Fish Club owners take on first pub venture

By Melodie Michel contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Sausage

Jack Sutton, Steve Orme and James Thomson in front of the Red Lion
Jack Sutton, Steve Orme and James Thomson in front of the Red Lion
Fish Club restaurant owners Steve Orme, James Thomson and Jack Sutton are opening their first pub, Shepperton’s Red Lion, in September.

They took on the Star Pubs & Bars lease, and together with the firm are spending £500,000 on a complete refurbishment.

“It’s just closed and is having a serious refit from roof to bar, knocking two bars into one, putting a new dining room in, even the roof is being replaced and the garden is being done. We should get it back from the contractors who are doing all the work on the 25th​ of August, then spend a week or so doing staff training to open the first week in September,” Orme told BigHospitality.

Food-led venue

The dining area will seat 50, and construction of a river garden with its own bar and kitchen will start next spring.

The pub will be food-led, with a seasonally-changing menu including both fish and meat dishes.

Orme explained: “It won’t be solely fish-based, although we’ll be doing some seriously good fish dishes. It will be a seasonally-changing menu, along the lines of six starters, seven mains and four desserts moving with the seasons. I don’t like to use the word gastropub but we’ll be doing some real good food. Everything will be made fresh on the premises from our bread to our icecream.  We’re bringing the same focus on quality ingredients and excellent service to The Red Lion.”

The venue will also offer bar favourites such as scotch eggs, sausage rolls and Red Lion scratching, as well as a Saturday brunch ranging from eggs Benedict to full English breakfast, and a Sunday roast.

Local knowledge

Having spent their teenage years in Shepperton, Orme and Thomson are familiar with the area’s clientele, and saw the opportunity to take on the Red Lion as an obvious choice. After spending the past ten years in London, they recently moved back to the Shepperton area to raise their families.

“It was an opportunity that really presented itself. The Red Lion is actually my and James’s local pub. We know the area and the clientele really well as we’re both from there, and we recently migrated back there after having babies. We saw a sign up to let, and looking at it objectively we realised it’s in a really good position, there’s nothing in the area that will be doing what we’re about to do, it’s right on the river, and it’s just right for someone to come in and put some love back in the place,” Orme added.

Future expansion

In the future, the trio is not against opening more pubs, but also wants to expand the Fish Club business further, potentially with a new venue. However, the focus will remain on the Red Lion for the coming year.

“We’ve taken the approach that we’ll run this for a year and then assess where we’re at. We think it’s sensible to focus on one project at a time. The Fish Club on St John’s Hill is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year, and we’ve been doing lots of pop-ups in north London on other people’s premises, but realistically for the next 12 months our expansion will be focused on the Red Lion,” concluded Ormes. 

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