Lighter bites and fine dining at The Wilson

The Wilson, Freedom Quay

The location at the side of Hull Marina is a big part of the success story, enabling The Wilson to draw inspiration from the area’s rich maritime heritage for its name and its decor – images of ships and registers from Ellerman’s famous Wilson Line.

Such a prime site also posed a big challenge – that of how to meet the needs of leisure and business clientele during the day and then attract evening diners looking for something special.

“The answer was to offer two menus,” said Vanessa Tomlinson, manager of The Wilson.

“And that in turn enabled us to vary the ambience from cafe bar during the day to something more sophisticated in the evening.”

Quality and creativity are behind everything that happens at The Wilson. Head chef Mark Barrett counts some of London’s top hotels on his CV and, as revealed inThe Journal, has helped feed diners including Madonna, Eric Clapton and Margaret Thatcher. Even Prince Charles and Princess Diana sampled his food.

Mark recruited sous chef John Greenwood after moving to East Yorkshire, and the pair quickly earned The Wilson a reputation as something special.

The daytime menu ranges from the all-day breakfast and a good variety of hot and cold wraps and sandwiches to meals including haddock and chips, cottage pie and sausages with bubble and squeak, all modestly-priced.

In the evening Mark and John unveil such delights as tender estate-reared chicken breast, marinated in a vacuum pack with garlic, shallots, rosemary, chicken stock and white wine. Or breast of locally-reared duck marinated in ginger and spring onion, oven cooked and carved over crispy, thin, herb-glazed vegetables drizzled with hoisin infused jus.

One constant to accompany both day and evening menus is a wine list sufficiently varied to cater for most tastes and budgets.

While The Journal focused on the food the Yorkshire Post’s coverage explored The Wilson’s maritime heritage with the help of Vanessa’s father Les Wilson, a former engineer who worked on many Wilson Line vessels.

But having acknowledged the importance of Hull’s history the team at The Wilson now have their sights set on the future.

“We’ve been very busy since we opened, we’ve had some great media coverage and a lot of support from Hull BID,” said Vanessa.

“We want to build on that in the New Year and we know we’re in the right place and we’re offering the right quality to enable us to do that.

“We missed the big events of the summer because they came too early for us but we’ve got big plans for 2011 and beyond. The menus will keep changing as Mark and John introduce new ideas and we’ll also be creating a bit more space, with an outdoor dining area at the side of the Marina.”

The Wilson is open daily from 10am until 10pm.

Telephone: 01482 216306.

Photography courtsey of The Journal

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Business highlight

Lighter bites and fine dining at The Wilson

A cafe bar by day and a stylish restaurant by night, The Wilson has caused a stir in culinary and cultural circles since opening its doors in the autumn of 2010.

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