EDitorial ± 25-Apr-2008

Light Lunches: Wyevale, Woodbridge

It's a sure sign you're turning into your parents when you find yourself having a spot of light lunch at the local garden centre; and with the Felixstowe eateries all but done, a trip to the skirts of Woodbridge seemed in order. Welcome to Wyevale, one of only ... er, 100 or so such places in the country. Practically unique (i.e. one of seven) within the greater East Anglia area.

Within the seemingly ever-expanding green-fingered enclave, turn left past the half-price orchids and bargain books to enter The Conservatory. Woah, hold on there: isn't this Springles from the Ashes To Ashes era of Debenhams? Take a tray, slide it round the rails, hop the gaps, you get the picture. Obliged to mention the gamut of cold soft drinks, from Fruit Shoot to Luscombe to my bottlegreen blackcurrant & blueberry presse.

Food choice is nearly overwhelming: all bases covered from peckish sarnies to gutsy full roast meals. Dimly recalling that "light lunch" tag, I eventually chose a chicken & bacon granary bap. Freshly made and with a handful of leaves on the side. Tad overpriced at £4.79, IMHO, but the prices weren't deterring the polyester-clad punters from their plates of turkey & ham pie piled high with roasties and smothered with gravy.

Chop chop busy busy inside so out we went into a pleasant seating area to feel the warmth of the sun. Not quite as bright as the River Of Life though similarly urban what with the over-the-hedge A12. Briefly back in to purchase pudd in the guise of a pretty good scone -- love those little pots of jam -- and a frankly awful cuppa coffee. Evidently the nice girl had pressed the button labelled "lukewarm brown water". If you check out the Wyevale careers website, you too could soon be playing a vital role in a "high volume catering outlet".

If it was a car -- Volkswagen Sharan.
If they were passing by -- John Shuttleworth.

Update: 18-Sep-2015

Seven long years later and the 'Vale is vamped. Goodbye "the Conservatory", hello "Botanic Kitchen" and a Little Diggers play area. Dare say that a few quid is lining the pockets of catering creatives yet there's still that '80s department store feel.

They didn't have what Andy wanted. Nor his second choice. Nor his third choice. Meanwhile, for his sarnie, Kev was offered white bread only to hear the lady behind him given the option of granary. To wash down your £8 burger, why not splash out on a bottle of prosecco for £22 or some champers for £48? If you billed it, they will come.

In all florid fairness, my £3 slice of rhubard and custard cake was probably just about worth it, and, unlike '08, the coffee kicks butt. Roll on the return visit in 2022.