The couple met at Midnight Mass in Malmesbury Abbey, Wiltshire in 1979. Nervous at first, it took Andrew two months after meeting Tracey to finally pluck up the courage to ask her out on a date. They spent two happy years together before Tracey amicably left to continue her career studies at Aberystwyth University.
Determined to get the two back together again, Tracey’s mum played matchmaker however, her efforts dwindled as Tracey decided to move to Canada to travel, therefore the couple stayed apart.
After two years of Tracey living in Canada, both Andrew and Tracey had met someone else at the time and Tracey was engaged to be married. Busy sorting out the wedding and her visa to stay in Canada, Tracey came back to the UK, but her mother had other ideas after bumping into Andrew and inviting him to their family meal. Delighted to see Tracey again, the two reconnected over that meal and discovered something special in their relationship with one another which led Tracey onto calling off her wedding and rekindling her love for Andrew.
Andrew was working in Data Comms at the time and had a keen eye for business and engineering at a time when the communications industry was evolving rapidly. Andrew and Tracey managed to make enough money to purchase an old, derelict manor in Wiltshire called Stanton Manor. This was when the couple had their first taste of working and renovating a beautiful building. Keen to turn it into a restaurant and hotel, the couple found themselves re-living Fawlty Towers moments with many obstacles around every corner.
In the early history of the new life of the manor , the two tied the knot and were the first couple to be wed in their newly restored manor house and wedding venue.
After putting in the work at Stanton Manor for a year or two, Andrew returned to Data Comms where he felt more comfortable and proceeded to build on his experience in the industry. Tracey and Andrew decided the restaurant trade was perhaps not for them at this point. Tracey ran a small mobile saddlery and publishing business. The couple also started a family and Andrew found himself working away a lot and missing his boys’ milestones.
Datacomms was becoming a boom industry and Andrew and a group of like-minded engineers got together to produce some world beating products and were soon bought out by a large American company. The proceeds from this enable Andrew and Tracey to purchase a fine country house in somerset, where they lived for
This was a grade 1 listed building, and they spent a lot of time and money renovating the house before moving in. The couple had then decided that it was time to switch roles so Tracey could focus on her career and Andrew could spend time with the children.
Tracey decided to undertake a law degree in 1996 and one year later, their youngest son was born. The couple both wanted to be close to their 4 boys and watch them grow up, so, Tracey set up a nursery school in a wing of their house which became very successful.
Andrew is the sort of person who always wants to be doing something productive with his time therefore he combined his engineering background with his love for his boys and got creative! At the time, Robot Wars was their son, Alex’s favourite TV programme and being the pro-active person that Andrew is, he took on the challenge of making their very own robot to compete in
Andrew took the bull by the horns and set about building robots with the boys and in return had a few on-screen moments that he will cherish forever. Several robots were produced and one is even on show inside The Bottling Plant.
Having done Robot Wars, he developed a mobile system called ‘Robogeddon’ which utilised a 3.5-tonne mobile robotic combat system which could be taken to theme parks and outside events so robotic combat was available for all to enjoy. He also created ‘Robo-Soccer’ with encouragement from well-known 80’s football star, Kevin Keegan!
This time of Andrew’s life was more about creating fun memories with his boys than anything else. Although he did mention he was secretly very competitive during his time at
In 2007, Andrew and Tracey had fortunately foreseen the economic crash which led them on to selling the estate and nursery just in time, after many happy years. The family then moved to Clifton and Tracey took up primary school teaching and Andrew decided to retire.
Their second oldest son Oliver went to study at the University of Plymouth in 2011 and after he moved into a dingy shared house , Andrew and Tracey took it upon themselves to purchase a property in Plymouth for Oliver and his friends to live in.
Andrew and Tracey had for many years been involved in purchasing and developing many different properties, so it seemed only fitting to carry on this trait in Plymouth. After a few more purchases, including one pub, it was nearly time to move to Plymouth full time.
They spotted The Bottling Plant and thought it was a very special property with its history and the stunning architecture.
What they had taken on was more than a renovation project, it had a rich history, a popular street to live up to and not to mention the Robert Lenkiewicz mural on the wall outside. The couple felt a certain amount of responsibility to protect its past whilst giving the people of Plymouth something amazing and unique.
With their previous grade 1 listed renovations, this grade 2 listed building was a different ‘kettle of fish’ and something that was probably more important than it first appeared. . All they knew is that it had to be impressive and serve its history proudly.
They thought about having flats upstairs and something commercial downstairs but they never thought of running it themselves. Initially the ground floor was going to be let for others to make their mark, however, the more Andrew and Tracey thought about it the more appealing it became to make their own mark on the building. That way they would have complete control over what happened. There were many things that could go wrong and they had already taken the decision years ago not to go there again, but something was pulling them towards doing it again. At this point Tracey was working as an Assistant Head Teacher in Bristol, but decided to take early retirement from teaching and work with Andrew on this exciting new project.
