WHEN a major operation forced restaurateur Heddy Ghazizadeh to close his Wilmslow restaurant last year, many would have expected him to hang up his chef whites.

But the chef has instead incorporated his Middle-Eastern Mediterranean cuisine into a new dining experience – with Knutsfordians the beneficiaries.

Former owner of Heddys in Water Lane, Heddy transformed Knutsford's Tea Room into a pop-up restaurant last Friday night, with a similar event to follow tomorrow, Valentine's Day.

The flexible model takes Heddy's signature cooking style to various locations across Cheshire for one-off or short-run events.

He said: “We spend a lot of time in London visiting family and you see quite a few pop-up restaurants there.

"So, I thought, let’s bring a bit of that back to Cheshire. It’s perfect for me because I still get to do lots of cooking, but I don’t have all the stress of running a full-time business.

"I have a little grandchild now so I just want to have more time to spend with the family.

"This way is so much more fun.”

Heddy’s experimental cooking style is influenced by Armenian cuisine and specialises in Mezzeh, fish, charcoaled meats and cous cous dishes.

Living in Mobberley, the chef began the search for a pop-up host close to home.

The family-run Tea Room, in Cotton Shop Yard, proved the perfect match.

Heddy said: “As we live in Mobberley, Knutsford is really our home town so we wanted to find somewhere here to do the pop-up.

"When we came into the Tea Room, I liked how friendly Harriet was and also that it’s a family-run business like ours.”

Manager Harriet Henry added: “I think the idea of a pop-up restaurant is a great concept and definitely something different to bring to Knutsford.

"I’m really pleased that we’ve had the opportunity to host it here at the Tea Room. We don’t normally open in the evenings but when Heddy told us about his idea and what he had planned for the menu, we knew we had to go ahead.

"I’m pretty hands-on in my role as manager, so it was quite strange having someone else in charge – but it was great to watch Heddy cook and really lovely to see the customers enjoying the food.”

A special abridged menu was created for the evening including Heddy’s distinctive Mezzeh and a Lamb Chavourma – fillet of lamb marinated in Middle Eastern spices.

Heddy ran the kitchen while the Tea Room staff served front of house with Heddy’s wife Cathy.

Some 20 people dined at the inaugural pop-up at the Tea Room. You can book for Valentine's Day via the Tea Room or by emailing heddy@heddys.com

Run by Harriet and mum Sue, the Tea Room is open daily serving tea, coffee, cakes and a full lunch menu, as well as a special new menu for dogs.