Allen takes the plunge to go So-lo

Highly regarded chef Tim Allen opens his first restaurant as owner this today, after repeated successes working for other people – a point he emphasises with the name of his new venture, So-lo, in Lancashire.

“I’ve done it in everyone else’s restaurants in every place I’ve been, but it’s never actually been properly mine. So this is me stood on my own two feet. It’s really exciting,” he says.

Allen was appointed head chef at Launceston Place in 2012, followed by the Wild Rabbit at Kingham, Oxfordshire, in 2015 and the Flitch of Bacon in Little Dunmow, Essex, in 2018. All three bagged Michelin stars following his arrival, a hat-trick which is possibly unique among British chefs.

Yorkshire-born Allen’s choice of a former wine bar in the Lancashire village of Aughton means So-lo is just a few minutes’ walk from Moor Hall, Mark Birchall’s all-conquering gastronomic hit. With Moor Hall’s spinoff The Barn also in the village, Aughton, pop 8,000, will be up there with the likes of Bray (Fat Duck, Waterside Inn and Hind’s Head) as a small place with a big dining scene. But it’s hardly in the middle of nowhere: Liverpool is less than half an hour’s drive away, and Manchester not much further.

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