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How two dreams came true for Bonne Santé founder Luke

From an empty shell, to the hottest new eatery in Plymouth … welcome to Bonne Santé at the Barbican’s historic Custom House. For director-founder, Plymouth-born businessman and restaurateur Luke Lauri, Bonne Santé has brought together two long-held dreams: to open a healthy eating venue and to bring the landmark Grade II* listed building back to life again. Luke jumped at the chance when the building finally became available after years of lying unused: “I’ve had a lot of interest in this building for a long time and I always thought it would make a fantastic restaurant,” said Luke, 29. “There aren’t many better locations are there? Slap bang in the heart of the Barbican.” Luke wanted to create a ‘wow’ factor with


The Plymouth Magazine October 2018

Bonne Santé – and boy, has he succeeded, with both the ambience and the menu. To give you a clue as to the food on offer, Bonne Santé translates to ‘good health’ and the restaurant’s slogan is: ‘Skip the diet, just eat healthy.’ For those imagining healthy food to be a couple of lettuce leaves and a tomato, think again! The salads are substantial, while the menu still has pizzas and burgers – but without bad fats. Everything on the menu is 100% gluten-free, so that diners with a food intolerance can eat safely, and there’s a wide choice of dishes for vegans and vegetarians. “The concept is something I’ve been working on for a number of years,” explained Luke. “We wanted somewhere that’s unique – a place that’s open for breakfast, brunch, lunch and evening dinner, where people can eat out, guilt-free.” The restaurant opened in May and the people of Plymouth have welcomed it with open arms: “On a daily basis we’re getting customers who say ‘this is really needed, it should have been here a long time ago’. Hearing people say that they’re enjoying what we’ve put our heart and soul into, that’s the icing on the cake, it’s why we do it.” Luke creates the menu with his head chef Piotr, who was also his chef when he transformed the city’s former Tap and Barrel pub into The Penguin Lounge, prior to launching Bonne Santé: “All of our food is freshly prepared, with thought-out ingredients,” said Luke. “That means reduced saturated fats, sugar and salt, in fact anything that’s generally bad for us. Yes, you can enjoy the experience of eating out – but afterwards, you don’t feel you’ve over-indulged.” For example, the Hunters breakfast, like the burgers, contains lean meat and mince only. The slaw is made using Greek yoghurt and the cheese is ‘skinny’. As Luke puts it: “It’s so you can have a naughty, but-not-so naughty treat.” The restaurant sources its produce from local suppliers, a close relationship that means its gets the ingredients to fit the healthy eating concept. Fish comes direct from Rex