Sunday, 3 June 2007


Balsamic Roast Wiltshire pork... Ummm..looks very tasty

Due to the fact that the boat has been open for weekday breakfasts, lunch and dinner, Saturday weddings and of course Saturday evening, Sunday has traditionally been a day of rest, not only for the staff but for the boat as well. In the evening the lights are out by about 1am, often later after we've cleared up and they're back on again by 5.30am for the breakfast staff so there's little time off to recuperate and Sunday's have always provided that breathing space. How ever with the boat being kitted out with new electrics, plumbing, floors, kitchen etc and after 3 months off it seems a shame not to be firing on all cylinders. Therefore we've decided that the great British traditional Sunday lunch is called for and what better time to start. Together with Chef we talked about what kind of menu should be available and decided that a 12pm till 4pm service should include the classics to be expected on a Sunday menu and some more Glass Boat style treats. An informal approach to the menu in a chilled out, relaxed restaurant is what most places aim for on a Sunday and we're confident we can achieve that with the Glass Boat touch. Uncomplicated, good quality food, order what you like starter and dessert or two starters, whatever, in a great location that's a little bit different. The chef has developed some good contacts whilst we've been closed to source some fine local meats that will grace the 'roasts' section of the menu and the idea of family sharing roasts is exciting. Pre order a whole joint and serve it up at the table yourself, or get the chef to carve if you want to. The menu will be a bit of a mix up with some brunchy stuff on there if you fancy it as well as decent kids food and of course there's the private rooms if you wish to celebrate a birthday or anniversary or anything at all. The free champagne offer is working well with people booking up so we will extend this offer to Sunday service as well, see below for details in archive 'Free Champagne'. Book now for your Sunday lunch on 0117 9290704 or email

Friday, 25 May 2007

She's back

A warm reception...

A floatilla of swans clear the waters...
Massive Redcliffe bridge and the even grander St Mary Redcliffe church...
A great Bristol picture...

The harbour master does well to ease her back...

Return leg

Moored for another 20 years...

Spy Glass welcomes Glass Boat back...

The flag still flies...

Sliding doors..

A new rear view..

Last Sunday was the set date for the boat's return, an early sail to avoid keeping Redcliffe bridge closed for to long and also the winds are calmer in the morning, 9.30am and we're off. The dry dock became a wet dock on Saturday and was a true test to see if the new hull had been sealed on good and tight. The ballast was positioned accordingly a mix of 20kg weights and rocks and the water let in, up she rose and level too. The wind was alot calmer that when we went so the Prince Bridge and Redcliffe Bridge we're not too much of a problem to navigate, the guys on the roof we're ready with tyre fenders just in case, they played an important role in mooring back to our docking slot, one of the most tense and exciting parts of the project so far. The newly painted glimmer and the new glass walls on the stern end gave a dazzling sight to watchers on, alot who had come out with cameras, every one agreed that she looked as impressive as ever and totally reinvigorated, that it was a big improvement so far. It was two and a half months ago that she left but seeing the Boat slowly being tugged by the Lloyd's building and past the same naval friggit, that had also disappeared and returned, it didn't seem like long at all. It felt strange that this could most certainly be her last sail for 20 years. Once she was back the process of lashing her back onto the dock wall began, first the ropes, then the steel cables and then the metal A frames. This took a few hours, the freshly painted and newly roped gang planks to follow soon. It was a very strange day at work, moving location and for the first time seeing how the future of the boat would look back in it's old spot, slightly nerved I was overcome with the feeling that the real work was about to begin, cosmetic decoration is crucial as there's a lot of anticipation and getting the operational cogs up and running was now at the utmost forefront of my mind.

Friday, 4 May 2007



Who would like a FREE BOTTLE OF CHAMPAGNE then? Were giving it away. Just mention this blog offer when you book Tel; 0117 9290704. A whole bottle of Jean Moutardier Champagne, which has just won a gold medal in Paris my suppliers Great Western Wine have told me, is complimentary from us to you to help celebrate our 21st birthday and also the grand return of our beloved Glassboat. We will send you a voucher by post or email when you book to swap on the evening. Minimum of 4 dinners any Monday to Thursday dinner. For use in JUNE only, one bottle per table. Get in there. Quick. Book now. Bubbles. Phones open from Tuesday 8th May 0117 9290704.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

HMS Victory

Aft foot print..


