Wellbourne Salardu will have a similar cooking style to Martin Irwin, Ross Gibbens and Michael Kennedy’s Clifton restaurant but will also serve local specialities.
The trio are all former team members of London restaurant Dabbous and opened Wellbourne in September. The restaurant offers a keenly priced lunch menu centered around open sandwiches and vol-au-vents and an a la carte menu in the evening.
Irwin, who heads the front of house side of the business, says the opportunity to takeover the Spanish restaurant arose when the trio cooked a dinner for a Spanish supplier.
"It's all a bit of a surprise. Prior to opening Wellbourne, we were invited to cook a celebratory dinner in northern Spain by one of our key wine suppliers. We met a Catalan lady there who had a Bristol connection, she used to be a waitress at The Glassboat. She liked our food and offered us the lease of a newly refurbished restaurant."
Located close to the French border, the site previously only traded in the summer months, but will now trade during the winter ski season. Irwin will go out to oversee the final phase of the build later this month and Gibbens will join him in early December for the restaurant's opening.
James Goodyear - whose CV includes Maaemo, Dabbous, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons and perhaps most notably Basque restaurant Mugaritz - has been named as head chef of Wellbourne Salardu. Former Kitchen Table restaurant manager Ben Porter was recently appointed to oversee front of house at Wellbourne to cover Irwin.
Après-ski: The site that will house Wellbourne Salardu
The new restaurant is much larger than the trio's inaugural restaurant. It will comprise a relaxed 40-50 cover ground floor area with a fireplace that will serve drinks and bar food. To the rear, there will be a more involved 30-cover dining room that will offer a tasting menu and a chef's table area for an additional eight covers. The restaurant will employ up to 30 members of staff, the majority of which will be locals.
"We want to get a star. We will be taking the food up a couple of notches," says Irwin. "We will be focusing on local produce but we're also going to bring some of the more interesting Bristol craft beers to Spain. We want to reference where we come from, but to ignore the wine, produce and food culture in and around the Pyrenees would be ridiculous."