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Following his departure from Michelin-starred La Bécasse (pictured above) in Ludlow, bright young chef Will Holland has moved to Wales and is now running the kitchen at Coast in Pembrokeshire. Neil Kedward and Zoe Agar of The Grove in Narberth are the driving force behind this venture, and their new-build restaurant makes the most of a stunning location overlooking Coppett Hall beach. While this informal, all-day eatery is very different to Holland’s previous ventures, the chef is looking forward to the challenge of achieving just the right balance between popular and refined cooking.
Over in the Isle of Wight, there have been some major changes to the restaurant scene over the past year. Robert Thompson, the youngest UK chef to win a Michelin star, had been looking for a new place since the sale of The Hambrough hotel in Ventnor. When Dire Straits bassist John Isley sold the nearby George Hotel in Yarmouth to Camelot chief CEO Diane Thompson, she lost no time in recruiting Robert (no relation) to oversee the food. It looks like the old waterfront hotel is going to be a serious contender once again: the former brasserie has been refreshed and renamed Isla’s Conservatory, while a separate fine-dining restaurant (also called Isla’s) is due to launch later in the summer.
And there’s plenty to get excited about in Warwickshire. Paul Foster is a young chef who is definitely on the up. He made a name for himself at Tuddenham Mill in Suffolk, but is now running the Dining Room at Mallory Court, near Leamington Spa. He brings confidence, energy and his own inimitable style to the party – so it’s a sure bet that this glossy country house will soon be winning plaudits once again.
In Scotland, Billy Boyter is striking out on his own after seven years at the Michelin-starred Number One Restaurant at The Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh (the last three as exec chef Jeff Bland’s main man). He’s moved back to his home town of Anstruther and has bought The Cellar – one of the region’s foremost seafood destinations when it was in the hands of Peter Jukes, who died suddenly at the end of 2012.
Meanwhile, TV chefs Chris and James Tanner, who own Tanners Restaurant and The Barbican Kitchen in Plymouth, have bought a pub in Kent. Located in the village of Bidborough (between Tunbridge and Tonbridge Wells), the old Hare & Hounds is currently undergoing a massive refurbishment and will open in mid-May as The Kentish Hare.
Written by Molly Monroe