THE group behind the popular Koh Thai restaurant chain has launched its first “lounge” venue offering coffee and cocktails.


More than 400 people went to a private launch before Koh Lounge, at Poole Hill, Bournemouth, opened to the public.


Owner the Koh Group says the lounge is a work and social space. It says the concept is the next stage in the company’s evolution after founder Andy Lennox took control of the business in a management buyout last December.


It is modelled on the success of the pop-up lounge seen during Bournemouth Air Festival and at Christchurch Quay during the Christchurch Food Festival.


It is intended as a place to work or socialise, and as a pre- and post-dinner venue for the neighbouring Koh Thai Tapas restaurant.


The lounge offers “bottomless” coffee for £5 throughout the day, when it is intended as a hot desking hub for local workers.


Mr Lennox said: “The development of Koh is an ongoing process and this marks a very important stage in the company’s history.


“We have given life to a concept that until now has remained in my mind and I’m incredibly happy to finally introduce Koh Lounge to a wider audience.


“The dedication of our team to create Koh Lounge has been phenomenal and it couldn’t be done without them. In an ever-changing market our adaptable models and flexible concepts allow us to enter various different units and areas.”


As well as "bottomless" coffee, the restaurant offers meat and vegetarian platters to nibble from.


Koh Thai was founded in Boscombe in 2009 by three founding partners who expanded to the Triangle in Bournemouth two years later. The business, headquartered at Wallisdown, now has a dozen restaurants covering Dorset, Hampshire, Wiltshire and Somerset, and was named Eat Out’s Brand of the Year 2016.


Mr Lennox, backed by equity funding from Alcuin Capital Partners, took control of the business last year. He said at the time: “This deal is the culmination of many years of hard work by the company and positions us perfectly for the next phase of growth.”


Koh Lounge opens from 11am until 12.30am Tuesdays to Saturdays, with food served from 12noon-3pm and 5.30-10pm.