Magnificent rebirth for Birtle’s ‘Bird’
Spectacularly and comprehensively refurbished and extended, the first pub venture for Nutters restaurant, the rebranded Bird at Birtle, has recently opened at the transformed venue formerly known as the Bird it’h Hand at Birtle, Bury, Greater Manchester.
The new gastropub, fast becoming the new destination dining venue in the area, is located on Rochdale Old Road just ten minutes away from the long-established Nutters fine dining restaurant in Edenfield Road, Rochdale.
Like the original venue, it is run by the Nutter family – celebrity chef Andrew Nutter, together with his father Rodney and mother Jean.
The venue serves classic pub dishes, but in a more refined and sophisticated manner. The interior features a classic style, in keeping with the venue.
The transformational refurbishment was carried out by Main Contractors H Bell & Sons (Rochdale) – a well-known local family business which has been established for 104 years. The company is led by managing director Chris Bell, his sister, company secretary Louise Scott, and his father, director Harry Bell.
The project included the construction of two new extensions and the refurbishment of the original pub building.
The aim of the project was to retain the character of the building, whilst adding a ‘Nutter Twist’ to the venue, where celebrity chef Andrew Nutter and his team serve up great hearty traditional pub food at reasonable prices, using the very best of local and regional produce in an environment not as formal as the original Nutters, but still refined and sophisticated.
Louise Scott of H Bell & Sons said: “We were involved in the project right from the design stage, working closely with architects CJ Partnership. Having also carried out an earlier separate scheme to construct a new entrance to the original Nutters restaurant in Edenfield Road, we found that we got on well with the Nutter family because like them, we are a family business and share the same ethos of supporting local firms and suppliers.”
The works included the construction of a large modern steel-structured two storey extension to the rear of the original stone pub, which doubles the original internal space. The extension incorporates downstairs and upstairs dining areas, together providing approximately 100-covers, with the upper level featuring a fully glazed back wall with a balcony accessed through sliding doors to take advantage of the stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
Downstairs, the back wall incorporates glazed doors leading out to a patio area with seating. The remaining internal walls are finished in a striking combination of timber and slate and the remaining external elevations are finished in zinc cladding, topped with a flat roof. New toilets have also been installed within the extension.
Within the original pub building, much of the character has been retained internally, including exposed stone internal walls, all of the original beams and the original fireplace, with the decor featuring natural materials such as timber and slate, wood-effect Polyflor flooring and recycled, moveable seating and tables. A new underfloor heating system has also been installed.
On the ground floor, internal walls have been removed to create an open plan space which includes a reception area, main lounge including a new bar, and a further dining area.
Also on the ground floor, a brand new modern stainless steel catering kitchen has been installed by contractors Dawn Vale. This is situated within a second new purpose-built single storey high-ceilinged extension, located to the side of the original building and featuring external elevations in stone and zinc cladding. Activity within the kitchen can be seen through a serving hatch.
Upstairs, the original building is integrated with the new extension to the rear and features a second bar incorporating a combination of fixed and moveable seating, with wall finishes in exposed original stone.
A new modern steel and timber staircase has been installed leading to the upper floor of the restaurant and is located adjacent to a wall featuring a giant bird logo captioned with the wording “Great Lancashire fare with flair and imagination.” Further smaller bird logos are featured on doors and windows throughout the building.
Externally, the original stone frontage incorporating the pub’s previous name The Bird i’th Hand has also been retained. Further works included the installation of new windows, the re-pointing of the stonework and complete re-roofing.
External works included re-surfacing and re-marking of the car park with tarmac, as well as landscaping and the construction of a new smoking shelter.
“Nutters were very happy with the project and we had some great feedback from them. The project went well thanks to careful planning, regular site meetings and good communication,” said Louise Scott.
The new venue had a spectacular opening in June at which Andrew Nutter flew overhead in a helicopter brandishing a giant key at assembled celebrity guests.
These included Coronation Street star Antony Cotton, Hollyoaks favourite Kieron Richardson, selfie queen Karen Danczuk, DJ Darren Proctor and celebrity chefs David Mooney and Aiden Byrne.
The Bird at Birtle kitchen team is headed up by Andrew’s head chef, Carl Tait, after working together for more than 12 years. He is joined by sous chef Kirsty Jones.
The new pub venture came up just as the Nutter family were finishing a continuing programme of refurbishment at their existing restaurant.
He has been described as one of the most exciting and innovative chefs of his generation. His passion for cooking really does radiate from within. Even before his twenty-first birthday, Andrew had already spent three years training at London’s Savoy, as well as two years in France working in a whole host of Michelin-starred restaurants. From these early beginnings, Andrew has now joined the elite of UK ‘celebrity chefs’.
Opening his own restaurant, Nutters, was a natural progression for the talented chef. With the backing of his family, Andrew watched as guests began to pack the tables and awards began mounting up. In the years since, Nutters Restaurant has been applauded by critics and guests alike – and now the new Nutters venue looks set for the same success.
Andrew’s cooking style is indeed unique. He has a real passion for classic French cooking, yet keeps his innovative eye on using and incorporating the very finest of local produce.
Andrew recently commented:
“My initial concept for the restaurant was to use the very best local produce and yet to present it in a classical French manner – which I’d learned in France during my early days. A lot of my suppliers are family businesses – just like us – and I always source from local suppliers wherever possible. They know the produce I like and they ensure I get the very best quality every day.”
Andrew has appeared on Ready Steady Cook, Afternoon Live, and Granada TV’s The Flying Chef, as well as his own Channel Five series, Utter Nutter. He is also increasingly well-known abroad, regularly demonstrating his cooking expertise in South Africa along with regular TV broadcasts in the USA, New Zealand and Australia.
Despite the success of Nutters, the company has remained a family affair. Rodney Nutter – Andrew’s father and a successful butcher originally based in Prestwich – retired from his business to look after the restaurant’s enviable reputation for fine wines.
Andrew’s mother Jean joined the team too. As an ex home-economics teacher – and perhaps one of the first to teach cookery to boys – Jean has brought her expertise and wisdom to the business and now looks after the accounts and administration.
The Times voted Nutters as one of the UK’s top-ten celebrity-chef restaurants.
H Bell & Sons pride themselves on quality workmanship and endeavour to reflect this in every type of job they undertake.
Other recently completed projects carried out by H Bell & Son include the refurbishment of the clock tower restaurant at Rochdale Town Hall. In addition to working within the hospitality sector, the company undertake a wide variety of other projects including those within the education, industrial, commercial, and health sectors, including both refurbishment and new build developments.
The high standards that their customers have come to expect are achieved by employing skilled trades people under the company’s direct control, most of whom have been with them for many years. All employees have been vetted for quality and expertise and understand the company’s expectations, as well as those of their clients.
Dawnvale was involved with the work on The Bird at Birtle, installing amongst other things, the venue’s bars and kitchen. Commenting on the project, Dawnvale’s Craig Whitworth, said:
“We have continuously worked with Andrew and Rodney, over the past 10 years, on various kitchen and restaurant refurbishments at Nutters. So we welcomed the exciting opportunity to work on their first gastro pub – manufacturing and installing the two bars, kitchen, bespoke illuminated wine wall and various wall finishes.
“Their whole team is now over the moon with the look and finish of the Bird at Birtle – which gives Dawnvale even greater satisfaction. We hope we’ve made a lasting contribution to the success that they are bound to enjoy there.”