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Rick Stein’s Sandbanks, Poole, Dorset
Rick and Jill Stein’s latest venture is in Sandbanks, near Poole, Dorset.
With a seaside location providing stunning views over picturesque Poole harbour the restaurant offers a casual lunch menu which includes crab salads and moules mariniere alongside seafood dishes including Dover sole meunière, turbot hollandaise and Fruits de Mer.
The management of the restaurant kitchen is overseen by Rick’s son, Stein Group executive chef Jack Stein. Jack has risen through the ranks, from kitchen porter, then commis chef following university rising to sous chef at The Seafood Restaurant, Padstow before taking on the role as group development chef. As executive chef Jack ensures that food at Sandbanks is consistent with that produced in all the other restaurants in the group.
Sandbanks’ head chef is Pete Murt – an experienced seafood chef who began his career working at The Seafood Restaurant in Padstow under head chef Stephane Delourme. He spent a couple of years away from Cornwall at the two Michelin starred Hibiscus Restaurant in London before returning to the Seafood Restaurant after a short spell travelling.
The restaurant is open every day for lunch and dinner and is set out across two dining areas, split over two storeys. The upstairs restaurant area seats 120 and takes reservations for lunch and dinner. Downstairs the emphasis is on a more casual dining approach, with a bar and a seafood preparation bar. Customers can watch the chefs preparing platters of oysters, langoustines and sashimi. In the ground floor dining area customers can enjoy something from the a la carte menu or simply pop in for a glass of wine, a cocktail or a coffee.
Motivation for investment
When Rick Stein announced the opening of the new restaurant he said: “Sandbanks is the perfect place for a good fish restaurant. I’ve had my eye on it ever since I passed through about 15 years ago when I travelled the coast of Britain to make the Seafood Lovers’ Guide. Somewhere to drop in for local lemon sole, oysters or crab I thought, and now my dream has come true.”
Rick’s vision for the restaurant is “a place for some informal, inexpensive seafood maybe coming off Sandbanks beach or for spending some time on the Poole harbour side of the restaurant eating lobster or Dover sole, drinking lovely chilled white Burgundy and thinking how relaxing a view over the water can be. I’m very excited.”
The building required renovating and re-styling, the interior design work carried out by Jill Stein.
The kitchen has to cater for in the region of 200 covers per service. Cooking arrangements need to be flexible as the menu content varies. Fish is unsurprisingly the primary ingredient but the menu covers much more than just fish.
Flexible space is required so that the kitchen can be operated with fewer chefs during quiet periods but has enough room to allow doubling up when the restaurant is busy and the kitchen is in full flow.
The cooking solution needs to be able to handle the delicate nature of fish and seafood but include more robust cooking methods for meat, vegetables and pastry. Each part of the kitchen, the prep areas and cooking solutions has to fit into its own self-contained area for each of the four menu groups, while allowing a productive workflow from kitchen to plate to table.
In addition, the cook suite has to fit into a long, narrow space but still allow for chefs and preparation staff to move around efficiently and safely.
The solution also has to split the energy loads between gas and electricity supplies on site.
After investigating several alternatives for the kitchen design and equipment Sandbanks opted for equipment from Grande Cuisine.
The kitchen was designed and installed in partnership with professional catering contractor Salix. A central island design featuring a double-sided CAPIC cook suite was developed to get the most from the available space.
Each prep space is designed to work in harmony with a related cooking area, split into fish, meat, veg and pastry. The prep areas surround the central island arrangement to reduce movement around the kitchen and achieve the highest productivity from the space.
A double profile CAPIC Armen 900 modular suite was specified. The suite features central planchas which are key to delivering delicate fish dishes. The planchas are flanked by induction hobs at either end with a central Bain Marie.
CAPIC planchas feature a composite stainless steel plate with a surrounding water gully to facilitate cleaning and optimised cooking surface. Electric heating is achieved by high performance heavy duty heating elements with separate left and right hand controls for variable cooking temperatures.
The central island is all electric with the addition of a gas salamander for glazing, browning and crisping. Additional cooking equipment consists of CAPIC electric fryers, a CAPIC electric char grill and combination ovens with a separate dedicated combination oven in the pastry area.
Benefits for the customer
Plancha cooking strengthens the flavour of even the most delicate ingredients, delivering homogenous cooking and immediate colouring on the entire surface giving perfectly cooked food every time.
Using induction hobs at either end enables cooking with precise temperature control and instant response. Induction technology heats the cookware while the surrounding area stays cool to the touch. Built-in safety features include overheat and boil-over sensors and an empty pan detector.
Induction cooking is ideal for searing meat, braising, boiling, saute, shallow or stir frying, casseroles, crepes, omelettes, eggs and melting chocolate.
The double-sided island maximises the space available and helps to create a highly productive work flow at any time.
Head chef Peter Murt said: “The cook suite fits the space well and the single depth but double sided solution suits the narrow kitchen. The space with the cook suite is so well organised that there is no wasted space. The clean look also houses all the services with no need for a service distribution unit that would normally be needed in a central island modular solution.”