Gordon Ramsay's star pupil to open new restaurant - with Hairy Biker as neighbour
A chef who has worked in some of the world’s best restaurants has signed up to a new North East development - where he will be working alongside one of the Hairy Bikers.
Tamer Hassan, whose family relocated to Sunderland after running a successful London restaurant for more than 40 years, has signed on the dotted line to take a large space in a Grade II listed development - Sunderland’s Sheepfolds Stables.
The 36-year-old, who has worked alongside world-renowned chefs Gordon Ramsay, Mark Sargent and Angela Harnett, is the second-generation restaurateur in his family. His father ran Reubens of Baker Street, before retiring and moving to Sunderland, where Tamer’s mother was born and raised.
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Now Tamer, who won Series One of Gordon Ramsay’s F Word, is set to open Hidden Lotus - an Asian-inspired restaurant - based in a former Cart Shed building that will face out to the River Wear.
Tamer, who graduated from Le Corden Bleu at 18 – the youngest to do so at the time, has worked in top restaurant Claridge’s and is currently head chef at Gino’s in Newcastle. Hidden Lotus, which will allow him to unleash his passion for Asian cuisine, promises ‘elegant plating with punchy flavours’. Influenced by trendy London restaurants Nobu and Hakkasan, but with a friendly feel and an accessible price point, the restaurant will serve small and large plates by evening, with a sushi and light offering for lunchtimes and match days. Asian inspired cocktails and sake will also be served.
Tam said: “When I came and saw Sheepfolds Stables, I was like ‘wow, this is really, really special’.
“When you step into the place, there’s just a magic to it and the vision for the venue is absolutely fantastic. There’s such a clear focus on quality, on delivering a place that raises the bar and provides an amazing dining experience.”
The development is being delivered by Sunderland based BDN, which is led by Richard Marsden who was born and raised in the city. BDN’s architectural team and interior designers are working with Tamer to shape designs for a warm, inviting space that he describes as ‘Victorian glamour meets downtown Tokyo’.
“We would like to deliver a venue that Sunderland can be proud of. We have ambitions of securing a Michelin Bib Gourmand Award. We really are aiming high, which is befitting of the quality of this development and of the ambition of the city itself.”
Tamer - who has three children - said the move to Sunderland has already been life-changing for his young family.
“I cannot think of a better place to raise my family than Sunderland. It’s a beautiful city. Our beaches and parks, the friendliness of the people here. When you live in London and then move to somewhere like this, you see just how generous people are here. How welcoming and warm they are. We want to reflect that with Hidden Lotus.”
Sheepfolds Stables is expected to open its doors later this year, with a huge programme of restoration currently gathering pace. Hidden Lotus will be one of eight distinct spaces within the hotly-anticipated new leisure venue, with a whisky lounge, Speyside Snug, and a new eatery from TV chef Si King, who will serve up hearty dishes inspired by his travels around the world.
Richard Marsden, who is managing director at BDN, said: “I’m from Sunderland, and I think the city deserves the best. I am delighted that Tam is joining us at Sheepfolds Stables, with a distinct offer that will complement the other fantastic businesses we’ve been able to attract to the city.”
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Planning permission was granted for the building’s transformation in May last year, paving the way for the stables and surrounding courtyards to be transformed into a vibrant new destination for food, drinks, events and entertainment. BDN has been supported with its plans for the building by Sunderland City Council.
Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “One after the next, the announcements of stunning new operators in Sheepfolds Stables have been made and the combined effect is a venue that I hope – and am sure - the whole city will get behind. The Stables really is going to be a unique place, delivering the highest quality offer. I can’t wait to see it open.”
The Sheepfolds area will be connected to the city centre by a new footbridge, providing a pedestrian and cyclist crossing, with the wider area being transformed as part of Sunderland City Council’s Riverside Sunderland plan.