Cult Cafe... "The Menu Is Nothing Short Of Inspirational"

Cult Cafe - James Hehir Building 

Timing - Weekday Lunchtime


The popular pre-conception around Cult Café (Cult Bar as it’s also referred to locally) is that it is the Student Union bar for University of Suffolk.  Whilst this may be the reputation that has attached itself to the venue, Claire, our seasoned mystery diner tries to set the record straight...

First impressions

The cafe bar occupies the ground floor of one of the University buildings on the Waterfront.  The cafe has a modern feel, but is decorated in a shabby chic style, so add quirky to this assessment.  With outside seating added to the equation, a lot of the tables overlook the water. 

SCORE 4.5/5


There is a great mixture of customers.  I was joining yummy mummies, students/teenagers, families, couples & businesstypes.  Very eclectic and it just works in the environment.  There is a relaxed/chilled out vibe and you can tell that the cafe would effortlessly move in to evening/bar mode.  At lunchtime, I did not feel as though I was in a bar.  The welcome from the bar staff member was fairly neutral. 

SCORE 4.5/5

Cult Cafe, Ipswich, Waterfront, Sofa, Green


Nothing too much to say about the service, as it was merely ok.  The young lady that served me was polite, but didn’t engage in any conversation. 

SCORE 3.5/5


Wow, well here comes the curve ball.  I was fully expecting fairly standard fare....typical cafe stuff like sarnies, baguettes & crisps.  I could not have been more wrong.  The menu is nothing short of inspirational.  Diverse and nodding its head to several cuisines all at once.  Usually, I am not a fan of food outlets that don’t seem to have a culinary direction, but again with Cult Cafe....this just works.  From Italian, to Oriental, to Mexican and right through to the best sounding loaded chips that I have seen on a menu for a long while, the chef(s) have created wonderment.  Added to this is Cult’s deli counter area, where you can find freshly prepared sandwiches, salads & soup - all available ‘to go’. 



cult cafe, waterfront, ipswich, food

Choice wise, I opted for a ‘Bento’......which the menu describes as “a steaming combo platter of loveliness! ...a mound of rice with our gorgeous mai-kee sauce, miso noodle soup, house salad & djanga pickle”  The menu tells you that “you make it Bento-ey” by choosing two additional accompaniments and these include varieties of meat, prawn, tofu & onion.  The meal arrives in an appealing sectional tray and has a street food feel about it.  Very tasty and full of flavour.  I would have scored this section a full 5/5, but the tray had sat at the hotplate for a few minutes and the food could have been just a little bit warmer. 

SCORE 4.5/5


The ladies toilet features some outward opening doors and from personal experience, this is a joy when it comes to prams, buggies, disability aids etc.  Although I am fortunate to be able-bodied, I like the fact that the disabled cubicle is set within the ladies toilet.  I am sure that it won’t come as a shock to state that us ladies do like a joint toilet visit and therefore a friend with a disability is included in this, rather than forced to use specific facilities.  I like this a lot and more venues need to think about these factors.  

SCORE 4.5/5


The venue is clean & tidy, despite the mis-match of furniture, which I felt added to the appeal.....sofas, booths & dining tables/chairs all feature.  


Cult Cafe is both a café and a bar and seamlessly joins the two facets. The location and the ambience are spot on and the clientele is perfectly mixed. The menu is a breath of fresh air and the chef(s) should be proud of what they have achieved and pat themselves on the back for not being boringly predictable. The food is well presented and very tasty.
— claire, our mystery diner

overall score : 4.4/5