2017 marks 25 years of business for one of Bath’s leading independent restaurants, Green Park Brasserie. We sat down with owner Andrew Peters, to learn about his quarter-century at the popular restaurant, and his top tips for budding restaurateurs.
Bath born-and-bred owner Andrew Peters picked up the keys to the what-was-then Green Park Café in 1992. Some 25 years on, Green Park Brasserie is thriving and has cemented itself as one of Bath’s best restaurants.
What has been your most popular dish over the 25 years?
Close call. Our Sirloin and Fillet steaks from Newton Farm up the road have always been popular.
If you weren’t a restaurateur, what would you be?
Unemployed! I’d probably work in the wine trade.
What is your favourite dish on the current menu?
Our Beetroot and Couscous Salad with Sheep’s Cheese and Butternut Squash. Great in the summer with a glass of white!
Would advice would you give to your 1992 self starting out?
If you’re going to go for it, really go for it.
What has been your biggest challenge since opening?
Sustaining the business in the early years.
What has been the biggest change since opening?
The informalisation of eating out.
What advice would you give to someone opening a restaurant?
Be prepared to change and adapt. Then adapt rapidly.
When was the moment when you thought 'I’ve made this successful'?
I still haven't! But we’re getting there.
What makes the Brasserie stand out 25 years on?
Our combination of local musicians, great food, friendly service and a lively atmosphere - all brought together in the historic setting of the former railway station booking hall. We think we’re pretty unique!
What is your favourite wine at the Brasserie?
Tough call. I’d go with our Malbec Syrah, Mendoza, Argentina.
What is your favourite thing about running the Brasserie?
The people and the excitement. Every day is very different!
What is your least favourite thing about running the Brasserie?
Who is your favourite Bath-based supplier?
Difficult to pick out one. We work closely with many producers from Bath Farmers’ Market. Chris Rich Fruit Veg and Angela and Tim from Homewood Cheeses are both very, very good.
What do you think is the future of the Bath restaurant scene?
Fewer independents, more chains. That said, the best independents will find their niche and prosper.
Where do you eat in or near Bath?
The Wheatsheaf at Combe Hay on weekend walks.
What moment would you say has been your highlight?
Collectively, our New Year’s Eve parties. We throw a very good party and are really proud of how happy we make our customers.
What is your favourite thing about being a restaurateur?
Kitchen smells in the office. I’m only a few metres around the corner from our talented chefs which is fantastic.
What is your least favourite thing about being a restaurateur?
What do you think is the future for independent restaurants in Bath?
Independent restaurants have to be better than the chains - but the chains are improving and getting smarter. As a modern-day restaurateur, you can't just be fantastic at food and drink. You’ve got to be on point with your marketing and financials more than ever.
What is your favourite pizza at your newest addition to the Brasserie, Bath Pizza Co.?
The Capricciosa! Whoever first put an egg on a pizza hundreds of years ago deserves a medal. Our pizza chefs Jonah and Jack are outstanding.
What is your favourite thing about running a business in Bath?
We’re very lucky to be in Bath. It’s a small city but has fantastic visitor numbers, and, as a restaurateur, a good local demographic.
What are your thoughts on your location at Green Park Station?
We’ve got a fabulous building, although the location has been challenging. Bath is changing, though, and we’ve made our position work.
What are your thoughts on the development of Bath city centre?
The gravity of footfall in Bath is changing from the North South route to the East West. With Kingsmead Square flourishing, the development of the Western Riverside, and our new neighbours Apex Hotels, the Stall Street and Union Street hub is shifting.
What is the best time of year as a business in Bath?
The start of summer, around May and June. We work closely with The Bath Festival, Bath Fringe Festival and Bath Spa University to put on some wonderful events at the Brasserie and in the Station. It becomes an incredible events space.
How are your kitchen skills?
Not bad. I’m a cook, not a chef. My rule is I don’t want to spend longer cooking the meal than I do eating it!
How do you see the next five years at Green Park Brasserie?
We’re very excited. We’ve scaled the businesses consistently for 25 years and we’re looking to accelerate over the next five by also growing our sister businesses Bath Pizza Co and Bath Function Rooms alongside the Brasserie.