EDitorial ± 24-Sep-2009
Ipswich Lunches: Neptune Cafe
It's a little disorienting doing the Friday thing on a Thursday. Upfront, we'd agreed on an Ipswich venue, exact location TBA, thus it seemed prudent to work from home. And who really believes in the "W" part of WFH? There's the dishwasher to empty, post in the porch, and that Gaggia device won't press its own buttons, you know.
Bare bedrock of me and Andy: both on bikes (mine's got bigger wheels, his is better at folding) and starting from opposing sides of the town. Oh so many possibilities but my vote is for the Neptune Cafe. Despite my inate knowledge of The Swich, forming a legit route to Fore Street presents a puzzle. Our one-way system could make Jack Bauer weep, and I'd rather keep the total Highway Code offences to below double digits. Through town, cycle path by dead Odeon, down The Wash (Upper Orwell Street to you) and cut dodgily past the Record & Tape Exchange, taking crossing by Lord Nelson. Sorted.
An oddity in that I'm the first to arrive. Sip of Dr Pepper while perusing the menu that's written entirely on chalky blackboards. Jacket & chilli, please -- er, no chilli today, or pasties -- OK, ham/egg/chips if you'd be so kind. Good choice, says the lady enigmatically. Sitting down, you gotta love the Marilyn & Audrey prints on the wall that counterpoint the wipe-clean squirty condiment containers. I bet they have brand-name sauce bottles on the posh side of the docks, though The Salthouse would no doubt disapprove of such vulgarity.
Andy arrives seconds before my large white plate of goodies, quickly doused with blood-coloured sauce. The food, that is, not Mr C. Once upon a time, this was Wolsey Cabs. The stories it could tell, though you'd struggle to hear them WITH ALL THAT BLOOMIN' NOISE from the endless lane-switching traffic outside. It's rumoured to be part of the Jacks/Jeffs empire, hence the Mega Byte similarities.
Savoury done, and noticing (a) the (discarded?) machine in the corner and (b) the Es___sso window lettering, I ask the lady if she does any fancy coffee. Well, she says, I can do you a nice milky coffee in the microwave. You don't say no to an offer like that. Accompanying slice of fruit cake was top notch; she'd made it that very morning. Pedalling away, it hit me that I should have come along the Waterfront and used the path by the river. Next time.