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Mina keen on cafe project

PUBLISHED: 15:30 25 January 2008 | UPDATED: 19:33 05 July 2010

Edna Morrison, Mina Spaul and Gwen Martindale

Edna Morrison, Mina Spaul and Gwen Martindale

THE Europa Canteen has been a popular haunt in Lowestoft for nearly 40 years yet it's never been open to the public - until now.

Named after the various ships that graced the shores during the vibrant fishing era, the cafe operated at the docks in Battery Green Road for fishermen and merchants to rest and enjoy a hearty meal.

THE Europa Canteen has been a popular haunt in Lowestoft for nearly 40 years yet it's never been open to the public - until now.

Named after the various ships that graced the shores during the vibrant fishing era, the cafe operated at the docks in Battery Green Road for fishermen and merchants to rest and enjoy a hearty meal.

Owned by local man Eddie Hunter, the canteen was originally situated along the Hamilton Docks before it moved the short distance to Waveney Market some years ago where it still stands today.

But it has now been snapped up by former Michelin guide restaurant owner Mina Spaul, who is keen to also open it up to tourists and town residents.

Mina has come back to catering after a period of years away from the profession, in which time she moved to Lowestoft.

In the mid-80s, the French restaurant Bradley's, which she owned with her former husband in Bury St Edmunds, was listed in the Exceptional Food Guide under a red M, placing it as one of the top 100 in the whole of the British Isles.

“It helped put Bury on the map and we were there until my husband became ill,” said Mina. “He eventually died and I had to sell it.

“I moved here and met my present husband and I always said to him that I would like to have a cafe that

did restaurant quality food at cafe prices. I started looking round; this was the first one I saw and I fell in

love with it. I liked its location, the size. I like the water and I'm doing what I always wanted to do.”

Although Mina has been careful not to make any fundamental changes inside the cafe she has brightened it up with red gingham curtains, new crockery and cutlery.

Mina is taking her passion so seriously that she has forked out for a new disabled access with a ramp and toilet and a new entrance sign and canopy facing Battery Green Road.

“I live and breathe this place. People who come here to buy fish have come in and we did a special Christmas dinner where we put tablecloths and candles on the table which people like. But we are hoping to attract more members of the public,” she said.

The fish is all supplied from merchants on the docks, while the meat for beef burgers comes from a farm in Halesworth.

The Europa Canteen is open from 6am to 3pm, Monday to Friday.

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