Kent Restaurant Reviews And Features

Shepheard Neame acquires The Minnis Bar & Restaurant  

Jason Freedman the chef patron has sold the freehold of his  sea-front Minnis Bar & Restaurant in Birchington-on-Sea, to Shepheard Neame.  The Kent brewer will take control of the site on 29th June.

Freedman acquired the property, a former 1930s beachside café in 2003, but was forced to undertake a complete refurbishment when the two-storey building suffered major  fire damage in 2007.

It is believed Shepheard Neame will invest around £2m renovating and extending the building, with the addition of much-needed overnight accommodation for holiday makers.

The Minnis Bar & Restaurant, which under Jason was open all day and operated 365 days a year, currently has inside seating for over 140 diners.  There are 20 covers in the bar, 72 in the downstairs restaurant and a further 50 upstairs in the Taste of the Med tapas restaurant.  There is also alfresco seating for a further 80 on the sun terrace.

“It’s been a labour of love for nearly 13 years, it’s a big operation and open every day of the year,” said Jason, adding, “I want devote more time to my event catering business, developing artisan food crafts and be involved in a more intimate dining concept.”

Last year Freedman opened Curiously Kentish a café-delicatessen joint venture with The Minnis’s head chef Kevin Faux, as an outlet for the pair’s home made and home cured produce. There are also plans to host more of its sell-out monthly supper clubs, where diners turn up, not knowing what impromptu dishes of will be served or even who they will seated with.

Curiously Kentish has already received a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence award for 2015.

In November Freedman and Faux will travel to Tuscany in Italy to advanced 6-day Sapori (theory) & Salumi (practice) course to learn how to making a wide variety of traditional artisan Tuscan salumi (cured pork products), to enhance their existing range of home cured meat offerings.

Asked whether he could be tempted back into the restaurant business Freedman said, “I’ve been offered a couple of potentially interesting sites in Canterbury, but I won’t be rushing back into any large-scale 365-day a year operation in the foreseeable future.”

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