Former Jamie Oliver Restaurants operations chef Kanwar Gurmohan has acquired his first pub lease with a view to opening a portfolio of pubs in the home counties.

The Surrey Cricketers, in Windlesham, is scheduled to open on 16 August following a £272,000 refurbishment undertaken jointly with Star Pubs & Bars.

Gurmohan said: “Longer term, I’m focused on developing a pub estate with the right offer for the locality.”

He told MCA he was already looking at other properties, with Hampshire and Kent his preferred locations. “We’ve got an eye on one or two,” said, adding that he hoped to build “a small chain of really good gastropubs… if we’re lucky we will get another one next April/May”.

Gurmohan is adamant about steering clear of London where he said his model would not be sustainable.

The food mix at the 240-cover Windlesham hostelry – 120 inside and 120 outside – will comprise traditional pub dishes using fresh, locally-sourced ingredients and “high-quality” British produce as well as many vegan and vegetarian options, he said.

A wood-fired pizza oven providing stone-baked sourdough pizzas and slow-cooked woodchip smoked meats will take centre stage.