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Ship @ Brandon Creek Full Steam Ahead

29th November 2013

Categories: Blog

Mark and Keith took over The Ship Inn at Brandon Creek 1 September 2012 and have now completed their first successful year as Landlords of their own premises. After 6 years working his way through from University Pub barman to managing a 2000 capacity night club Mark took on managing a village pub. A year later he persuaded his semi-retired father to join him. After a 6 month search of suitable premises the idyllic waterside Ship Inn at Brandon Creek caught their eye.

On reflection, their first year has produced a long list of possitives and left them keen to develop new ideas for the future.

An immediate change was opening from noon, 7 days a week through until close (normally 11pm in the summer but earlier during the winter months). Customers had expressed how frustrating it was to turn up for a pint and find the pub closed Mondays and every afternoon.

Next to change was the menu – from what was a choice of frozen foods to predominantly freshly cooked locally sourced produce. They have also added afternoon tea and scones.

With Keith being diagnosed as coeliac (an intolerance of gluten) they decided to ensure as much as possible of the menu would be created using no gluten containing ingredients. Next on the menu development list are low fat, healthy versions of the standard menu dishes, which they have identified as a desirable option with people looking for more healthy/slimming meals.

Within a month of starting, Mark – an enthusiastic musician – had found a local singer/songwriter, living aboard his boat on the Little Ouse, who started the now popular Friday Night Live Music sessions. This has now developed into a full programme of live entertainment showcasing local talent. A 3-day Beer, Boat and Music Festival was launched, with 35 boats turning up - so successful the event was repeated again later in the year.

So where do they go from here? A series of Menu Taster evenings has started, and Themed Evening and Chefs Nights, when each Chef will show off their own specialities, are in the planning stages. They are also hoping to encourage local artists, crafts guilds and special interest groups to utilise their space. Other longer term projects are under investigation, too - developing boater services, rearing their own meat and providing accommodation are all feasible.

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