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New wine bar to open in Beccles

PUBLISHED: 16:39 03 April 2008 | UPDATED: 07:19 01 August 2010

A NEW wine bar and bistro is opening in Beccles, in memory of the owner's grandmother.

Vovo's Wine Cellar and Bistro will throw open its doors next Saturday, April 12, and Vonnie Pickard and her partner Gary Glaysher hope their vibrant décor, simple classic food and good wine will breathe a new lease of life to the building.

A NEW wine bar and bistro is opening in Beccles, in memory of the owner's grandmother.

Vovo's Wine Cellar and Bistro will throw open its doors next Saturday, April 12, and Vonnie Pickard and her partner Gary Glaysher hope their vibrant decor, simple classic food and good wine will breathe new life into the building.

Named after Vonnie's Portuguese grandmother, who sadly passed away of Alzheimer's, the couple want to create a happy relaxed atmosphere and somewhere to unwind.

"Vovo was the name we always called my grandmother, although her name was Margarita," said Vonnie, 37. "When she left Portugal and came to England, she came to live with us.

"She was a strong, powerful woman; she kept going for around six years but her illness took over and she died five years ago.

"We were very close and she was just like me so when we got this place I showed Gary photos of her and I asked him if we could call it Vovo's. It's a different name and we wanted it to stand out.

"We want to try and introduce some Portuguese dishes at some point and some wines."

Since they were given the keys, the couple have been packing in many 15-hour days, seven days a week, gutting and transforming the building, which used to be Harvey's late-night bar, into a venue boasting open fireplaces, comfy sofas, stone floors and coffee tables.

The most impressive features are huge underground vaults, which will become a restaurant where diners will be able to sit under a blanket of stars with the aid of tiny fairy lights hanging from the ceiling.

The 72-cover bistro will have a fully working bar, which will open in the evenings 7-10pm, serving simple but tasty meals with a good selection of wines.

Upstairs will be a plush wine bar for over 21s with a private lounge area, which would suit large parties. During the day it will transform into a coffee bar, offering hot paninis, baguettes, jacket potatoes, pastries, cakes and pizzas.

There will also be a takeaway service and private functions will be catered for.

Also Mr Glaysher has no previous experience in restaurants, having worked as a team leader at Fibrenyle in Beccles for 17 years, Ms Pickard has catering experience of around two decades.

And while they are finalising the appointment of a chef, she plans to cook all the meals herself.

"We were looking at getting a public house and we had our eye on the Huntsmen and Hounds at Spexhall but the brewers decided to keep the temporary people on who are there at the moment.

"When we saw this was empty we were struck, a lot of people were put off because it doesn't have living accommodation but nothing put us off as it has real potential. We're making it into somewhere that we would want to go."

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