EDitorial ± 26-Mar-2010

Ipswich Lunches: Marks & Spencer Cafe Revive

On arrival, there's what the Dutch call a hooj koo with Grenvyle towards the front row of the grid. It's busy-busy, so I go bag a table for two with hoodie and rucksack combo. Only after inverting the demographically spot-on Daily Mails by the entrance do I join the back of the line. Much, much later I attain the giddy heights of the hot drinks counter and see this small poster:

We opened our first cafeterias in 1935

Yeah, methinks, and by the outbreak of the war someone finally got served. To be fair, Gary, the hot food lady apologised for keeping me, and the serving staff were all v. pleasant, and I got thanked not once but twice when I returned my tray. That's what you get when you opt to meet up in the M&S Cafe at 12:30 of a Friday.

Sound selection of pre-packed sarnies, toasties to reheat, smoked salmon salads. My eye didn't stray beyond the personal favourite of jacket with chilli. I gave the apologising lady my order and she gave me a gizmo. That's your pager, she said: it'll go off when your food's ready. Raymond Baxter was right. More minutes drifted by, and I'm about to hand over some cash when there's a horrendous noise. Grinding coffee? Blending frappucinos? No, my electronic device has mutated into a Mexican jumping bean on my tray. I hand it over and she hands me my grub.

Glad I secured our seats among the pushchairs and highchairs. Jinx: G's got the same as me and is on his second review of the week. Ready for the inevitable line? This is not just food. Chilli is tasty, salad is fresh, and there's even a tiny juglet of vinaigrette by the spud-u-like. Almost worth that aeon spent pushing along my tray. Original top floor caff here was far more open plan. Now it's walled off and the natural light is kept at bay by blinds. There's a restrained quantity of M&S ads on the walls. While we're chowing down, a nearby lady comes over all peculiar when her pager begins to vibrate.

Time it all wrong and waste another six minutes queueing for the sweet course. Belly is seduced by the sight of a monster triple layer choc cake. There's a quid off if I buy it after 2pm, which is becoming more likely every second. Coffee -- a crazily large latte -- is excellent, and Fairtrade too. They're doing a good job here in Revive, though you may need the patience of Job.

If it was a car -- Daimler Super Eight.
If they were passing by -- Twiggy.