Diners 'dispute' erupts at top eaterie
A TOWN councillor has vowed not to return to a prestigious restaurant after his wife's birthday dinner was spoilt by a group of boisterous golfers.Tony Graham-Enock, who lives in a £1m-plus mansion close to the Lighthouse restaurant in Aldeburgh, had taken his wife Shirley to the internationally-renowned bistro for a meal with friends.
A TOWN councillor has vowed not to return to a prestigious restaurant after his wife's birthday dinner was spoilt by a group of boisterous golfers.
Tony Graham-Enock, who lives in a £1m-plus mansion close to the Lighthouse restaurant in Aldeburgh, had taken his wife Shirley to the internationally-renowned bistro for a meal with friends.
But their evening was spoilt when golfers, who it is understood had been asked to leave Aldeburgh Golf Club, became raucous. The evening ended with an argument and items allegedly being thrown across the upmarket eaterie.
Mr Graham-Enock, a town councillor for three years who has various property interests, declined to say if he had thrown an RNLI collection tin at the golfers.
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Mr Graham-Enock said yesterday: ''There were six of us having a quiet meal tucked away in the back of the restaurant.
“We were in the middle of a meal and this bunch came in. They had been at the golf club and proceeded to behave badly, is the best way to put it.
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''We could not hear ourselves think and what we should have done with the benefit of hindsight was to get up and go like some friends of ours did on an adjoining table.
''It was very unpleasant, we had a very bad night. It was a private evening, it was a lousy one and it ruined my wife's birthday. We have lived here 26 years and I think we shall not be going back.''
He declined to comment on whether anything had been thrown in the restaurant and he added: ''All sorts of things happened that, in a situation like that, will happen.''
Celia Leggett, mayor of Aldeburgh, said: ''They had apparently been asked to leave the golf club because of their behaviour.”
She understood that there was some provocation towards Mr Graham-Enock, to which he did not respond.
However, she added: “He did throw something across the table but it was not a plate or anything like that.
''If we do not get complaints from people directly involved then we cannot act on what other people say which is hearsay. We have not received a complaint and the police have not received a complaint and therefore there is not an awful lot we can do.''
Miss Leggett said the code of conduct adhered to by the town council and councillors applied to situations in which councillors were undertaking their duties, not private occasions.
One resident, who declined to be named, said: ''The golfers agree that they may have been a little loud and Mr Graham-Enock told them to shut up.
''They said they were sorry and bought a bottle of wine for him and his wife. The wine was taken to the table, this was followed by words from Mr Enock. The next thing was that Mr Enock threw a lifeboat collection box at the golfing party.''
One golfer, who declined to be named, said: ''We were quite a noisy crowd but we did not really offend anyone.
“The gentleman seemed to have a bee in his bonnet about something, but I do not know what.''
A spokeswoman for Suffolk police said they had not received a complaint about anyone's behaviour.
With its closely packed tables and patio seating, the restaurant has the ambience of a bistro championing the best of Suffolk produce.
It is a place where the modern eclectic food is enjoyed by world famous musicians appearing at Snape Maltings concert hall, actors, the ''great and the good'' locally and weekenders from London.
The Lighthouse has an international reputation, wins awards and was caught up in a dispute with the opening three years ago of a brasserie at Southwold that wanted to use the Lighthouse name.
The award-winning restaurant is run by Sara Fox and Peter Hill. They have declined to comment.