Mark O’Rourke is a man on a mission – to bring top notch dining to the heart of Preston.Advertisement
The restaurant owner who made his name with his eateries We Don’t Give A Fork, Fino Tapas and Otter’s Pocket opens his newest restaurant 263 in The Winckley Square Hotel next week – and it’s set to take things up a level.
With a seven course tasting menu, a la carte and a Sunday roast to rival the Ribble Valley, Mark plans to create the kind of upmarket experience usually found in bigger cities.
He says: “The food is going to be top level, but I don’t want to call it fine-dining because the service and atmosphere isn’t going to be pretentious.
“I don’t want somewhere where people are going to feel uncomfortable coming in to eat a meal. But I want the food to be some of the best in Lancashire.
“It will be the best in Preston – there’s nowhere that has this quality of food within eight miles of us.”
The name 263 comes from Mark’s son Hendrick’s date of birth and is a little more modest than some of his other eateries.
In February 2018 Mark ran a pop-up restaurant in the now closed Ham and Jam in Lancaster Road, focusing on ‘simple things, done really, really well.’
Read more: Pop up restaurant coming to Preston coffee shop
Mark says: “I’ve always wanted to open a premium restaurant but I’ve not come across a location until now that has been viable.”
Menus at 263 are unfussy with the a la carte offering four choices of starters, mains and desserts, and a seven course tasting menu, priced at £60.
Mark says: “You can’t have the highest quality of food, and make sure every dish is perfect, if you’ve got 20 starters and 20 mains.
“Our veg supplier will come one week and we’ll create a menu around what seasonal options he has. The menu will change every week based around the best ingredients we can get.”
Read more: Taste testing The Otter’s Pocket in Preston city centre
The menus will be planned by head chef Charlie Yates – who Mark has recruited from the White Swan at Fence, a Michelin starred Lancashire restaurant.
Charlie trained at Northcote Manor and has also worked at Wreckfish in Liverpool.
And Mark hopes the Sunday lunch menu will bring discerning diners into the city who might otherwise go elsewhere.
He says: “Me, Connie [his partner] and our son Hendrick like to drive out and have a good quality Sunday lunch – at the moment we have to go to the Ribble Valley. These are mostly Rosette pubs – they are ten-a-penny out there.
“Why would we go and find somewhere in Preston that can’t compete? We want people in the Ribble Valley to be coming to Preston!”
263 restaurant is at Winckley Hotel, 10 Camden Place and will serve breakfast seven days per week, and lunch and dinner from Wednesday to Saturday. Sunday roast will be available from 12-6pm .
Will you be going to 263? Let us know what you think of Mark’s plans in the comments section.