EDitorial ± 1-Sep-2023

Ipswich Lunches: Encore Coffee House

Mention of The Odeon in Ipswich is convoluted. Do you mean The Odeon (now Club 3000) at the top of Lloyds Avenue where I saw Superman in 1978? Perhaps you're referring to The Odeon (now The Regent) on St Helen's Street where I saw Three Men And A Baby in 1987? Or The Odeon (now The Hope Centre) next to The Regent where I saw Batman around 1989? Googling tells me, though, that this newest Odeon only opened in 1991, so someone's mistaken, prob'ly me.

That last incarnation ceased to operate as a cinema around the time YouTube launched and has stood redundant in its silver art deco finish for nearly 20 years. Now The Hope Church -- insert the subtitle of Star Wars episode IV here -- has splashed the cash to rescue the building and, natch, open the Encore Coffee House. Yep, a bit like River Coffee down at St Mary-at-the-Quay. If you're wondering about The Hope Church like what I was, they've got six core values:

  • word -- table talk is of the upcoming table tennis season starting later this month and our respective hols, Andy to Brittany, me to, erm, Wales
  • spirit -- if willing, Andy selects some piggy flesh which arrives in a couple of vg seedy rolls and forms part of a top value meal deal with a hot drink (non-alcoholic)
  • church -- foyer has the feel of a corporate atrium rather than, say, Reims cathedral, but the seating area is sizeable; no pews but booths and big circular tables, not suitable for ping-pong
  • grace -- most welcoming are the various staff taking orders and delivering our food
  • prayer -- we both counted our blessings and chose the rocky road, yum, esp. with an excellently prepared flat white, praise be
  • diversity -- not many places offer multiple flavours of bottled 500ml Lipton; that's diverse tea

In 1945's Road to Utopia, Bob Hope walks into a tough turn-of-the-century Alaskan bar and orders a lemonade. Seeing looks of surprise and hearing menacing sounds, he modifies his order: "In a dirty glass." None of that here at The Hope Centre: Encore!

If it was a car -- HopeStar ON360
If they were passing by -- Katie Piper.