The LidoTapas is taking over the former Kitchen CT9 premises in Cliftonville on a permanent basis.
Chef and business owner Jools Moore has been operating the tapas as a pop-up restaurant at the venue in Cliff Terrace since January but has now agreed a lease to take the site on full-time, meaning an expansion of the business and its opening hours.
The Kitchen CT9 closed its doors earlier this month due to a decision to change the way the charity operates.
A lick of paint and some of Jools’s own art on the walls has given the venue a new feel and Jools is aiming to start with increased opening hours and then move on to breakfast and lunch offerings.
He said: “Once I start breakfast and lunch I hope to get more staff in. After June 11 the basement will be clear so I want to develop that, have a cocktail bar, put on events or hire space out or use as overflow for the restaurant.”
LidoTapas also has a 2am licence which Jools wants to promote by offering late night food on a reduced menu from 11pm.
The site is also able to operate as an off licence for those who might like to pop in and pick up a bottle of wine.
Jools said: “It’ll be a reduced menu from 11pm but there will be bar food, finger foods, for people who have had a night out and fancy something nice to eat.
“I’ll also do private hire.”
It has been quite the journey for Jools. He was head chef at Margate Winter Gardens but when he was made redundant in October 2020 due to the covid-19 crisis he took the plunge to open his own mobile pizza business.
Named Mia Papa’s Kitchen – after daughter Mia and himself as her Papa – Jools started trading at Northdown Brewery, making pizzas on a Saturday night to support the brewery’s tap room customers. This went from strength to strength, building up a loyal following, and Jools widened his trading to the Tap Room / Banks pub in Cliftonville, private functions and big events including Malle London’s motorcycle event at Grimesthorpe Castle.
The motivated chef didn’t stop there. In September last year he opened an evening ‘pop-up’ at Batchelor’s Patisserie in Cliftonville and extended the menu to offer starters, salads, desserts and more.
The temporary arrangement proved a hit and Jools adapted again with a new menu trading as LidoTapas at The Kitchen CT9 in the evenings.
Now, with The Kitchen CT9 moving out, Jools has signed a lease -official from June 11but open for business now – to take on the whole premises.
He said: “I still have so much to learn about running my own business, especially now I have my own place. I’ll be building it up and gradually taking on staff. I may even rebrand.”
And LidoTapas looks set to continue being a popular spot with diners, who include recent guests cinematographer Sir Roger Deakins – during the Empire of Light shoot- and his wife James.