Former Michelin-starred West Berkshire establishment The Blackbird reopens as Restaurant Renaissant
A new fine dining restaurant serving classic French cuisine has opened in West Berkshire.
Restaurant Renaissant, has been created by Dom Robinson, who was previously owner and head chef at The Blackbird at Bagnor.
The new restaurant has opened in the same building as The Blackbird and Mr Robinson promises that “people can expect the same bold flavours and classic technique”.
However, he said it would be a “much more comfortable environment and a much nicer place to eat”.
The name Renaissant comes from the past tense of Renaissance, which means to be reborn – something Mr Robinson said was "very apt".
Mr Robinson said: “Before, a lot of people came and loved the food, but they didn’t like the environment.
“I loved it, but perhaps I was kidding myself trying to serve fine dining food in a shabby chic environment and 80s music blaring out.”
The beer pumps behind the bar have now been done away with and the inside of the restaurant has undergone a complete refurbishment, with new flooring, toilets and paint.
“It’s actually a proper standalone restaurant now,” said Mr Robinson.
“It will be a much nicer environment for people to eat in and much more suited for occasions and business dinners than The Blackbird.
“I feel it will be the dining space that the food and service deserve.”
Mr Robinson said Restaurant Rennaisant would serve “the same classic French food that people know and love”.
“There won’t be any massive surprises,” he said.
“It’s a menu that’s very close to my heart. Classical French cuisine is what I do, it’s what I love and where my passion is.
“I do a slightly more modern interpretation of classic dishes. A lot of people are trying to innovate, but I don’t want or need to innovate. I just want to cook the food I love really well.”
Mr Robinson who has spoken openly about his battle with alcoholism and addiction, said he was in a much better headspace now and would “certainly be cooking with less ego”.
His book, Born to Cook will also be published in November and is now available to pre order.
The book, Mr Robinson said, is: “All of my story, everything I’ve done, where I came from, a lot about my addictions and all the reasons why I started cooking fell in love with it.”
It also features pictures of his illustrations and recipes.
“People can expect the same bold flavours and classic technique. It won’t be modernist or fussy. It will just be nice produce in a much more refined environment.”
During lockdown, Mr Robinson set up an outdoor dining restaurant called Pizza Paloma, which allowed people to meet friends outside while indoor hospitality was closed.
Pizza Paloma served affordable pizzas and cold beers outside and proved extremely popular.
Mr Robinson will keep Pizza Paloma going as an “alpine ski-type restaurant with outdoor lighting and log burners”.
To find out more about Restaurant Renaissant, visit www.restaurantrenaissant.com