£1 million makeover creates historic haven for the hungry in Fowey

Havener’s Bar and Grill opened on Monday 18th July on Fowey Town Quay.

At 6pm on the Town Quay, in the presence of the High Sheriff of Cornwall, a steel band and the Fowey Lifeboat, St Austell Brewery’s £1 million Havener’s development formally opened its doors to the public, promising a unique new dining experience in a landmark site at the heart of the town.

Following the purchase of the former Food for Thought restaurant from Martin Billingsley in November 2015, the Grade 2 listed building has been comprehensively renovated throughout to create a stylish, 150 cover restaurant inside with further seating for 100 outside and incorporating take away facilities on the quay.

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To create Havener’s unique and innovative seafood led menu, the Brewery has been working hand in hand with celebrity chef James Strawbridge, of Hungry Sailors and Saturday Farm fame, who will act as executive chef at the new restaurant to guarantee the best, locally sourced food in an informal, modern setting that enjoys one of the best waterside locations in the region.

Thrilled to have been working on the Havener’s project from the outset James commented, “I’ve had an existing relationship with the Brewery for years, using their great ales in many of my recipes, but to be involved in Havener’s and planning the menus from the outset has been an incredible experience. Having spent years learning about food and developing great friendships with suppliers and producers of amazing local ingredients, I really want to do those ingredients justice and earn the respect off those friends.”

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James added, “To be honest I have spent years creating this menu, especially when it comes to the seafood side of it. I’ve probably stopped and cooked in every port from here to London Bridge and I’ve been constantly planning for this moment. Nobody’s excitement can match my own and I can’t wait to start cooking!”

St Austell Brewery’s catering development manager Nick Hemming, who created the extensive menus alongside James, said, “It’s been a fabulous opportunity working with James. Havener’s is a new venture but we share the same passion for produce, cooking and Cornwall so it’s perfect partnership.”

Featuring gumbos, crab claws and oysters alongside traditional burgers and fish and chips, the menu is designed to show the very best of local produce in new and exciting ways for both locals and visitors alike to enjoy at family friendly prices.

“We want people to come to Fowey and have their first experience of truly luxurious seafood but we also want to inspire people to go home and try out our menus for themselves, so we want to engage with people through master classes and workshops and getting them to ask questions about the menu. It’s all about confirming Fowey as a true destination for great food.” Said Strawbridge.

Building on James’ and Nick’s extensive experience, new manager Rob Peperell joins St Austell Brewery from fellow family brewers Young’s. With a wealth of experience running their famous Lamb hotel and pub at Hindon as well as his own restaurants such as the Lime Lounge in Bath, Rob is now settled in Fowey with his family and looking forward to the challenge of bringing Havener’s to life alongside head chef Max Savage, who until recently ran the kitchen at the Llawnroc Hotel.

“This really is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Rob. “Working with such a great team in such an amazing location is a real thrill. The menu looks amazing and the way the old building has been brought back to life has created something really special.”

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As part of a grade 2 star listed building on the Town Quay, Havener’s incorporates elements that date back to medieval times which have been painstakingly preserved by local craftsmen using traditional building materials and methods and through the interior design concepts of Cardiff-based Design management Partnership. The Havener was originally the official responsible for administering the maritime properties of the earldom and duchy of Cornwall and when the Black Prince, son of Edward III, became the first Duke of Cornwall in 1337, he set about organising the revenues from the duchy as soon as possible. Thomas Fitz Henry was appointed the first havener to the Duchy for life with an annual salary of 10 marks and a robe the same year, serving the prince for an impressive 35 years from his Town Quay base.

Responsible for the acquisition and restoration works, Estate Director Adam Luck commented, “Fowey is a wonderful location and we have strong and successful links with the community through our existing pubs stretching back for generations.  Havener’s, with its unique heritage and location, gives us the opportunity to introduce a new and exciting, family friendly eating experience into the heart of the town, creating more jobs and attracting more visitors to benefit local trades at the same time. Thanks have to go to all of those who have helped to make this venture possible and for the support that has been shown locally to our plans throughout the planning and redevelopment process.

“After all the hard work, we’re delighted to have opened and we’re really looking to seeing as many people here as possible to show them the fruits of our labour.”

For more information about Havener’s, the menus or the launch, click here.

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