The Croft Kitchen has been sold and will re-open for business after some renovation work. The restaurant, on the shores of Loch Indaal at Port Charlotte, has been bought by Yan Wang who intends to create a bistro-style establishment serving seafood, grill and tapas to his clients. Yan's entry date is 17 February but he plans to open to the public on 5 March after creating a new bar, replacing a wood burning stove and giving the place a face lift. The restaurant will be called "Yan's Kitchen."
Though the restaurant will open initially without a licence to sell alcohol, Yan hopes this will change when the licensing board meets on 22 April. Yan is a professional chef with twenty-six years experience. He has Chinese roots but spent his early years in Madrid where he worked in the family business. He has also trained in France. His skills encompass Spanish, classical French and Chinese cuisine. He has already shared his knowledge with people on the island who wished to develop their cooking skills, in his role as a registered tutor at Argyll College. Continue reading....
Yan is excited about this new venture. He came to Islay in 2010 with one suitcase, he told me. "Now I have a wife, two beautiful children, a house in Keills and finally my own restaurant. Life can't get much better than this!" Yan's wife, Veronika Schleicher, was also travelling light when she first came to Islay. Veronika came to the island from her home in Germany to improve her language skills. She and Yan met when they were both working in the Port Askaig Hotel; they fell in love and, as the saying goes, the rest is history. Their first daughter Emma-Lin was born in 2011 and Hannah in 2013.
"We decided to settle down in Islay where the local people welcomed us so warmly," she said. "They also supported us when we had difficult times. Islay became a dear home to us and we feel that we are part of the local community." Yan, who has taken British citizenship, says that his restaurant will provide employment opportunities for locals. He will be advertising for staff in a future edition of the Ileach. When Yan opens for business he will be offering a huge welcome to old customers as well as new ones.
This article was published with kind permission of the Ileach