Brome Restaurant re-opens after renovation

Oaksmere reopenes after extensive refurbishment by businessman Fraser Duffin. It will be managed by executive chef Colin Jennings and operations director Michelle McDonald.
Picture by: Sonya Duncan Oaksmere reopenes after extensive refurbishment by businessman Fraser Duffin. It will be managed by executive chef Colin Jennings and operations director Michelle McDonald. Picture by: Sonya Duncan

Thursday, September 4, 2014
4:42 PM

A restaurant and hotel in Brome that had fallen into disrepair has opened its doors after a new owner renovated it.

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Oaksmere reopenes after extensive refurbishment by businessman Fraser Duffin. It will be managed by executive chef Colin Jennings and operations director Michelle McDonald.
Picture by: Sonya DuncanOaksmere reopenes after extensive refurbishment by businessman Fraser Duffin. It will be managed by executive chef Colin Jennings and operations director Michelle McDonald. Picture by: Sonya Duncan

The Oaksmere, formally known as The Cornwallis, opened its restaurant and cocktail bar on Thursday, August 21, after a six month renovation period by new owner Fraser Duffin.

Mr Duffin, a local business man who lives in Diss, felt the people of Brome needed their local back.

“My intention has always been to re-create the atmosphere of old that so many friends and local people loved,” said the 51-year-old.

“I often visited this place as I live two miles away and have seen it go into decline. It looked in a rather sorry state and needed livening up and some love given to it so locals could use it again.”

Oaksmere reopenes after extensive refurbishment by businessman Fraser Duffin. It will be managed by executive chef Colin Jennings and operations director Michelle McDonald.
Picture by: Sonya DuncanOaksmere reopenes after extensive refurbishment by businessman Fraser Duffin. It will be managed by executive chef Colin Jennings and operations director Michelle McDonald. Picture by: Sonya Duncan

Mr Duffin, who has lived in the area for 20 years, reverted back to the original name of the 16th century building, a popular move with the locals.

“There has been a fantastic reaction from people, a lot of them saw it fall into repair and are now coming back. They also like the old name coming back because the name change was not popular. The restaurant is named Jennings @ The Oaksmere after the executive Chef Colin Jennings,”

Having bought the pub and restaurant back in February, Mr Duffin hired local builders and contractors to restore and renovate the building.

“All the old features of the building have been restored and bits that had fallen off the building have been remade and the outside renovated.

Oaksmere reopenes after extensive refurbishment by businessman Fraser Duffin. It will be managed by executive chef Colin Jennings and operations director Michelle McDonald.
Picture by: Sonya DuncanOaksmere reopenes after extensive refurbishment by businessman Fraser Duffin. It will be managed by executive chef Colin Jennings and operations director Michelle McDonald. Picture by: Sonya Duncan

“Inside, every feature has been kept but we’ve added modern luxury fittings. No stone has been left unturned.

“My aim is to make it the best venue for people and somewhere they can enjoy. I want it to be a welcoming pub/bar, with an excellent fine dinning restaurant, and luxurious rooms where people can stay. The grand opening is planned for the end of September when the hotel rooms are complete and the staff are settled in.”

And Mr Duffin is excited about the future of The Oaksmere.

“If it all goes well we would like to extend by adding more rooms and spa facilities. As well as hosting outdoor arts events. We have 17 acres of grounds we want to fill with attractions. This year we’re putting on a Christmas market.”

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