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Maidstone's Buddha Belly restaurant on Pudding Lane to reopen as a bar, restaurant, and entertainment venue

By William Janes

One of Maidstone’s biggest eateries is expected to reopen as a bar, restaurant and entertainment venue early next year.

Workmen are busy transforming the site of Buddha Belly, which closed its doors on Pudding Lane earlier this month, after it was bought by Elite Pubs.

The new restaurant will be called The Botanist, serving food and drinks at street level and a basement complex called Junipers. Also planned is a ‘pizza shack’ serving food through a window onto Pudding Lane.

Work is underway behind the whitewashed windows of the closed Buddha Belly restaurant

Work is underway behind the whitewashed windows of the closed Buddha Belly restaurant

Despite having a capacity of 400 and being licensed to operate until 4am, the new owner insists Junipers is not a nightclub. Martial Chaussy, owner of Elite Pubs, said the basement venue is designed to be an “exclusive” attraction, targeted at over 25s and will aim to operate at a capacity of 150 from 6pm - 2am.

The site will be the chain’s eighth location and the owner believes it will be a good thing for the County Town.

The street-level floor will be a bar and restaurant with a 'pizza shack'

The street-level floor will be a bar and restaurant with a 'pizza shack'

A variety of entertainment from stand-up comedy to cabaret will be hosted in Junipers at the basement level

A variety of entertainment from stand-up comedy to cabaret will be hosted in Junipers at the basement level

Mr Chaussy said: “It was time for us to come here and help the town to get better.

“Customers are asking for something vibrant and different and that’s what we are creating.”

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