The wine-focused restaurant concept, launching initially at Harpenden House Hotel this week as The WinePress, will see Galmiche and Reid, who left his position as executive head chef at Searcy’s St Pancras Grand last year, collaborate with the hotels’ existing chefs on a set of bespoke menus featuring ‘simple brasserie classics of a Bib Gourmand standard’.
The Vineyard Group, which took over the management contracts for the seven recently refurbished hotels owned by sister company Sonoma last year after Folio Hotels went into administration, had been instructed to revamp the portfolio’s food and beverage (F&B) operation to match that of The Vineyard at Stockcross and Donnington Valley Hotel & Spa, the latter of which also operates a WinePress restaurant.
Andrew McKenzie, managing director of The Vineyard, told BigHospitality the names of the restaurants were likely to vary across the hotels as they convert their F&B operation over the coming months.
We will be very wine-orientated, serving up to 40 well-chosen wines by the glass, so will likely choose the restaurant names to tie in with that,” he said. “Possibly Wine Barn or Wine Vault depending on the style of hotel. The WinePress at Harpenden will be a more simplified restaurant than that at Donnington, which currently has two AA Rosettes.
“Obviously if we managed a rosette or two we’d be delirious, but we really want to get away from the whole hotel dining room feel that a lot of provincial hotels have, and to make it more of a part of the local community. We want to serve the kind of food people would like to eat rather than all that fluff you get from a fine dining restaurant, to make them want to eat here with us and not have to go elsewhere for dinner.”
First launch at Harpenden House Hotel
Dishes at Harpenden House Hotel’s WinePress will include Bury Black pudding, potato puree, poached egg, devilled sauce and Roast breast of Goosnargh chicken, bacon, watercress, bread sauce & rustic fondant. James Hocking, wine director at The Vineyard at Stockcross, has developed the wine list.
The next hotel to have a restaurant revamp will be The Maids Head Hotel in Norwich at the end of April, before Hall Garth Hotel, Golf and Country Club in Darlington.