Review: What's new vegan cafe The Greenhouse like?
PUBLISHED: 08:43 19 January 2019
Our vegetarian reviewer tried out Felixstowe's newest cafe specialising in plant-based food.
It was a drab and dreary mid-January Saturday afternoon when I headed here for a lunchtime pick-me-up. I’d heard great things about the town’s newest vegan and vegetarian restaurant, and I was keen to try their plant-based offerings for myself. They say good news travels fast, and I clearly wasn’t the only one to get the memo about this exciting new spot. Accompanied by my (meat-eating) mum, we arrived shortly before 1pm, and every single table of this bijou establishment was already taken – with more diners patiently waiting to be seated!
We joined the queue of waiting punters and were greeted warmly by the café staff, who pulled out some stools for us to sit on and offered to bring us drinks while we waited. We were seated shortly afterwards – after five minutes, maximum – but the wait gave us a chance to check out the interesting plant-based menu, as well as trying out some of the samples available on the café counter.
The lunch menu had a variety of hot and cold dishes available, as well as a soup of the day (pea and parsley when we visited) and a chef’s special. While I was tempted by the Greenhouse burger, I went for the ‘nossage feast’ – the café’s signature no-sausage sausage roll, paired with chutney, ‘posh’ crisps and a salad. I talked my mum into ordering the special – a satay sweet potato curry with naan bread – cunningly hoping to sneak a forkful or two for myself. As for drinks, with neither of us being big coffee drinkers, we opted for a ginger ale, a vanilla rooibos tea and a chocolate milkshake made with oat milk. These came very quickly and the food followed shortly after, which was quite impressive considering how busy the little café was.
The pastry on my veggie ‘nossage’ roll was just perfect – golden, flaky and delicious. The filling itself was rich in a herby flavour, and with a texture that closely resembled sausage meat, it seemed very much like the real deal. I’ve tried a few veggie sausage rolls in my time (I’m a vegetarian) and this goes down as the best I’ve ever tasted! According to our waitress, the filling is a soya mix made in house, with a top secret recipe giving the snack its convincing ‘sausagey’ taste. The nossage roll was served with a sweet chutney that complimented the pastry without overpowering it. The salad was simple but fresh and well dressed, and made a pleasant accompaniment to the meal.
My mum’s satay curry was well seasoned and creamy with a bit of a kick. The peanuts that topped the dish added a satisfying crunch and further enhanced the satay flavour. The naan that came with the curry was also very pleasant, if a little soggy on the bottom. My mum remarked that she was quite glad the curry was served without rice, as it made the meal a nice light yet satisfying lunchtime option. My dish was also a nice size for a lunchtime bite – not too large nor too small.
There was a wonderful spread of cakes and sweet treats available on the café counter, so we decided that dessert was a must. From apple pie, to chocolate chip cookies and cinnamon swirls, there was something for everyone, and we spent quite a while deliberating! I eventually opted for a blackcurrant slice (which happened to be gluten-free, like many of their baked offerings), while my mum chose a carrot, maple and walnut muffin. Both were flavoursome and quite lovely, but couldn’t quite compare to the main meals. Still, a very nice way to end the meal nonetheless.
The café had a bottle of still water on every table so there was no need to order any with your meal, which I thought was a fantastic touch. There was a huge selection of hot and cold drinks on offer, plus a choice of various dairy and non-dairy milks. My chocolate milkshake was lovely and creamy, and I appreciated that it came with a paper straw – the café clearly has an environmentally-friendly ethos.
The café staff were incredibly welcoming and friendly, and coped very well with a busy lunchtime rush. We were well looked after both while we waited for our table and during the meal itself, and everyone working at the café is clearly very passionate about the dishes they serve.
There was a real buzz about The Greenhouse Cafe, and every table was full during the time that we spent there, with many diners also queuing up for tables. Despite this, we didn’t feel at all rushed while eating, and the atmosphere was very friendly and relaxed. The café was decorated with vibrant green plants and twinkling fairy lights, making it feel very cosy and inviting.
There was just one toilet in the back and although it was perfectly clean, it wasn’t disability friendly. The cafe itself is also quite compact, with tables sitting rather close together, which could pose an issue for wheelchair users.
While the cafe itself doesn’t have its own designated car park, there is plenty of street parking available nearby, along with the Cresent Road car park which is just a short walk away.
We paid £25.80 for two lunchtime mains, three drinks and two desserts. The lunchtime mains on the menu ranged from £4 to £6.50, while the chef’s special was a little dearer. I think these were very reasonable prices, especially given the quality of the food.
It has to be the café’s signature ‘nossage roll’. I need to get my hands on that top secret recipe!
We will definitely be rushing back to The Greenhouse Café. Everything from the food to the atmosphere was just delightful – it’s a real gem and an exciting new addition to the Suffolk food scene. It’s the perfect spot for a tasty bit of lunchtime food, and I’m sure that even staunch meat-eaters will be won over by its interesting menu and delicious homemade dishes.