8:58am Wednesday 25th November 2009
By Richard Garfield
A NEW ingredient has been added to the business menu of places to eat and meet in the Basingstoke area with the opening of a Thai restaurant and wine bar.
Old Basing entrepreneur Gary Locke has taken on the lease of The Cromwell pub, in Great Binfields Road, Lychpit, transforming it into Kwai 2.
A keen fan of authentic Thai food, Mr Locke, who is a commercial property developer, has brought in award-winning husband and wife Thai chefs Tanida and Somchai Thanapaisit to lead the team in the kitchen.
“We want to provide traditional Thai food, rather than westernised Thai food,” explained Mr Locke.
“Tanida and Somchai’s recipes are family secrets, which have been passed down from generation to generation.”
Explaining how he came up with the name, Mr Locke said: “I have some friends who own the River Kwai, in Alton, and the name Kwai 2 just seemed to have a ring to it.
“It was their restaurant that inspired me to open a Thai restaurant.”
The former pub, which is a listed converted 18th century barn, has been refurbished inside over the past two months, providing a very relaxing and cosy atmosphere.
Mr Locke said: “All of the lighting has been upgraded to give an ambience that you would get with Thai tradition – so it’s a nice relaxing place to wine and dine in and have fun.
“I think the building lends itself to being a Thai restaurant and I think it is something the community deserves.”
Championing local businesses, the restaurant and bar was officially launched by the Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, Councillor Brian Gurden.
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