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EXCLUSIVE: Haar is coming home as Dean Banks looks to launch restaurant with rooms in St Andrews

Dean Banks outside the new venue.
Dean Banks outside the new venue.

MasterChef The Professionals 2018 finalist Dean Banks has launched a Crowdfunder to “bring Haar home”.

The Arbroath-born chef closed the restaurant in St Andrews back in April, but is now looking to open a restaurant with rooms at The Golf Inn on Golf Place in St Andrews.

He has taken on a long term year lease at the venue, owned by Iona Pub Partnership, which he hopes to refurbish and open his 36 to 40 seater restaurant and four bedroom suites in.

The Crowdfunder has been launched to raise funds to help pay for the renovation of the space.

Dean Banks outside The Golf Inn where he will open his restaurant with rooms.

Dean says he has already invested “tens of thousands of pounds” into the project and is looking for the public’s support in making the concept a reality.

He said: “We’ll open the restaurant hopefully by mid to the end of October. We’re going to raise the funds for the renovation by pre-selling meals to create revenue, so if you’re looking to come to Haar when we reopen, you can purchase your meal in advance and it gives us access to funds which will go towards the renovation.

“It is an expensive renovation. Hopefully in January we will renovate the rooms to four suites.

“It will be Haar as I’ve always envisioned it. In Haar’s last site we were limited with the décor because we were attached to the hotel. This time we’ll have the whole building. It will be Scottish/Nordic styling with lots of plants and wood – it will bring the Scottish coastline indoors.”

Why Crowdfunding?

Equipped with a chef’s table overlooking the kitchen operation, the restaurant and rooms is a first for the restaurateur who is hoping to raise around £50K from the Crowdfunder to bring his vision to life.

Last year Dean launched a Crowdfunding campaign for his Haar at Home service, raising £42,555 to invest in a dedicated unit for it which he launched initially in his former restaurant.

One of the Haar at Home box contents.

“It worked amazingly well for Haar at Home. We will top it up if necessary as well, especially if we run into issues when renovating. It would be great to get the support from locals. We have a great support in Dundee, Fife, Angus, so we are reaching out for help.

“There’s different levels so you can purchase dinner for two or four, you can rent out the whole place, you can get special experiences with myself and come lobster fishing, and, you can book the private dining room. They range from £30 upwards.

The new premises on Golf Place.”We’re going to go for all or nothing with the Crowdfunder so if we don’t hit the target, we won’t get the money. It is a huge risk but we will still see the project through. If we can self invest through a Crowdfunder instead of the bank, it is much better.”

New beginnings with familiar faces

Having closed Haar back in April following an unresolved lease review with his landlord and his fish and chip shop Haarbour more recently this month, Dean is looking to retain staff and also take on former employees to bring the Haar family back to St Andrews.

The venue will also only be open five days a week similarly to his new restaurant Dean Banks at The Pompadour in Edinburgh, with ambitions to only open for four in place.

Haarbour closes its doors earlier this month.

He said: “We are hiring staff and we’re looking to bring old staff back on as some couldn’t travel to Edinburgh, so those people will be offered jobs again. We have a few really good chefs in the pipeline. I want to surround myself with the best in Scotland.

“I think there will be around 16 staff. We will be looking to move to a four-day operation once we can afford it and have the formula.

“We are trialling this at The Pompadour in October. With everything that has been happening in hospitality I want to be part of the people leading it forward and moving it in the right direction. We’ve already joined the Living Wage campaign and pay £9.50 an hour to the lowest paid members of staff.

Dean Banks out on a boat collecting lobster.

“What we are trying to achieve in Edinburgh is fine dining but I want Haar to be more approachable. I’ll keep the food simplistic and hero the local produce.

“We’re looking forward to a fresh start. St Andrews is our home. We are very excited to be coming back and make it our forever home. We’ll be putting everything into it, For everyone who comes to visit, be that tourists or locals, we want to showcase the best of what Fife has to offer.”

For more on the Crowdfunder click here.

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