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58 The Big MITCH TONKS LOOKS BACK ON THE LAST TEN YEARS. 10


has won many awards and remained in the UK’s top 100 in the National Restaurant Awards. Through our travels in Europe we have experienced many great meals in some wonderful restaurants and it’s these experiences that have shaped The Seahorse, in its look and feel. We like to think simply about what we do. Our dining room is a place to gather to enjoy food and conversation, nothing more, and I think it’s this approach that our guests enjoy. A warm welcome and some good food is what most people are looking for when they go out. It was always a dream of ours to create an institution in Dartmouth, a neighbourhood restaurant that locals loved; many of our guests have become friends and we look forward to their visits to the restaurant. We like noise and chatter, it’s a great


T


HIS YEAR MARKS THE 10TH YEAR SINCE OPENING OF THE SEAHORSE. To us it seems like yesterday! We’re proud that the restaurant


sound when the restaurant is in full swing and we have enjoyed seeing families of several generations dining together and being introduced to the grandchildren of patrons whose children grow and marry. Guest chef nights were pretty much invented at The


The 10 year


celebrations will go on all year,


we have 10 guest events with


some wonderful chefs joining us


Seahorse when my great friend Mark Hix, Mat and I did a few nights in the early days and since then our guests have enjoyed dinners and lunches cooked by many of our friends - Nathan Outlaw, Angela Hartnett, Neil Borthwick, Nieves Barragan, Jose Pizarro, Michael Caines, Henry Harris and of course, Dario Ceccini the world’s most famous butcher from Tuscany. I recall our very first guest lunch when we were honoured to have Joyce Molyneaux join us, we cooked one of her menus and the room was full of guests that had dined with her at the Carved Angel. I took a moment from the kitchen and walked into


the room. I can recall filling with emotion as I heard the noise levels and went back to the kitchen and said to Mat, “It sounds like a good restaurant out there, I think it works.” Since opening, the restaurant has grown with Joe’s


Bar and the recent opening of our private dining room “The Cantina”, both of which have been a fantastic success. Whilst small, the buzz of Joe’s Bar is like a little bar you’d stumble upon in the streets of Venice or Barcelona. It can’t be beaten on busy nights and on Fridays we serve cicchetti for customers to enjoy with their wines and spirits. We recognise you have both to innovate and keep traditions so we have our ‘bring your own wines’ on a Wednesday night, steak nights on a Thursday (so we could cook some meat over our beloved charcoal fire!) and perhaps the biggest success is our ‘locals menu’ which is available lunch and dinner until 7pm. It’s been £20 for ten years and we are going to keep it this way; it’s part of us, we want to be a community restaurant accessible not just on high days and holidays. The 10 year celebrations will go on all year; we have 10 guest events with some wonderful chefs joining


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