Top chef matches Cambridge innovation with new-style eaterie at revamped Grafton
Regis Crepy, one of East Anglia’s most renowned chefs, is teaming up with his son Alex to launch a UK-first fast food venture in The Grafton in Cambridge.
The father and son team is opening the 55-cover Amélie restaurant – named after Regis’ daughter – in the £28.5 million newly renovated Grafton Centre by the Vue Cinema.
The restaurant, scheduled to launch on August 1, will be open seven days a week – and the bar will be in Amélie’s bright yellow, old Citroen H van!
The duo are introducing Flammekueche cuisine to the UK. Flammekueche was originally created in the 14th centuries by bakers in Alsace on the French German border as a means of testing an oven’s temperature for their bread with a thinly stretched piece of dough; if the temperature was right the dough would bake in a few minutes leaving the edges crisp and slightly charred. Today it is the region’s speciality dish topped with bacon and onions.
Regis Crepy has owned three successful restaurants in Suffolk including the celebrated Great House in Lavenham for 32 years.
Alex has followed in his father’s footsteps in graduating in hospitality management from Lausanne, the top university for the hospitality industry. He spent three years working at the Gaucho Restaurant group in London becoming one of its youngest managing partners.
Regis said: “I am tremendously excited to be embarking on this new venture with Alexander and bringing Flammekueche, a relatively unknown and totally different eating experience to not only Cambridge but to the UK, too.
“Alex is keen to find his own niche and introduce Flammekueche to the cosmopolitan vibrant dining scene of Cambridge. Not quite ready to hang up my pots and pans, I am delighted to support him in this new venture.”
Amélie’s menu is concise and Flammekueche-centric. A choice of six tempting tapas style starters such as half a cauliflower roasted in paprika served with spicy mayonnaise, sardines with coriander and preserved lemon on sourdough.
For mains, Flammekueche which start at £5.95, will include: salmon with avocado, capers, courgettes, tomatoes and dill; smoked belly pork with chilli and pickled gherkins; Parma ham with parmesan and rocket; beetroot, poached pear, spinach and goats cheese.
Regis says Flammekeuche makes tasty desserts too – poached pear with chocolate, roasted almond, meringue and ice cream or apple compote with ice cream and Armagnac cream.
The bar-in-the-van will stock a carefully selected range of drinks - red, white, rosé and sparkling wines, soft drinks and beers including Amélie’s own golden ale from the Nethergate Brewery in Suffolk. For more information, visit www.amelierestaurants.co.uk
On a wider scale, The Grafton is nearing completion of the refurbishment by Legal & General and asset manager Wrenbridge. The centre has undergone substantial reconfiguration to create bright and open retail and leisure spaces and to match retailer and operator requirements.
Featuring a striking new food quarter, it is being marketed as the only destination in Cambridge to offer shopping, dining and leisure all under one roof.
The reconfiguration of the former BHS store has created new opportunities within the centre, with all three levels being reconfigured.
On the ground floor, the neighbouring H&M expanded its store and opened a new H&M Home concept, now offering a wider selection of menswear and womenswear plus homewear.
On the first floor, the former food court area has been opened up and connected to the former BHS unit to create Food Social, a new dining quarter where Amélie will be located.
This area will be home to eight new restaurants, including three dine-in pods and a new mall café in the atrium below. Food Social will integrate The Grafton’s existing dining and leisure offer which features Bella Italia and the recently refurbished Vue Cinema featuring eight screens. PureGym, opening a new fitness club on the second floor completes the changes.
• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Alex (left) and Regis Crepy on site at Amelie