New food offering at Isaacs

New chef Kevin Jackman at Isaacs on the Quay, Ipswich.

New chef Kevin Jackman at Isaacs on the Quay, Ipswich.

Isaacs is the place to be in Ipswich. On any given weekend, the trendy waterfront café, bar and eatery is filled with throngs of people soaking up the buzzing atmosphere –spilling out into the massive courtyard in the summer months.

But did you know you can get some great food at Isaacs too?

New catering manager Kevin Jackman was brought into the fold in December, taking charge of the food offering not just at Isaacs, but across Venue 77 and The Gardeners Arms too.

“Aiden [owner of all three businesses and Briarbank Brewing Company] felt the need to take this to the next level, which is what we are managing to do with our functions menu and the new Isaacs menu,” Kevin says.

“We’ve got a perfectly competent team but it was about taking the food to that next stage. We are proud of the fact our fruit, meat and veg is sourced locally. We only use Dedham Vale beef, we are using local fresh greengrocery where we can too. “Because of the age of the building we are trying to give a lot back by being carbon friendly and using local suppliers and local farms helps us do that.”

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Kevin says he has focused on building something for everyone into the menu, focusing on high quality, great flavour and good presentation.

Food service begins at 7.30am Monday to Friday and 7am Saturday and Sunday with full English breakfasts, cakes and pastries – alongside drinks that include triple certified coffee.

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Then, as lunchtime approaches, the new main menu gets into full flow with everything apart from a few gluten-free items such as pastry and gluten-free breads and buns, being made on the premises.

The whole kitchen, says Kevin, has had a hand in designing the new menu. “We’ve all put out stamp on the dishes. Adam has his jerk chicken, and then Dwayne - another chef – spent a lot of time out in Florida so we’ve got his Floridian-style sauce with the ribs. And we are proud to be the home of the Ipswich pie.

“It’s something we created using Dedham Vale beef, local carrots, local swede and Black Horse Stout made in our brewery. It’s a proper pie with a nice shortcrust pastry on the bottom, the filling and then a puff pastry top. And we serve that with a jug of gravy, buttered carrots and wholegrain mash.”

Proving popular on the menu already are the sharing platters, which can also be taken as individual starters, including Dwayne’s famous ribs, anti pasti and a combo platter.

Then there are dozens of delicious main courses. An array of salads come in baked tortilla bowls, there’s locally sourced cod with chips, homemade lasagne, homemade pizzas, homemade chilli, fajitas and lots of vegetarian options – including Kevin’s special recipe burger made with butternut squash, courgette, carrot and a hint of spice.

Something that’s going down a storm is the option to build your own burger, adding anything from home battered onion rings and beef tomato slices, to bacon and stilton to your patty. The kitchen has a stock of 14ins skewers at the ready for those diners who want to have a bit of everything in their bun!

In addition to the main menu, there are a couple of specials on the blackboard every day.

“There’s a perception,” Kevin says, “that specials are a dumping ground for chefs but we are using the specials as a testing ground to see what people like and to help shape our menus in the future.”

This week the kitchen have added smoked haddock and pancetta fishcakes and spaghetti arabiatta.

And there’s a menu for children too.

Plus, don’t forget Isaacs has a fantastic outdoor grill. On weekends the barbie is fired up and serves everything from burgers to chilli chicken skewers and vegetables skewers.

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