One of the longest established restaurants in Leeds, Sous le Nez, will celebrate 30 years in business next month.
The French-style bistro was set up in a city centre basement in March 1991 by restaurateur Robert Chamberlain and executive chef Andrew Carter, who remain in charge.
A three-times winner of the Best Restaurant in Leeds Award, it quickly became the eating place of choice for the Leeds business community and for visiting celebrities such as Alan Bennett, David Jason, Stephen Fry and Tim West.
Robert says: “Alan Bennett would regularly occupy a quiet corner table. When it was free, some customers would ask to reserve it. When one couple arrived, the lady took Bennett’s seat, but her husband insisted she moved, saying he wanted to sit there.”
After the imposition of the second lockdown last October, Robert and head chef Steve Thompson decided to develop a Yorkshire-wide prepared meals delivery service, Sous le Nez Chez Vous. It has proved so successful they are planning to expand into new premises to offer deliveries nationwide when Sous le Nez reopens.
Robert, a former insurance broker, opened his first restaurant in Ilkley, the change of career inspired by his love of French food and wine. Several other restaurant start-ups followed, from Lincoln to York. His Leeds bistro, a pioneer of the early-bird menu, is renowned for the length and scope of its wine list.