EDitorial ± 8-Aug-2014

Ipswich Lunches: Town Hall Tea Room

Put your hat back on, and fast: a quick recap. Once upon a time, two entrepreneurial ladies of no fixed abode created a coffee cart. They ground out a business from UCS to Woodbridge and beyond, and were duly invited to pep up Ipswich town hall with a pop-up cafe.

Thus, around the time of the London Olympics, was born Snobs. Excellent coffee, arty environs, live events, central location. No better example of a local independent business. I loved it. You probably loved it. Everybody loved it. Clearly, said the Borough Council, this cannot stand. Let's up the rent threefold. Come September 2013, so long, Snobs.

In October 2013 came news of the winning bidder, Realise Futures Catering, a social enterprise (employing the disabled and disadvantaged), a bit like Poppy's Pantry and the St Lawrence Centre. They held a public vote to decide the name of the new venture. The public thought long and hard, drew up shortlists, stayed up late, agonised for days, and finally selected one of these:

  • The Mayor's Muddy Water Mess Hall -- nope
  • Rocket Fuel Retiring Rooms -- nope
  • His Worship's Wakey Juice Chamber -- nope
  • Boroughistas -- nope
  • The Town Hall Tea Room -- yay for the public!

Name aside, there's a fair few folk in here and a promising selection of artwork on the walls. Foodwise, you choose your bread, then your filling, and add any extras. We both ordered baguettes; we both got sandwiches. My hummus and roast veg was oddly warm, too. Side order of olives was OK, though the lady thought we were asking for a bowl of onions.

Food aside, there's free WiFi and an unbeatable selection of local fliers. Opposable thumbs very much aloft for the cake slabs. Shame about the coffee: whichever way you look at it, that ain't no flat white. Oh, IBC. Such a good thing going with Snobs and you blew it up!

If it was a car -- Chevrolet Spark.
If they were passing by -- Bryony Rudkin.