A crumb of comfort? The Ship's Biscuit draws alongside
                                 A crumb of comfort?           What the newspapers said.    
Reports in 2007 suggested Compton Castle's position was under threat due to plans for the redevelopment of Truro city centre. However in 2008 she will be run by well-known "celebrity" chef Kevin Viner and friend Jill Richards who are now refurbishing the vessel for re-opening as a restaurant with a nautical theme, with a traditional English tea-room planned for the lower deck. Opening of the new reataurant is planned for Christmas, 2008. It is tied in with plans for a general redevelopment of this part of Truro : a welcome case where local authorities and developers (Porthia) wish to retain a moored vessel as part of the development.

August 20, 2008

THE hearts of celebrity chef Kevin Viner and his new girlfriend will go on in a Titanic-style restaurant in Truro.
  The first Michelin Starred restaurateur in Cornwall and his former waitress Jill Richards are dropping anchor in the derelict paddle steamer on Lemon Quay.
  The couple officially got together this year amid splits from their respective spouses which hit the national headlines. He will continue to run Viners restaurant at Summercourt with his separated wife.
  Kevin, 51, plans to run a nautical-theme restaurant at Compton Castle – built three years after the Titanic sunk in 1912 – and Jill, 45, wants to run a tea room below deck.
  The twice British chef of the year said: "When you walk along the quay it will be like you are in a steamship yard, with a ticket office, luggage stalls, flags and the original colours of black and gold. "We are also going to find a steam whistle from somewhere to get a bit of steam going too. It will all be about having some fun."
   Blocked in by two bridges on the River Kenwyn, the rusty, rotting paddle steamer is now being restored for a Christmas opening. Up to 100 diners will be served "square meals" such as fish and chips in navy-style wooden boxes on benches suspended by rope.
  Jill, who began waitressing at Viners last year, is planning to run a traditional Victorian tea shop featuring real tea leaves and homemade cakes.
She said: "I've always liked the Victorian era and felt at home because everything was made well, not plastic, and very English."
  The couple are scouring car boot sales for bone china and a scrap yard in Devon for nautical fittings such as brass, gas lamps and port holes.
The joint venture with owner David Ellsmore, of Porthia, will cost £250,000 to £300,000. But with other restaurants on the paddle steamer having failed to thrive in the past, how are the couple planning to avoid any potential icebergs?
  "In the past it's probably been a lack of imagination," said Kevin. "Truro has probably got way too many restaurants, to be quite frank, but it's also about offering people what they want. "The recession is coming and I want to work with that so prices will be at realistic levels. It annoys me that kids have to spend £3 on a drink."
  The boat was built in 1914 in Falmouth and originally ferried passengers between Dartmouth and Totnes. After a spell in Looe, it was brought to its current spot in Truro in a poor state in 1982, where it has since been a restaurant and flower shop.