EDitorial ± 16-May-2013

Ipswich Lunches: Shelley's, Suffolk New College

Going all the way back to the late 70s, I well remember a TV series with the name Malice Aforethought. Telling the tale of a doctor who may have poisoned his wife and his subsequent undoing, it starred a bright young actor called Hywel Bennett. Later that year he'd become almost a household name as the job-dodging character Shelley. Which brings us to...

...the swish new Suffolk New College in downtown Ipswich. Since they do a large amount of catering training, it makes sense to have a realistic setting in which to serve their food: that's Shelley's, open during term time only. Ever-alert Andy had spotted this on their website:

Help to support our Level 2 Patisserie and Confectionery students by joining us for afternoon tea. Booking required.

We're there for shortly after 3pm, having both tried our best to ignore lunch. Shown to our table in the first floor restaurant, we're politely offered tea or coffee while we peruse the menu. Mistakenly, I'm assuming that we'll have to choose. Not so. Here's our three-tiered pile of goodness. Let's work from the bottom up.

  • sandwiches/savoury:
    • coronation chicken sandwiches
    • pepper & chorizo tarts
    • caramelised onion & cream cheese savouries
    • roast red peppers & halloumi sandwiches

Easily dealt with. Couple of tantalising bites each. No problem. On to the middle layer:

  • scones:
    • chilli & cheese scones
    • classic fruit scones served with strawberries & cream

Has to be the savoury scone first, and it's a treat, esp. when taken with some of the chilli jam on offer. Very fine indeed. At this point, Andy declines the fruit scone and goes off-piste to the Pimms jelly, while I soldier on. Fruit scone is mighty fine too, what with the butter and jam and cream. Phew. Top layer to finish us off:

  • sweet:
    • macaroons with vanilla cream
    • berry bavarois & Pimms jelly
    • lemon drizzle loaves
    • brandy snaps filled with creme chantilly

Eyes are starting to roll at this point and further hot beverages (endless refills thereof) are called for. We're doing our best to help teach these kids how it is dealing with real cafe customers. Those macaroons, as crushingly colourful as they are, present a challenge. I'm struggling with just the thought of that mini lemon drizzle.

One of the trainees then presents everyone in the room -- about 6-8 tables -- with a goody box of spare macaroons. Any other day, I'd bite his hand off. This is Arlingtons all over again but without the cleansing clarity of the cycle ride home. Highly recommended and will fill you up for days.

If it was a car -- BSM Fiat 500.
If they were passing by -- Lenny Henry.