Matt Gillan leaves Pike & Pine as it converts to new concept

By Finn Scott-Delany

- Last updated on GMT

Matt Gillan chef leaves Pike and Pine Brighton
Mike Palmer, the restaurateur behind Brighton-based Lucky Beach Café and Redroaster coffee house, is closing high-end restaurant Pike & Pine and replacing it with Thai barbecue concept The Lucky Khao.

The changes will see Palmer’s business partner Matt Gillan, the chef who fronted Pike & Pine, depart restaurant group Kemptown Project to concentrate on other projects.

Lucky Khao, which has hosted a series of pop-ups, will launch at the St James’ Street venue in January for evening service, with the Redroaster café continuing to operate on the site during the day.

Gillan, who held a Michelin star for five years at The Pass near Horsham,​ and is a Great British Menu winner, will move on to other projects, including his Electro Pirate casual dining concept,​ currently at The Foresters pub in Horsham.

The Lucky Khao is headed up by chef Luke Larsson and will serve Northern Thai food characterised by bold flavours, barbecued meats and curries, with vegan, gluten-free and healthy options. 

Music will play an important role in the new concept with a ‘90s hip-hop and heavy rock soundtrack playing through a new £15,000 sound system.

For the last year the Lucky Khao team have been training alongside renowned Bangkok restaurants Bo.Lan and 100 Mahaseth.

Flora McTeare, operations manager at Kemptown Project, said: “We are delighted to welcome the Lucky Khao team to Brighton permanently.  They have immediately sold out a series of pop-ups in Brighton and in Bangkok this year and we are tremendously excited to bring their distinctive charcoal cooking to Brighton in the new year.”

Gillan said: “Pike & Pine has been great and I am really proud of what we have all achieved and would like to thank everyone who has been involved - our wonderful team, guests, suppliers and people behind the scenes. 

“I appreciate that may come as a surprise to some and I hope people won’t be too disappointed, but we need to simplify the business and Pike & Pine is a particularly complicated offer, albeit one which has been very well received.”

This article first appeared on BigHospitality's sister title MCA. For more information and to subscribe to MCA click here.

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