Cafe Belge

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Gary and Janet Bush




Cafe Belge - The History

The Bush Family began their catering experience at a pub in Hever (The Greyhound) after years of working within the entertainment business. The family (Gary, Janet and their 3 children) literally fell into the business by chance when Gary’s Flemish father Luc became ill and unable to run the business. Gary visited for the weekend to ‘help out’ and Luc moved out two days later! The family were amazed how much you can learn and quickly when you have to! Within months the business was pulled around and with a passion for food customers soon started to flock to The Greyhound for its fine quality food. A year later the family purchased the pub and within five years the business was unrecognisable serving more than 500 meals each week.

The family had always kept a flat at Bexhill to escape to whenever they could (although in a Pub that is not often) and whilst walking across the esplanade one day were intrigued to see a small restaurant for sale (38 inside plus outside seating). A viewing took place that same day and Gary and Janet returned to Hever with a decision to make! Six months later the first Café Belge opened and the pub was sold and the family relocated to Bexhill. The idea was that after 5 years of hard work that Gary would Chef and spend the rest of the time on the beach with the family!!!!!!!

The restaurants are still family run by Gary and Janet with the full time aid of their eldest daughter Chloe – Assistant Restaurant Manager Eastbourne. Son James – Chef/front of house helps out when home from University and youngest daughter Parice helps out in the kitchen at weekends. Together with a great team of Restaurant Managers, highly skilled Chefs and kitchen staff with talented out front staff who have been known to save the day on many occasions! Without whom Café Belge could not run, thanks to you all!!!!!!    

A year later a former Greyhound customer suggested a possible site in Eastbourne for a second restaurant. The dingy seafront pub – painted green, gold and red - had fabulous views over the esplanade across Beachy Head and the Pier and a balcony. The second Café Belge restaurant was purchased and work commenced : the floor was raised – to enjoy the fine views and a kitchen was built. Now painted cream and pale blue with wooden floors with a sweeping 1920’s bar – which was found under the 1970’s panelling Café Belge Eastbourne opened its doors in April 2002.   Seating more than 90 with an outside seating area we have played host the numerous people – Ronnie Corbet, Jamie Theakston, The Cheeky girls,  Joanna Lumley, tennis players, film crews and of course during the Airbourne festival pilots and crew – Café Belge Eastbourne is firmly on the map.

Café Belge Battle opened its doors a year later when the family purchased a former Greengrocers shop and transformed it once again. The Battle restaurant is in the centre of this ancient High Street beside an alleyway leading to a large car park. This long restaurant with its trademark creams, large canvasses, stained glass and iron work the restaurant offers 65 covers.

Close to Kings Hill (featured on the Times Top 10 Richest Places to Live!) and home to the Head Offices of many of the countries Top companies Café Belge West Malling is situated on the High Street in a 15th Century Hall House once a ‘hotel’ for guests to the Abbey.     The site has been a restaurant for many years and after receiving the ‘Café Belge Treatment’ now features many paintings, ironwork and stained glass. The restaurant seats 94 and offers a Private Dining Room (for 18 people) on the first floor.

The Canterbury restaurant is close to The Westgate in another ancient hall house once home to Lloyds Bank. The kitchen is built into the former bank vault. With beautiful old beams on the first floor the restaurant seats more than 90 people with disabled access and toilets. Close to the Marlow Theatre the large station car parks of Canterbury West Station are only minutes walk.

The newest Cafe BeLge restaurant is on Brighton seafront which opened in June 2006. it has amazing sea views and has its own Abbey situated at the rear of the building with its own confession box!