Monday, 18 October 2021

Cafe owners ready to open restaurant across the road

A COUPLE who turned around a café in Wargrave have opened a second business in the

A COUPLE who turned around a café in Wargrave have opened a second business in the village.

Karin Edlind and her partner Tim Lawrence opened the Old Post Office in High Street in Wargrave 2013, five months after it closed following complaints from neighbours about late opening hours and the sale of alcohol.

They have now taken over the old Haweli premises further down the street to open Weir Grove, a fine dining restaurant. Haweli moved to a new building across the road earlier this year.

Miss Edlind, who has a background in catering and is also a chef, and Mr Lawrence, an IT security architect, have also moved to the premises from their home in Reading.

They will be joined by Miss Edlind’s brother Carl, when he returns from holiday.

Miss Edlind said: “This place is very different, it’s not a café and doesn’t serve the big portions we are known for. It’s more delicate fine dining.

“We had been looking for a restaurant for a while and were approached by the people who own this building when they moved across the road.

“It feels like it’s taken quite a lot of work, it was very purple when we moved in! We changed the floor and the wall and the chairs were done by A Stitch in Twine in High Street. My brother is doing front of house and we also have a girl who is learning to be a chef helping us out. We are looking for more staff as well.”

There was a “soft” opening on Saturday, August 13, with a champagne reception for about 20 guests.

Mr Lawrence said: “We haven’t got the sign up on the front yet but we got a few tables booked in. Our first customer immediately rebooked after their meal.

“We don’t want it to get too mad too quickly, especially with Karin’s brother away. We’ve had some good comments from customers so far. We only open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at the moment until we ramp it up a bit.

“Hopefully eventually we will be open every day of the week and maybe daytime as well.

“There’s a slight danger of competing with ourselves but we hope it will mean more people come to the village.”

Much of the food served at the restaurant comes from local suppliers, including Riverways Farm in Tywford. Miss Edlind also has her own plot at Wargrave allotments off Recreation Road, where she hopes to grow vegetables.

Mr Lawrence also praised the support from villagers and customers at the Old Post Office.

The Great Britain women’s eight rowing crew, silver medallists at the Rio 2016 Olympics, are among those to visit the cafe and came in for a meal before they left for the Games.

Mr Lawrence said: “It’s quite important that this is a different feel. It’s fine dining and some customers associate us with big plates of food. That’s not what we are doing here.

“Obviously we’ve been talking to a lot of people and everyone has been very keen about it. Hopefully we have the feel of what people like.

“Wargrave is a lovely village, a beautiful place and we’ve had some great customers. We’ve had a lot of support from people since we started.

“I think this is the kind of place Wargrave needs, it could do with a bit more variety because it’s a surprisingly big place.”

Miss Edlind and Mr Lawrence were leased the Old Post Office building by owner Tony Colborne after he closed the café in April 2013.

Mr Colborne shut after just 15 months in charge when he was told by Wokingham Borough Council that he must restrict its opening hours. 

Mr Colborne, who had a licence to sell alcohol at the café, said the restriction of opening hours made the business unviable.

He later tried to sell the building as both a business premises and residential home.

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