RECOGNISED for their brunches and lunches, one restaurant-chain is shaking things up with an evening dining experience more luxurious than you might imagine.
Bill’s restaurant in Reading re-opened their doors last week after a dramatic refurb.
And it’s not just their walls that have changed colour.
The menu has been revamped to provide seasonal, healthy and indulgent food explained Bill Collison, founder of the UK chain.
We sat down with Bill in Bills to chat about what the new image is all about.
“We’ve always been seen as a fresh produce store – that was our styling,” said Bill.
“But now, this is something a bit more glamorous. We’ve put on a show, and it makes it more exciting.”
Where cans and jars of produce previously towered on shelves, there are now opulent velvet seats and low-hanging chandeliers.
“We’ve moved from a kitchen to a living room setting,” said Bill.
“It’s about the smell, the look, the music and the way you feel about yourself in here.
“I’m a bit of a collector,” he added. “All the bits and bobs on display in the restaurant I bought.
“I come from Lewis, the second biggest antique town in the UK — I’m the biggest hoarder in the world. I’ve got enough collections to fill out my 82 restaurants.
“For me, it’s about mixing faux with real. It’s Parisian, it’s eclectic.”
The new restaurant layout segments the room into different zones.
“We’ve now got lots of different areas. We’ve got a bar, cafe, restaurant and private dining experience.”
Bill even wants to host more events in the upstairs space, suggesting that live music events and even club nights could take place in future.
“We’ve done it in other venues. I want to offer something for everybody.
“But today, this is about showing people how we do dinner.”
The evening menu offers a range of seasonal dishes. Dining in the restaurant, we enjoyed a three-course meal topped off with cocktails and coffee.
First to arrive at the table were dumplings, and mushroom focaccia. The dumplings were light, but crunchy on the outside. Served with a chilli jam, the hearty portion didn’t disappoint.
The second dish was served with a thick and creamy mushroom sauce, with breadcrumbed mushrooms placed on a fluffy slice of focaccia.
Next to arrives was a sirloin steak served with rosemary salted chips and mushroom sauce, as well as a beetroot and goats cheese risotto.
The steak was served pink as requested. A high-quality cut of meat, the knife cut through the dish like butter.
The risotto was well balanced in terms of flavour, with the earthy beetroot complimenting the acidity of the goats cheese.
Concluding the three courses were a millionaires shortbread sundae and a praline and chocolate pudding. The sundae was served with a chocolate sphere on top — our waitress poured hot, caramel sauce over the dish, melting the chocolate. A decadent and impressive display.
The chocolate and praline dessert was like no other chocolate pudding I have ever eaten. Almost as though you’ve been punched in the face by a cocoa bean, the pudding fulfilled every chocolate lover’s tastebuds. Balanced out with salted caramel ice cream, it really was a showstopper.
After an impressive three-course dinner, it’s safe to say Bill’s re-launch has delivered on its promise of an indulgent evening dining experience.