Last December whilst I was working the silly Santa season a rather inebriated customer feathered his dismay at me regarding any changes to be made to the boat in the near future. ''Steel all the character '' he said, ''rip out its soul'' he spluttered, wobbling from side to side as if we were crossing the channel in a force ten. I assured him that it was just a gentle lick of paint with some slight modifications and thought I would win him round by explaining the new Aft, with opening riverside doors, panoramic views, conditioned glass as opposed to scratched perspecs, ''you what?'' he said ''a glass box on a boat, your gonna turn it into a f****** New York office on water?'' If your reading this you know who you are.. Now bottle of wine, Cognac and port aside I could rather see his point, this is a fabulous old boat in historically fabulous old surroundings and any unsympathetic design would look very much out of place. If were not care full, these pricey floor to ceiling glass windows and the sliding doors in a square shape could look very much as a modern day add on that didn't quite fit. From inside the room would be vastly improved and aesthetically much better to dine in, not to mention the attraction of this area for private parties, weddings, meetings,etc but could we pull it off from the outside? I voiced concerns. After deliberation and lots of sketches the idea of a classic historic naval ship stern was an obvious answer, in fact it was screaming out to us. What we would do is to fix in the stern elevation on an outward slant as designed and used in the old English naval battle ships. This will give a fantastic classic visual appearance as its one of those designs that every one sort of knows about, like the HMS Victory, the pride of the English navy with one of our best commanders ever, Nelson. Plus with the docks being so historical it will fit in great, with the Mathew a real touch of nostalgia. Having seen the Aft footprints I'm now wholly convinced and very excited at this new feature and also very confident that the character will not be stolen and the soul ripped out. Bring it on.

Monday, 30 April 2007

Rusty bottom

Today the guys at the docks have been taking the layer of old paint of the the hull ready for a repainting. Underneath the old blue is this horrible rusty looking orange colour, thankfully a crack squad of painters are coming to paint over it soon with our classic Glassboat blue colour.

English Ash


The inside of the lounge roof is also to get a good seeing to. Off with the old wooden sheeted roof and on with the English ash wood. This will be treated and should polish up nicely.

Saturday, 28 April 2007


When we reopen in June I think we should celebrate. What do you think would be best?, an introductory period of discounted food prices to sample our fine cuisine in the sumptuous new surroundings or lashings of free champagne for everyone? Personally I'm in favour of the latter as it's our 21st birthday. Any Ideas welcome, Cheers.

Friday, 27 April 2007

Peace man

The weather has been kind for roof work..

Listening to the hard working good folk of Bristol who want peace and quite in their meetings were going to rip this old noisy sod off, be away with it all together. With the generator cleverly located elsewhere & the roof re wooded and pined in place the lounge will now be a haven of tranquillity.

The offending generator..

We've taken the opportunity to install a new ceiling in the lounge area of the the boat ( the upstairs end nearest to Bristol Bridge) as the old one was alright but it was home to one of the loudest generators ever. Any one that's tried to hold a meeting in there will tell you that every now and then an almighty humming and throbbing starts up above the ceiling and it feels like your about to set sail. It is in fact the generator for the three large walk in fridges in the kitchen...

New Hull please

The idea is to give the Glass boat a reinforced hull, not that the other one had holes in, in order to protect the bottom for longer. This means that we will be able to stay in the water for longer without having to come out to dry dock every five years or so. We usually come out of water in January and every one thinks that the restaurant has either closed down or sunk, but now with our super strong hull insuring us for twenty years of sea worthiness we wont be missed at all, great. Now all you have to do is find a sheet of thick steel, say 35 meters by 7 meters in size, drop your said boat onto it and then bend up the edges, pour in some light weight concrete, leave to set and then solder the edges shut. Simple. The sheet steel was laid out in the dry dock and the Glass boat sailed in above. The water was drained out and on the top she sat...

