Cocktails, cherry blossom and brunch set for new town centre restaurant

Shop front of La Cueva a new European restaurant in Ipswich

La Cueva is setting up at the former Zizzi unit in St Nicholas Street - Credit: Archant

Good food and cocktails are on the menu for La Cueva, the St Nicholas Street restaurant moving into Zizzi.

The new business is attracting attention from passers-by, with a large fake cherry blossom tree and colourful patchwork chairs in the front window. 

Louis Van Den Kolk, who has built restaurant businesses in the United States and Mexico, said that the team were still a few weeks away from opening but things were beginning to take shape. 

Speaking about the vibe La Cueva will bring to Ipswich, he said: "It's not just for people looking to celebrate their 25th anniversary; you could be walking up the street and want to pop in as well. 

"We've already booked a wedding party for 80. People come by and see the colour." 

But the Instagrammable décor can only go so far, as Mr Van Den Kolk's experience tells him. 

"I've been doing this for 45 years," he said. "And no matter how pretty the place is, if you don't do good food and good service it won't matter: it's just a pretty place. 

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"I think if we do a good job we can build a good business over time. 

"We're going to have really beautiful food, we have a great chef, we'll have nice cocktails with smoke and tricks." 

The menu is British-European, with ingredients set to be as local as possible and made fresh on site. 

Sharing plates are also a big part of the dining experience, for people to pop in and pick at when they do fancy a bigger meal. 

"And on Thursday, Friday and Saturday we have a licence to be open until 3am, so after about 10pm we'll morph into more of a lively bar. 

"Not a nightclub, but we'll have jazz music or maybe a DJ sometimes and we can create an area for people to hang out a bit later. 

"And we're doing a Sunday brunch - I go to the marina and it seems that everyone goes down there for Sunday meals but if people know we're open too and do a good job, I think this would be beautiful. 

"I wanted to build something that wasn't like anything in this area, but we have to make sure we get it right."