The redevelopment of an old Grantham watering hole has stirred the curiosity of locals who remember popping in for a pint or two.
Since New Era opened its doors last week, regulars of what was the Malt Shovel have been going in for a drink to see how different it looks.
The interior has been completely transformed into an atmospheric restaurant with an open kitchen area. Exposed beams and brick work give the Italian and continental restaurant a relaxed, charming feel which co-owner Dipendra Khati, 38, believes is akin to a fine dining experience.
Dipendra, who owns the Westgate resturant with sister Geeta Gest, said: “You will feel you have been to a special place but your pockets won’t be empty. And nobody will be disappointed with portion sizes.
“We have considered every care and expectation.”
The menu is 90 per cent Italian and 10 per cent continental offering steaks and grilled meats. Most ingredients are sourced locally, with Dipendra buying from the town’s market each Saturday. Wines have been specially selected - yet you will not pay more than £24 for a bottle.
Dipendra’s passion for the restaurant, “his baby”, is clear. His focus is on unparalleled service, top quality food and a warm ambience.
Readers may recognise him as the manager of Ask in Grantham for many years, where he earned many loyal customers. The closure of the Italian restaurant gave him the chance to make his dream of running his own restaurant a reality.
He hired eight members of staff, designed the premises to his exact specification, held two weeks of food trials to perfect the menu and opened the doors. And so far, business has been “amazing”.
Dipendra said: “Because of my experience, and I myself cook, in the kitchen is the best chef with 30 years’ experience. Another chef has 15 years’ experience.
“We have the same standards of national restaurants that spend millions of pounds in their kitchens. But there’s is no better than mine.”
New Era is open daily from noon. To book a table, call 01476 575708.