Ipswich: Owners of Maharani and Bekash restaurants launch Clay Oven joint venture
Two of the best known restaurateurs in Ipswich have got together to launch a new Bangladeshi and Indian restaurant, the Clay Oven, right in the heart of town.
The new Clay Oven restaurant is in St Nicholas Street, which is already established as something of a restaurant quarter for the town centre.
The mayor of Ipswich, Bill Quintion, performed the official opening at a lunchtime ceremony, with trading starting in earnest the same evening.
The Clay Oven is the idea of Manik Miah of the Maharani and Abdul Motlib of the Bekash, both of whom have more than 30 years’ experience in the restaurant trade, and who have had key roles in the town’s business and wider community.
Their existing businesses are not affected.
Manik Miah said: “It is all very exciting. It is a great location, right in the heart of the town centre.
“This is a lovely, listed building, more than 300 years-old. We are very happy to be here.
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“We have a very experienced chef and team of staff, chefs and waiters. The chef has more than 40 years experience.”
Abdul Motlib added: “We have been wanting to do this for one-and-a-half years now. It has taken a lot longer than we expected.
“We are very grateful for the support of the council, including councillors John Cook and David Ellesmere.
“The council, and a lot of other peope, have been very helpful.
“We wanted to be right in the town centre.
“Now we are saying, come in and try us, to our customers.”
The restaurant has room for more than 80 diners including private rooms for 20 to 30 people on the first floor for privacy.
“We have rooms for private parties which can be booked,” added Manik.
Ipswich Council leader David Ellesmere said: “This is great news for the town centre.
“St Nicholas Street and St Peter’s Street are getting a reputation for great places to eat out in Ipswich.
“Abdul at the Bekash and Manik of the Maharani have restaurants with excellent reputations.
“I think it is going to be a winning combination with them getting together. I certainly will be eating there.
“After a council meeting a group of us usually go out and eat together, and this will certainly be on our list of places to go.
“Old buildings like this are always difficult to re-develop so it is good to see it back in use.”
The Clay Oven will be open seven days a week at 10-12 St Nicholas Street. It will also offer a takeaway service.
The historic building was a branch of Andys Records branch for many years, and has also been put to a number of different restaurant/bar uses.