First-time restaurateurs Charmaine Blatchford and Mark McHugo are opening a modern British restaurant in Hay-on-Wye, Powys next week.
The pair are in the process of transforming the former St John’s Place restaurant site on Lion Street into a 22-cover relaxed fine-dining concept with a focus on local produce and sustainability. They have spent £65,000 on acquiring and refurbishing the site, which used to be part of a church.
Dishes will include starters such as heritage tomato salad with goat’s cheese and basil; mains such as Herefordshire pork loin, confit carrot, cider jus and crackling; and desserts like dark chocolate delice, cherries, sesame and lime. Local suppliers include Smallfarms Butchers, 100% Hay and Wild Foraging.
Chef McHugo previously held the head chef role at the Six Senses Zighy Bay hotel in Oman, as a junior sous chef at Eden Hotel Collection’s Arden hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon, and most recently as head chef at the Cellar Door in Hereford, where the pair met.
Blatchford, who will oversee front of house, previously worked as a general manager at the restaurant as well as at Ludlow Food Centre as retail manager, and was familiar with Hay-on-Wye being from nearby Wigmore. They will oversee a small restaurant team of seven or eight.
“There’s a proper community feel to Hay,” said Blatchford. She said they hope to offer “high end food but without any pretentiousness” in a space that is “welcoming and relaxed and friendly”.