The site of The Townhouse restaurant on Whiteladies Road occupies a pivotal position in the recent history of Bristol’s restaurant scene.
As Rocinantes, it was one of the first and best tapas bars in the city. Then, under the acclaimed chef and restaurateur Barney Haughton, it subsequently evolved into Quartier Vert, with many Bristol food businesses – including Bell’s Diner, Bordeaux Quay and Hart’s Bakery – able to trace their lineage back to one or both of these bygone favourites.
The Townhouse has this week been purchased by the team behind the likes of The Grace, The Greenbank and The Knowle, who hope to reestablish the site’s food credentials but see it very much as a modern, bar-led operation.
The new owners will be running the business exactly as it is now for the foreseeable future, and keeping the Townhouse name.
Zazu’s Kitchen Pubs partner Dougal Templeton, also a consultant publisher at Bristol24/7, said: “We see the hallmark of the Zazu’s Kitchen approach as being able to create food and drink venues which delivers what locals are looking for and which match the local need.
“Customers in every place we have ever taken on welcome what they feel are major improvements and that’s something we are proud of and work hard to achieve.”
Former Townhouse owners Nick Armitage and Vanessa Adam broke the news in a newsletter to their customers, with their new baby a major reason for the restaurant’s sale.
They said: “A few things have changed for us lately, in particular one little thing, with ten tiny fingers and toes, who has turned our already busy and chaotic world into even more of a whirlwind. But we wouldn’t have it any other way.
“And so we have to say goodbye and a big thank you to all of our brilliant customers over the years who helped to put a smile on our faces and a spring in our step each day.
“Thank you for eating and drinking at our place and we hope you continue to find and enjoy great British food done well.”
It has also been confirmed this week that the former Zazu’s Kitchen site on Gloucester Road will become a second Rocatillos, while the former Zazu’s on North Street is already The Malago.