Chef-restaurateur Terry Laybourne is set to launch a new fish bar and fishmonger in the Newcastle outlet of department store Fenwick, as his quayside restaurant, Café 21, closes for refurbishment and rebranding as 21.
Dubbed Saltwater Fish Co, the new venture is part of Fenwick's multi-million pound redevelopment of the store's Food Hall. It will offer fast, casual seafood dining from its open kitchen, with counter seating for 23, with the interior developed with London-based design consultancy CADA Design (see artist's impression below).
The restaurant and retail operation will create eight new jobs and recruitment is underway to find fishmongers and chefs de partie prior to opening in early October.
Meanwhile Café 21, located on Newcastle Quayside and a flagship with Laybourne's 21 Hospitality Group, will be closed for business from 23 August. It is expected to reopen with a new look and name, following a £100,000 revamp by interior design firm Ward Robinson, on 8 September.
The restaurant relocated to its current site on Trinity Gardens from Queen Street almost eight years ago. Commenting on the rebrand, Laybourne said: "With the increased investment and comfort levels the Café name and image no longer reflected the enhanced nature of the restaurant.
"21 is our flagship and we felt this needed to be reflected not only in the furnishings and ambience but also in our brand and marketing activity. This significant refurbishment is a reinvestment in the customer experience. We are enhancing features that guests already love about the restaurant."
Sample dishes at Saltwater include freshly prepared fish, oysters from different beds, French-style fruits de mer platters, salt and pepper squid, seafood cocktail, crab sandwiches and salads. The menu will aim to reflect the ‘in season' produce fresh from day boats working the North East coast, while a fish-focused wine list will also be available.
Laybourne, who has acted as a consultant to Fenwick helping advise on the overall Food Hall redevelopment, said: "Our chefs will work hand in hand with the fishmonger, taking a ‘we cook what we sell, we sell what we cook' approach. Fish is seasonal so both our fishmonger and menu will be constantly on the move, reflecting the rhythm of the season.
"Due to our network of suppliers and producers that's been developed over many years we will only select the best of seasonal seafood and go wherever it takes to find the best. Our fishmongers will ensure we consistently offer the finest, highest quality seafood that comes from the fabulous larder off the North East coastline as well as other ports around the UK."
Laybourne operates the Newcastle-based 21 Hospitality Group, which comprises Café 21 at Fenwick, Caffe Vivo, The Broad Chare and Bistro 21 in Durham.
He was the first chef to bring a Michelin star to north-east England in 1992, an accolade he and his 21 Queen Street restaurant held for nine years, before he changed focus to develop a string of more casual bistro-style eateries. In 1999 he received an MBE for his contribution to the restaurant industry and tourism.
Latest video from The Caterer