Exciting times at Bistro on the Quay in Ipswich

Anthony and Kathy Brooks with chef Matthew Bennett, and the new Suffolk cook book

Anthony and Kathy Brooks with chef Matthew Bennett, and the new Suffolk cook book - Credit: Archant

Family restaurant is preparing for 14th Christmas at the Waterfront

Anthony and Kathy Brooks are building up for their 14th Christmas on the Waterfront at Bistro on the Quay.

When I dropped in on them the other evening, diners were already arriving and the phone was ringing with people wanting to book tables for their Christmas meals.

It has been a good year for the family restaurant which was an an early arrival at the changing Waterfront.

Anthony explained: “The Waterfront has been transformed in recent years.

“Where else would you want to be?

“It is lovely here looking out over the water, and all the boats.

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“At the end of the day the views are really special.

“It is a beautiful place to live and work.

“We have been here 13 years - and this is our 14th Christmas.”

Kathy added: “We have had a good summer, and a very good week for half-time, and now the bookings are coming in for Christmas. We are going to be very busy.

“We have a lot of regular customers, who support us well and come in time and time again. We make a few little changes, For example we are now opening earlier, at 6pm, on Fridays and Saturdays for people who want to go on to the cinema or on to something else. People like to eat earlier in the winter.”

When they started out, added Anthony, there had been little more than the Bistro and Salthouse Harbour Hotel on the quayside. Despite the recession, development had continued.

He added: “It is a lovely place to eat, with lots of choice.

“We were the only restaurant. Now there are 600/700 covers.

“There is so much more choice.

“If you are hungry you will always find something to eat.”

One great thing about Ipswich Waterfront was the range of independently-owned restaurants, rather than national chains.

“For all these restaurants it is the same - it is a way of life for the people running them.

“I still enjoy it.”

Anthony has one of his recipes in a new book, The Suffolk Cook Book, which they are also selling,

It is his monkfish wrapped in Parma ham.

Antony added: “We aim to cook everything fresh here, and use local suppliers when ever we can.

“We will be having Suffolk turkeys at Christmas.

“We have been lucky with the local fish this year, cod and seabass from Orford and mussells from the Rier Deben and we have game in season; pheasants and rabbit.”

In November and December they are also supporting St Elizabeth Hospice with a Donate and Dine promotion.

“We have done it for a few years. Diners can donate just £1 per table, if they want to.”

The restaurant team expect to work long hours in the weeks up to Christmas.

“We are only closing for three days over Christmas,” added Kathy, “and will have quiet family Christmas.”

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