Opening racecourse restaurant doesn’t get any tougher than this for Eamonn

Eamonn Hunt

Eamonn Hunt

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WHEN MasterChef contestant Eamonn Hunt – the brother of horse racing commentator John Hunt – declared his ambition “to open a restaurant”, he wasn’t envisaging what Market Rasen Racecourse had in mind.

This Sunday, March 11, the Lincolnshire track unveils its new MaMa J’s licensed Italian eaterie for the first time.

Eamonn (pictured), a Lincoln joiner, has obliged racecourse managing director Pip Kirkby by accepting her invitation to conduct the formal ceremony.

Pip said: “When I heard that a local MasterChef contestant wanted to open a restaurant, I thought ‘I can help him there’.

“Then we discovered Eamonn was horse racing commentator John Hunt’s brother. It is, as they say, a small world.”

Under the banner of ‘It’s All About Sharing’, MaMa J’s serves contemporary Italian fare from ciabatta and risotto through to pasta and pizza.

Families and friends in, for example, groups of eight to 12 people are even invited to share a metre-long pizza.

Informality – there are no reservations – is the ethos of the new restaurant.

Eamonn said: “I love Italian food, the fresh ingredients, simple recipes, alfresco dining and the whole idea of a family orientated meal.”

MaMa J’s dishes start from £2.50, with two-course meals that are ideal for sharing at a set price of £12.50 per person. There is a children’s menu too.

MaMa J’s is accessible to visitors in the racecourse’s County and Tattersalls enclosures.

Now that the Hunt brothers – Eamonn and John – are familiar faces at the racecourse, it remains to be seen if their other famous sibling, Matthew, will join them one day at the races. He is none other than the singing nun ‘Musical Ruth’.

l Racing at Market Rasen Racecourse on Sunday, March 11: premier members £26; county enclosure £19; Tattersalls £14; family enclosure £9. Accompanied children 18 admitted free of charge. Parking free.

l More information at www.marketrasenraces.co.uk. The first race is at 2.20pm, and gates open from 12.30pm.