Abbey opens doors to diners following multi-million pound revamp

Rachael Boyd, Director of the Delapr Abbey Preservation Trust and councillor Johnathon Nunn officially opened the Conservatory Cafe.
Rachael Boyd, Director of the Delapr Abbey Preservation Trust and councillor Johnathon Nunn officially opened the Conservatory Cafe.

Delapre Abbey opened its Conservatory Cafe and Billiard Room to hungry guests who sampled a new menu as well as afternoon tea, including a prosecco jelly.

The Conservatory Café at Delapre Abbey is available for walk-in customers while the Billiard Room will be reserved for those wishing to book afternoon tea.

Stakeholders and community groups were invited to the opening of the abbey.

Stakeholders and community groups were invited to the opening of the abbey.

Catering firm Amadeus will run the venue and has been given a five-year contract by the Delapré Abbey Preservation Trust to provide food and drink throughout the grade II* listed building for all functions.

Amanda Nicols, event manager for Amadeus said the Billiard Room can cater up to 50 people.

On asking whether the firm can make it work, she said: “Absolutely, we have had such a buzz today already.

“We have already got lots of event bookings, such as weddings and conferences and we are doing corporate Christmas parties.

The first afternoon tea was yesterday served in the Billiard Room.

The first afternoon tea was yesterday served in the Billiard Room.

“We’ll be selling lots of local produce, our local platter includes Cobblers Nibble, which is a local cheese. Our sausage rolls have locally sourced meats and where possible we have sourced local alcohol.”

The firm also provides hot and cold options including sandwiches and salads as well as a specials menu, which changes regularly.

Meals start from £4.25 and afternoon tea can be purchased for £14.95 per person, or £19.95 with bubbly.

The cafe opens six days a week and closes on a Thursday until the abbey understands what arrangements work with residents in the community.

Rachael Boyd, director of the Delapré Abbey Preservation Trust said: “I do completely believe that Amadeus will make this work and will make this cafe sing.

“The sun is shining on this building again, and it feels as though it has come back to life. We have worked hard to get to this point, so for me, this is a good day.

“Amadeus are very committed to getting that taste of Northamptonshire right."

On asking councillor Johnathon Nunn (Conservative, Nene Valley) do you think the project has been worthwhile? He said: "It’s absolutely splendid, like any major undertaking like this, it’s not been easy. There have been those delays, I can’t claim to have been involved, to have taken the stress like Rachel and those involved in the construction when they found new things and cost.

"Local people wanted this place renovated, but I do think there is an economic angle to it, what we are about in Northampton is people go shopping in lots of difference places, they do it online and out of town shopping. They perhaps need a different offer to bring them to the main part of the town.

"I think of Delapre as a giant flag which says... look what Northampton has to offer.

"Delapre will make a loss to start with, but there is a need to keep the place going and get it fitted out properly. So the next thing we are thinking about is what is required for that, we have tried to use today as a deadline and in fact, on Friday we finally agreed what that figure is, in need to support the trust to make sure they can do everything they can to promote the place and get it going."

Afternoon tea starts from 2pm-5pm while the cafe is open from 9am-5pm.