The simple act of sitting down and tucking into a wedge of cake and a cuppa is something many of us enjoy...and often take for granted. For years food was the nemesis of Jooley Fowles-Smith, who recently re-opened The Pullman Café & Vintage Tearoom at Long Melford Antiques, Interiors & Lifestyle Centre.  

When her youngest daughter developed a severe peanut allergy, the family could no longer look forward to pub lunches, or pop to the local café. The pleasure of eating was replaced by a grip of terror. “Food became a scary world for us,” she says. “It had a huge impact too on my eldest daughter who was on a mission to try eating everything. We had to batten down the hatches and retreat from the world of food. 

With the kids flown from the nest, Jooley says she has ‘found’ her love for cooking and baking once more, and relishes the chance to put her stamp on The Pullman, while trying to make her menu as inclusive as she can, incorporating gluten and dairy-free options. 

“I do want to make it as allergy-friendly as possible. I know what that means for parents. Until you’ve had a child with an allergy, you can’t really understand what it’s like. I feel like I’m just now unlearning being afraid of food!” 

Jooley has been a familiar face in other foodie spots until now, having worked most recently at The Table in Earls Colne. But she has always wanted her own place. And when a friend told her about the opportunity in Long Melford, her ears pricked up. She loved the vintage feel of The Pullman (which was originally designed to look like a railway carriage) and before she knew it, she’d signed on the dotted line. 

East Anglian Daily Times:

“I’m keeping it very simple to begin with. Later on we will do afternoon teas with a twist, with things like fancy crumpets, but it’s just me at the moment, so I want to focus on quality and consistency.” 

Jooley is working with suppliers including Butterworths for coffee, Biddles for bread, and local butchers – whose meat goes into her sausage rolls (one of only a few meat items available, as she’s a vegetarian).

East Anglian Daily Times:  

“We won’t have peanuts on the premises. And we’ll make gluten-free cakes here. I don’t have space for a separate area, but I’ll make sure they are the first things I bake, with their own separate pans and utensils. I’ll also have alternative milks.” 

Mornings offer freshly baked Danish pastries and filled croissants, as well as (on weekends in the future), Jooley’s famous cinnamon buns. 

“We’ll have simple, traditionally-filled bagels, avocado on sourdough, and fresh soup. Some of my cakes are coming from Cow Parsley while I get started. Her Victoria sponge is lovely. I’m making chocolate brownies and tiffin in-house, and will add my signature bakes as we go on, like my cupcakes and cheese scones.” 

East Anglian Daily Times:

East Anglian Daily Times:

Cream teas and savoury teas will be available, and Jooley also hopes to add waffles as a brunch item at weekends. 

“I am beyond excited,” she says. “I always wanted to do something like this and I’m so glad I jumped in. It still hasn’t sunk in that this is mine. I couldn’t have done it without the support and encouragement of my friends and family. They’ve been amazing.” 

The Pullman Café & Vintage Tearoom is open from 10am to 5pm Tuesday to Saturday, and 11am to 4pm on Sundays.