Belthorn: opening of the Solea restaurant and wine bar this weekend
A new restaurant is due to open in East Lancashire this weekend and the owner has ambitious plans to win Michelin stars.
Solea Restaurant and Wine Bar, in Elton Road, Belthorn, is due to open on Sunday 20 November.
Owner Mark Taylor said it was one of his “dreams” to own his own restaurant after working in the kitchens for around 13 years.
Mark, from Darwen, said: “I didn’t want to work for someone else forever, I wanted a place of my own.
“It’s been a dream of mine since I started working in the kitchen around the age of 19.”
The restaurant took over the former Italian restaurant, Marco Polo, which closed in October, and before that it was the Pack Horse pub.
Although it is a new restaurant, Mark wanted to remember its history in its name because the word ‘Solea’ means horseshoe in Latin, a small tribute to the old pub and the history of the site .
The restaurant will serve classic and modern international small dishes “with a twist”, seasonal main dishes and, from January 2023, traditional Italian wood-fired pizzas.
Mark has culinary experience at the Dog Inn in Belthorn, Smokies in Darwen, Bank Bar and Restaurant in Darwen to name a few, and has also worked in France and Spain to develop his skills.
Lobster ravioli, Lancashire cheese pie, garlic mushrooms and his “famous” Sunday roast are just a few of the dishes that will be on the menu.
Mark said: “I’m quite famous for my roasts. When I worked at the Dog Inn and we could easily serve 200 people a day.
The restaurant also has a dedicated drinks area for those who just want to pop in for a drink or have a drink after their meal.
Mark said: ‘The Pack Horse had a very large drinking area for locals but during the Marco Polo refurbishments this was removed.
“I want to try and bring that back. There’s a place where locals can come and enjoy a bottle of wine and a few drinks, they don’t have to eat anything if they don’t want to.”
Although the business is only new, Mark already has ambitious plans for the restaurant to win a Michelin star.
He said: “I want to try to be a Michelin-starred restaurant in the future. Obviously we’re just setting up now and we need to set up.
“I hope that in the future, rosettes and Michelin stars will come through the door.
“It’s not just the food, it’s the drinks, the venue, the surroundings – it’s all taken into account when it comes to getting these awards.”
Mark says he “works harder than anyone else” to achieve his dreams.
He said: “We always provide excellent service and we never deal with complaints.
“People love the service we provide
“The passion is there and I’m definitely working harder than anywhere else to get where I want to be and achieve what I want.”