Time to rock and roll at new 1950s American themed diner
PUBLISHED: 08:54 22 September 2018
A new American diner has opened on Felixstowe’s seafront. Caroline Culot, who grew up in the town, went along to try it out.
VENUE: Delphine’s Diner, 91-93, Undercliff Road West, Felixstowe.
A trip to this authentic American diner transported me completely from Felixstowe seafront to that scene in Grease. I was, of course, Sandy and my partner, Danny. Ok, the evening didn’t end up with me getting a visit from my guardian angel singing Beauty School Drop-out but you know, it felt like it could have done.
Enter Delphine’s Diner and you get the full 1950s dining experience where everything from the pastel coloured banquette seats to the salt and pepper shakers and squirty mustard and ketchup bottles create the feeling you’ve stepped back in time to the era of poodle skirts, bobby sox, greased back hair, drainpipe jeans and rock and roll.
Owners Caroline and Pete Tuffrey, who live in Orford and have a much smaller sister diner in Aldeburgh which opened in 2014, adore this era themselves and have transformed the town’s large former tourist information centre accordingly, so it really is an experience from the moment you step inside.
The theme is pastel ‘candy floss’ colours with pretty sea horse designs inspired from a vintage design. Situated right on the seafront, it has panoramic sea views and with no parking allowed directly in front, an uninterrupted sea and pier view.
The couple pride themselves on the food being as locally sourced as possible and cooked to order – so this is not a fast food joint but expect good home cooked dishes which are mainly burgers and hot dogs with shakes, floats and sundaes for dessert. Breakfast is served every day from 9am-noon as well.
The main menu, which is served from midday to 8.30pm, so not aiming for the late supper market, is wonderfully varied and very well described with the ingredients listed. There are many vegetarian options too but less gluten free; the burgers do contain a small amount of rusk and I couldn’t see a gluten free roll available, however, the staff and owners are so welcoming and attentive, I’m sure they would accommodate you. There is also a great children’s menu.
I chose from the ‘big and beefy burgers’ menu with the 100 per cent Suffolk beef burgers described as ‘nothing added but a little seasoning’ coming in 11 different ways and with fun names. I opted for the happy sounding ‘Aloha from Hawaii’ which is a 6oz Suffolk pork burger, with grilled pineaple and Hawaiian BBQ sauce, for £11.95.
My dining partner opted for A Walk Through the Garden, a beef burger with mayonnaise, fresh leaves, red onion, sliced pickles, tomato and red pepper for £10.95 and we also tried the ‘Doghouse’ menu, a choice of four pork, naturally smoked in beechwood, frankfurter dishes and four vegetarian meat free sausages options. The dish I’d heard of online was the ‘Voodoo Hound’ which comes with ‘devilish jalapeno and Cajun spices topped with melted mature cheddar and smouldering BBQ sauce,’ also priced £10.95.
The menu was very well described so you knew what you were getting – all the mains came with salad and skin on fries. At present, Delphine’s has no alcohol licence so you are limited to soft drinks or American sodas and ice cream floats – but this is soon to change so that you will be able to enjoy a glass of wine or beer with your meal.
The waitresses were smartly dressed in authentic American diner uniforms and the food came promptly. My pork burger was really succulent and tasty and you could tell from its nobbly, slightly irregular shape, that it was definitely home-made and not out of a packet. It was well presented in a large soft roll with the barbeque sauce on, which I was not overly keen on, but there was not too much, and accompanied with a decent amount of sweet tasting pineapple, a bowl of very enjoyable, creamy coleslaw, a good portion of fries and garnish salad in the form of raw onion rings, a small amount of tomato, a couple of thin slices of gerkin and probably too much green leaf. My partner’s choice, was said to be a very tasty beef burger, but slightly overcooked for him, because he likes his meat medium rare, and the dish didn’t really differ too much from mine in terms of its content.
Now, the Voodo Hound is only for those with a voracious appetite as it is huge and quite a challenge but again the frankfurter was tasty and the accompaniments not too spicy but with just enough of a kick and good value for money. To be honest, the mains did not disappoint and were filling enough meaning you did not need a dessert but for the purpose of this review, I opted for a knickerbocker glory and my partner, a cherry bomb. Both arrived just as I hoped in the traditional tall glasses, with long spoons, lashings of whipped cream and ice cream. Mine came with a good layer of tinned fruit underneath and my partner’s with large pieces of meringue on top, which perhaps could have been broken up more for aesthetics, but very sweet and satisfying with cherries in syrup and chocolate sauce. A real treat.
Interestingly, the diner will soon be serving soup and cheesecake, both home made, – so you can pop in for a coffee and a sweet treat or for a lunch and avoid the 1950s menu altogether. I suspect, with the winter approaching, the menu may have to be expanded even a little more to attract more trade from older residents. However, currently Delpnine’s Diner offers tasty food and a really fun experience, in a beautiful location that does, honestly, make you feel good. Just don’t forget your blue suede shoes.
Setting: Truly impressive, right on the seafront with a panoramic view of the sea, beach and pier.
Atmosphere: Makes you totally feel like you’re in the 1950s, with rock and roll playing in the background and great attention to detail. Perhaps the lighting could be a little less bright in the evenings.
Service: Excellent; attentive and friendly staff who were very welcoming on arrival. Nothing was too much trouble including asking us if we were warm enough. Food arrived promptly.
Drinks: No alcohol at present but a very varied choice of hot and cold soft drinks as well as sodas, juices and ice cream floats.
Accessibilty: Excellent for pushchairs and wheelchairs as plenty of room between tables and big, wide doors opening from street level with no steps to negotiate.
Toilets: Very clean and several so enough to cope with a busy restaurant.
Parking: Not directly outside but plenty of spaces on other side of road.
Highlight: The entire décor which was so authentic and really fun.
A truly novel and fun place to visit, particularly good if you’ve got children with home cooked food and plenty of choice which is not over priced.
Delphine’s Diner can be contacted on 01394 286564.