French makeover and 30 jobs at former Rocket & Ruby

Hospitality entrepreneurs Jonathan Poole and Paddy Smith will open a new French bistro in Liverpool this summer, creating 30 new jobs. Tony McDonough reports

Red & Blue
Jonathan Poole and Paddy Smith of Red & Blue Restaurant Group


A new French bistro will open this summer at the Liverpool city centre site formerly occupied by Rocket & Ruby.

Jonathan Poole and Paddy Smith of the Red & Blue Restaurant Group say they aim to have Bouchon in Derby Square, between Castle Street and Lord Street, open by mid-July this year.

For Jonathan, it’s a journey that has come full circle after setting up Chez Jules Chester in 1997 which he refers to as “the original Bouchon”. He added: “I guess I’m best known in trade circles for the Ego brand which was born out of Chez Jules. 12 restaurants later and it’s back to my roots.”

He was also one of the consortium who bought out the Pierre Victoire chain back in the late 90s and said: “That period of my business life was just a whirlwind. I learned a huge amount about the industry having joint established the Ego business in 1999 eventually sold to the management team behind La Tasca.

“Critically, I met Paddy in the same year as establishing Ego and genuinely ever since, we’ve been a very solid foundation together as business partners.

“Bouchon is our latest creation and we’re both very proud of the concept and quietly confident that our existing customers across Bacaro, Salt House Tapas and Hanover Street Social will become fans too.”

Oysters will be on the menu at Bouchon in Liverpool


Paddy describes the late 90s and early noughties as “running with blind confidence” working in the industry. He explained: “My early career as a chef enabled me to experience roles in the Caribbean and working with five star cuisine right through latterly to more amenable, inclusive and affordable cuisine.

“Bouchon is very much that. A French bistro in its truest form, serving comfort food, open continuously morning to night at moderate prices, housing an active bar where people gather for food, drink and lively conversation.”

Menu highlights at Bouchon will include oysters, classic French onion soup, charcuterie boards, rotisserie chicken, sole meunière to tarte tatin and chocolate fondant. Bouchon will create 30 jobs bringing the total number in the group to 140 which is also investing a six-figure sum in developing the site.

Jonathan added: “It’s an exciting time for the company after a lousy 14 months of inactivity for us and all of our colleagues in the industry. We’re so pleased to be back and for myself and Jonny, Bouchon is a culmination of all the good things we’ve learned about hospitality over three decades with our roots steeped in French cuisine.”

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