Restaurant review: The Salthouse, Ipswich – ‘one of my favourite afternoon teas in Suffolk’
- Credit: Archant
Nicola Warren and a friend try tea for two at the waterfront eaterie.
It'd been over two years since I'd last had afternoon tea at the Salthouse Harbour Hotel's Eaterie before my friend and work colleague Claire and I decided to go for tea on Saturday afternoon.
We were shown to our table and given menus, then the server explained how afternoon tea works at the Salthouse as Claire hadn't been before.
The traditional afternoon tea includes savoury items, sweet treats and scones with jam and cream and comes with unlimited tea or coffee or, if you don't drink hot drinks, apple or orange juice.
We opted for the luxury afternoon tea which includes all of the above as well as a glass of champagne.
Our server offered to take my coat and to bring us a jug of water, which was welcomed.
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Then our glasses of champagne, followed by English Breakfast tea for me and a cafetiere of coffee for Claire, were brought to our table. Finally the impressive three-tier copper tea stand arrived, and we were told what each of the sweet and savoury treats were.
I made a start on the cheese scone, which was still warm and filled with a pumpkin cream cheese. This was delicious but, though it was nice to have a seasonal flavour on the menu, I confess I couldn't taste the pumpkin in the cream cheese.
Meanwhile Claire was singing the praise of the also still warm sausage roll with its tasty sausagemeat and flaky pastry.
I then tucked into the egg mayonnaise finger sandwich which was served on white bread with a really generous filling.
Next, the smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel. While I liked the topping I'm not the biggest fan of bagels and found it a little chewy.
Now I'm not sure what, officially, you're supposed to eat next, but I tend to work upwards on the tea stand, so I made a start on the sweet treats.
I started with the lemon macaron, which had a delicious flavour, sandwiched with lemon curd, although I found it a little too stick to your teeth chewy. Claire thought the curd was a bit too sweet.
Claire wasn't keen on the Battenberg, but I enjoyed it, which surprised me as I don't normally like the yellow and pink cake. The cream-coloured marzipan had a nice subtle almond flavour.
The chocolate éclair had just the right amount of cream inside, and the chocolate brownie was gooey, fudgy and nutty with chocolate chunks in.
I think my favourite of the cakes was the carrot cake which was nicely spiced and ever so moist, with a cream cheese icing on top.
Next I tackled the sweet scone from the top tier of the cake stand. I found it a little dry, but enjoyed it with the Tiptree strawberry jam and Jersey cream. We had one pot of jam between the two scones, and I think we'd have rather had one each as I had to very carefully only take half of the jam out of the pot!
Claire had fallen at the final hurdle and couldn't manage the scone and a couple of the cakes, but was offered a box to take them home in. I had parts of a couple of cakes and half of my scone left, so I did the same.
When I spoke to Claire in the office on Monday morning, her teenage daughters had thoroughly enjoyed the treats she'd taken home for them. She was planning to treat a friend to afternoon tea at the Salthouse as a Christmas present (lucky them!). I'll certainly return too, it's a great way to celebrate a special occasion.
The tea menu includes English breakfast, Earl Grey, rose bud, lemon verbena, blackcurrant and hibiscus, green tea, chamomile, peppermint and passionfruit and orange. Tea, coffee, apple and orange juice are included in the price of the tea or you can order a drink from the bar for an additional cost.
The Salthouse is in the ideal spot, overlooking Ipswich harbour. The modern Eaterie has lots of quirky artwork on display.
When we'd first sat down for tea, the Eaterie was quite quiet, with a couple next to us having lunch (we'd chosen to eat at the start of the teas, which are served from 1pm to 5pm). But by the time we left there were lots of parties enjoying afternoon tea and there was a celebratory atmosphere in the restaurant.
Afternoon tea at the Salthouse costs £19.50 per person, or £28.50 with champagne, which I think is really good value for the amount and standard of food and drink we received and considering the setting of the restaurant.
The Salthouse has its own car park, but it's often busy so we chose to park at a pay and display car park nearby. There are plenty in the area.
Really good. We were offered water and drinks were brought out quickly, as was the tea stand. We caught a server's eye to order a fresh pot of tea and cafetiere of coffee. The bill was quickly dealt with too. All of the staff were friendly too.
Modern, with Temple Spa hand soap and hand cream. You can choose to use fluffy towels or paper hand towels to dry your hands. Comedy monologues play out over the sound system.
The cheese scone and the carrot cake. I can't choose one!
Great food and drink, in a modern, buzzy restaurant, with attentive staff.
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