Rick Stein stays silent over Eastbourne restaurant

Rick Stein pictured with fan Gorete Farkhad on a visit to Eastbourne in July last year
Rick Stein pictured with fan Gorete Farkhad on a visit to Eastbourne in July last year

Three months after scrapping plans to open a signature restaurant at Eastbourne’s Wish Tower site amid economic uncertainty after the Brexit vote, celebrity chef Rick Stein has announced he is to open two new eateries elsewhere.

The restaurateur, who pulled out of the deal with Eastbourne Borough Council at the 11th hour in July after the UK voted to leave the EU, said he was opening up in Barnes in London and Marlborough in Wiltshire.

Mr Stein’s organisation did not respond to the Herald’s request this week for a comment about the two new restaurants and whether he would re-consider his Eastbourne decision in light of his apparent renewed confidence in the market.

The news comes as open data on Eastbourne council’s website shows that in the last year the authority has paid more than £1.7 million to renowned architects Levitt Bernstein for developing designs for the new Wish Tower restaurant and the multi-million pound Devonshire Park regeneration.

A council spokesperson said this week though that fees paid to Levitt Bernstein for the Wish Tower project were only £24,000 and the remainder was for the project which will see the Congress Theatre, Winter Garden and Devonshire Park Theatre restored to their former glory, substantial improvements made to the international tennis centre, the creation of a top-flight new conference venue and public realm enhancements.

And a council spokesperson said, “While it was disappointing the Rick Stein organisation had a last minute change of heart, the council remains absolutely committed to securing a world class restaurateur.

“The designs by the internationally renowned architects, Levitt Bernstein, for the new Wish Tower restaurant are superb.

“They perfectly reflect the council’s ambition to create a high quality restaurant, run by the highest quality operator, in one of the most desirable seafront locations. Feedback has been very positive.

“They were appointed separately to deliver the Wish Tower restaurant designs. Their fees for this amount to £24,000. All other fees to Levitt Bernstein are for their work on Devonshire Park.”

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