Theatre, film and animation screenings, puppetry workshops and Tai Chi are just some of the things being offered as Roost restaurant and café in Cliftonville revamps its basement area.
Work is being carried out at the award-winning venue, in Cliff Terrace, after owners Mel Mountfield and Sally Geldard went into partnership with former publishing industry and then NHS worker Faye Chang.
The deal was struck last year after Mel and Sally decided to put Roost on the market.
Faye, who was living in London at the time, saw the site advertised and decided to have a viewing.
She said: “I’d been in the publishing industry for 15 years and then the NHS for 10 years and just decided it was time to change my life.
“I saw Roost advertised and checked it out. That’s how I ended up moving here so Margate chose me rather than the other way around.
“It has been a really big jump for me.”
Mel and Sally have run the restaurant since May 2016. Chef Mel had previously worked with Fergus Henderson at St John in London and with Jamie Oliver at Fifteen in London as well as being the former head chef at Ramsgate’s The Falstaff in Addington Street.
Sally used her business and hospitality experience to head up Roost’s front of house team. Now Faye is adding her expertise and investment to create the new basement venue – which will also have its own name – and improvements at the restaurant.
Faye said: “The basement space was under-utilised. The plans are to have a new name for downstairs which will be used for different purposes. We want public theatre and animation and short film screenings for children and adults with film and a meal nights.
In the longer term we want to develop puppetry, animation and film workshops. The space can be hired out for rehearsals and we are looking for a teacher to take Tai Chi and meditation.
“We are developing an extensive vegan menu and specialist non-alcoholic beverages and will have taster nights with vegan food matched to drinks.
“It will be a good space for private functions, catering for around 30 people, and it has a small bar. We are also developing a children’s menu for parties.”
The basement is being refurbished to include polished floors, atmospheric lighting and large paintings with an animation and film theme.
The venue is expected to be launched in March but some activities are already being offered with an animation taster workshop on Thursday, February 21 from 10am to 3pm. The session costs £8 per child, siblings £5, and will teach 2D animation to create moving characters, backgrounds and titles.
Saturday morning film club has also launched and there will be a Laughter Club coming to the venue on February 26 from 6.30pm. The first session is free and there is a 10% off deal for supper upstairs afterwards.