Facing each other across the magnificent marina location, 1884 Dock Street Kitchen and 1884 Wine & Tapas Bar have set new standards for fine dining in Hull and have been chalking up the awards on the specials board with seemingly effortless regularity.
The first move by parent company Headstart Retail in beginning the transformation of the marina sector came with the opening in 2010 of The Wilson, a versatile venue which won many friends as an informal café bar by day and fine-dining establishment in the evening.
But it was 1884 Dock Street Kitchen which set new standards in the city and surrounding area in 2012, winning praise from the foodies with the Yorkshire Restaurant of the Year Award in Welcome to Yorkshire's White Rose Awards, and a Taste of England Gold Award in the Visit England Awards for Excellence. In 2015 they collected the restaurant prize in the Remarkable East Yorkshire Tourism Awards (REYTAs).
The care and attention to detail in the restoration of what was a dilapidated building didn’t pass unnoticed either with a gong from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
James Birch, general manager, said: “1884 Dock Street Kitchen is a Hull and Humber success story, and pretty much everyone involved is either from Hull or lives and has trained in the region.
“It’s modelled on the kind of restaurant you’d find in Manhattan’s meatpacking district and has a great cosmopolitan feel, but 1884 Dock Street Kitchen is a Hull and Humber restaurant, which could not really be anywhere else.”
Head chef Laura Waller’s menu is based on regionally available fruit, vegetables, meat and fish, and changes regularly to reflect the seasons. The restaurant itself also has a habit of unveiling surprises with the addition of booth seating to the bar area, an exclusive private dining room and a stylish al fresco area under eye-catching 1884 canopies all ensuring the restaurant moves with the times.
Recognising that if you stand still in such a competitive sector you go backwards, Headstart remodeled The Wilson in 2015 to create 1884 Wine & Tapas Bar.
It was a hit from the start, attracting glowing reviews for a dining experience which maintained the high standards set by its sister restaurant but with a less formal approach – bringing a splash of the Mediterranean to the Humber riviera!
Head chef Dan Poole changed the menu seven times in less than seven months, sometimes for special occasions, sometimes to make the most of seasonal delights and sometimes because people drop off rabbits, pigeons and pheasants
Manager Deborah Spicer oversaw the complete re-design of the building to incorporate dining booths overlooking the marina, a private table for those special occasions, statement chandeliers and wall-sized wine cabinets as well as a sheltered al fresco area with a marquee option.
The result is a unique combination of British food given a tapas twist, wines and beers unavailable anywhere else in the region and an environment which is sumptuous and stylish yet also laid-back. It was enough to ensure that 1884 Wine & Tapas Bar emulated the success of Dock Street Kitchen by winning the REYTAs restaurant category in 2016!
Between them 1884 Restaurants have created around 50 jobs and compiled a customer base which reads like a who’s who of the region’s big businesses. They’ve also transformed the dining offer and experience around Hull marina, raising the profile of the area and driving its development as the ultimate culinary destination for discerning diners.