Welwyn Garden City: First look inside refurbished Côte restaurant

Exterior of Côte, with blue signs and a large terrace area.

The Welwyn Hatfield Times was invited in for a sneak preview, prior the restaurant's opening. - Credit: Pearce Bates - Archant 2022

Welwyn Garden City's Côte, formerly known as Côte Brasserie, reopened this morning (Saturday, May 7) following a refurbishment.

The Welwyn Garden City branch is the first of 85 establishments in the French restaurant group to undergo this change.

Prior to the venue opening its doors at 9.00am, the Welwyn Hatfield Times was invited in for a sneak preview.

Tables and chairs sit below artwork in the restaurant.

A lighter and more open feel is present throughout the refurbishment. - Credit: Pearce Bates - Archant 2022

The overall feel of the restaurant is one that is far lighter and more open than the restaurant's previous iteration.

The establishment's interior is also brimming with pieces of art created by Normandy-based artist Claire de Quénetain.

Three paintings of flowers sit on blue wallpaper.

French artist Claire de Quénetain has created multiple pieces of art for the refurbishment. - Credit: Pearce Bates - Archant 2022

This elevates the venue's aesthetic, with a Paris-esque sophistication present throughout.

The change aims to offer "a refreshed, contemporary yet elegant French-inspired interior".

Wooden tables and hanging lights, with a counter behind them.

The Welwyn Garden City branch is the first of 85 restaurants to undergo the refurbishment. - Credit: Pearce Bates - Archant 2022

Lavish sofas and booths ensures that the restaurant still feels comfortable and cosy, despite the refreshed lighter look. 

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The refurbishment includes an expanded outdoor seating area, with new tables and chairs, highlighting the Parisian café feel.

A table with cutlery in the new outdoor space.

The restaurant's outdoor space has been expanded. - Credit: Pearce Bates - Archant 2022

Much focus is placed on growing the size of the restaurant's outdoor space, increasing the amount of customers that can dine at the restaurant, particularly in the summer months.

A "reinvigorated" menu has also been designed by new executive head chef Steve Allen. 

Tables and chairs in front of blue branding.

More tables and chairs have been added, for an increased outdoor dining area. - Credit: Pearce Bates - Archant 2022

Chef Allen has previously worked as head chef at Gordon Ramsey's restaurant in Claridge's, and as chief executive officer (CEO) of "The Delicious Group" in Malaysia.

His new menu "includes Côte's popular French classics alongside regionally-inspired dishes and a wider range of vegetarian and vegan options".

A large sofa with tables and chairs.

The restaurant opened at 9.00am this morning (Saturday, May 7). - Credit: Pearce Bates - Archant 2022

The general manager of Welwyn Garden City's Côte Brasserie, Nico Carrozzo, said: "We’re excited to be one of the first Côte restaurants to undergo this redesign and offer guests an exciting, fresh and elevated experience at the Côte they love.

"We’ve thought about every touchpoint within the restaurant. Guests will see upgrades to cutlery, glassware and seating.

A green wall, with red booths and a wooden counter.

A new menu has also been created for the restaurant chain. - Credit: Pearce Bates - Archant 2022

"Alongside our new menu, which has exciting dishes to discover and evolved classics, the new restaurant will offer a space where locals can meet for any dining occasion - we can’t wait to welcome guests back.”

The venue's outdoor space, from a different angle.

A Paris-esque sophistication can be found throughout the venue. - Credit: Pearce Bates - Archant 2022

This morning, the restaurant offered a free praline or espresso martini crêpe to the first 50 guests who entered, providing that they speak a "secret phrase" upon their entry.

A large sofa encompasses a wooden table.

Booths and sofas ensure that the restaurant remains cosy and comfortable. - Credit: Pearce Bates - Archant 2022

The secret phrase in question was "Magic Crêpe".