Bianchi’s restaurant opened their doors for the first time on Saturday, setting up a barbecue and serving Aperol Spritz to people enjoying St Paul’s Carnival.
The new Montpelier restaurant from the team behind Pasta Loco, Pasta Ripiena and La Sorella is due to open on the corner of York Road and Picton Street in a building that for 40 years was Bell’s Diner.
Pegs Quinn will be head chef in what promises to be a traditional Italian trattoria when it officially opens in mid-August.
“Having lived in the surrounding area for all our lives, we know the joys of Carnival and felt it was a great way to introduce ourselves to the community as new operators,” owners Dominic Borel and Ben Harvey said.
They added: “We had a great afternoon talking with locals and sharing our vision for the future. The excitement and gratitude we received was truly a humbling experience.”
Food and drink at Bianchi’s was served from 1pm to around 7.30pm on Saturday; but while they were closing down, a sound system was put together opposite the restaurant outside the nearby convenience store.
In a printed statement on A4 paper attached to the restaurant windows, Borel and Harvey were keen to stress that the sound system “had absolutely nothing to do with us”.
“The small crowd of people enjoying the music in a respectful manner soon became a large mob that showed little respect whatsoever for the neighbourhood.”
Borel and Harvey said that some people were “generally behaving in a disgraceful manner”, trying to force the door of their restaurant open and climbing up their walls onto the windows of the flat above.
They said: “At the point of leaving the restaurant, we were genuinely concerned about the welfare of the building and those around it, but felt helpless in the situation as there must have been at least 200 people who were not going to listen to any of us.
“We walked away from a day which started with all the happiness we had hoped for and left feeling deeply concerned, intimidated and baffled that the whole thing was being allowed to continue.”
The music continued until around 5am on Sunday morning, with revellers leaving copious amounts of litter and destroying one of the community flower pots.
Once again stressing in their statement that they had nothing whatsoever to do with the rave, Borel and Harvey said: “We felt sickened by the idiots that showed zero respect for the community, and sad that on a day which is supposed to be about celebrating communities coming together it was spoilt by this selfish mob.”
They added: “As a new member of the community we want to show that we are here to uphold the legacy of respect and love that Bell’s Diner has had for so many years in this wonderful community.”