Boat comes in for new restaurant

PUBLISHED: 05:01 27 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:45 03 March 2010

IPSWICH Haven Marina has always been a great place to spend a few hours watching the world go by, but now those hours can be spent tucking into home-made food with the best possible view of the docks.

By Nick Richards

IPSWICH Haven Marina has always been a great place to spend a few hours watching the world go by, but now those hours can be spent tucking into home-made food with the best possible view of the docks.

A new restaurant, The Last Anchor, will be officially opened next Saturday and its name has a significance all of its own. Not only is it a great name for a quayside restaurant, but it also celebrates the fact that Ipswich Haven Marina now has enough anchors (the equivalent of star ratings on hotels) to be a top port of call in the country.

Anchors are awarded for such diverse reasons as having workshop facilities, electronics, safety and restaurant facilities.

It means, thanks to The Last Anchor, that Ipswich is now the only marina in East Anglia to have been awarded five anchors.

All three partners in the restaurant are fairly new to the Ipswich area but have made the town their new home and plan to give something very special back to it.

Julie Coulling, managing director of nearby R & J Marine Electronics, Johnny Cochran and Ivan Tilley are the faces behind the restaurant and, since the restaurant opened on September 8, business has been very good.

Equally pleased to see the new restaurant open is Malcolm Westmoreland, marina manager, who said that this was excellent news for the area.

"I am very pleased to see this place open – it should definitely attract more visitors. Many people have started coming to the area but many people still only get as far as Levington.

"We started advertising in Dutch magazines last year and since then we have had more and more visitors from Holland – it's about 16 hours away on the average boat. We had 14 boats moored here at the weekend and this is a very exciting time for the marina. There are plans for another 50 berths to be built and there is a waiting list of 62 berths."

The removal of the old wooden lock gates has made it easier for people to get in and out of the marina and there is now 24-hour access.

It takes no more than 15-20 minutes to enter through the new metal gates. Before this it was only possible to get through the gates one hour in every 12 and that was just before high tide.

There are around 14,000 visitors per year to the marina which means The Last Anchor has the potential to welcome a lot of people, serve a lot of food and, of course, make a lot of money.

It can seat 80 people inside and has space for around 150 outside

Julie said that although the restaurant she co-owns is a new face in Ipswich, she intends to stay for a long time.

"We have this place on a 15-year lease, and the current long term plans of the marina are to possibly re-locate in a few years, as this space may be eventually used for housing. But, we are here to stay on the marina for a long time.

"We will have to see how the takings are to start with and take it from there – I have no doubts that it will be a success though."

The restaurant is open from 8am to midnight, seven days a week and is essentially a family venue offering top quality food.

The menu features real home cooking, full English breakfasts and a wide range of dishes.

There will be daily specials and plenty of seasonal fish dishes including lobster, trout and mussels.

Chef Eve Patten said: "Our omelette's are superb – they just have to be tried.

There is currently a staff of eight people and The Last Anchor is looking to recruit an additional cook as well as additional waiting and bar staff.

Bar manager Barry Grice added: "This is going to be humming with people come next summer."

Before next summer arrives, however, the restaurant will hope to firmly establish itself on the town's eating scene and is already taking Christmas party booking enquiries.

n On Saturday, November 3, the official opening will take place from 7pm. Performing the opening will be Rob Smith, port manager, and everyone is welcome to turn up at the restaurant and see what it's all about. There will be a barbecue, free food and drinks.

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