EDitorial ± 26-Jun-2009

Light Lunches: Tesco Extra, Martlesham

Mid morning when Outlook confirmed that Young William Has Zero Friends this Friday. In need of an unreviewed eatery within two-wheeler range. What's the name of That Environmentally Sound Chain Of supermarkets? Consulting the store locator, we pull up a nearest top three in Eric Morley reverse order of:

  • Duke Street (5.9m) -- of type Express, up to 3,000ft
  • Kesgrave (2.12) -- of type Metro, up to 15,000ft
  • Martlesham (0.39m) -- of type Extra, over 60,000ft

Coming soon:

  • NanoTesco -- up to one billionth of a metre
  • Tescopolis -- over 3,000,000ft

Barely into 7th gear before I'm securing the Boardman outside the monolithic Martlesham Tesco. Sign outside reads "Enjoy a visit to the Cafe today", and it wouldn't do to upset beneficient Mr T. Bypass the fags and mags into the L-shaped space operated by Eurest, who've applied their world blah leading service framework to blah facilitate this exemplar of service blah excellence. Which means there's sarnies, (Choice or cheapo), paninis (chicken piri piri, anyone?), and a bunch of food (pie, lasagne, chips) that, in homage to a 70s Woolies caff, was freshly prepared some hours before. Compare and contrast Sainsbury's, though service there can be Thorburnesque.

Receipt identifies my order as the JCT & COLD FIL**, i.e. jacket spud plus tuna mayo (generous) plus pepper-strewn salad, all with a Johnson's OJ and a duet of melting butter ingots and a Haven Hols scratchcard for £3.58 inc. three Clubcard points. Song 2 chorus! Er, there's no forks, I say to the badged lady: she remains mute and goes off to fetch pointy cutlery. Ying and yang-wise, the chap on the till is chirpily cheerful, apologising for the wait, etc. Potato is perfectly presentable. Prospect of the 24hrs garage isn't exactly Mrs Simpson's. There's poetry to peruse:

For the comfort of
all our customers
we thank you for
not smoking

That, and it's illegal. For pudd, my 2nd receipt proclaims PROMOTION**: curious, that double asterisk. For £2.75, a nice slice of "speciality" cake -- passion, ironically enough -- and a regular 83p cuppa coffee: press the Sugababes button to dispense, then add colour with a Lakeland Dairies milk sachet or three. I can only envy the equivalent megalith at Stowmarket which has an in-store Costa.

If it was a car -- Vauxhall Viva.
If they were passing by -- John Henshaw.

EDitorial ± 19-Jun-2009

Ipswich Lunches: Saints

Picture a histogram where the x-axis shows means of transport to reach our lunch destination and the y-axis represents the frequency thereof. A dandruff shampoo above the rest would be the carbon-crazy car. Way down in the silver medal position would be the tree-hugging bike. Making a single solitary solo appearance would be our shoe leather. Chalking up a new entry this week would be ... the bus! Not any old bus, no sirree. Fanfare for the CassyBus, officially titled the Adastral Park railway shuttle service. Ta very much to George, our driver, for depositing us at the station, thereby getting us most of the way into town.

Top of St Peters Street, opposite the Sailor's Rest, look out for a modern building with plenty of glass, tables outside and a halo-based logo. There, in a nutshell, is a guide To recognizing your Saints. Ominous clouds overhead so inside we went. I believe that this place used to bill itself largely as a wine bar: after a recent makeover, though, it's emerged as a "cafe - tapas bar". Ordering drinks is the easy bit -- Fentimans equals class IMHO -- then there's the extensive array of nibbly bits to choose from. Their menu advises picking at least a couple of dishes. Not easy.

After we've um-ed and ah-ed, Grenvyle arrives fresh from his own free corporation bus. As he's choosing, ours is arriving. My Spanish chicken casserole with chorizo and potatoes is a treat, and would have made a tasty light lunch on its Tom Jones. Didn't really need the hummus too; mustn't let those mushed chick peas go to waste.

