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Talk of the Town, Leysdown, is latest Sheppey pub to get dining makeover


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The Isle of Sheppey is getting a make-over when it comes to eating out.

Visitors to Leysdown have been watching the former Talk of the Town beach-front pub being turned into a Fish Bar restaurant and takeaway.

The Talk of the Town pub in Leysdown is being turned into a fish bar by Cain's Amusements
The Talk of the Town pub in Leysdown is being turned into a fish bar by Cain's Amusements
As it is now: the Talk of the Town
As it is now: the Talk of the Town
As it was then: the Talk of the Town, Leysdown
As it was then: the Talk of the Town, Leysdown

Cain's Amusements, which owns the Playtime amusement arcade next door, is also building three holiday flats above the former live-venue pub.

The Herne Bay company was given permission in April 2020 and then the coronavirus pandemic hit which slowed construction work. It has recently lodged updated information with Swale council.

Director David Cain obviously believes the Island is the plaice to be...

He said: “Sheppey is calling out for a seafood restaurant on the seafront. We also wanted to save the Talk of the Town from falling into disrepair because it is such an iconic building. This ticks all the boxes.”

Former Talk of the Town owner Chris Prime and his wife Jackie gave up running the venue in October 2018 after new regulations were enforced by the police.

The Dining Room, Leysdown
The Dining Room, Leysdown
Mark Seabrook outside the former Prince of Waterloo pub in Minster, Sheppey. It is now Bank's Restaurant
Mark Seabrook outside the former Prince of Waterloo pub in Minster, Sheppey. It is now Bank's Restaurant

It left Leysdown with only one pub, the Rose and Crown, especially as Merlins entertainment centre has also closed down and is waiting to be turned into flats.

But the town now has another new dining experience at The Dining Room which opened in September.

Naz Chowdhury, who owned the Curryholics takeaway in Sheerness has turned the former Pavilion into “a family-friendly authentic creative fine dining restaurant”.

The 38-year-old said: “Everything we serve is very artistic; we want to get a Michelin star and we want our customers to be wined and dined in style.”

Hot on his heels is Mark Seabrook who has converted the former Prince of Waterloo pub in Minster into Banks Restaurant. He has been working on it since 2011 and has been holding a series of "soft openings" for invited guests.

Mark, 67, admitted: “It has taken a long time. It was falling apart and needed an awful lot of work. People ask why we want to open a restaurant on Sheppey but it is a wonderful location and, crucially, there aren’t any other restaurants like us.

The King's Arms pub in Minster village is now Charisma Cocktails
The King's Arms pub in Minster village is now Charisma Cocktails

"If people can go to Read’s at Faversham or the Sportsman at Seasalter then I don’t see why they won’t want to come to Sheppey.”

Within walking distance is another old pub, the King’s Arms, which is now Charisma Cocktails run by Jodie Turner and her partner Paul Newton.

Jodie said: “We were told no one on Sheppey would use a cocktail bar but since we opened, every night has been fully booked.”

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