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Chef Robert Thompson MBE Introduces RTCaféGrill: A New Restaurant for the Isle of Wight Opening in Spring

This Spring, RTCaféGrill will launch in Ryde, Isle of Wight, opening its doors officially on Thursday the 7th of March 2024. The new restaurant, obsessed with freshness and quality, will feature the best, seasonal produce available, and will take a zealous approach to local and seasonal cooking, with menus to be revealed over the coming weeks. 

Led by Chef Robert Thompson MBE, RTCaféGrill will open on the ground floor of Royal Maritime House, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. A laid back vibe, with a long bar flanked with bar stools and bar tables looking out over the Solent, welcomes guests. In the design, the bar will lead into the restaurant area, with clothed tables, bistro-style chairs, and oversized rattan lights hanging from the high ceilings and the snug area will have upholstered banquette seating and be that ideal space to sit back with a coffee and Sunday paper. 

For 16 years, Chef Robert Thompson MBE has been the darling of Isle of Wight’s cuisine, and has made the island an all year round destination for his eponymous cooking. RTCaféGrill will be no exception, with Thompson breaking more new ground in the pertinent Royal Maritime House in Ryde, serving a year-round trade. 

Offering memorable flavours and lively atmosphere, the space spills out of glass doors into a beautiful garden. On fair days, tables will be laid up, offering guests the ultimate views whilst eating dishes such as the House Grass-Fed Beef Burger, Linguini Carbonara and Yellow-Fin Tuna Salad Niçoise. 

Separately, on the lower ground floor will be the eponymous Thompson’s. Moving from its iconic Newport location this February, the restaurant will open in its new surroundings in Autumn 2024 and is ideal for those seeking to enjoy a more formal drink or fine dining meal. The restaurant will be operated by the same team as the RTCaféGrill, allowing every staff member to develop their skills across both offerings. The same area will also be used for Robert’s cook school and other private meetings and events. 

With his familiar open-kitchen concept (Thompson’s), guests will be able to see the action and feel the atmosphere, served by Robert himself, as well as his chefs, and all in the uber-plush surroundings, looking out onto the garden and sea beyond. 

Chef Robert comments: “I am thrilled to bring some great news to Ryde by introducing a new dining venue with RTCaféGrill. We are also looking forward to bringing our Newport restaurant Thompson’s to life in the same space, creating two genuine neighbourhood venues. On moving to Ryde, we wanted to give locals, visitors and international travellers the chance to experience a new dining destination, whether they want to enjoy a bottle of wine at the bar, a family lunch with the kids, or a relaxed evening meal, discovering some of the very best ingredients from across the Isle of Wight. My first-class team is ready to lead my new restaurant concept that puts local talent, local suppliers, and local produce centre-stage and this next chapter is a really exciting one for our entire team and also for the Isle. We’re looking forward to opening the doors and welcoming everyone this March.” 

Born in Bedfordshire, England, celebrated chef Robert Thompson acquired a love of cooking at just 10 years old. In 2007, Robert became the youngest chef to be awarded a Michelin Star in his own right. He achieved this at Winteringham Fields, England, before earning a star at The Hambrough on the Isle of Wight. 

In 2015 Robert opened his first solo restaurant on the Isle of Wight, the acclaimed Thompson’s Restaurant, which offers a modern British menu with open kitchen dining where the chefs serve the guests. 

A champion of local produce, he loves nothing more than foraging in the woods, or along the Island’s stunning shoreline. He also loves sharing his passion for modern British cuisine with cooking demonstrations from his renowned tasting menu. 

Looking ahead, Robert’s long term plan also includes the opening of Isle of Wight Garden, a farm that will help Robert achieve his long-term ambition of becoming more sustainable. More to come on this soon. 

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