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Sparks are flying:

Whats that with an angle grinder, is it an Arne, is it an Arne???

Foot prints:

Bristol Bridge..

The Aft foot print..

Barely a bar foot print..

The reconstruction of the bar really has been on the cards for some time. It’s one of those bars that are massive but there’s never any room behind it. Any more than 2 staff and it was a nightmare to work which particularly bad when we had functions or weddings on board and the bar was mobbed. Here’s the new construction in its foot print infancy.


The reconstructed stern of the boat is to be strengthened with iron girders, here your can see the first build foot print. The stern, or Aft as its known from the inside, has hosted many couples taking advantage of our civil ceremony license by tying the knot and is a great visual vantage point with panoramic views of Bristol Bridge (top) and the floating harbour. We are to use our dry docking time to enhance this by replacing the tired looking per specs windows with new strengthened glass. The glass is made in Italy and is cleverly designed to only let in certain rays that maintain a cool temperature and are not blinding, although the cost of it doesn’t boast those qualities!

Back to bare bones.

Some of the fixtures and fittings are taken away to storage but most were skipped. I had phone calls from other restaurants to ask if there was anything of worth for them but sadly I told them it was all knackered. But that didn’t stop some people going through the skips; one local artist took a really old large stock pot, which must have made 100 swimming pools full of various meat stocks, so that he could melt down some metals! Old metal shelves and racks also found new homes, skillets, pots and pans were hot items.

Chef Matt Woods looks above for divine inspiration in his bare bones kitchen...

On any large scale project the easy part is the rip out, it’s good fun and it doesn’t take long, results are quick to see. In these pics of the old kitchen after the rip out the metal ribs of the boat take on a skeletal look..


The dock workers waste no time in using the giant cranes cladding the boat in scaffolding..

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Size matters..

Hotwells looks over..

The mighty dock gate holds back the Avon.

Mussels & Head chef Matt Woods (right)

Get the scraper out..
..and then there's the smaller, finner things in life. I had been telling every one that there would be load of barnacles and limpets that had stuck on with time and that we would have to get our bottom scrapped but there were none. Instead there were loads of 'fresh' water mussels, a little smaller than your average mussels but mussels none the less. Like all mussels when they arrive in the kitchen they're covered in gunk which is pain stakingly cleaned off before they're plopped in your moules mariniere, nice. For a laugh I asked the chef his thoughts on a nice mussel broth.. I think I insulted his talent as he told me to piss off! Should add at this point that our mussels that do reach the tables are brought in fresh, daily from St Mawes in Cornwall, just in case your wondering.

But even though the boat seemed big, the dry dock that she is in accommodates her with ease.

Seeing the boat out of water really brings home the shear size of her... she's huge. 105 foot from bow to stern but when you're standing with her hull at waste height she seems double that. Also being this close and out of water reminds me of that life size model blue whale at the history museum which is also out of water, massive and strangely wrong.

Ghost ships

After months of talk and preparation, we've done the last shift, packed up, organised the closure and now finally we have come to find our new home for the next 3 months. My first trip to the dry dock was great if not a little eary, with huge old cranes. The only sound is the wind whistling through lots of defunct and resting boats of all sorts on stilts, the place is vast yet still very strongly imposing. There's not a soul in site which adds to the earyness, its like a boat grave yard and I remember that Long John Silver from Treasure Island was from Bristol.. too busy to be messing with ghosts.. get a grip. If you get a chance to get a look around the marina and dry dock it's well worth a visit although you will have to pre arrange.

Sunday, 18 March 2007

Empty void

With a full on head wind it was great to get through Princes Bridge unscathed and into the big opening. Plain sailing now to the dry docks where we will come to rest for the next 3 months.
I went back to Welsh Back to look at the empty void that She had left behind and must say that that it felt weird after coming to work here for the last 7 years that it was gone... But I knew she would be back soon.

Only clues remain that would indicate she was here.. a roped up gang plank entrance.. an old menu board...

Bristol docks are full of good stuff, here She is with a Naval Frigate and the Lloyds building....

Coming up to Princes bridge and just squeezing through with an inch to spare....
Millets Coupon