Hotelier James Thomas and chef Craig Mather, the pair behind the Empire Room restaurant at the Royal Harbour Hotel in Ramsgate in Thanet in Kent, have opened Little Ships Restaurant and Café.
Overlooking the marina, the 80-cover establishment, occupies the former Miles Bar site, which closed at the end of June, before being completed refurbished for the new venture.
The Little Ships’ name plays tribute to the flotilla of privately-owned boats used to help evacuate stranded British troops from the Dunkirk beaches in 1940.
It also refers to Thanet local trawlers, which supply the fresh fish cooked in the restaurants.
Chef Mather has installed a locally-made Harrison charcoal-fuelled free-standing oven in his new open kitchen, at a cost of £6k for the hand-built addition.
Now Thomas and Mather plan to roll out the concept in other locations along the coast, with Margate, Folkestone and Brighton on the agenda.
Thomas has spent the last 18 years running the 27-bedroom four-star Royal Harbour Hotel.
The Little Ships restaurant and bar has newly polished floors, brasserie style seating shipped over from Boulogne, a wood-cladding on walls and Farrow & Ball paint.