'Blunos' - a 60-cover fish and seafood restaurant with a focus on relaxed dining - will open on 19 February at the County Hotel on Bath’s Pulteney Road. It is a joint venture with the owner of Seaham Hall, where Blunos is culinary director.
Designed with a modern, contemporary feel, the restaurant will boast a seafood counter and a short menu that changes regularly to make the most of the best catch from supplier Flying Fish Seafood.
Oysters, lobster, crab, smoked salmon and caviar will be available daily, while main courses will focus on fresh fish cooked simply, with just one meat and one vegetarian dish. A small but ‘carefully chosen’ wine and bar list will accompany the food.
“This is all about the very best, fresh fish you can eat, and the experience is about simplicity and enjoyment,” said Blunos.
“But if it’s simple, it’s got to be the best, and every dish I send out has to be perfect; there’s nowhere to hide with simply prepared fish.”
Blunos told BigHospitality he decided to keep the menu short and simple to ‘showcase the very best’ fish from his suppliers and simplify the decision-making process for his customers.
The chef – a long-time Bath resident – believes micro-gastronomy is on its way out, and wants to ‘take the pretension out of food’.
“We are going to do lobster and chips, how chalk and cheese is that? And if people want to send a cab for it, happy days, we will do a takeaway!” he said.
Blunos wants to create a relaxed atmosphere in the restaurant, with customers able to drop in for a glass of wine and some oysters, or sit down for a whole meal.
A seafood counter between the kitchen and dining area will allow customers to see the fresh fish on offer, while also acting as the restaurant’s fridge.
“We will load up the display during the daytime, and once it is gone it is gone,” he said.
“At night we will break down everything that is left and make boulloubiase and fish stews for the lunchtime menu.”
The restaurant represents quite a change for Blunos, who earned his Michelin stars serving up Latvian-influenced haute cuisine at his first Bath restaurant Lettonie.
“This is a completely new approach from what I have done in the past,” he said. “This is far more simple, and accessible, yet it’s more challenging.”
The restaurant also represents a change for Bath, which is lacking in seafood restaurants.
"There seems to be predominance of steak restaurants opening in Bath, but no independent fish restaurants,” explained Blunos.
“Bath diners deserve the opportunity to have access to the very best fish and seafood available."
Blunos plans to spend lots of time in the kitchen of his new restaurant, but said he will maintain his position at Seaham Hall, with further joint-ventures planned for West Wales and Cornwall.