If you haven't recently taken a walk around the Wet Dock you will be surprised to learn of the increasing number of bars, cafes and restaurants that are now open for business. Although there are more apartments promised than built, here is a clear sign that the Historic Waterfront is alive and successful.
Starting on the Island, we find the Last Anchor has recently been extended and now offers a full bistro service together with a club-type atmosphere in the bar. There is plenty of space outside for dining or simply to sit and enjoy the yachts with the backdrop of the Old Custom House and the glass-fronted Contship building across the water.
Adjacent to St Peter's Church in the mouth of St Peter's Street, on the important walking route from the town centre to the Wet Dock, is Le Detour restaurant. Not quite on the Waterfront but worthy of a mention for the excellent French cuisine.
Likewise Mortimer's is no longer on the quayside but a review of eating-houses hereabouts would be incomplete without a recommendation for this superb fish restaurant. In the award-winning converted sub-station Ken Ambler and his team should be congratulated for their vision in seeing the potential of the location.
In the building which Mortimer's vacated is the Bistro on the Quay for excellent light lunches and evening dining with an extensive wine list. Anthony and Kathy Brooks are providing a worthy replacement with a completely different menu. Opposite, moored against the quay is 11 Punto Brasserie, no longer exclusively Italian but the quality remains.
The smallest and most recent addition to quayside alfresco dining is the Continental Colours, Cafe, open from 8 am for the essential morning coffee and breakfast snack. With a surprisingly varied selection of lunchtime specials it tends to get busy and the tables outside come into their own. If you prefer a pub lunch then the Lord Nelson, the Malt Kiln and the Steamboat all provide hungry office workers with a bar snack. There are restaurants and a food pub on Cardinal Park and the ubiquitous McDonald's is but a short walk away.
As extensive as this list is, there are two more restaurants planned for the Northern Quays. By the time you read this, the Salthouse Harbour Hotel should have opened in the former John Good warehouse building. To earn a four-star grade they will need a restaurant to match, but judging by their previous efforts at the Marlborough Hotel this should soon be forthcoming.
The second is a little further away time-wise but equally exciting and will be the fulfilment of the dreams of two of our members, Stuart and Gina Cooper. The Isaac Lord's complex has recently seen its Listed status upgraded to, in places, Grade I and elsewhere Grade 2*, which is not the easiest starting point for a restaurant conversion. Stuart has found an excellent conservation architect who has solutions for stainless steel vent pipes and the Listed com machinery.
For this number of businesses to survive they need your custom mid-week as well as the custom of visiting yachty types at the weekend, but you are spoilt for choice.
JOHN NORMAN, Vice-Chairman
McDonalds to the Rescue!
I suppose this has some connection with the heading at the top of the page, but it's really just a fill-up! It's occurred to me that without McDonalds in Tavern Street we could easily have five mobile phone shops in a row. It's only McDonalds which separates Vodafone and 4U on one side from Orange and 02 on the other. Now we know who's got the means of paying these rents in one of the most expensive parts of the town centre.