The Beckford Group has announced plans to open the Beckford Canteen in Bath city centre next month, headed by ex-Kitty Fisher's chef George Barson.
The venue will be the second restaurant for the group, run by co-founders Dan Brod, Charlie Luxton and Matt Greenlees. The group also owns the Beckford Bottle Shop nearby, run by Ollie Sutton who will oversee the Canteen, along with four country inns across Wiltshire and Somerset.
The restaurant will occupy a former Georgian greenhouse on Bartlett Street, and will have around 40 covers inside and a further 40 in a garden to the rear. The Beckford Canteen will serve modern British lunch and dinner as well as drinks and snacks.
Barson (pictured) worked as a sous chef at River Cottage in Devon and development chef for Jamie Oliver's Fifteen in North London before joining Kitty Fisher's in Mayfair as head chef in early 2017. He was promoted to chef director in 2018, working with the team to launch their second outpost, Cora Pearl, in Covent Garden in 2018. He was most recently head chef at Wild by Tart in Belgravia, which he joined in 2021.
Barson said: "My cooking has long been inspired by growing up in Devon, and the palette of my grandfather who was a brilliant home cook. A lot of my dishes are underpinned by nostalgia, but also have a contemporary, technique driven style. But for me, what is most important for the Beckford Canteen, is just to cook some super tasty food using the best produce that the South West has to offer. Alongside the food, I also want to build an inspiring and importantly, kind environment for the whole team. Together I hope we can create a welcoming and memorable dining experience that people both from Bath and the wider area are excited to visit."
The seasonal menu will feature starters like rarebit with beer pickled onions, sardines on toast, cured pig's jowl and leek with brown butter and hazelnuts.
Mains will include gurnard, shellfish sauce, sea beet; confit pork belly, pumpkin, quince; and celeriac, green sauce, crème fraiche. Desserts will include plum trifle; black treacle and ginger sponge, brown butter ice cream; and cheeses such as Keen's Cheddar, Bath Blue and Baron Bigod.
The drinks menu will list local ales, wines and classic cocktails and diners will also be able to choose a bottle of wine from the nearby Beckford Bottle Shop, which they can then open in the Canteen for a "small corkage charge".
Brod said: "We want to rejuvenate the idea of modern British informal dining at the Canteen. Getting the best out of the best ingredients by serving simple, honest and delicious food with conviviality. The restaurant will feel paired-back with an unpretentious and comfortable environment. In some senses it is what we already do at our country pubs, and the nearby Bottle Shop, and even though this is perhaps a ridiculous time to open a new restaurant, we fell in love with the site, and just had to do it."
Brod heads up the Beckford Group looking after the businesses, the brand, the people, as well as the finances and new developments. He studied for two engineering degrees, had a spell in the film industry in LA, product design and a career in tech inventions and start-ups. He then trained to be a chef with the Conran group, deciding a career in the kitchen was not for him, but his love of food, design and people led to a career in the hospitality industry.
Luxton oversees the guest experience having previously worked at Soho House Group, initially as operations manager and then as operations and property director. He founded the Beckford Group in 2009 with Brod.
Greenlees joined Luxton and Brod in 2013 and oversees the group's operations in charge of food, drink and the pubs' day to day management. He previously worked as general manager of Soho House's Babington House for seven years.
Photo: Jake Eastham
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