New-look Italian restaurant set to open on site of popular Leamington venue
March 23, 2024

Leamington is set for a new Italian restaurant – as the owners of 44 Cafe, Bar & Bistro embark on a new direction for the popular venue.

Work is underway to transform the popular watering hole and cafe on Clarendon Street into new restaurant ‘Tavola’, with a look inspired by Italian surrealist painters of the 1920s .

It comes exactly one year after 44 Café, Bar & Bistro was taken over by entrepreneur Rob Singleton, supported by Gavin Leach, both from Leamington, which you might remember I reviewed on this blog.

Tavola Leamington
Image courtesy of Harrison Charles Design
Tavola Leamington Spa
Image courtesy of Harrison Charles Design

Now, they’re revamping the venue with a new look and a new culinary identity through executive chef Martin Serafino, from Tuscany, who will showcase his passion for authentic Italian cooking through his new menu, which is a combination of ‘tradition and innovation.’

Owner Rob said: “The building is so bright and airy with the roof lantern and full-length
windows. We love the quirky layout that comes from organic changes over the
history of the pub.

“The rebranding is a natural extension of the refurbishment. Bar 44 has history that we are proud of but it doesn’t capture what we do now.

“When we took over last year it seemed natural to put up a sign saying 44 as that is
what the locals know this building as. For the last year we have been trading as 44, but as much as we love 44 the way it is, the long term plan was always to refurbish when we had established ourselves and built a good team.”

44 cafe bar and bistro

He added: “We chose the name Tavola, which translates from Italian as ‘a table you
would dine at,’ as it perfectly encapsulates the way our guests have been utilising our
restaurant. The focus is on the table, not only the food and drink on it but the people
around it.

“We look forward to unveiling the vibrant and fresh new look which befits this quirky
building and complements the imaginative new menu as we start this new chapter of
the story of this little corner of Leamington Spa.”

Image courtesy of Harrison Charles Design

Luke Hampson has stayed on as front of house manager and mixologist after several years in the business’s more recent history. He will be joined by Martin, whose cooking influences include his own Italian background, as well as time working in kitchens in New York and London.

He said: “The Tavola ethos is all about using the very best quality Italian products, sourced
from Northern Italy, and for me that’s just a joy. I’m very excited for this new menu. I want to encourage people to try something they never tried before.

“I love to express myself through food so there will be some experimenting. But my main goal is to share the beauty of my own country as well as celebrating how every country has different traditions and different ways to cook.”

Martin will also be serving up what he believes to be a first for Leamington – his signature Schiacciata sandwich range – a special pressed focaccia that promises a ‘light and fluffy explosion of flavours’.