Nice part of town, this spot, ciabatta'd between Cardinal Park and the town centre, and an olive's throw from The Sanctuary. Feels pretty darn cosmopolitan tucking into tapas with the sun trying to break through. Good service, too. Shame that we ran out of time for what would most likely have been a top notch cup of coffee, but that's the way with public transport timetables.

If it was a car -- Seat Exeo.
If they were passing by -- Pablo Counago.

EDitorial ± 10-Jun-2009

Ipswich Lunches: Enjoy!

Congrats to our Grenvyle for defying medical opinion and reaching three-score years earlier this week. He celebrated by catching a Luxton & District omnibus, flashing his grundy pass and doing his best Jack Harper impression all the way to Tower Ramparts. Meantime us whippersnappers were high-tailing it down to The Swich in the Cassymobile and bagging a lucky space on Fonnereau Road. One hour will do us nicely.

My 1947 Kelly's Directory of Ipswich states that 42 Lloyds Avenue was home to "Andy's Cafe": come on Mr C, get that post-Canadian idea off the ground! Some 60+ years later finds us at number 38 in premises which wouldn't look out of place in Westward Ho! Shielding our eyes from that exclamation mark, we have reached Enjoy! Confession: I've been coming here for bloomin' years, often as not with the family. It's great. Isn't much to say beyond my original review from March 2001:

"... it seems to be modelled on Pret-A-Manger, which is no bad thing. Good variety of coffee and a good selection of freshly made sandwiches, plus hot paninis. Friendly service, and child-friendly too."

All of those comments hold water two World Cups later. There's a range of grab-and-go sarnies in the chiller, all made on the premises. Raising the temperature, after a brief flirtation with crepes, they've now moved on to omelettes. Still good and hot are the paninis, my choice today. I like the fact that when you order one with bacon & egg, they offer to add red or brown sauce. Plus you know that, unlike certain other establishments, it will turn up in good time, an advantage if you've got a fixed slot for lunch.

Other pros: for grown-ups -- today's newspapers, window seats to sit and watch the world go past, boxed salads, good coffee and cake; for kids -- Walkers crisps, lots of flavoured syrups for cream-topped milkshakes, downstairs loo. I don't get the Parisian scenes on the wall, straight outta Montmartre. I do get everything else. And I've realised that it's exactly the right size for what it does. So next time you're in town, go.

If it was a car -- BMW 318d.
If they were passing by -- David Lodge.

EDitorial ± 5-Jun-2009

Felixstowe Light Lunches: The Triangle

Drive or cycle from Felixstowe station into the town centre and you'll come to a three-sided geometrical landmark where the longest side of Crescent Road faces the right-angle formed by Hamilton Road and Cobbold Road. Behold the Pythagorean wonder of The Triangle, an almost holy Euclidean location marked not by a henge but by some questionable public loos.

We're headed halfway along the hypotenuse to, erm, The Triangle. Hold on, the acute reader points out, surely you've hit all the gin joints in the 'Stowe a long time agowe? Indeed we have. However, you might remember this locale as the amusingly named Froffee Coffee, which we visited on one of their off-days. Almost certainly unconnected with that review, FC bit the dust towards the end of 2008. Let's move on.

Now there's comfy sofas like a Nero, arty canvas prints, and tables that go back as far as Malcolm Marshall's run-up. Must point out the pair of chiller cabinets stocked with enough items for a whole series of The Generation Game: pre-packed sarnies, muchos cold drinks, choccy bars, mini Oreos, even some Ferrero Rocher. Daily specials include shepherd's pie, chilli, or an un-light bite in the form of a rack of ribs. Thankfully, unlike Froffee, you order at the counter.

My club sandwich turned up not a moment too soon, and what a monster. Salad (undressed) on the side, and a mountain of chicken & bacon filling on the ciabatta. Really flavoursome though a devil to eat. Trick is not to let go else the whole kit and kaboodle comes apart in your hands.

Other items on the conveyor belt would include a panoply of clingfilmed cakes, whisking me back to the accurately named Coffee Shop. Yes for convenience, no for sensory appeal and freshness. Not as classy as Sangha but much improved on Froffee.

If it was a car -- Peugeot 1007.
If they were passing by -- James Morrison.