“Good food is life…”

One Warwick Park Hotel has recently appointed Luis Alves to the role of Restaurant Director for its Brasserie eatery. Here the Lisbon born chef and restaurateur tells Molly Miller all about his exciting plans to expand the menu’s offering which also involves bringing it into the evening so more people can enjoy what’s on offer…


One Warwick Park Hotel opened the doors to its new restaurant Brasserie last October and since then the Chapel Place based venue has become a popular breakfast and brunch spot amongst local foodies.

Brasserie launched with the brief of bringing discerning diners the best breakfasts and brunches around town. Included on its launch menu was a smorgasbord of goodies including Traditional Full English breakfast, Eggs Royale, Breakfast Burritos, Smashed Avocado, Homemade Pancakes all served alongside freshly squeezed juices and smoothies, coffee and homemade pastries. All of which have been extremely popular.

Brasserie is committed to delivering a quality epicurean experience and so already works closely with reputed local suppliers including Tunbridge Wells Coffee Roastery and Southborough Butchers.

Since its launch Brasserie has added new breakfast items including the Health Kick, a scrumptious blend of natural yoghurt, maple syrup, cinnamon, granola, berries, and coconut flakes as well as the very popular Bottomless Brunch options on weekends.

Staying true to its word, Brasserie kicked off the new year with a further announcement which sees new Restaurant Director Luis Alves join the team. Over the past few years Luis has amassed an impressive culinary CV working for the likes of The Ivy, Park Chinois, Bocca Social, Marco Pierre White’s Syon Park and The Spa Hotel.

We sat down with Luis to find out a little more about him and what he intends to bring to the table…


Luis, let’s start with you telling us a little bit about yourself…

I was born and raised in Portugal and have lived in Tunbridge Wells for 12 years. I grew up in the kitchen as my father was a chef. He introduced me to the profession and from a young age I was hooked.


Why is food such a passion of yours?

My earliest memories date back to going to the markets for fresh fish with my father when I was a young child. Life was different then – we didn’t have deliveries or frozen food. You bought everything fresh and that’s all I’ve ever known. I think this is why I have such a passion for food and in particular fresh food and ingredients. To me, food is life, and it always has been since I was young.


What was your childhood or earliest ambition?

I always knew I wanted to get into the hospitality industry. There was no doubt about it. It’s a lifelong career where I’m from – maybe not so much in England – but we are slowly discovering the same passion which is great to see.


How long have you been in the hospitality industry?

45 years! And I’ve loved every single one of them.


What ingredients do you love to work with?

I love seafood and fresh herbs. I also love working with game such as venison and pheasant. I’m always experimenting at home and finding new ways to cook them and new ingredients to use.


Describe your restaurateur style in five statements…

Sophisticated, fun, wonderful food, special surroundings, and exceptional service!


What does hospitality mean to you?

The quote by the manager of the legendary Harry’s Bar in Venice ‘Make the guest feel like the king, and the king feel like a guest’ definitely inspires me. Why? Because I think it sums up how hospitality should be. I’ve found that expectations are greater as a consequence of the pandemic. Therefore being adaptable and flexible is key to make guests feel truly comfortable. Afterall, hospitality is all about the people.


What brought you to Brasserie?

The challenge and excitement. I have plans to extend Brasserie’s menu into the evening and bring a taste of the Mediterranean to Tunbridge Wells. The new menu will be something different and unlike anywhere else, Brasserie is an excellent restaurant, and I can’t wait to build on this.


So, a new Mediterranean menu is on the cards. Will your Portuguese heritage influence the dishes?

I want to experiment with foods people only get to experience on holiday and bring them right to the heart of Tunbridge Wells. I genuinely feel our town is missing this. Why do we reserve the delicious fresh food we enjoy in Spain, Italy, or Portugal on holiday and yet not have it every day here in England? For me, Portuguese food is Mediterranean cuisine at its best, and just like the people, it’s warm, vibrant, and a little mysterious. So Brasserie’s new evening menu will reflect this and there will be something for everyone.


Where have you drawn culinary inspiration from?

The new menu will feature Mediterranean food I’ve always loved to eat and cook but it will also feature dishes I think other people will love. I’ve been in the industry for 45 years and have grown to understand what works and what doesn’t. Having said that I’m always open to feedback so the menu will constantly evolve. I want to change it every other week to ensure there’s always something different for our guests to enjoy.


