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MasterChef contestant to open ‘warm and calm’ restaurant

15 Mar 2024 3 minute read
Geshmak will replace The Deli at 6 Clive Street, Caerphilly, pictured in May 2023. Credit: Google

Nicholas Thomas Local Democracy Reporter

A former teacher who reached the semi-finals of MasterChef wants to open a “warm and calm” restaurant in a Welsh town centre.

Francesca Keirle will soon open Geshmak – a cafe, bar and bistro at 6 Clive Street, Caerphilly in a building formerly occupied by The Deli.

Caerphilly Council’s licensing sub-committee met on Friday (March 15) to decide whether to approve a licensing application that will allow her to sell alcohol at the new restaurant, including some off-sales as part of a deli arrangement.


The business owner, who described herself as having a “passion” for cooking inspired by her grandmother and family’s heritage, said her new branch of Geshmak will “enhance” the town.

Diners had complimented her previous restaurant, in Newport, for its warm welcome and “outstanding” food, she added.

Ms Keirle has applied to serve alcohol with meals, and at events such as open-mic nights and jazz evenings.

The committee heard Gwent Police and various council departments had offered no objections to the plans for the new Clive Street restaurant.

The licence application, however, did draw several objections from people nearby, who raised concerns that the sale of alcohol there could cause issues with noise and antisocial behaviour.

But many of those 11 letters of objection referred to an “off-licence” as opposed to a restaurant, and Ms Keirle told the council – in her own submissions to the committee – that Geshmak “would not tolerate antisocial behaviour or any activities that could be construed as nuisance”.


Her previous restaurant in Newport was “an oasis of calm” in the city, which closed so she could expand the business in Caerphilly, she said.

While it was open, she added she had “worked with the authorities” in line with her licence terms, and had never had to record any incidents of bad behaviour linked to booze.

Ms Keirle acknowledged there could be some off-sales of alcohol as part of Geshmak’s “specialty deli offerings for sale” but said the concerns objectors had raised were “associated with other types of business”.

These off-sales would be items like small bottles of local produce in hampers, rather than cans of lager, she told the meeting.

Ms Keirle said her application “seems to have been misunderstood” by people who objected, and added she was keen to work with local residents to help them find out more about her restaurant.

“We are going to look after their interests as well,” she said.

Caerphilly Council’s licensing committee will announce its decision within five working days.

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