Steak of the Art is scheduled to open its doors at the end of October in Bristol’s Harbourside area and will combine Bowen’s passion for good food with his love of art.
After working in investment banking for 20 years, Bowen, who trained as a chef at Leith’s School of Food & Wine in London and part-owns an art gallery in Cheshire, decided it was time to start a new project, so took over the 100-cover site in his family’s home town with a view to realising his dream of running a restaurant.
“We chose Bristol because it has a fantastic reputation for its art scene and it is a place where people appreciate good food in an unpretentious way. We have an art gallery in Cheshire but we wanted somewhere to combine the art and food concepts in this way and Bristol just ticked all the boxes,” he said.
Bowen told BigHospitality he had been inspired by visits to Le Relais de Venise L'Entrecôte restaurant in Marylebone while training to be a chef and had wanted to replicate the single-option idea in his new venture, but realised he would have to hone the concept to better suit his market.
He said: “I was inspired by the simplicity of Entrecôte. I thought ‘this is fantastic’, but I also recognise that the rules in London are different to those in other towns and cities. A single-dish restaurant can survive well in a place that has a high footfall and turnover of customers, but outside London you need to broaden the choice a little to encourage repeat business.
“The gallery will also give it an extra dimension. People will be able to come in and have a glass of wine and look at the art and maybe they’ll stay for something to eat after that.”
While different cuts of steak will be the main option, lamb, pork, venison (when in season) and fish will also be on the menu, Bowen said.
“We insist on the best and include produce from Warson's Farm in Devon, Warren's butchers in Launceston and Fish for Thought from Bodmin in Cornwall,” he said. “They will play a big part in ensuring that all our main ingredients have good provenance and amazing quality. We are also engaging the Bristol Beer Factory to source some of our drink products.”
Steak of the Art will open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, with plans to serve a £10 Menu Rapide at lunch.
Its opening is expected to create 20 new jobs and if successful could be rolled out to other towns and cities in the UK.