The restaurant team at Opera Grill in Chester are celebrating after winning the Best Newcomer title at the 21st annual Cheshire Life Food and Drink Awards. Proud team members from the internationally inspired Pepper Street restaurant, owned by Individual Restaurants, whose venues are frequented by celebrities and footballers, joined fellow nominees and winners at a glitzy black tie awards ceremony at the Carden Park Hotel near Chester on Monday night to mark one of the biggest events in the calendar for the area’s hospitality industry.
Editor of Cheshire Life Louise Taylor said: “The Cheshire dining scene has welcomed several good newcomers in the past year but it was impossible to overlook a restaurant whose gobsmacking scale and ambition equalled the grandeur of its name.
“Behind the colonnaded entrance to a former Methodist chapel, a dramatic new restaurant took shape, the result of a £3 million investment.
“The décor of Opera Grill is stunning and the menu is world-shrinkingly eclectic, with many of those ingredients on show behind shop-style counters.
“Add some great music to the mix and you have….Cheshire Life’s Newcomer of the Year.” The prestigious awards recognise the key players from the county’s food and drink sector including hoteliers, chefs, restaurateurs, pub landlords and food producers and include a number of different categories, with the Best Newcomer section open to anyone in the food or drink industry who has started a new venture within the last 18 months. The criteria include the impact a venue has made on the local community and whether it has helped to promote Cheshire food and drink to a new audience. Opera Grill General Manager Tom Culshaw said: “We are delighted to have won the award and I think it is testament to how hard our team work to make sure guests have an amazing experience.” The restaurant, with its opulent neoclassical Greek façade and glamorous roof terrace, is rapidly becoming known as one of the most upmarket dining and live music venues in the northwest, with its musical offering recently extending to performances from ‘the People’s Tenor’, Russell Watson and the award-winning opera singer Jonathan Antoine. The venue will also host the iconic London music club Ronnie Scott’s, starting on Wednesday, July 26 ahead of an exclusive eight-week residency in September, the first northern residency for the club.
The restaurant’s opening, in August last year, was followed this Spring by a glamorous revamp of its sister restaurant, Piccolino, opposite, also owned by Individual Restaurants.