Bottomless brunches and worldwide tapas launched at riverside restaurant 

A selection of new tapas dishes at The Boathouse, Woodbridge

A selection of new tapas dishes at The Boathouse, Woodbridge - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Imagine yourself sitting in the sun by the water’s edge (with a jacket at this time of year of course), cradling a cocktail in one hand, the other brandishing a fork which hovers over a cornucopia of small dishes spanning cuisines from all over the world. 

Well, you don’t really have to imagine, because a restaurant in Woodbridge has your holiday-foodie fantasies covered. 

Inspired by Spain’s tapas and Italy’s tradition of aperitivo, The Boathouse – perched in an enviable position overlooking the Tide Mill – last week launched its brand-new concept of small plates and sharers. 

It’s a fresh start for the business says former teacher Emma Cole, who owns The Boathouse with husband Alex. 

Emma, owner of The Boathouse, Woodbridge

Emma, owner of The Boathouse, Woodbridge - Credit: Charlotte Bond

The covered outside eating area at The Boathouse, Woodbridge

The covered outside eating area at The Boathouse, Woodbridge - Credit: Charlotte Bond

The Boathouse located by the tidemill in Woodbridge is serving a brand new menu of world tapas. PIC

The Boathouse has an enviable position next to Woodbridge's Tide Mill - Credit: Charlotte Bond

The couple were overjoyed to open in November 2020. But they were forced to close just three weeks later, having to scrap their fine dining plans to offer takeaway burgers in a bid to get through what was one of the most difficult periods most hospitality folk can remember. It was a striking blow for food lover Emma, who’s wanted to open a restaurant for many years. 

“We had to keep changing directions really from where we wanted to be,” says Emma. “We built up a good customer base, but it was hard work having to adapt all the time. 

“Then I had coronavirus over Christmas, and we had losses in the family, staffing issues, and over 60 to 65% of bookings in the lead up to Christmas cancelled which was awful. We didn’t have a good Christmas our first year as we had to close, and I was so looking forward to this one.  

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“We just thought, coming into 2022, we have to do something differently. We’ve got to move on.” 

And so the worldwide tapas concept was created and launched last week for lunchtimes only, with a few dishes making it onto the evening menu. 

One of the new tapas dishes at The Boathouse is Woodbridge

One of the new tapas dishes at The Boathouse is Woodbridge - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Tapas at The Boathouse, Woodbridge

Tapas at The Boathouse, Woodbridge - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Tapas at The Boathouse, Woodbridge

Tapas at The Boathouse, Woodbridge - Credit: Charlotte Bond

“Our chef is so talented and has come up with an incredible menu. It’s not Spanish. It’s a bit more ‘Boathouse’ -  a mix of styles, using local produce, which we’re passionate about.” 

There are around 20 plates to choose from, with vegan, vegetarian, fish and meat options all available – the idea being to select a table load between you, order some drinks, and get stuck into chatting, sharing and eating. 

Highlights include balsamic beetroot with walnut brittle and goat’s cheese mousse, tempura cauliflower with pickled cauliflower and curried yoghurt, satay chicken, five spice duck leg bon bons with hoi sin, beef dripping popcorn, pork belly hash with soy cured egg yolk and quince jam, and spicy fish tacos with mango and chilli salsa. 

“We’ll have specials on at lunchtime as well,” adds Emma, “as well as our cocktail menu. We’re really proud of those. We have our own signature drinks that we change with the seasons. We’ve recently had Spiced Winter Sangria, Honeycomb Sour, Sweet Manhattan and a Cherry Bakewell Martini. We’ve got a great selection of mocktails too.” 

Emma says The Boathouse has got a following for its “totally delicious and a little bit posh” breakfasts as well, with a menu that eschews the usual suspects in favour of crumpets with honey glazed ham, spinach and poached eggs, homemade hash browns with maple bacon, scrambled egg and crushed chillies, and creamy garlic wild mushrooms with toasted sourdough and spinach. 

Bottomless brunch is available from 11am on Saturdays, with the option to choose tapas instead of brunch/breakfast items if you prefer. 

And a new evening menu will launch in February. 

“We’re really excited about our new offerings. At the end of last year I was feeling a bit low,” says Emma, “but we can only look forward and I’m feeling positive about the new year. I’ve so been looking forward to being open again and our staff are also excited about the new dishes. 

“I’m hoping to make lots of plans for 2022!” 




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