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Last Brasserie to reopen with new ownership

PUBLISHED: 12:26 27 August 2020 | UPDATED: 18:32 27 August 2020

Head chef and new owner of the Last Brasserie and bar, Iain McCarten with his partner Bonnie

Head chef and new owner of the Last Brasserie and bar, Iain McCarten with his partner Bonnie

Archant

Norwich’s Last Brasserie is reopening next week – and the head chef is the new owner.

Iain McCarten has officially taken over the reins of the restaurant in St George’s Street from the four investors who stepped in to save it from permanent closure last year.

The restaurant – formerly known as The Last Wine Bar – has been closed for five months due to lockdown but is set to swing open its doors once again next Tuesday.

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Mr McCarten, 34, who became head chef in January 2017, takes over the restaurant from investors and business bosses Lynda Baxter, Mark Duffy, Mark Loveday and Vince Pearson, who bought the business in March 2019 vowing to turn it round and secure its future.

Their purchase came after the former owner retired and the venue looked in danger of closing.

Mr McCarten said: “Every chef’s dream is to own their own restaurant, and I am fortunate to have the opportunity to be proprietor of such a popular place.

“The four investors have delivered on their promises and really set the restaurant up, and despite the current difficult circumstances, I am confident that The Last has a good future ahead of it.

“We are fortunate that we have lots of space, so it will be easier for us than some to operate in our current socially-distanced world. We are as excited as all of our loyal customers that the buzz and ambience of The Last will soon return after so many months.

“I first heard about The Last when I was working in Brighton and asked one of my chefs where he had trained – to which he answered the Last. I’m thrilled to be the owner.”

Mr McCarten had hinted that he may take over earlier this month but contracts had to be signed.

One of the former investors, Mrs Baxter said: “When we took over The Last 18 months ago our primary intention was to save this well-loved Norfolk institution and secure its future. Since then we have invested heavily in the business, and despite the challenges of Covid-19 and lockdown, have built the foundations for its future.

“We are delighted to be handing the baton on to Iain, who has been a big part of the task of rebuilding the business. All four of us will continue to be enthusiastic champions of The Last, and look forward to seeing it prosper under its new owner.”

The restaurant will also be opening seven days a week for the first time from mid September with Sunday roasts back on the menu.

Mr McCarten also plans to open a small shop selling Norfolk produce, showcasing many of the suppliers who provide ingredients for use in the kitchen.

He will bring back around 15 furloughed staff into the business as it re-opens. The autumn will also see a delayed celebration of the restaurant’s 30th birthday, which was in April.

Mr McCarten is originally from Devon, and has worked in a variety of kitchens including the renowned Gingerman Group of restaurants in Brighton under chef Ben McKellar, and Firedoor in Sydney working with chef Lennox Hastie. He was introduced to the world of fine cooking from an early age – his father was a chef at the Dorchester in London working under the legendary Anton Mosimann.


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