South African Chef Opening new venture in Solihull Suburb

If you haven’t heard of Chef Jacques Van Der Merwe, you will now. The acclaimed South African Chef is opening his new venture in Knowle in March 2020.  

Jacques Restaurant is by all accounts going to be very special indeed. Van Der Merwe and his team have purchased a prime town centre location and are investing several million pounds in creating a beautiful and illustrious new upmarket dining venue.

“The team never wanted to do things by halves”, reports Van Der Merwe.  “We had been searching for a suitable venue for some time and we finally came across ‘Position A’ last year. We had only one vision right from the start, ‘to create an unparalleled new dining venue; somewhere we could be extremely proud to offer our brand new menu & dining experience.”

“I’ve always been of the mind-set that you should try to give people exactly what they want.  I’ve prepared all sorts of menus over the years, from Michelin Star British fine dining, specialised South African cuisine, to preparing special requests for celebrity private diners; but having now been in the UK for a few years, I’ve fallen in love with the classic British menu.

I’ve heard a lot of negativity about how poor classic British food is, but I’ve got to say, I’m enamoured by it.  Luckily for me, the people I have spoken to around Birmingham and Solihull seem equally smitten with the prospect of sublime British food served locally.  What’s more, I can’t wait to unveil the ambience we are creating at the venue to correlate with our British theme.  I’ll not give the game away yet, but I’m pretty sure the diners will love it as much as we do!”

Jacques approach to honest cooking earned his first restaurant a place in the top 4 restaurants in South Africa in 2016’s Restaurant Week Spring edition and reaching the summit with a 1st place award in Restaurant Week Autumn Edition 2018.

Now, we will be able to experience the full Van Der Merwe culinary genius ourselves as he unveils plans for his first UK project that will set up home in the old HSBC Bank.  Serving around 110 diners on the first floor and around 30 in the downstairs bar, Jacques is set to provide the Midlands and Knowle in particular, with a fantastic new upmarket dining venue.

Jacques is passionate about his vocation, and plans to shake things up a bit and, as an independent, bring a whole new dynamic to the already bustling Midlands food scene.  So what can we expect from this restaurant?

“The menus are essentially a modern take on the great British cuisine embodying the some of the all time classics. Something that you really look forward to and can really enjoy every week and that offers an immersive and really satisfying dining experience. British style never goes out of fashion, so the interior will have a timeless elegance that is aspirational but not exclusive. Think of it as a modern take on vintage Mayfair in leafy Knowle”

“Our vision is to deliver an upmarket, authentic and locally sourced a la carte menu of Classic British Food, alongside a carefully selected wine list with a focus on our crown jewel – the ‘afternoon tea on the terrace’ experience.   Our bar will be the perfect place for our guests to relax and enjoy pre and post dining drinks.   We’ll be indulging in some serious cocktails, whisky & wine tasting events whilst lounging in an air of elegant British décor. We’re very excited to be developing this together.”

With a vast knowledge of wine and spirits, Jacques specialises in paired menus of all kinds: from coffee to brandies and even craft beer pairing menus. Jacques has a deep love for dessert and it shows in the way he merges old favourites and modern techniques. The results will leave the customer in awe and queuing up for more dessert heaven.

What’s more, Jacques Restaurant and Bar is being set up right from the start to deliver fresh seasonal food in a sustainable & environmentally friendly way – avoiding sourcing from miles away & wrapping everything in plastic whilst frozen for the journey!   The food is promised to be always fresh, prepared freshly in-house; locally sourced & plastic free – we can expect all of this to be borne out in the taste.

The old bank is currently being renovated to include a downstairs bar; a first floor level incorporating a beautiful private dining room; a glass covered terrace as well as a first floor bar.

Jacques Restaurant and Bar is set to open in Spring 2020
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