EDitorial ± 25-May-2007

2007 Tour: Beech Tree, Notcutts, Woodbridge

Do Not, said the sign on the wall, Take Plants Into The Restaurant, that eating establishment being the Beech Tree Restaurant, prob'ly better known as Notcutts. It's light and airy, says their own website, with a "varied menu" that "caters for all tastes". But is it, and does it?

First plus point: free parking, quite a boon in this neck of the Woodbridge. Ample spaces even though they've sold off a chunk of their land for that health centre. As ever, check Andy's official map of Woodbridge coffee shops. Score another point for a wide range of soft drinks, inc. the ubiquitous Innocent smoothies, Feelgood juices, glass bottles of Coke, and, a sure sign of a classy joint, Orangina. Shake the bottle, etc.

Plenty of space inside though we opted for outside, down the side. What's that underfoot? Charlie and Tommy have been decking the halls and hauling the decking. Most pleasant to gaze out over the plethora of pots and potted plants, though felt a little guilty about not talking to the poor RSPB lady with her little display. Waitress soon spotted our numbered wooden flowers to deliver our made-to-order orders. Evidently not true what they say about the pace of life round here, 'cos they have those new-fangled paninis. Cheese and pepperoni for me: side salad distinguished by the slice of orange and the red onion. Like I say, class.

My driver's gammon looked very main meal-ish, and he took advantage of the strawberries and cream for a pound deal. Daft not to. A little bit like Woolies' caff with those petite servings of eight sliced strawbs and a dollop of spray cream. Various old-fashioned fairy cakes, bakewell tart, and so on for pudd, plus some overpriced Byron cookies. Not so good on the totally tasteless coffee. I'd suggest they need a word with Mrs Piper's about obtaining a decent Gaggia.

If it was a car -- Volvo 740.
If they were passing by -- Alan Titchmarsh.