Food & Drink

Published: August 3, 2022 | Updated: August 6, 2022

What a transformation in three months as new Nusara Thai restaurant opens to full bookings

Andy Lennox, Founder and Owner, outside Wimborne’s new Nusara Thai restaurant. Picture: Dorset Biz News.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

“I’m really proud of it and I’m really proud of the team.”

So says multi-award-winning restaurateur Andy Lennox as Nusara Thai in Wimborne officially opened.

Since Dorset Biz News first revealed Andy’s plans to bring the restaurant brand to his hometown three months ago, £250,000 has been spent on transforming a two-story building in Crown Court, just off The Square.

Previously it housed a Chinese restaurant.

Feedback to the makeover, says Andy, has been “amazing” – and that’s before a single dish has been served.

He said: “People tell me they love the look.

Before…

“The site was a drab, dingy, quite nondescript venue which was dark from the outside.

“It’s now turned into this beautiful treehouse-esque Thai oasis.

“It’s exactly what we wanted to do.

“I had the image in my head of what we could create out of a relatively undistinguished commercial unit.

“It just shows what you can do.”

…and after.

Twenty new jobs have been created with the opening of Nusara Wimborne which joins sister restaurants in Poole and Christchurch.

The General Manager is Jordan Kite.

It has 140 covers – 90 inside and 50 outside – and will be open from Wednesday to Sunday, 12pm to 3pm and 5pm to 10pm.

Offering in-house dining, takeaway, delivery and private dining, the restaurant includes a small cocktail bar.

It promises to “combine the age-old tradition of fire grilling alongside time-honoured recipes with a balanced Thai menu of meat, fish and plant.”

All of the wood panels are from Thailand while the wood used extensively throughout the restaurant is reclaimed.

Andy said: “The bookings are looking really good.

“Essentially, we’re fully booked for this weekend.

“We’ve got some tables around the edges but the peak times are all full now.

“The reaction has been incredible.

“You think about this courtyard, it’s hidden away and nobody really knows where it is.

“We anticipated that would be the ‘hard sell’, the bit we would really struggle with in order to get people to come round.

“In fact, the amount of footfall has been amazing and that’s before we even open.

“I got no work done yesterday because literally all day long we had people coming in and being shown around.”

Nusara Wimborne is the 20th unit launched by Andy in the last 13 years.

At the age of 21 he was one of the founders of the Koh Thai restaurant group.

It became the most successful Thai restaurant group in the South West.

In 2016 Andy conducted a Management Buy Out of his fellow business partners and sold Koh to a private equity house – a sale reported to be in the millions at the time.

Two years later and with 14 units, he exited the business after ten years at the helm.

In November 2020 he opened the first Nusara in Christchurch, marking his return to owning a Thai restaurant again.

Nusara Poole followed in July last year.

The 35-year-old, who lives in Wimborne, had been looking for a suitable site in the Minster town for a restaurant for the last decade.

His company, The Fired Up Collective, also includes Zim Braai, the South African restaurant brand with sites in Ashley Cross and Bournemouth, and The Old Thatch Wimborne.

Around 130 people are employed across the group.

Andy said: “We’ll see how Wimborne beds in but it’s a convergence of Nusara, Zim and years of developing our style – and my style to a certain extent.

“It’s a mix of reclaimed and new.

“We’ve even got an Instagram wall for the first time ever which I’ve never done before.

“The whole site has come together very nicely and looks really smart.

“It’s stylish but it’s not trying to be poncy or something else.

“We’ve got a good team and good advance bookings.

“Hopefully people will love it.”