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“Poor Sunday Lunch” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Little Downham Anchor Restaurant

Little Downham Anchor Restaurant
25 Main Street | Little Downham, Ely CB6 2ST , England
01353 699333
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Ranked #10 of 92 Restaurants in Ely
Cuisines: English
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Ely, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Poor Sunday Lunch”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 9, 2013

The Anchor has recently been refurbished, and while it is clean and pleasant the place has lost its character, it now resembles and cross between a wine bar and a pub - without fulfilling the promise of either. The Sunday lunch we had was atrocious and clearly cooked from processed meats, nothing was cooked properly, and plates were swimming in gravy - the mashed potato was extremely salty as to be unpleasant. A fundamental change in the kitchen is required if this is to become a serious place to eat.

Visited March 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LDA261, Manager at Little Downham Anchor Restaurant, responded to this review, May 11, 2013
Whilst we appreciate feedback from our diners we feel your comments need clarification.
All our meats are locally sourced where possible and none of it is processed, the cows we source our Beef from can be seen grazeing in the fields as you drive towards the village. We are very careful not to over season any of our food as we are very aware many customers prefer to season their food to their own palate, if you felt so strongly i hope you brought it to our attention as we would have replaced your whole main course.
With regards to the Anchors character we have made it what we have and everybody's opinion on tastes and decor are different,but something needed to change from the Anchor of old or the pub would have been lost for good.
We will strive to entertain and offer good quality, freshly produced food to all our customers but once again if you feel its not to standard please let us know at the time and we will endeavour to rectify any complaints.
LDA Management
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56 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    36
    13
    5
    2
    0
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Cambridge, United Kingdom
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Brilliant evening out”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 8, 2013

I went with my Husband and 2 friends for a meal on a Saturday evening. The food was absolutely first class and nothing was too much trouble for the delightful staff. The atmosphere of the whole place is lovely - will definitely go again.

  • Visited May 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LDA261, Manager at Little Downham Anchor Restaurant, responded to this review, May 11, 2013
Thanks for the lovely review of our restaurant, we love positive feedback and we will pass your comments to the rest of the staff. Thanks again.

LDA Management team
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Ely, Cambridgeshire
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
“Poor Fare in Little Downham”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 4, 2013

Little Downham is a treasure. No wonder the Bishops of Ely made it their home, away from the sights and smells of the city for well over 500 years. Downham-in-the-Isle really was a mediaeval island, approachable only by water across an uncertain swamp alive with eels until the drainage of the fens in the 1800s made it more practical as a settlement. The Bishop’s Way still offers a brisk walk back into the centre of the city on prehistoric byways, and as somewhere to begin an investigation of this unexpectedly attractive part of the country it can’t be bettered. Its 13th century church dedicated to St Leonard is Grade 1 listed and an excellent place to learn more.

It’s sad to tell then that the village still doesn’t have a restaurant to call its own, at least not one where you could expect an excellent meal in comfortable surroundings. When the Anchor undertook its refurbishment under new ownership late in 2012 expectations were high. There was talk of £1million being spent converting a smallish country pub in a largely forgotten village into an upmarket hotel with a dozen rooms and the import of a chef with an outstanding reputation. Have they gone…?

The entrance lobby requests in ungrammatical English that you offer quiet to respect the local residents as you leave. The bar is antiseptic, hygienic and without a trace of character; dominated by an oversized television screen and an obscured dartboard surrounded by a pock-marked wall the feeling is that of a waiting room in an airport. The music was playing to nobody and was welcomed by nobody. The only forgiving feature, and a nod to the inn’s local roots, was a pair of gigantic black and white prints of the village and pub as they were.

Our table in a largish conservatory scented by bathroom freshener sat beneath a ceiling mounted speaker subtly insinuating a meagre cover version of Climb Ev’ry Mountain. It was the only track that was distinguishable and by the time it had returned from its loop ninety minutes later you felt it was time to go. The décor smacked of nothing; again it was lack lustre and free of character and personality. Wall prints were of flowers but there was nothing to attest to the restaurant’s local history.

The menu began by proclaiming the best of local produce but the wine list contained no local offerings. My sirloin steak, cooked adequately, came with a fen mushroom, tomato and thrice-cooked chips. It was fine, nothing more and I opted to stick with the beer. At £17.50 I found the main course overpriced. Although the menu offered sauces for the steaks they weren’t offered. The waiting staff brought no great welcome and their double swing doors into the kitchen were so slim that we watched and waited for an inevitable accident to happen. There wasn’t long to wait: soon one of the waitresses was nursing an elbow, struck forcibly by the other opening door.

Desserts were adequate and the dozen or so other diners (Friday night?!) seemed okay about the time spent waiting for food to arrive. As we left there was little to relieve the joylessness of the venue and if we were welcome back then there was no enticement or invitation.

It’s such a shame that a visit to this lovely part of the world can’t provide, at the Anchor, a meal that’s worth staying in for and that this renewed venue won’t encourage its visitors to stay and eat. Go elsewhere – the drive into the centre of Ely, with plenty of free parking, is only a couple of miles.

  • Visited May 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LDA261, Manager at Little Downham Anchor Restaurant, responded to this review, May 11, 2013
Thanks for reviewing the Anchor restaurant, it was also great to read your historical account of Little Downham, however we are dissapointed to read your displeasure of our referbishment.
As you are obviously knowledgeable of the village and its history so you will also be aware the Anchor fell upon poor management/ownership over the last decade maybe you would have preferred the chaotic decor that was introduced during this period.

We bought the Anchor before it was demolished for housing to give our amazing village a venue it deserves, a crisp new look whilst retaining some historical images and features. As the village is lucky enough to have retained two public houses we want to keep it this way so customers have the choice whether they want the vintage atmosphere the Plough enjoys or the surroundings that the Anchor offers. Many local residents and businesses have congratulated us on what we have brought to the Ely area so we must embrace this whilst also respecting your opinions and choices.

The Little Downham Management
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Norwich, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
“Superb”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 20, 2013 via mobile

We came here after being turned away from the Old Firehouse in Ely. I opted for the cottage pie which was lovely and my husband had pie and chips which was to die for. The atmosphere was lovely and the staff were really friendly, will def go back when I'm in the area!

Visited April 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LDA261, Manager at Little Downham Anchor Restaurant, responded to this review, May 11, 2013
Thanks for reviewing our restaurant, it's lovely to hear that we could accommodate you after being let down by another restaurant even better that you enjoyed the food we served.
Hopefully you will be visiting us again soon.

Little Downham Anchor Management
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Isleham
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Lovely Lunch”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2013

Had a very pleasant lunch at this restaurant on Easter Sunday which also happened to be my wife's birthday.
Cannot compliment the staff highly enough, from the moment we walked through the door.
The food was delicious with plenty of vegetables alongside a tasty roast.
Will definitely be visiting again.

  • Visited March 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LD A, Manager at Little Downham Anchor Restaurant, responded to this review, April 6, 2013
Thanks for reviewing our restaurant and that your experience dini9ng with us at Easter was memorable. We look forward to seeing you again in the near future.

Yours

The Little Downham Anchor Management Team
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