EVUNA’S expansion into Cheshire means a sensitive revamp of the Tudor-style, Grade II listed former Smallbone store in Knutsford. Quite a feat for a 110 cover restaurant, the Spanish specialist’s biggest yet but on first look its cosiest.
Both the original Evuna, opened on Deansgate 15 years ago, and its Northern Quarter sibling are much smaller and regularly have had to turn away hordes of punters at weekends.
The same popular pattern is developing in the early days of the Evuna owner Jane Dowler told ToM: “We are the only place serving authentic Spanish food in the town and the locals are fascinated by what we’ve done with the building.
At the new site the first floor is given over to a more formal restaurant, with leather-lined booths in the back room, leaving the ground floor as more of a walk-in wine bar with tapas. The basement hosts a bar and a traditional wine cellar. This is viewed through a glass pavement (main picture), a relic of the time when the four storey building housed a bakery. A retractable roof is also planned for the courtyard garden at the rear.
Areq Milanowicz, who has worked in some starry Spanish kitchens is sharing exec chef duties between Knutsford and the Thomas Street branch with front of house there Natalia Samsoniuk also moving across to steer the new branch.
Like its Manchester counterparts, the Knutsford branch will be hosting regular wine tasting sessions and also offering a changing monthly wine focus from regions such as Catalunya, Galicia, Rioja or Navarra. These are offered alongside monthly specials, created by Evuna’s Spanish chefs, which are based on authentic dishes from that region.
It’s all very exciting for Jane (above), who stepped into the restaurant business by accident 15 years ago. Her mother Frances set up the wine business in conjunction with her then partner Manuel Evuna (hence the name) and Jane stepped in to run the show after he left.
“I had a business degree and a commercial background, but nothing prepared me for running a catering operation,” says Jane, who later a ran a yoga school above the operation as well as launching the NQ branch three years ago.
She told us: “We are really excited about opening in Knutsford after a long search for the right location and right building. There is no doubt we have found it on King Street – a building which is allowing us to innovate further and enhance our customer experience.”
Evuna Knutsford, 46 King Street, Knutsford, WA16 ADT.