This month’s restaurant openings, festivals and food news in Herts
Biggest Bella in Hemel
Brasserie chain Bella Italia has opened its biggest restaurant in Britain to date with a £1m, 192-cover venue at Jarman Park in Hemel Hempstead. It joins the group’s other Herts location at the Galleria, Hatfield.
The new restaurant features outdoor seating, a bespoke bar area and several 10-seat booths to cater for large groups. It will also offer Bella Italia’s signature pasta, which comes from the oldest pasta maker in Italy, the Agnesi family, who have been in the business since 1824 in Oneglia.
Raymond Blanc’s Highwayman
Berkhamsted’s former Brasserie Blanc has been given a new identity after extensive refurbishment as the Highwayman, part of celebrity chef Raymond Blanc’s new White Brasserie Company’s chain of upscale pubs-with-food with a French flavour. Features include a monthly changing set menu, extensive à la carte selection and bar snacks.
Customers are promised all their favourite dishes from the brasserie days, including a set menu at £9.95 for two courses, plus classic pub grub alongside authentic French fare with all dishes are cooked from scratch in the open kitchen.
Hertford food fest
The fourth Hertford Food and Drink Festival takes to the streets this month with a big menu of events from Friday October 9 to Sunday October 11, with cookery classes, walks and talks on real beer and Hertford food themes, and a pop-up restaurant at Hertford Brewery.
As in previous years, there will also be a town-centre food and drink trail, cookery demonstrations featuring local chefs and a community market in Bircherley Green shopping centre alongside the regular farmers’ market, plus a range of family-friendly activities. For full detials, visit gohertford.co.uk/events
Auberge welcomes wine guru
The award-winning Auberge du Lac restaurant on the Brocket Hall estate at Welwyn has appointed Marjorie Cropp-Legendre as its new sommelier. She began working with wines at the Michelin-starred La Trompette in Chiswick and has also worked at the Glasshouse in Kew and at Harvey Nichols as head sommelier. Her duties at the Auberge will include working with head chef Marcus McGuinness to create new food and wine pairings for the tasting menus with a focus on developing a classic list of Bordeaux and Burgundy reds and whites.
New tune for Whistling Duck
The 150-cover Whistling Duck restaurant at the Riverside garden centre by the River Lea near Hertford has reopened under new management after a major kitchen refurbishment to install new state-of-the-art equipment.
Owners Russell and Jo Jeffery have appointed Leanne Richards to manage the business, while Steve Bower has returned as head chef. Bower said, ‘I’m thrilled to be coming back on board and to be introducing an innovative new menu in keeping with the Whistling Duck’s commitment to serving quality, carefully sourced food at deserving prices.’