EDitorial ± 4-Mar-2011

Ipswich Lunches: The Range

Stick a compass point in Broom Acres and draw a circle, radius one mile, and you'd encapsulate a handful of hotspots. Out of town for Al's on Meredith Road, into the edge of the town centre for the Sunrise and Star Express, or down Yarmouth Road for Jack's. All of 'em decent down-the-line caffs. Lurking unlisted is an even more local light lunch location.

Occupying the site of the old greyhound stadium off London Road is the grandly named Suffolk Retail Park, dead handy for bike fixes (Halfords) and The Boy's Lego habit (Argos). Arguably of more general use, though, is The Range, essentially Woolies without the 7-inch singles. Art supplies, pet stuff, DIY bits, plants, furniture and enough storage crates to crush a hoarder. There's even pick 'n' mix. Upstairs -- there's two floors -- is their CoffeeHouse cafe. Was slipping through the gears when Andy's text arrived: "ordering now."

Open plan, wood, metal, teenager's purple-orange decor and with a fine view over the landscape of Brabantia swingbins and scented candles. There at the counter is Andy, still ordering. Like Sainsbury's, the person who takes your order then makes your hot drinks, regardless of the queue, which therefore tends to regulate itself. I see that this is (gulp) a Eurest establishment:

Great People, Great Service, Great Results

Despite the mantra, there's no soup -- "hasn't arrived yet" -- so it's an inspirational prepack sandwich from the cold cabinet or a motivational savoury slice from the hot cabinet. I'm sure they're teasing me with that blow-up photo of a jacket spud ... but no, they have them round the back: there's your great result, belatedly. One JCKT TUNA for me, pls. Here it is -- er, OK, I'll fetch my own cutlery -- it's surprisingly good, laden with salad and generous with the oily fish. Yum.

Pumped full of carbs, dessert will be a challenge. After years of similar reviews, however, we're prepped to man up: Belgian Buns all round, my good lady, though my get-up-and-go and got-up-and-Ghent. Good bun, average Americano. The Range: it's a bit like home, home, but you may hear the odd discouraging word.

If it was a car -- GM Ranger.
If they were passing by -- Tom Peters.