Flipping through the Guardian magazine last Saturday as one often does on a lazy and wet weekend, I came across a restaurant review by Marina O’Loughlin. I immediately sat up and took notice as it was one of Rick Stein’s restaurants - at Sandbanks in Dorset.
While I have never been there, I, like many others in the Marlborough area, am as excited about the upcoming opening of one of his establishments on the High Street.
In fact, it certainly seems to be the 'talk of the town' at the moment.
Having tea almost across the road from where he plans to open up, at 100 Chai Street the other day, people there were talking with much anticipation while stirring their Indian brew. They asked each other how many new jobs will it create, how much it will put Marlborough on the map (if it needs it), how much more traffic will it add to the High Street (as if we need that) and how good his food is.
We just can’t wait.
However, Ms O’Loughlin, writing in the Guardian, wasn’t all THAT impressed. She even called for Mr Stein himself while at Sandbanks to tell him personally what she thought of his food, only to be told that his son, instead, was on duty.
“It’s all too corporate and slick,” she wrote. “Overproduced and soulless, safe and anodyne: an M&S cashmere of a restaurant. It is of course wildly busy; people pile in even at the most off-peak times.”
I can imagine that once RS opens up in Marlborough, the like of Ms O’Loughlin and other food critics, will be among the first to see what the Stein empire's latest bit of expansion into our area is like.
Many foodies are tired of the High Street regulars that Marlborough has to offer – I’m thinking ASK and Pizza Express – so RS and his team, I hope, will be welcomed with a brass band puffing its way down the High Street to mark the opening.
He has already said that he will employ around 40 people and the restaurant will seat about 100 people. On signing the lease, he said proudly: “When I saw the building in the High Street, I thought what a perfect restaurant it would make."
“For the menu, I’m thinking a strong element of local meat and game, but with many of our favourite seafood dishes from Padstow too."
“I’m very much in favour of local food and we’ll be looking to highlight some of the best produce in Wiltshire.”
I for one, can’t wait.
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