THE FIRST Coal Grill and Bar opened in Wimbledon in 2007, making a feature of seasonal local produce cooked in a 'live theatre' open-plan kitchen.
Further outlets have opened in Basingstoke, and most recently, Bristol. All feature prime-graded, 28-day aged Aberdeen Angus beef on the menu. The meat at Basingstoke Coal Grill and Bar comes from nearby Birtwhistle Farm.
Group executive chef Andrew Keen says: "Our freshly prepared, chargrilled food appeals to the health conscious. However, eating out is supposed to be a treat and we have no intention of taking the enjoyment out of the experience. The live cooking area gives customers the chance to see and smell their meal being prepared, while our menus are anything but bland."
The brand's chargrilled favourites include tuna loin, white crab, saffron and lime risotto with basil pesto; chicken quesadilla with spicy salsa and melted cheese; loin of pork with spicy chipolata, lime marinade, fresh grilled pineapple and sweet potato mash; and flame-grilled breast of chicken marinated in a barbecue sauce layered with bacon, roasted peppers and melted mozzarella with sugar snaps and chips.
Visually, 'Coal Fire Sticks' are also a key attraction. These include flame-grilled skewers of prime meat and fish cooked over charcoal threaded with sweet peppers, onion, mushrooms, courgettes and tomato, served with Bombay potatoes or chips, crisp mixed salad, hot chilli, cooling tzatziki and barbecue dips.
With such a heavy focus on chargrilling in the public glare, Coal Grill and Bar was pressured to find equipment which would not only do the job, but also operate in limited work space.
Andrew says: "With our open-plan set-up, there simply isn't the room you would perhaps have in a restaurant or pub kitchen, and finding quality equipment no bigger than 900mm wide isn't easy. The equipment also had to be able to deal with the demands of nearly 2,000 dishes per week, while looking smart and professional in front of customers."
The Coal team worked with Dawson Foodservice Equipment to find a solution. "After explaining the predicament and talking through the options with Dawson, we decided to invest in the stainless-steel topped Mareno Chargrill, which not only grills food, but is just 800mm wide and fits the compact space perfectly," says Andrew.
"We also invested in the Rosinox Solid Plate to cook up pots of pasta, which has two ring burners where the central point is the hottest - it's a great design when space is limited and a combination I hadn't come across in that size before. We also bought the Rosinox 4 burner oven range to complete the live theatre installation and bring it to life."
- For more information on Dawson, call 01226 350450 or go to www.dawsonmmp.co.uk Dawson