EDitorial ± 12-Oct-2012

Ipswich Lunches: Tea Boutique

This place has been bubbling under on The List (makes mental note: would be darn useful to have an actual written-down list) for a goodly while. Central Ipswich, classy-sounding, and then there's their blurb: "Beautiful women's clothing and a vintage tea room." You had us at women's clothing.

Andy's there before me in our ongoing first-is-the-worst campaign, p'raps 'cos he's spent the morning "working" in town while I'm doing the 7.5mile bike ride from the 'Sham. He's sensibly attired, unlike myself who's hoping there's no dress code along the lines of "no loose fit wicking cycle shirts, no cut-offs". In I go, not getting too many looks, to join the man upstairs. Like Paul Hollywood crossed with Jason Bourne, he's nabbed a prime corner table twixt the window (that's St Nicholas Stores over there) and the cakes. Welcome to the Tea Boutique, says the smiling young lady: what can I get you?

Ooh, Fentimans Orange Jigger for me, ta muchly, and some coronation chicken sandwiches. You could soft-boil an egg in the time it takes that other fella to decide. Should have mooched over to the table by the stairs to flick distractedly through Vogue or Red or Hello! Bit of gossip then here's our proper sarnies on a proper plate on a proper tablecloth. Fancy. Just about to ask for some salad dressing when I spot the teensiest floral pot right in front of me. Lo, the dressing was gooey and good, ditto the chicken. Not often we encounter Berridges-esque levels of sophistication.

All this time, my eyes have been wandering to the tarts. Fantastic array of sweetness on the adjacent table includes apple tart, coffee cake, scones, and some frankly magnificent meringues. Be still, my pumping heart. Cafetiere for two, please, and a choc & cherry delice, a manly choice if ever there was one. Scone plus jam plus Cornish cream for Andy, who's already created an account on sconeadvisor.com. My oh my. As we're rolled back down the stairs, we suggest they should branch out to menswear, maybe a range for MAMILS such as us: middle-aged men in lycra. Go: it's lovely.

If it was a car -- Iso Grifo.
If they were passing by -- Sally Phillips.