EDitorial ± 26-Apr-2013

Ipswich Lunches: Just Eat, Hospital

All credit to the lad Andy. He's been busying himself creating a Googlemap of cafes still to visit. That'll be dead handy. While it would be super to visit Sizewell's Tea Hut or Stratford St Mary's Hall Farm Cafe, that would require not only an ultra extended lunch break but also an automobile. Today, we have the bicycles. What's nearby that we've not done?

Twenty minutes later we're locking our 2x2 wheels to the stacks of racks off Heath Road. Last week was M&S, this week it's A&E. Andy confidently leads the way past WH Smith and a Costa -- there's a thing you see -- then 90 degrees right and straight on until you're in need of a glucose drip. Three years back the two of us did Cafe Tempo, since renamed; this time it's the turn of Just Eat at the Courtyard Restaurant and Coffee Lounge, or JEatCRaCL for short.

Quite hungry, what with the cycling and the walking. What we have here is an old-style department store restaurant with pre-served portions of lasagne, battered cod, etc. Or some pre-packed sandwiches. Everything's pre something. Not a lot grabbing me, I ask what the hot filling to accompany the baked potato: serving lady points at a big ol' tub of baked beans. Guess that'll do. Serve yourself, extracting spud from mini oven, cutting, adding butter and ladling them pulses. On the plus-side, there's some free greenery to lessen the orangeness. On the doubleplus-side, jacket plus beans with a 600ml Pepsi set me back less than £3. More than reasonable.

Pay the cashier then take tray through to, wow, a rather nice open room with space to spare. Even a go-faster purple stripe around the wall. There's Andy tucking in to his jam pudding with custard like the ex-GPO employee he is. He's skipped savoury, the minx. Some of the punters obviously work here while others, bless 'em, are visiting. As you'd expect, it's an odd atmosphere.

Best part of the experience is to come. As well as a cheapo vending machine, JEatCRaCL includes a mini Starbucks franchise. They can't offer me any chai tea, sadly, but the latte is hot and strong. Those pre-sliced cake portions aren't doing it for me, then I spy various produce from north of the border Tunnock's. Not sure which of wafer or teacake or snowball to have so let's take the lot. Yum. Very much in keeping with the spirit of Aneurin Bevan.

If it was a car -- Ford Escot Iris GT.
If they were passing by -- Charlotte Salt.