was more than pleased with his choice. It ticked every box, being thick, creamy, sweet (but not too sweet) and cool with that hint of mint.
My pud was a vanilla panna cotta with rhubarb compote. It was tasty, but I secretly wished I’d had the brownie.
There was a good vanilla flavour there but it needed a tad more of a wobble, and I found the compote just that little too sweet for me.
All in all, a great experience from start to finish. Nice atmosphere, lovely food and prompt, friendly service. What more could you ask for?
While @ Twenty5 is such a hot ticket, make sure you call to book first to avoid disappointment.
25 St Nicholas Street, Ipswich.
Call: 01473 287625