The Bakery

116 Hamilton Road, Felixstowe

February 2022

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I first tried to go to The Bakery back in November after being recommended to do so by a friend who raved about their sourdough loaves. I asked her where it was and she said, “On the high street, opposite The British Heart Foundation.” Sounded straightforward enough. Living only twelve miles from Felixstowe and having been there a thousand times since I was a child, I felt pretty confident I could locate it. I’m sure you can guess where this is going; I could not find it, despite wandering up and down the high street looking perplexed for a while. I think they may have started off a couple of doors down from where they are now in a smaller unit, but either way it’s hundreds of metres from the charity shop provided as the landmark.  My personal directions of “Place in Felixstowe” scrawled on a post-it note were no help, so it’s not really a surprise it evaded my discovery for a while.

 

It was three months later, during that VERY windy spell mid-February that I found myself back in Felixstowe, this time determined to pay them a visit. I had checked the address and felt confident. Actually it was very easy to spot on the approach, due to the queue of people waiting patiently outside in the gale force winds. I happily joined them in the chilly sunshine, being wrapped up well against the tornado, plus I could see and smell the delights that awaited me and was firmly committed to acquiring them. After 5-10 minutes I was relieved to step through the doorway into shelter, eyes wide with excitement as I catalogued the wares on offer, yet simultaneously panicking as I could not leave with everything and had to choose. Choosing is hard.

 

I probably should have bought one of the many beautiful loaves of bread on offer, but the truth is I went in hungry which is always dangerous and only had eyes for snacks I could immediately eat on the street. I noted the pantry offerings - jars of sweet and savoury condiments, cordials and juices, teas and coffees, crackers, flours, pâtes, sauces, oils and vinegars, various tins – the list goes on. Next up was the cheese and meat counter, a mix of local, national and European superstars, antipasti, local eggs, all appearing in perfect order, but I was soon up near the tills where the grab-and-go goodies were piled high.

 

The generously sugared jam doughnut fingers bulging with fresh cream and adorned with haphazard jammy zigzags looked insanely good, but I could see no inside seating and it was clearly not going to be something eaten easily on the hoof, so I reluctantly moved on. The sausage rolls also looked incredible; dark-golden glazed flaky pastry (long and flat which I much prefer to their tall narrow cousins - the sausage to pastry ratio is just wrong) with well-seasoned sausage meat peeking out, but I was hankering for something sweet.

 

On 25th November 2021, not long after launching my Instagram to accompany this fledgling blog, I made a declaration to hunt out scones and hot chocolates in Suffolk. Seeing as I had not posted a single scone since then, nor any hot chocolates for that matter since visiting South Kiosk in Felixstowe on 14th December, I decided it would be wise to kill three birds with one stone – a scone, a hot chocolate AND a Snacks in Suffolk instalment for my blog site, all in one foul swoop.  

I joined the till queue, pleased with my eureka moment, but was slightly panicked to note there was only one cheese scone remaining and two people in front of me, the lady currently being served continuing to reel of a rather long list of items she was intending to depart with. I used all of my Jedi mind tricks and powers of telepathy to dissuade her and the gentleman in front of me from purchasing it, which thankfully worked, although it was a tense and anxious few minutes.

To my great relief I was soon at the front, securing the solitary cheese scone, a savoury flatbread that had caught my eye topped with sun blush tomatoes and pesto, a hot chocolate and a jammy doughnut. I chatted to the lady as she assembled my hot chocolate to ascertain the ingredients and process involved and she showed me the Callebaut 100% Belgian dark chocolate that made up the majority of my drink. Being a patisserie student at the Suffolk Centre for Culinary Arts, I was very happy to note the use of Callebaut, as it’s what we refer to as “the posh stuff”. I had hit the jackpot on my hot chocolate quest, on only the second one sampled!

I had the flatbread and scone wrapped for later, deciding to immediately consume the doughnut and hot chocolate without delay as I walked down the street. This was my breakfast. I usually find eating and walking fairly straightforward, but not that day. It was so windy, the foam was being blown off the top of my drink and I was being thrown all over the place, but I managed to drink it without spilling it down myself, albeit it with more haste than usual. No such luck with the doughnut. The wind was so strong, it literally blew half the jam out of my doughnut, dashing this precious cargo across the high street. Luckily for me there was LOADS of jam in it, to the point where I may never have eaten a jammier one in my life. It was something like 70% jam, 30% dough, it was that full. A strawberry jam, sweet, sour and zingy all at once, the doughnut soft as a cloud, caked in sugar. I got the jam all over my hand and the sugar all over my hands and face, although I cannot entirely blame this on the weather.

After cleaning myself up then enjoying the much welcomed sunshine down by the beach for a bit, I returned home with my remaining goodies. The savoury flatbread got shared with family and was gone within the hour, however there is only so much dough a person can respectfully eat in one morning, so I saved the scone until the next day.

With regards to my on-going scone documentation, I feel it is probably only fair that I commit to sampling these cheesy delights under more controlled conditions. The first scone (Sweet Williams Bakery) I ate freshly made, warm with chive butter. The second (Suffolk Food Hall) was consumed having not been warmed, while this third one from The Bakery was also eaten not warm, the day after purchasing it. It was delicious, nice and cheesy, but I feel in order to do any cheese scone justice they must be warmed in an oven prior to consumption, as that is when they truly shine.

I searched for information online about The Bakery, but it remains a bit of a mystery to be honest. I was in a bit of a hurry that day and they had a queue, so I did not chat to anyone while there, except about my hot chocolate. I think they opened in 2015 but that’s only a rough estimate. It’s a low key, understated bakery that doesn’t blow its own trumpet on social media, with a modest Facebook page, no website and no Instagram. The food speaks for itself, with people willing to queue in perilous weather conditions a testament to the quality and tastiness. 

However I am pleased to tell you I can at least tag their location in my Instagram post, so you can feel secure in the knowledge you will not get lost finding them, like I did (hopefully).