A RESTAURANT owner was shocked to see a familiar face pop up unannounced for a quiet family dinner.

On a regular Friday night in February the unexpected happened when Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer came for a meal with his family at Saffron restaurant in Clacton.

Mr Starmer had visited Clacton during half term as a getaway retreat.

Ismail added: “When he first came in we didn’t realise he had arrived, he made no announcement about it.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: Westlife's Kian Egan with Saffron restaurant owners Ismail and Hobib AliWestlife's Kian Egan with Saffron restaurant owners Ismail and Hobib Ali

“The restaurant was quite busy that night and he just came in casually, I approached him for a picture and he agreed with no hassle.

“The family arrived just as Storm Eunice devastated the country, the electricity at their hotel was cut so they hit the town instead.”

After Ismail got his picture with Mr Starmer, other restaurant attendees gathered around to do the same.

Ismail, 47, opened the Saffron restaurant in Clacton with his brothers in October 2001 and has settled into the community.

He said: “We live in Ipswich but travel to Clacton everyday ready to serve our lovely patrons.”

Although it does not happen often, the Saffron restaurant had another famous face pop up a few years ago in Westlife’s Kian Egan.