Marshmallow burgers on the menu at new Woodbridge restaurant
- Credit: Archant
The town’s newest dining spot has opened for takeaways during the November lockdown.
Hundreds of hours have gone into completing the first restaurant situated on Woodbridge’s Whisstocks development – The Boathouse.
And owners Emma and Alex Cole, alongside head chef Arron Digby, had been looking forward to opening the doors on November 10.
But...along came the second lockdown of the year.
Determined not to let it get them down, the team reacted quickly, adapting their menu, and putting systems in place to offer takeaways – which were launched on November 13, including some pretty quirky, kooky food combinations.
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“It was devastating,” says Emma of getting the news they wouldn’t be able to open in November as planned, “but we had to look at the positives. We are in a position to offer takeaways, and everyone’s been really supportive. We did really well over our opening weekend and it’s given us a chance to trial our kitchen and meet people.
“Where I think we’ve been lucky is we hadn’t already ordered the food for the restaurant when lockdown was announced. We would have had a lot of wastage otherwise!”
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Emma says there’s still a bit to do inside the restaurant, but reveals it’s on course to open as soon as the current restrictions are lifted.
In the meantime, customers can take advantage of and try out Arron’s innovative street food, available from 4.30pm to 8.30pm Thursday and Friday, 12non to 8.30pm on Saturday and 12noon to 4pm on Sunday – all by pre-order via Facebook or the restaurant website only.
“Some of the items, like one of the burgers, will reflect what we’re planning to do in the restaurant when we fully open,” says Emma, “but the main thing we want to showcase is the flavours, combinations and textures. The restaurant will have a different style, more refined dining, but the real key is our chef, who absolutely knows how to put flavours together you wouldn’t necessarily expect. Yes, it’s takeaway at the moment, but everything coming out of the kitchen looks stunning.”
In addition to snacks such as mozzarella sticks, buffalo wings and jalapeno poppers, as well as a menu for children, The Boathouse really has ‘pushed the boat out’ in terms of daringness.
There are dirty fries smothered in barbecue pork, bacon and cheddar, crab, spring onion and almond or crispy duck, kimchi and katsu.
Gourmet burgers (made in-house with meat from the local butcher) and hot dogs come with herb fries and house slaw and are “like nothing anyone will have seen around here before”.
There’s a ‘plain’ burger with house ketchup and beer onions, or another topped with pastrami, Emmenthal cheese and pickles for anyone who wants to play it safe.
But if you want to colour outside the lines, how about the patty sandwiched with marshmallows and bacon? “It’s an American influence,” explains Emma. “A bit like peanut butter and jelly, which is another combination chef is looking at. When we were discussing the menu we wanted variations you wouldn’t usually associate with each other, where the flavours go really well – like maple syrup and bacon. We can be quite reluctant to change our ways sometimes, but these are the kind of things that can get our tastebuds going. That burger’s already been really popular because it’s intriguing and people want to try something different.”
In addition to beef, there are also grilled chicken burgers garnished with anything from chorizo, chilli and grapefruit, to kimchi and katsu sauce. And Emma, a vegetarian, is pleased with the vegan options, saying “the jackfruit dirty fries are outstanding – really lovely.”
Arron’s plant-based range includes portobello mushroom with peach, vegan halloumi with harissa and onion, and barbecued jackfruit with his own take on vegan bacon crafted from caramelised carrot slices.
“We just can’t wait to be open now,” says Emma. “We’ve taken some bookings already and I just want to say thankyou so much to everyone who’s come to support us so far. We’ve been overwhelmed by the locals and people who’ve come from further afield. It makes it all worthwhile.”