Bramwell Pub Company has begun roll-out of a new drinking and casual dining concept, reports Mark Ludmon
The New World is the inspiration behind a new bar and casual dining concept being rolled out by Bramwell Pub Company. Sites in Reading, Southampton and Banbury in Oxfordshire have already been converted to Wild Lime Bar & Kitchen since June, with more being considered.
The ethos of the new concept is that it is “always sunny inside”, with a laid-back atmosphere. The bright, open interior design has been created by Fusion Design & Architecture, which has worked with leading operators such as Drake & Morgan, Be At One and Turtle Bay. Bramwell Pub Company’s commercial director, Sarah Weir, explains: “The concept has been born from a passion to bring a modern, aspirational and innovative brand to the high street. It was inspired by the New World, their values, culture, food and drink, coupled with exceptional service.”
The first outing for Wild Lime was in the former site of a Varsity bar in Portswood Road, Southampton, which opened in June after an investment of more than £300,000. With the tagline of “Sunrise, sunset, late”, it opens from 9am for brunch until as late as midnight Thursday to Saturday, with the promise that “our kitchen is always open”.
Food is prepared in a pantry-style kitchen towards the front of the bar. As well as burgers, “upside-down salads” and sharing platters, dishes include freshly cooked pizzas made in the “US East Coast style”: the dough is worked and stretched by hand before being stone-baked, giving the pizza a puffed crust and charred crisp base. The crust is then sprinkled with parmesan before baking. There is also a range of dishes under the heading of “under 500 calories”.
A creative approach has been taken with the cocktail list, developed under drinks marketing manager Simon Lucas, mainly using spirits and liqueurs from Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands. “The Wild Lime team looked to the innovation in the cocktail market, particularly in independent bars in London, taking trends for new styles of cocktails like beer cocktails and wine cocktails as well as working hard to bring the same craft to cocktail making as they do to their food,” he explains.
Beer cocktails include a Beergarita – a Margarita with Sol lager added – and the Twisted Strawberry, a mix of rum, lemon, mint, strawberry and Harviestoun Bitter & Twisted blonde beer. Cocktails using wine go beyond champagne and prosecco with recipes such as the Rosé Margarita, made with gin, a zinfandel rosé, orange liqueur and fresh lime juice, while the Aussie Apple mixes Australian chardonnay, apple juice and elderflower liqueur.
A number of fruity cocktails come in jam jars such as a Sunshine in a Jar, mixing Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey Honey with a scoop of honey, mint and lemon, and an Ocean in a Jar, combining vodka, freshly squeezed grapefruit juice and cranberry juice. Twists on a Mojito include the Raspberry Pie, with added raspberries and raspberry liqueur, and With A Passion, adding passion fruit puree and a raspberry on top.
Alongside a short, accessible list of wines exclusively from the New World, the bar offers mainstream and specialist beers including a strong bottled range featuring the likes of Goose Island Honkers, Brooklyn Lager and Brown Ale, Anchor Porter and Steam, Samuel Adams Boston Lager and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Stout. It also has Rekorderlig Strawberry and Lime Cider on tap.
Fresh ingredients and innovation are at the heart of the concept’s food and drink offer which was developed after extensive consumer research, Sarah points out. “It’s clear that the high street has some innovation but it’s traditionally in the areas of fashion, coffee shops and casual dining. We want to bridge that gap with an offer that innovates, injects excitement and drives the rise of ‘casualisation’, enabling customers to do what they want, when they want in an all-day trading format.”
Wild Lime Bar & Kitchen, Units 5-6, Portswood Centre, Portswood Road, Southampton SO17 2NH
Tel: 023 8055 2652
Who did it
Design: Fusion Design & Architecture
Main contractor: Harvey Shopfitters
Timber flooring: Havwoods
Lighting: The Light Corporation
Indoor loose furniture: The Contract Chair Company
Bespoke/refurbished/outside furniture: Design Resource
Fixed seating: Barrie Jones Upholsterers
External planting: Green Interiors
Ceramics: Solus Ceramics
Graphics and signage: Academy Signs
Originally published in the August 2013 edition of Bar magazine.