Chef Tommy Heaney to open Cardiff restaurant

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Chef Tommy Heaney to open Cardiff restaurant
Chef Tommy Heaney is planning to open his first Cardiff restaurant with the help of a Kickstarter campaign later this year.

Heaney, who represented Northern Ireland on BBC’s Great British Menu in 2017, will take over the Arbennig restaurant – which is recommended in the Michelin Guide - and next door Emporium after it closes this month.

Heaney told food blog The Plate Licked Clean​ that he had looked at Bristol and Swansea before being contacted by Arbennig’s owners on Twitter.

His new restaurant will serve an “accessible” daily changing menu, offering a la carte options and an “informal” tasting menu, as well as some of his Great British Menu dishes “once in a while”.

The chef has no financial backing and will be launching a Kickstarter campaign in June to help fund the launch.

Heaney’s partner Nikki will run the front of house, while many of the Arbennig team are staying on at the restaurant.

The pair get the keys on 25 June, after which the restaurant will close for “a month or so” for a refurbishment.

Within the first year Heaney also intends to transform the next door Arbennig Emporium café in to a separate stand-alone restaurant with around 20 covers, serving smaller plates at a lower price point.

“We are considering opening up in the evenings while the refurb is going on,” Heaney told The Plate Licked Clean​. “We will serve small samples of what’s to come.”

Heaney also runs Restaurant Tommy Heaney at The Great House in Brigend, South Wales, where he will promote Garth Denyer to head chef to take over running the kitchen in his absence.

He previously cooked under Richard Corrigan, Ollie Dabbous and David Everitte Mattuis.

Last week the owners of Arbennig announced on social media that they would be shutting the restaurant after nearly four and a half years.

“The closing is of course tinged with sadness, but also huge pride as we are going on our terms, not being forced out or financially ruined by this ruthless industry that we all love so much,” they wrote.

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