A RESTAURANT has been forced to close its doors to hungry diners following reports of an “emergency”, prompting bosses to apologise to customers.

The Balkerne Gate, in Ipswich Road, was reportedly forced to shut down immediately on Monday evening, with customers being told it was due to an emergency.

The venue, located not far from the A12, remained closed on Tuesday and is also not currently accepting bookings until Friday, according to the Table Table website.

The Gazette understands emergency repairs to the gas system at the restaurant are taking place, but restaurant bosses have not yet confirmed this.

Gazette: Apology - a sign on the door says 'sorry' to customersApology - a sign on the door says 'sorry' to customers (Image: Newsquest)

A sign on the door says: “We’re sorry but this restaurant is temporarily closed for essential maintenance work. Don’t worry – we’ll be back soon.”

Colchester High Steward, Sir Bob Russell, has branded the closure a “mystery” after claiming guests had to leave the site on Monday night mid-meal.

He said: “I am advised that last evening diners and drinkers were requested to leave immediately - no reason given other than they were told it was an emergency.

“A sign on the door at lunchtime states that urgent repairs are being undertaken but there is no further information.

“At the adjoining hotel, a helpful receptionist informed me that it was hoped the restaurant will be open again this Friday but she was not able to give me any other information.

“It’s a mystery but I trust there are no Christmas meal bookings this week.”

Balkerne Gate serves everything from burgers, steak and ale pies and crispy chicken goujons to loaded nachos, gammon steaks, and beer-battered haddock and chips.

It previously came under fire after a friend of a wheelchair-using diner said their trip to the restaurant proved “stressful” due to the inaccessibility of the disabled toilet.

Debra Frisby, 63, is said to have gone to the nearby disabled toilet but was confronted with a congested room in which there were six nappy and sanitary bins.

Table Table bosses subsequently apologised to Debra and stressed they take such matters seriously and would look into the complaints as a matter of urgency.

Whitbread, which owns the Table Table chain, was approached for comment but had not responded at the time of publication.