The bistro has been sold on behalf of Dawn and David Mott who have been running Tilley’s since 1983 and have now sold the business in order to retire.
Tilley's has been bought by Ajay Chathley and his operating business partner Thomas Barker, who also have two restaurants in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Ajay Chathley has been looking to live and buy a business locally, and has always been a big fan of the city of Bath and immediately fell in love with this historic building and sent it to his business partner, Thomas Barker in Johannesburg. Thomas was gobsmacked when he saw the name of the business as Tilley’s as this was the same name as his pet British bulldog. This was seen as a positive omen and both were struck by the history and heritage of Tilley’s.
Thomas and Ajay plan to make changes and improvements gradually and to ensure they keep the historic nature and ambience of the building by fully utilising the four-storey building to its full potential. Initially, the Property will receive a face lift to a more contemporary style to the decor plus tweaking of the menu by introducing some of their favourite dishes from their two restaurants in South Africa.
Thomas and Ajay plan to broaden the wine and champagne offering and there are plans to create a champagne and whiskey bar on the first floor and then looking further ahead to create letting rooms. In terms of staff they have kept the existing staff plus bringing in another chef from their restaurant in South Africa. They will also introduce breakfast from 9.00am and open for Sunday roast.
Nicholas Calfe, Director, Christie & Co, brokered the deal on behalf of the vendors and said, “The building housing Tilley’s Bistro was once the refectory for the monks of Bath Abbey and still has two huge original fireplaces – one of which has been dated by a historian to the 1400s.
“It is very unusual for a building with this history, and in such a prominent position in the city of Bath. The business created a lot of interest during the marketing period, and we are pleased that a deal has now been sealed with Ajay and Thomas, and we wish them, and Tilley the British Bulldog all the very best of luck in their new venture.”