Chain overcomes tricky kitchen build as site gets green light

Le Bistrot Pierre chef training

French restaurant chain Le Bistrot Pierre admits that getting the kitchen ready for the opening of its new site in Bath next month was the “trickiest part” of what has turned out to be a protracted planning period due to the historic nature of the building it will tenant.

Planning applications for the site have now been approved, but the company says it has taken twice as long as it expected.

The restaurant will be housed in one of the city’s traditional Georgian townhouses, which experts believe had a shop-front and annexe added early in the 19th century. Over a period of time, the space in between the house and the annexe was then covered over to increase the size, resulting in an unusually large open street level space.

The theatre kitchen will be located in the rear annex but it hasn’t been without its complications.

“The trickiest part of the transition has been the theatre kitchen; the 19th century annex with distinctive curved ceiling and lantern roof light provided an interesting location for a theatre kitchen,” said Jackie Gillespie from Devon-based architects Gillespie Yunnie, which have been working on the project. However, the floor would need replacing to ensure it provided a firm base for the commercial kitchen equipment.”

Gillespie added that specialists will fit a ‘limecrete’ floor rather than standard concrete one due to its greater loading capabilities and breathable nature, which balances the requirements of the historic building.

Robert Beacham, co-founder of Bistrot Pierre, says the company is looking forward to opening for trade given that Bath has been in its sights for some time.

“Thankfully the work we’re having to do is relatively basic, there is no change of layout and we have been able to let the building inform much of the design. However, it has been a slow process to get to this point as we have had to work closely with building specialists and the town planning department to ensure any work that is done can be reversed — which is only right in such an elegant city. Planning has probably taken twice as long as usual but we’re grateful to the planning department who are very clued up and have been incredibly helpful throughout.”

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