Celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall keeps it local at new Bristol River Cottage Canteen
WORK has almost been completed on transforming a historic community hall into a new landmark Bristol restaurant.
As revealed in The Post celebrity chef and TV presenter Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is opening the latest branch of his award winning River Cottage Canteen in Whiteladies Road.
The restaurant, opening in February, will be in a converted listed 19th-century hall and will be the fourth the chef has opened.
The new restaurant will employ around 40 people and is already being hotly tipped to become one of the most popular in Bristol.
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The original River Cottage Canteen in Devon has won a host of awards and is seen as one of the best restaurants in the South West by critics.
The team behind the new branch has signed a 15-year lease on the 4,000 square foot building in Whiteladies Road and the conversion has been designed and overseen by Bristol based agency Simple Simon.
River Cottage have not revealed how much has been spent on the new restaurant but the bill is thought to be at least several hundred thousand.
In keeping with the ethos of the firm and the owner the aim is to source all materials and produce as locally as possible.
The fixed seating was made by Russell Strange Upholstery from Bristol, signs is by Blood Sweat and Tears, also from Bristol and the lighting came from Bristol firm Lighting Services.
Simon Jones, from Simple Simon Design, said: "We are delighted with the way the work has progressed and the visual look of the new Bristol Canteen. St John's Court is a beautiful Victorian building – packed with fantastic features.
"Great efforts have been made to ensure the fixtures and fittings are made from recycled materials or UK sourced wherever possible."
He added: "We have kept to a simple design that reveals as much as possible of the original structure, but still provides a little drama.
"We are very proud to be have been invited to work with River Cottage and to create what we believe will be a very welcome addition to the Bristol food scene: a relaxed place to eat and a great neighbourhood hang-out."
Rob Greacen, managing director of River Cottage Canteen & Deli, said: "We have wanted to open in Bristol for many years because it has a vibrant food community and fantastic local suppliers.
"St John's Court is a special building and caught our eye immediately. The location is great, close to the Downs, but still part of the city. There are already some great restaurants in the neighbourhood and we hope that Bristolians will take to our creative and fast changing menu."
The Canteen will be managed by Bristolian Sarah Kieck, bringing her local knowledge and experience of running restaurants in Bristol.
Head chef will be Mark Stavrakakis, who has worked for Rockfish Grill and Seafood Restaurant in Whiteladies Road, and Goldbrick House.
"River Cottage believes passionately in promoting local food and wants to support local producers, the local economy and reduce the miles your food has to travel," said River Cottage's development chef, Andrew Green.