Not content with running just one great Michelin-recognised restaurant in Peterborough, Lee Clarke of Clarkes on Lincoln Road is set to take over from Riva at the Vivacity-run Key Theatre and transform it into “Caf? Clarkes”, a “classic British restaurant with more of an informal, casual atmosphere”.

I caught up with Dinesh Odedra of the Banyan Tree who is teaming up with Lee on this venture to find out more about their plans to bring another independent, locally-owned dining experience to Peterborough.

When asked if Lee will be focusing more on the new restaurant than the existing Clarkes, Dinesh was keen to stress that Lee will be acting in more of a consultant role at Caf? Clarkes, putting in place Samantha Bateman as head chef who has worked with Lee at Clarkes for the last four years. Samantha’s previous experience includes a stretch at Claridge’s in Mayfair so expect some serious cooking to come out of the kitchens.

Service and atmosphere will be more informal than Clarkes on Lincoln Rd but the food quality will still be fresh, local and in season

Suggested dishes include deep-fried cod loin with chips and minced pea puree, poached egg with crispy bacon and bubble and squeak, and of course the obligatory steak. Simple sounding but I’m guessing will be pretty tasty!

Open to both theatre goers and regular diners, Caf? Clarkes will introduce a pre-theatre dining offer whilst those with more time can relax and enjoy views of the Embankment as they enjoy their meal.

What about Riva?

It sounds like Riva will be relocating to premises elsewhere in the city, hopefully still in the city centre as we don’t have any independent Italian restaurants open in the evenings. Riva, under the ownership of Chris Falco has grown to be one Peterborough’s top places to find Italian food that goes above and beyond a typical pizza menu so I hope they find a good location – Topo Gigios on Cowgate would be a good choice, or perhaps what was The Clock restaurant on Bridge Street?

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