Bourgee restaurant directors ‘fell in love’ with Cupola House in Bury St Edmunds

Bourgee restaurant is opening in the restored Cupola House in Bury St Edmunds early next month.

Bourgee restaurant is opening in the restored Cupola House in Bury St Edmunds early next month. - Credit: Contributed

The restaurateurs who are bringing a new eatery to historic Cupola House in Bury St Edmunds have said they are the “custodians” of the building.

The destruction at Cupola House caused by fire.

The destruction at Cupola House caused by fire. - Credit: Mariam Ghaemi

The Grade I-listed building in the Traverse was home to Strada restaurant before it was destroyed in a fierce fire in June 2012.

Now, following a painstaking restoration, the building will soon be open for business, this time to Bourgee, a steak and lobster restaurant owned by James Welling and Mark Baumann.

They already have branches in Southend-On-Sea and Chelmsford, but say they were drawn to the historic market town because of its mix of modern and old, very much like their own concept for Cupola House.

Mr Welling said they “fell in love” with the “magnificent” building when it was still under restoration, and they watched it come “back to life”.

The facade of the building was still standing.

The facade of the building was still standing. - Credit: Mariam Ghaemi

“I have never known a building to have so much attention during a restoration,” he said. “Everyone is aware of it and everyone is very keen to see what we do with it. We are aware we are the custodians of the building and the building belongs to the town so we have been sympathetic with the design.”

Even though the original Cupola House was mainly destroyed in the fire, certain features of the building which have been salvaged have been incorporated, such as parts of the staircase.

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Mr Welling said: “We have worked for literally over a year and a half on the design and we have really tried to complement the glory of the building, but breathing new life into it and making it something special and something the town can be proud of.”

He said there are stringent fire protection measures, adding there is enough water in the tanks in the cellar to keep the sprinklers to the entire building going for an hour.

In terms of the food, Mr Welling said Bourgee’s “affordable luxury” concept positioned them as “certainly not expensive” but “certainly not cheap”.

Mr Baumann, who is also a British Master Chef, said: “We source produce from the very best suppliers, whilst our in-house team craft these expertly selected ingredients into deliciously creative dishes, all served in a warm, welcoming and luxurious setting.”

Bourgee is due to open early next month.