Owner Nathan Eades and his wife Charlie signed a four-and-a-half-year lease at 89a High Street, a grade II-listed building formally known as Langtrys, and funded its refurbishment almost exclusively with the proceeds of their pop-up site.
The new eatery will have dual usage: named The Courtyard from Tuesday to Saturday from 9.30am to 5.30pm, it will operate as an informal bistro serving its own blend of coffee from Chartley Coffee Company as well as lighter homemade lunches. In the evening, Epi at The Courtyard will continue on the path set by the pop up and serve monthly changing seasonal three, five and seven-course menus with optional wine pairing supplied by Connolly’s Wine Merchants.
Atmosphere and menu
Nathan told BigHospitality: “The restaurant is split over two levels. The ground level is quite modern with Italian porcelain tiles, quite light and airy with banquette seating we had custom-made. Upstairs the atmosphere is more in tune with the original building. It appeals to everyone. Younger people would be more inclined to be downstairs where it’s a bit more modern but you’ve got the more traditional option as well.
“Our food is very simple; we take raw ingredients and cook them very simply. The simple things to me are the best. It shows off a bit of skill and flair as well in the kitchen. It’s very rich modern British – we try to keep it very clean and fresh, quite similar to the food they make in Scandinavia. We let the ingredients speak for themselves really.”
On the drinks front, the ‘snug’ bar will offer some cocktails including a rhubarb and rosehip fizz and an apple and elderflower gin, as well as local ales supplied by Birds Brewery.
While the couple is focusing on the Bromsgrove site at present, Nathan revealed his desire to move the restaurant into Birmingham city centre in the future.
“In the back of my head I want to move Epi into Birmingham city centre. We did look at it before signing this lease, but the simple reason why we didn’t do it was that what we would pay in rent would have been four or five times more expensive than what we pay now so on a commercial point of view it just didn’t make sense at the time to put that much pressure on ourselves so early.”
If that plan doesn’t materialise, the Eades could also turn the third floor of their existing venue into a chef’s table “to create a bit more of a story”.
Epi started as a once-a-month pop-up in Bromsgrove, but Nathan and his wife quickly realised it could be turned into a sustainable permanent restaurant. From once a month, they went to three times a week in October 2013 and by February, they were booked out four weeks in advance.
“When we started off in October, we didn’t put a penny into the business. All the money that was generated was generated through the profits that were made. Initially we did it on a traditional pop-up basis, so people would pay for their ticket online and up front, which gave us the cash to buy ingredients. So it was almost able to fund itself. With the money we generated over 16 weeks we were able to do the refurbishment the site desperately needed,” Nathan added.