Every single thing about Ivy & Bond tearoom, which sprung up on Long Melford’s high street this January, is personal...it has a meaning. 

That might seem like an odd thing to point out because, of course, running any business is ‘personal’. But for owner Helen Clutterham, this is even truer, with each part of the lovingly created space bringing back a little reminder of her husband Paul – who she and their three daughters sadly lost to cancer last August. 

Pictures of Paul are carefully placed around the dining room. One of his favourite bakes (sticky toffee pudding cake) is to be a regular on the countertop. 

Even the name of the tearoom has significance. “The Ivy part is because Paul and I used to like going to The Ivy and eating nice food,” says Helen. “And Bond is because he used to love James Bond. The name just came to us, and it fitted.” 

East Anglian Daily Times:

East Anglian Daily Times:

The loss of her husband made Helen, formerly a teacher, rethink her future. 

“You change a lot when something like that happens. It changes your perspective. We knew we wouldn’t have our retirement together, so we went out and did lots of nice things, like going on the Orient Express for a day to Bath. I definitely felt [afterwards] like I needed to take more chances.” 

Helen has always loved baking, having been taught by her grandma as a girl – and this keenness has rubbed off on her own children who, she says, are avid bakers themselves. 

“Having a tearoom is something I always dreamed of,” she adds. “I never thought I’d be in the position to have one, but sadly with what happened to Paul, now I have been able to. It was a family discussion. Something for all of us in the future. And something to remember Paul by.” 

East Anglian Daily Times:

East Anglian Daily Times:

Formerly housing the Olive Tree tearoom, Helen has put her stamp on the premises, giving them a delightful vintage vibe, with a soft pastel colour scheme, and little trinkets here and there – without being overly twee. 

Inside, up to 32 can be seated, with prime positions being a sunny nook in the window, and a tucked away sofa. “That’s a nice space. We’ve got a table on wheels there so people can pull it up and have afternoon tea.” 

Ivy & Bond is open from 10am each day and is what it says on the tin – a tearoom, not a café.  

As such, there’s no breakfast, but earlier visitors can accompany their tea or Tudor coffee with teacakes, toast, warm sausage rolls from the village butcher Clark & Sons, or pastries, fresh from the local bakery. 

Even more enticingly, there are Helen’s homemade cakes and bakes - the signature and family favourite being her apple cake. “It’s a lovely moist apple loaf and I bake it into a cake as well, with brown sugar on top. It’s delicious. You can eat it as a cake, or warm it in the oven and have it with custard. 

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“Victoria sponge is my favourite and always goes down well. And there are our biscuits – like our chocolate Bond biscuits.” 

As we chat, a chocolate fudge cake is in the oven, with Helen pointing out that no two days on the counter are the same. 

At lunchtime the offering includes sandwiches and toasties – all deeply filled, and finished under the grill rather than in a toastie machine. 

“And we’ve got baked potatoes with fillings like cheese and beans and tuna mayo. All the classics. Me and the girls like having them when we go out, but you rarely see a baked potato these days.” 

In homage of Paul’s savoury tooth, Helen offers both a ploughmans platter (from £9 for one) laden with a selection of cheeses, crackers, salad, bread and bits of pork pie and Scotch egg, as well as a generous savoury afternoon tea. Though she admits to bringing out a teeny tiny sweet treat at the end for anyone who orders these...just in case. East Anglian Daily Times:

East Anglian Daily Times:

Afternoon tea is £15 per person with a range of sandwiches, scones, around four sweet goodies, and bottomless tea, with an option for children priced at £10 - with ice cream afterwards. 

Helen plans to be licensed by summer so she can offer drinks (think Pimms, gin and Aperol) outside on the terrace, alongside grazing platters – hopefully extending service into the early evening. 

The response so far has, she says, been staggering. “Lots of people are coming back and saying nice, positive things which is lovely. I do believe that if you want something to be a success, you’ll put everything into it to make it work, and that’s what I’m doing.” 

Find Ivy & Bond at Waterloo House, Hall Street, Long Melford. The tearoom is open Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 4pm.