Steve Kingsley, and his son Tom, and their business partner Mick Forfar took over the premises in Great Southsea Street in December.
They have spent months painstakingly renovating the building, which used to be the Italian Bar and Grill, and before that the India Arms.
The trio were delighted to see their hard work pay off last night as the venue opened for the first of three VIP nights ahead of its official opening on Friday.
Tom said the restaurant, which has created 25 jobs, will serve brunch, small plates and dinner, in an ‘elevated casual dining’ style daily from 11am until 11pm.
He said: ‘We have always been keen to get into the restaurant business and we saw this opportunity – the old India Arms pub – and it’s an amazing, beautiful building with lots of character and in a great location so we couldn’t let the opportunity go.
‘It has been difficult time to take on a restaurant but hopefully people will support us, it’s a beautiful building and we have kept the character, adding contemporary touches to it. We have a great team on board and we are excited by it.'
Steve, who also runs nightclub Kingsley’s in Osborne Road, said he was keen to work in the restaurant trade after decades in the nightclub business.
He said: ‘I feel excited to come into this business. I have never had a restaurant before, I have always been in the nightclub game, but I have always wanted to have a restaurant.
‘We have a great team here and we are looking forward to being here, bringing great dinning, to this beautiful part of Southsea.’
Mick, who also runs Number 73 Bar and Kitchen in Waterlooville, said he was also excited about the partnership.
He said: ‘I am delighted that five months of hard work has finally paid off. I am really pleased with how it has turned out and hope our customers are too.’
The trio brought in designer Lou Murphy and Jessica Porter to create the stunning interior – which has a library, atrium and bar area, plus a seated area in the garden.
She said: ‘ The team here wanted to bring the outside in, it’s really lovely to see people in and enjoying it.’
Tom said: ‘It’s a place that you want to come to, it’s a destination.’
The trio now plan to finish the seven en-suite guest rooms upstairs, which they hope to open to guests later this year.
For more go to carterco.co.uk/