Popular Ipswich pub to relaunch as Indian restaurant
One of Ipswich's most famous pubs is set to relaunch as an Indian restaurant with a difference, with The Ulster building on Brisbane street soon to open as fusion restaurant Memories of India.
It is the first time that the building, which has been in the hands of the same family for over four generations, has ever been open as anything other than a public house.
The restaurant will serve up classic favourites like butter chicken and lamb korma alongside fusion dishes such as basil chicken tikka when it opens in the coming month.
Punters worried that they won't be able to visit the pub's front bar will be relieved to hear the venue will serve iconic Indian beers and India Pale Ale on tap as a nod to the history of the venue.
Chefs Promod Kumar and Aman Sharma bring a wealth of experience to the new venture, with Promod working in five star hotels and award-winning restaurants in Launceston and Perth before settling in Ipswich.
It's not just the food that fuses old and new, with the decor featuring portraits of 19th century Maharajahs and traditional Indian art.
The relaunch marks a major change in direction for the hotel, with management and ownership of the pub staying in the Flannery family since rugby league great and former state and national team hooker Dan Dempsey became publican in 1934.
After Dan's daughter Norma married another former Australian rugby league player Denis Flannery, the couple went on to manage the hotel until the 2011 floods, which severely damaged the building.
Following an extensive rebuild and relaunch in 2012, the last incarnation of the family pub shut its doors on Christmas Eve in 2015 after matriarch Norma passed away in January of that year.
Bev Johnston, who owns the building with her two siblings, says that the Flannery family is excited to see the building brought back to life.
"It's great that the building is going to have a chance at another life. Indian food still seems to be on the rise, so it's great to see the building moving into the future too," she said.
Mrs Johnston said they are keen to try their new tenant's offering, and were pleased to see that the restaurant would seek to retain the character of the pub.