Two weeks. TWO WEEKS I’d been living in Bury St Edmunds when I visited Wright’s, and I’m wondering if I may already have found the town’s best toasted sandwiches.
Wright’s, on the corner of Cornhill and Woodhall Street, began life as a simple stall selling “posh cheese toasties” and seasonal salads. Its popularity grew so much that founder Adam Wright opened a bricks-and-mortar premises on St John’s Street…and when Wright’s outgrew that one, he moved to the current Cornhill venue.
It’s a café with a real country vibe: the muted green of its logo and signage sitting side by side with tartans in its interior design. Look in one direction and you’ll see a deer’s head mounted on a wall – in another and you’ll see a stuffed pheasant perched on a shelf – look up and you’ll see tiny birds perched atop a branch suspended from the ceiling. At this time of year the Wright’s team have also added further little details to give a more autumnal vibe: think mini pumpkins on the tables and orange-brown leaves draped around picture frames on the walls.
With plenty of chatter from neighbouring diners and drinkers, the hiss of the coffee machine and the rattling of the cocktail shaker, there’s a decent atmosphere, too.
At the front of the café sits a counter with a coffee machine and various baked goods and salads to take away. At the back, you’ll find the bar and open-plan kitchen.
On the tables, members of staff place clipboards holding the food and drink menus, each page printed on brown paper to add to the venue’s country feel. There are brunch dishes and their famous “posh cheese toasties”. There are deli salads that can be ordered on their own or with half a toastie. There are hot drinks, fresh juice blends, an exciting range of soft drinks and beers, wines, ciders and cocktails on offer.
It’s rare that I see a red velvet latte on a café menu, and the £3.50 version at Wright’s didn’t disappoint. A muted pink in colour, its initial sweet, almost floral flavour gave way to the syrupy, earthy and almost ketchup-like notes of the beetroot.
The Wright’s Brekkie, their take on the Full English, may be pricier than other places at £13…but for good reason. Alongside the salty streaky bacon (which could have been cooked a little longer, but that’s just my dining partner’s personal preference) were two skinny Merguez sausages, sweet in flavour with a spicy kick at the end. The fried egg came with a perfectly runny yolk, and the incredibly decadent bone marrow butter was perfect slathered on the two slices of sourdough toast.
It was a nice touch including a grilled king oyster mushroom instead of the bog standard button or chestnut alternatives, and the BBQ beans were a delight: sweet, smoky and delicious. The real stars of the show – which were missing from the plate at first but hastily brought over once the Wright’s team realised – were the maple pressed potatoes, which had an incredible flavour.
The breakfast was undeniably fantastic. My toastie, though, was out of this world.
Annoyingly, Wright’s had run out of the Reuben, which would have been at the top of my list. I had absolutely no complaints about choosing their Bloody Mary-infused short rib option instead, though.
The two slices of sourdough had been crisped up enough on the outside to contain their generous filling: tender chunks of slow-braised beef brisket with the Bloody Mary spices giving it an incredible spiced flavour. Paired with plenty of Cheddar – as well as mozzarella to give it that delicious ooze – it not only tasted amazing, it held together well, too. A perfectly constructed toastie, well worth its £8.50 price tag…and I really didn’t need the side of skin-on chips (£3) that I’d ordered too, but they were crispy and delicious.
If Bury St Edmunds is too far to travel, Wright’s also have a Norwich cafe, which you’ll find on Bank Plain. Toasted sandwich lovers based in or visiting East Anglia should absolutely make the effort to pay one of the Wright’s cafes a visit – you won’t be disappointed.