The Set is expected to re-open as early as mid-May at Café Rust near Preston Park in Brighton’s London Road area.
Initially The Set will operate on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights with Café Rust continuing to trade as a coffee shop and café during the daytime.
The experience will be comparable to that offered at Artist Residence with Kenny and team offering eight or 10 course menus comprised of modern, playful dishes to a maximum of 16 covers.
Staff numbers will be tight with Kenny and one other chef in the kitchen and two front of house.
“The owners of Café Rust were customers of The Set and approached me, which was nice,” Kenny explains. “The site actually has a better layout than the hotel and they have good terms on their licence too. We will actually be able to serve drinks later into the night at Café Rust than we were able to at Artist Residence.”
“After the last 12 months we’re sceptical and cautious. Low risk is good. It’s a nice partnership that works well for both parties. We’ll be there for at least a year and have the option to increase the number of nights we do,” continues Kenny, who is one of a number of operators to explore hybrid and more flexible operating models during the pandemic.
"I’d be very surprised if we don't see a lot more restaurants and chefs go down this route. Multiple businesses sharing one space makes a lot of sense. It’s a good way to rebound. Like everyone we’ve lost a lot of money over the last year."
Located within Artist Residence hotel on Regency Square, The Set was opened by Kenny in 2015 and in 2018 he was put in charge of the hotel’s entire F&B operation.
Kenny also runs Five Star Kebabs in partnership with fellow chef Luka Dmitryi, which initially operated on collection-only basis from the window of a domestic kitchen.
It has been a big hit in Brighton and beyond and - in common with The Set - now offers meal kits nationwide.
Kenny and Dmitryi will continue with Five Star Kebabs but have no plans for a permanent site at the moment.
“We’re enjoying it the way it is. It’s got a cult following and sells out in five minutes every week. It’s also been a lifeline for us cash wise, it’s helped pay the bills," says Kenny. "Long term it's certainly something we want to invest in and keep pushing forward."