Rick Stein enters the London restaurant scene

rick-stein-at-rick-stein-porthlevenThe Stein empire is taking its first steps into London, having bought The Depot, which overlooks the Thames near Barnes Bridge, from its long-time owners.

Now 69, the chef and TV personality opened the Seafood Restaurant in Padstow with his former wife, Jill, in 1975. Since the couple split, the business is in fact as much the brainchild of his ex-wife Jill as of Stein himself, as he divides his time with his new family in Australia.

The business now owns 10 food venues plus a cookery school, patisserie and fishmonger in Cornwall, and has branched out of the county in the past two years with new restaurants in Winchester, Poole and Marlborough, which opened last week.

“I’ve often been asked if I’ll ever have a restaurant in London, and I’ve always said I wouldn’t,” Stein admitted. Apparently, the press release confides, he could not resist the site once he had seen it.

The Depot is popular for its views of a tree-lined section of the river. “It’s magical gazing out over the Thames”, as we quoted a reporter in last year’s Survey, although “food and service have never matched the location”.

Stein says The Depot will carry on in its present guise until the end of the year, when it will be refurbished.

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