ST JOHN’S is a great village that deserves to have a great gastropub, said Jonathan Lord, the Woking MP, at the reopening of The Rowbarge.

Mr Lord was among six guests, including Ayesha Azad, the leader of Woking Borough Council, at the event this week.

They were introduced to the pub’s team by the new licensee, Gus Jonah, a former head chef of the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group.

Mr Jonah worked for Oliver for more than eight years after switching careers from risk management to be trained by the chef Antonio Carluccio.

Mr Lord said: “It is wonderful to see the impressive refurbishment of The Rowbarge and to be here on the happy occasion of its reopening.

“Augustus Jonah has a terrific reputation as a chef and his skills, his enthusiasm and his hard work is clear for everyone to see.

“I feel sure that Augustus and his team will make a huge success of The Rowbarge and that the whole local area will benefit from having such a fantastic pub on our doorstep.”

Mr Jonah said: “This is my first business and a dream come true. I will run the business and oversee the kitchen.”

His partner Szandra will run the front of house.

“I have taken over the pub on a 15-year lease and will restore it to a great village pub offering locally sourced food, beers and wines,” Mr Jonah said.

Other guests at the reopening were Dugald Macer, the Star Pubs operations director, and Adrian Riley, the group’s business development manager.