PR2 Cruise and Dine http://www.pr2restaurant.co.uk/
A Restaurant With a Difference! Cruise and Dine Along the Grand Union Canal, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire
A relaxed and leisurely experience onboard a contemporary venue. The PR2 is moored at Radford Semele, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. When you cruise and dine on the PR2 you enjoy fine dining, good wines, superb hospitality. An ideal venue for eating out, corporate entertainment, private bookings and open dining.
"We’re a cruising restaurant, not a barge with a restaurant onboard," insists Ashley Simons of the PR2.
"It’s an important distinction because it’s the food that brings people back, not the fact that we cruise up and down the Grand Union Canal while people are eating."
After 20 years in corporate marketing and the last 10 as marketing director, his 'cruise and dine' restaurant is a voyage of discovery. The PR2 was a well-established business and offered Ashley a challenge that also fulfilled his interest in fine food and wine, developed over years of criss-crossing the globe. "As a business traveller, I sampled a lot of exotic cuisine in every manner of establishment – from very basic to high dollar," he said.
Ashley and his wife Ann 'floated' their new venture – OffchurchQuay Ltd – in February 2006, gutting and completely refurbishing the 30-ton PR2 in bright contemporary décor, before reopening for business in June.
They appointed 20-year-old Nelson Mansfield as Head Chef to develop the menus and cook.
"We were looking for a fusion of cultures in our style of cuisine – primarily European, but blended with something a little unexpected," said Ashley. "We take regional food and look for an unusual combination of flavours – sea bass fillet served on sweet potato and mango with lemongrass and chilli butter, for example.
"There are plenty of restaurants producing fresh, exciting, good value food. We have a unique selling point in that we’re a cruising restaurant but it means we cannot rely on speculative business off the street.
"People plan a night out to 'try it once' for the novelty value. That we’re getting repeat business tells me our cuisine and menu selection is working and that encourages us to introduce more menus and change it more frequently."
The PR2 sails three or four nights a week offering open, private and corporate dining, and on Sunday lunchtimes, which is very popular.
The PR2 cruises eastwards along the Grand Union Canal from Radford Bottom Lock. The leisurely trip lasts three hours with a short break to allow guests to disembark and stroll along the towpath.