They managed to obtain an alcohol licence for the business which meant they could look into having a restaurant or wine bar so the idea, which began as a café wine bar attracted a lot of attention, and a few helpful comments asking if they could offer a wider selection of food. So, the journey had begun and the evolution of The Bottling Plant moved on.
Andrew and Tracey have spared no expense when designing the interior space of the lounge and dining area. The whole room follows a running theme of 18th century, industrial and silver screen icons. There are hints of the building’s history with re-used old tables from when it was the bottling plant for Plymouth Gin and the workers used to stick the broken stickers underneath the desks. As well as this, there is a Robert Lenkiewicz glass etching hung on the wall which they found in the attic when they were renovating the space and to this day no one knows where this etching originated from or indeed if it was created by Lenkiewicz himself, and more importantly, who the woman in the picture really is.
The Bottling Plant opened in March 2020, and for obvious reasons, they had to close very soon after. At the time, they had just taken on Matt, as general manager but unfortunately missed out on the furlough scheme so they made the decision to pay him out of their own pocket and have him turn his hand to a bit of painting and decorating among other things to get the place
After the lockdown was over, they were finally able to find their feet and meet their customers. The lockdowns after this meant that they haven’t yet had a proper year so they are still evolving and changing things to suit their customers’ wants and needs.
When you enter The Bottling Plant, you are hit with a warm and relaxing ambience despite the natural industrial look of the building. ‘The more you look, the more you see!’ Everywhere you look, there are hidden gems and pieces of history from the building and Tracey and Andrews’ life. Some of the furniture has been donated from their old house and other pieces have been found along
The menu is vast with breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee, cake and cocktails on offer with different tables to suit each menu. The team at The Bottling Plant have thought very carefully about the floorplan and the positioning of tables so that each one has its own view. There are comfortable lounging chairs suitable for an afternoon tea or coffee and cake, bar stool tables ideal for an evening of cocktails and catch-ups as well as an array of vintage dining tables perfect for a large meal.
The bar staff are very proud of their cocktail menu and have each designed their very own cocktail that they will gladly make for you. The kitchen team have designed the menu so that everybody is happy. They even have a cook-off if there are new dishes on the menu to give the staff the opportunity to give their thoughts on the dish and then the mixologists will provide a cocktail to compliment the food. It is this level of teamwork that really helps the day-to-day running of the restaurant go smoothly, and ensuring the customers are well looked after and the staff enjoy the working environment.
The staff have name badges from silver screen icons such as Frank Sinatra and Cary Grant which they find very amusing if a customer asks if that is their real name.
Two staff members will be taking on the monumental challenge of rowing from Gran Canaria to Barbados and are currently fundraising and taking any donations. The row will take place in mid-December, just after the monsoon season has ended. If you would like to donate, please head to www.gofundme.com/f/atlantic-row-ocean-warrior-challenge – any donations are welcome!
The most popular dish on the menu is The Bottling Plant burger, closely followed by the pork belly and the Sutton Seafood Platter. They also have a vast vegan menu with a very popular nut roast which is deliciously tender and full of flavour. Their food is fresh and they try to source their produce as locally as possible. the catch of the day and scallops are from their local fish supplier only 400ft away from the door of The Bottling Plant!
Christmas at The Bottling Plant is yet to be seen due to the pandemic; however, they are promising amazing food, a unique dining experience and a beautiful ambience that will set your Christmas off perfectly. The chefs have decided to make the roast dinner slightly different by making it a platter instead of having it on one plate. This enhances the atmosphere as you are able to connect with others across the table and share the food around (although there will be plenty of food for everyone.) They also have a private function room that can be booked out for Christmas parties and events which is where they also house their cocktail classes and wreath making classes. They are fully booked on the weekends in December in the function room up until Christmas however, it is still worth booking for a weekday Christmas meal in this room. There are a few tables left in the main restaurant on a couple of weekends in December, but these are booking fast.
They also have some amazing Christmas hampers on offer which can be purchased online or collected in The Bottling Plant.
Booking for a meal in The Bottling Plant for any occasion other than Christmas, isn’t essential however, it does get very busy on Saturdays therefore, to avoid disappointment, it is recommended you book. To book your next meal at The Bottling Plant, please see the details listed below.
Andrew and Tracey have become very fond of their unique restaurant and want to maintain full control of the process for a little while longer before letting Matt take over completely. The couple never wishes to sell the place as they know they are very lucky to own this very special building in the heart of the historic Plymouth Barbican.
In the near future, they would like to finish renovating the two apartments on the first floor and put them on the popular holiday lettings site, Airbnb. They wish to target these apartments to the same customer base who love to spend time in the restaurant. The apartments will carry a similar theme to the rest of the interior with its history in mind.
Plans are also a-foot with the Robert Lenkiewicz mural restoration so keep your eyes peeled here to find out very soon!
The couple are very happy with what they have created so far. It has the perfect atmosphere, style and premium service they have always strived to achieve and would like nothing more for it to continue in the way it has and in turn grow in popularity with both locals and tourists. It is clear that the Bottling Plant’s décor, ambiance, style and characteristics are a historic map and tribute to the wonders of Andrew and Tracey’s incredible