Tunbridge Wells is obviously filled with great places to eat. So what makes Brasserie’s new evening menu different from the rest?

The menu’s USP is fresh, homecooked food. I feel really passionate about this as it’s how we do it back home. Freshly prepared food has a distinctly different taste which is why I will only ever source the best and most natural ingredients. And yes, of course they’ll all be local too!


Why is local produce so important to you?

Tunbridge Wells is such a thriving community, and we’re right in the middle of it! We need to support each other; our neighbours, our friends, so I will always source locally where possible.


Can you give us an exclusive first look at the new menu?

Well, it’s not finalised yet but the menu will focus on fresh food sourced locally, particularly fish with dishes such as grilled tiger prawns bruschetta and also Bouillabaisse, a French classic – and a personal favourite of mine. I just love how we cook fish across Southern Europe. It’s cooked very differently, and I want to introduce these indigenous techniques and flavours to Brasserie and give people the opportunity to try something new. Other dishes you may see on the menu will be things like pan-fried seabass, lobster ravioli and cuttlefish calamari.


As well as fish, what will be on the menu for meat lovers?

There will be plenty of options! We’ll have things such as herb-crusted lamb rack, the Brasserie burger and fillet steak. There really are no limits – creativity is what it’s all about. I’m so lucky to share this passion with Brasserie’s Head Chef Ollie Funnell who is an up-and-coming culinarian in Tunbridge Wells. He’s ambitious and loves a challenge so making this menu is perfect for him.


What can guests expect from a night out at Brasserie under your management?

A lot of fun! And of course, quality food that tastes so good. Guests will receive a warm welcome – I just want to make them feel happy!


What can we expect in 2023 from Brasserie?

The finest dishes from the Mediterranean with wines, and handcrafted cocktails to match. All of which will make for exceptional dining. Brasserie will be an all-day dining destination you can visit for any occasion. Whether you come here for Champagne and oysters, or a celebratory dinner, there will be something for everybody to enjoy.


What’s your ultimate goal?

I want customers to expect high quality food, fair prices, and an unrivalled level of service. Nothing less than that. We are all striving for the same goal here, and the team and I can promise hard work to make this a success.


So, when can we book a table?

That will be towards the end of February. The menu will go live at the beginning of March so keep an eye out on OpenTable where you’ll be able to make a reservation. If you can’t wait until then we are hosting a special Valentine’s Day evening on February 14. The set menu is four course and will feature some of the dishes and flavours you can expect to see on the new menu. Think of it as a first look at what’s to come…


Brasseries Valentine’s Menu costs £49 per person and includes a complimentary glass of fizz. To book call 01892 520 587 to book or visit OpenTable.co.uk


Valentine’s Day

On February 14, Brasserie will host an evening of romance, thanks to an exclusive new set menu.

The four-course feast will be available for one night only and costs £49 per person. Happy couples will be treated to a complimentary glass of bubbly and amuse-bouche, before indulging in a Mediterranean-inspired starter, main and dessert.

Dishes include seared scallops, wild mushroom pappardelle and baked Alaska which will be cooked by Head Chef Ollie Funnell and his team.

“The set menu has been a labour of love (no pun intended) and has been carefully curated with the help of Luis, our new Restaurant Director who joined the team recently,” Ollie told SO magazine.

“His experience and passion for food really shines through, which makes this menu extra special.”

“I recommend the asparagus, prosciutto, and gorgonzola bruschetta for starters, and the seabass fillet for main, which will be served with pommes anna potatoes, buttered French beans and shellfish velouté,” Ollie continued.

The hotel is also offering a special overnight package for those wanting a romantic escape.

For £199, guests can enjoy a stay in a luxury suite, with Brasserie’s four-course set dinner menu and breakfast included.

All bedrooms include luxury Temple Spa toiletries, a large flat-screen TV, HYPNOS king beds and a monsoon rain shower. There’s also an opulent bar in the main hotel, where delicious cocktails can be enjoyed after dinner.

The promotion is only available to those who book direct, which can be done by visiting OneWarwickPark.co.uk or by calling the reception team on 0189 252 0587.


Salomons Estate & One Warwick Park Hotel are owned by the Elite Leisure Collection who also own SO Magazine

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