Called The Jackdaw in reference to the name given to locals born within the walls of the town, it will open above a bingo hall in the town in a site that was previously a café by day and bistro by night.
The new 30-cover restaurant will serve a changing menu of locally-sourced seasonal dishes. “It’s hard to put a style on it,” says Rudge. “I would say it’s Welsh cuisine because the produce I’m using will predominantly be Welsh; meat will be from the local area, salt will come from Anglesey, fish from the Menai Strait, and mussels from the River Conwy.
“The menu will write itself with the surrounding produce of the area.”
The restaurant will open for dinner on Wednesdays and Thursdays serving an a la carte menu, with either a seven-course tasting menu and a la carte or one or the other served on Fridays and Saturdays, according to Rudge. On Sundays it will open for lunch serving an a la carte menu. “It will take a bit of time to learn what locals want,” he says.
Rudge worked at The Fat Duck for seven years, starting in 2104 and progressing through a number of roles to junior sous chef. He was part of the team that ran the eight-month residency of The Fat Duck in Melbourne’s Crown Hotel.
Last year when he was put on furlough, he decided to set up his own restaurant, beginning with the creation of food takeaway business The Jackdaw at Home, which he established at the start of this year and ran from his parent’s kitchen.
“Most chefs one day want a restaurant of their own. It was always a huge goal in my career to one day do this. In the first lockdown I had a lot of time to think about how to do it,” says Rudge of his new venture.
“Jackdaw at Home is how it all really started and how it got its name out to the locals. I started with a three-course menu and then in March I added a few more courses and that went down really well. It helped me get the funds to buy the lease on the new restaurant.”
“Conwy is a town close to my hometown of Llandudno. There’s always been something special about the town and I’ve always wanted a restaurant there. But I didn’t know exactly where, what it would be called or the type of food it would serve.”
“After last year I realise that life is too short and if the opportunity is there to go for it. It is a huge risk but it’s a risk I’m willing to take to hopefully make locals happy and make my dreams come true and to help a few young people with the same attitude I had at The Fat Duck who want to learn and take something from it.”
The restaurant is currently undergoing refurbishment with the installation of a wood burning stove and a new bar and is expected to open at the start of October.