The 400-year-old pub and restaurant in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, doesn’t look much on a cool October day but, come the winter 2019 launch date, it is hoped that it will be one of the jewels on the town’s affluent high street, Daniel assures The Morning Advertiser.
Since taking over the venue earlier this year, after working with Steven and Ami Ellis at the Oxford Blue in Windsor, the couple have begun a Goliath overhaul of the former coaching inn, which sprawls across two characterful floors and features a generous garden.
Although the rooms are dust-filled and colour samples are stuck to unloved walls, there is already a significant amount of promise that the Greyhound will soon shows signs of welcoming elegance. But this is not going to be a stuffy eating-only venue, far from it, Daniel confirms.
“We will have a great food offer and it will be about delivering the best experience possible when it comes to dining, but we have made plenty of space for drinkers and locals – that is important to us.”
To make way for drinkers, there will be a drinking-only lounge at the front of the pub, as well as an upstairs bar that will be opened during the colder winter months and an entire patio in the garden. “All for drinking only – no food,” he says.
“We want to make sure that guests feel comfortable to pop in for a drink or two, be it a beer or a glass of wine or a coffee or they may want to come in for a full-blown celebratory meal or just a midweek treat or something nice on the weekend,” he says.
Soon be their dining room
Underneath dust cloths and tucked into corners, the couple are hiding the spoils of what will soon be their dining room. Chesterfield chairs, sofas, banquettes and settees that have been gathered from all corners of the UK and are all safely waiting to be used.
When the pub is up and running, there will be space for 53 covers inside the pub and restaurant and 22 outside.
A significant amount of work has been undertaken but there is still more to be done, including a cellar fit-out, a wine room and a kitchen to be fully installed.
Great care and attention has been placed in choosing every element of the pub’s design, including the kitchen doors, which will be restored Victorian wood and stained glass.
The Greyhound is a free-of-tie lease with Wellington Pub Company, which is important to the couple, who say it is vital they are 100% able to fulfil their ideas and ambitions – from the ice used in the drinks to the food. A high-calibre chef has already been signed for the new venture, the name of whom The Morning Advertiser will exclusively reveal soon.
What is clear are the service skills Daniel has carefully built up over the years working in venues such as Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, will be at the core of the Greyhound.
“As a team, we do appreciate that some of the most special moments in people’s lives happen when they are eating or drinking out, and one of the best things about our job is to be part of that and to make it more special,” he explains.
Getting every detail right
“It’s one hell of an investment. We’re not just painting the walls and opening, we’re putting everything we’ve got into this because we want it to be very special for everyone who walks through our doors. We’ve worked hard at getting every detail right. We really want to create an environment where people feel comfortable.”
Although the couple are very optimistic about the Greyhound and achieving their ambitions for the pub and restaurant, the current state of the pub trade and changing consumer demands has been deeply considered.
“Everything is changing, people are shopping online and people are happy to cook at home,” explains Daniel.
“People do eat and drink more at home. But one thing that will never change and that no one can compete with at home is the service, being looked after, feeling special, enjoying a drink while soaking up the pub’s atmosphere and having food cooked by someone who has a special talent is unique. And, of course, sharing that occasion with the people you love in that environment.”
Yes, there is change in the pub trade, but there are a lot of pubs opening and succeeding because the operators get the fact that they have to offer good service.
“I have genuine care for my guests. I care so much that it can make me happy, sad or excited. I can go through the full range of emotions during a service because I want each guest to see how much we care.
“Service is the most beautiful career because of that, it really is.”