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It’s all change at The Key Theatre as Riva is set to move out and Café Clarkes is set to move in from early May.

The new restaurant from the same team that has brought us Clarke’s (restaurant) and The Banyan Tree aims to mix the best of both worlds, the great British inspired food at Clarkes with a welcoming and relaxed casual dining scene.

Chris Flaco from Riva, the independent Italian restaurant that has been located in the Key Theatre complex for the last four years says he’s looking forward to a fresh start in new premises soon to be announced – “The issue of whether or not we remain at The Key has been on-going for some months and while we have enjoyed our four years in the building, we feel it is time for this stand-alone business to locate itself in stand-alone premises without the restrictions of shared premises.

“We are currently very close to agreeing a deal on premises that will allow us to take the next step in the Riva story, giving us the scope to pursue our goal of offering the finest Italian cuisine in the region and the blank canvas with which to create a wonderful dining space and ambience.”

Café Clarkes promise to produce quick turn around dining for theatre goers as well as more leisurely dining for customers providing freshly cooked old British favourites from Kedgeree to Bangers and Mash and modern classics with a twist, all accompanied by a varied wine list.

Kevin Tighe, Chief Executive for Vivacity which runs the Key Theatre says – “Restaurants are an integral part of a successful theatre and help to create the buzzy vibe and provide a fuller offer for visitors. Not only that but any financial gain from such services is funnelled back into providing affordable cultural activities for local residents. We are delighted to bring this new restaurant offer to Key Theatre. Clarkes and The Banyan Tree have developed a strong reputation in the city for providing high quality food and service, one which we hope will benefit the thousands of visitors to the Key Theatre each year.”

2013 sees the Key Theatre celebrate its 40th Anniversary and there has been considerable focus on refreshing and revitalising the theatre. Over £1m has been spent on developing the facilities at Key Theatre including dressing rooms, rehearsal spaces.

Lee Clarke and Dinesh Odedra of Café Clarkes are excited by the new restaurant prospect at The Key – “We are excited by the opportunity created by opening a restaurant at Key Theatre. We are looking forward to introducing a quick turn-around, pre-theatre dining offer. This will give audiences to Key Theatre a simplified, good value menu served within 45 minutes of the performances starting. The more general ‘foodies’ amongst us will also be able to relax and take time over a varied and high quality classic British menu.”

Samantha Bateman will be heading up the team after working for Lee Clarke at Clarkes for the last 4 years. As well as working for Lee Clarke she has worked at Claridges Mayfair London and is really looking forward to her new challenge. She will be supported by Lee Clarke and the extended team at Clarkes.


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