Quay Place "The Whole Venue Will Be A Major Asset To The Waterfront"

You would have had to have driven around the waterfront one-way system with your eyes closed (not endorsed by Ed’!!) over recent months, not to have seen the scale of the renovation of St Mary at the Quay church.  Now known as Quay Place and hosting an independently run café, our seasoned mystery diner – Claire – checked out Food for Thought.

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The church building is both imposing and elegant and although not yet that well signposted, is well known locally.  Inside, the café area occupies an open plan section of the ground floor, with the service area itself, unexpectedly fitting in to its surroundings quite well.  SCORE 4/5

The renovation of the interior of the building has been beautifully managed and I was taken aback at how the size of the internal space has been so well utilised, so as to create a feel of warmth that is not generally associated with the building materials used to construct churches.  As the building is primarily used as a Wellbeing centre by Suffolk Mind, there is a reception area just inside the glass entrance doors, which in turn are just beyond the giant, wooden main door.  I was acknowledged as soon as I walked in, but nice and informally.  SCORE 4.5/5

A typical small café menu is on offer at Food for Thought.  Sandwiches, cakes and the usual drinks.  However, the sandwich fillings available are pleasantly different... Crayfish, Lime & Guacamole for example and there is a wonderful choice of breads…..pretzel roll, walnut bread, focaccia & gluten free are all stocked.  There are also a range of ‘garnish pots’ to accompany your choice.  A chalk board style sign for ‘Soup & Pitta’ was clearly displayed on the counter.  There were not any menus on the tables, so I deduced that ordering straight away at the service area is preferred.  SCORE 4/5

Having walked up to the café’s service area, I had to initiate a conversation with the young man serving, who was not particularly forthcoming.  He was polite, but didn’t go above and beyond in any way.  SCORE 3/5

I decided to try the soup and I also opted for a sweet chilli chicken & spring onion focaccia, with the cucumber and pea shoot garnish pot.  Having asked what flavour the soup was and having been told “tomato and red pepper” I was slightly taken aback at how spicy the end result was.  The taste was very good and personally I like spice, but staff should make it clear to customers if a menu item is going to be spicy.  The accompanying pitta could have been a bit warmer.  The sandwich filling was very nice, but the amount was a bit sparse and this resulted in the focaccia looking a little, well….flat!  SCORE 4/5

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I visited the ladies, which was located on the ground floor.  The single toilet is unisex, with an adjacent disabled facility.  The unisex area was very clean and tidy.  SCORE 4.5/5

Having only opened in November, I didn’t expect anything less than a very clean & tidy appearance and this is exactly what I got.  The tables & chairs are a bit of a mismatch, but this helps endear the venue.  Some of the tables are school-desk-like and it appears as though local school children have drawn designs on them.  A wonderful idea and very engaging.  SCORE 5/5

Food for Thought fits nicely with the whole feel of Quay Place and the area of the ground floor that the café occupies is unobtrusive. I felt that I could work/study/relax in the café and that I would experience a calm that is generally associated with a church and is definitely the ambience that an organisation like Suffolk Mind will want to continue to foster. With a few minor tweaks and through getting the word out to locals & visitors alike, this whole venue will be a major asset to the Waterfront.
— Claire, mystery diner

overall score 4.1/5