EDitorial ± 30-Jan-2014
Ipswich Lunches: O Portugues
Landmarks on Norwich Road, Ipswich. Wonderful West End Music. Two Indians, the Taj Mahal and the Maharani, nearly side by side. Coes, of course, which bought up the dodgy old Hare & Hounds, gave it a good scrub, then let it out as a bridal shop. That chippy, popular with the football crowd. Plus, these days, the United Nations of corner shops: Polish, Hal-Al, Jamaican, etc.
One establishment that's slowly but surely, er, establishing itself is O Portugues, our local Iberian (yes!) cafe. To be honest, I've always been wary of going in: today, me and the boy Andy are doing it. He's seated in a comfortably padded diner-type booth beneath a wall-mounted telly showing a generic foreign TV game show. That finishes and is followed by ads for cough medicine, nasty Nestle and Lidl. Small world, ain't it.
Up to the counter and there's no obvious menu. Nothing on the tables, nothing chalked up for us to read. Guy standing behind doesn't seem to speak too much English so we both end up with the same lunch. Roll? Please. Chicken? Please. Salad? Please. S'alright, though I'm more sold on the splendid selection of soft drinks. Brazilian Guarana (remember the didn't-last-long Brasilia Cafe?) for Andy, passion fruit Sumol for me. Now there's a refreshing change.
While we're lunching, numerous others come and go, some just for an espresso, some just for a bottle of beer. Apart from us, everyone seems to know everyone else, giving it a real community feel. Meanwhile, a bloke sits at the next table and is served a warming bowl of soup. Once that's supped, he's then presented with a big plate of meat, fries and salad. Didn't see that on the menu. Didn't actually see a menu.
Counterstrike for dessert, a top custard tart (of the type that lamented Snobs used to do) and slice of almondy goodness, all with a fine cup of coffee. Excellent value, too. Go if you dare.