EDitorial ± 15-Nov-2013

Ipswich Lunches: Baker & Barista

Half of the twelve and the race is afoot. Andy's on the bus -- his bus -- and I'm on the bike -- my bike. Destination, the 'Swich, half of fifteen miles away. While I'm zeroing in on the central business district, he's already inside and mildly concerned that the single table for two is occupied. He'll soon discover plenty more seating round the back. Got a handy lamp-post to secure my wheels? I'd loveone.

We're on the best shopping street in Ipswich by half a mile. This is St Peter's Street, as ridden on in last year's Tour Of Britain and still home to Saints, a bit further up the road. This stretch past Rose Lane, though, is hipster heaven. Squeezed into a charmingingly bijou space is Baker & Barista, set up, run by and lived in by "two coffee making cake baking sisters". From the moment you walk in, there's a vibe which tells you that this place is something special. Today's menu includes:

  • smoked ham & Suffolk chutney with leaves in a brioche bap
  • French brie with cranberry sauce in a ciabatta toasted
  • ploughman's board of smoked ham, mature cheddar, bread and crackers, pickled onions, Suffolk chutney and leaves
  • rich tomato & pesto soup with a chunk of bread

Since he tends to land on his feet, Andy's grabbed the long-ish table (like Olivers of Sherborne) towards the rear with a view of the chilly courtyard. His lovingly presented ploughman's, items tastefully arranged on a board, is under attack, as is his very good banana milkshake. Super tasty soup for me on this drab day with a local tangy Jame White apple & cherry. Soon there's a couple at the other end of the table, then a lady in the middle, and a chat ensures about that Brian Cox on Dr Who lecture. Highly sociable and all helped by that table.

As it happens, I've seen online that B&B have a little photographic competition going on at the moment. Since I is a local contemporary artist, as I like to remind the kids, I'm gonna have a go at that. Which is why I'm arranging our empty plates in a Turner prize stylee and why, at that very moment, the nice lady appears and removes them. We suffer, we LCAs.

Past the tray of coffee mags and vintage market fliers to the counter at the front of the shop. Layout of the cakes with their handwritten labels is a picture in itself, up there with The Firestation. It'd be all too easy to whip out the phone for a quick snap. Not terribly original. Instead, there are generous helpings of apple and cinnamon for me, toffee apple sponge for him, and some seriously good coffee. Soon as we're done, I get to work with the ceramics and a handy glass vase to take an OK picture. Clearly nobody else has entered since a few days later comes the message: "Congrats, you are the winner".

If it was a car -- Westfield Sport Turbo.
If they were passing by -- Kirstie Allsopp.