Restaurant Review Chef’s Whites Ipswich 2022


7:30 PM March 17, 2022

Want to enjoy a gourmet tasting menu in the blink of an eye?

Interested in supporting the skills of the next generation of starred chefs?

If the answer to one or both of the above questions is a resounding ‘yes’, head to Chefs’ Whites Restaurant at Suffolk New College.

Open to the public on Wednesday and Thursday evenings (with a fortnightly pop-up themed dinner), the restaurant brings together the cumulative experience of students through the college’s cooking and hospitality classes. And it’s good !

There is often a fear associated with eating outside of the traditional setting of ‘high street’ restaurants. And yes, it may not seem very glamorous to go to dinner at a college. But a lot of effort has gone into creating an experience here that mimics what you’d find in the ‘real world’, all under the guidance of Director of Service Industries, Mike Mulvihill – well known in the hotel industry in East Anglian for his dedication to raising some of the best chefs in the region.

Mike Mulvihill, Director of Service Industries at Suffolk New College
– Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Mike has a genuine passion for cooking and serving, which he brought with him through college when he joined during lockdown, and that passion, along with his key industry contacts, has already had a ripple effect throughout the department.

Partnerships have been formed with local chefs and restaurants, to help create a hub of excellence here. And students will begin working with Otley College this year to raise their own livestock and grow their own fruits and vegetables.

Book a midweek evening table here and for just £18 for three courses you’ll find yourself eating honey soy glazed pork cheeks with burnt orange, blood orange mayonnaise and pork skin, grilled Korean-style chick with fried leg, sticky jasmine rice, marinated daikon and spring onion tempura, and chocolate delight with caramelized banana bread, chocolate earth and caramel ice cream.

Theme nights on the agenda range from St. Patrick’s Day (March 16), A Taste of Spring (April 6), a French Taster (April 27), and A Taste of the USA (May 11).

We recently visited a pop-up with award-winning chef Luke Bailey of the Salthouse Harbor Hotel in Ipswich. Luke is known for his modern European cuisine, which is strongly reflected in the menu (£30 for five courses).

Fen Farm Whipped Butter Soda Bread

Fen Farm Whipped Butter Soda Bread
– Credit: Charlotte Smith-Jarvis

The restaurant is airy and very pleasant, and quickly fills up with about fifty guests, made up of students, staff and (like us) “outside” guests.

The young service staff were eager to please, polite and friendly, ensuring we had everything we needed – including a truly sumptuous and surprising Chardonnay, ripe with plump tropical fruit and a hint of vanilla – just 2 £.50 for a 125ml glass!

To start, there was each a cute wholemeal soda bun, with an aromatic bite of caraway seeds, and sweet raisins hidden inside, with a sticky malt glaze on top. Adding malt to Fen Farm Whipped Butter brought out its barnyard and truffle flavor.

Italian-inspired spring vegetable salad

Italian-inspired spring vegetable salad
– Credit: Charlotte Smith-Jarvis

Scallop with romesco sauce, morcilla sausage and green apple

Scallop with romesco sauce, morcilla sausage and green apple
– Credit: Charlotte Smith-Jarvis

The Italian spring salad starter certainly looked the part, being pretty as a picture. He put together a thick layer of savory ricotta under pickled baby vegetables, interesting leaves (including the underused but pretty castelfranco), edible flowers, crumbs and a truffle pesto vinaigrette. While the ricotta could have been more seasoned (and there was plenty of it), the pesto gave the dense cheese a boost and the tiny vegetables were absolutely delicious.

Our fish dish combined a perfectly seared golden scallop with a peppery, nutty and sweet romesco sauce, lightly spiced morcilla sausage and sharp green apple slices. Impeccable.

I would have liked a bolder, deeper sauce with the 30 day aged Red Poll sirloin main course, but I have nothing but praise for the rest of the dish. The thick beef was expertly seared and flowed down the middle. Although not crispy, the fondant potato had bags of flavor and most importantly was well cooked throughout. I had too many raw fondants to count, so kudos to the students.

Drops of wild garlic emulsion and glazed carrots rounded out the plate nicely, along with a few charred cabbage leaves – surely the best way to cook this vegetable.

Sicilian tart with lemon and elderflower, mascarpone and rhubarb

Sicilian tart with lemon and elderflower, mascarpone and rhubarb
– Credit: Charlotte Smith-Jarvis

And for dessert. A Sicilian tart with lemon and elderflower that couldn’t be better. The essence of elderflower was subtle, with lemon being the star of the show here. Surprisingly bright, vigorous and aromatic in a “glassy” pastry cream with a sugar glaze.

The dough underneath was buttery and short, but also thin and crispy – no small feat.

Top notch cuisine here, which will only get better.

To book a table call 01473 382500 or email


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