Have you visited this new bistro on Ipswich Waterfront yet?
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
One of the greatest things about Suffolk’s hospitality scene at the moment is the number of hidden gems popping up across the county.
This includes a newcomer you might not have heard of yet.
Having opened its doors in August 2020, The Outlook at Fox’s Marina in Ipswich has weathered quite the storm thanks to uncertainty brought about by the ongoing lockdowns.
But the team there are optimistic about the future, and things look to be going from strength-to-strength for the bar, bistro and restaurant.
“Before it was The Outlook, the space here was actually run as a yacht club over the last few years, and closed down just before Covid hit,” explains assistant manager Charlotte Dautzenberg.
It wasn’t empty for long though, as leaseholder Darren Given, who also runs Stonham Barns and The Grange in Shotley, decided to take it on as a project over lockdown.
“I think Darren thought this would work really well as a restaurant for both the public and for those who live on the boats as a place to come in for a sit-down meal, but also somewhere to grab a quick snack.
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“He’s also a huge lover of food – especially seafood – and the location here lends itself very well to that.”
Currently open seven days a week, The Outlook offers customers a breakfast, lunch and à la carte menu – and breathtaking views of the surrounding waterfront.
But setting up during lockdown didn’t come without its challenges - and it was a process of trial and error to work out the best way to ensure The Outlook ran as smoothly as possible.
“I run the restaurant with my twin sister Sarah, who’s the general manager. When we first opened, she spent a lot of time figuring out what suits the locals, and what we should keep doing. Luckily, we had a couple of lockdowns to figure it all out, and week by week, Sarah would try to establish what sort of menus worked best, what times we should stay open, and generally what people were after.
“It was difficult at times as not only were we in a pandemic, but we’re reliant on the weather as the view is one of our biggest selling points. In addition, a lot of people think we’re exclusive due to being located at a boatyard but that’s not the case – anyone and everyone is welcome.”
Customers who make their way down to this waterside venue can expect to find a selection of dishes that will both excite and tantalise - all made from a variety of fresh ingredients and locally-caught seafood.
To kickstart your day, paw through the restaurant’s breakfast menu which features a range of morning classics such as full English and vegetarian breakfasts, eggs Florentine, eggs Benedict, smoked haddock, and smoked salmon.
“At lunchtime, we do a selection of sandwiches, alongside classic dishes such as jacket potatoes, fish and chips, and scampi and chips. But we also have a number of seafood specials on, such as crab salad, crayfish, and fish salad.
“Then in the evenings, we have our specially-curated menu which features surf and turf, steaks, and of course lots of seafood such as tiger prawns, and seabass.
“In terms of drinks, we’ve got a range of draft beers and ciders on tap such as Adnams and Aspalls, and we’ve also got a cocktail menu.”
After restrictions lifted on Monday July 19, Charlotte and her team were able to open fully – and have been busy thanks to the restaurant’s idyllic location, the recent warm weather and people raring to go back out and dine once again.
“We’ve definitely been rushed off our feet, which has been great. As well as coming in for sit-down meals, a lot of people have been stopping by for a bit of cake or a drink, as sitting by the water watching the boats at the marina seems to be the main attraction for many. It feels a bit like being in France at times,” Charlotte says.
“We’ve also hosted a lot of functions over the past few weeks, such as birthdays and staff parties which have been a lot of fun, and a huge income in helping us stay open.”
The restaurant celebrated its one-year anniversary on Sunday, August 8 – and has even bigger plans for its future.
“We’re hoping to open more in the evenings, and we’d like to eventually expand our offering. A lot of our cakes are baked in-house, and we’d love to have a bakery or deli area where we can sell our cakes alongside other local produce.”
With such a varied menu paired with stunning views over the water, things will certainly be smooth sailing for the folk over at The Outlook.
The Outlook is open 9am until 4pm Sunday to Thursday, and until 10pm Fridays and Saturdays serving an à la carte menu. To find out more, visit the website.