Brunning & Price paid £900,000 for Ribble Valley Inns, newly filed accounts reveal: Brunning & Price, the gastro-pub brand owned by The Restaurant Group, paid a consideration of £900,000 to acquire Ribble Valley Inns from Northcote Leisure Group earlier this year, newly filed accounts have shown. The figure paid for the four pubs in May was undisclosed but accounts for Brunning & Price for the year ending 31 December 2017, filed at Companies House, revealed the amount. They also showed turnover increased to £72,540,000 compared with £64,323,000 the previous year, while pre-tax profit was up to £10,085,000 compared with £5,375,000 the previous year. During the period the company opened three pubs. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “Our business is well positioned in the market with a compelling, differentiated food-led offer that consistently outperforms the pub restaurant sector. Strong operational execution, along with locally sourced produce, has attracted a loyal and increasing customer base that rates the offering highly. The business delivers consistently good and growing returns, with recent openings consistently delivering Ebitda returns in excess of 20% (on an assumed leasehold cost base). Our estate is largely freehold asset backed with a book value in excess of £80m and requires, relative to fast-changing casual dining formats, relatively modest levels of ongoing maintenance capital spend. We see opportunities to increase like-for-like sales through optimising our menu pricing architecture and developing better offerings for previously considered non-core occasions such as breakfast and afternoon tea. We will continue to look for ways we can maximise the use of technology, building on the success we’ve had in driving bookings. We are finding new ways to maximise available spaces in our sites by creating private dining areas and making our first foray into accommodation.” Its debut pub with rooms – The Arrow Mill in Alcester in Warwickshire – opened last month while it has secured a second – in Goring, West Sussex. The group currently operates 67 sites across the UK. In August, Brunning & Price acquired 11-strong London gastro-pub operator Food & Fuel for £14.91m. The Restaurant Group bought Brunning & Price for £32m in 2007.
Former ETM Group operations director and ex-Ivy head chef take over Greene King pub: Former ETM Group operations director James Lyon-Shaw has teamed up with ex-Ivy head chef Jamie Dobbin to launch a countryside venture. Their newly formed Brucan Pub Company has taken over The Greene Oak in Oakley Green, near Windsor, from Greene King. The pub now offers a daily changing menu using rarebreed meat and day-boat fish often shunned by other venues. Lyon-Shaw and Dobbin said they would only cook British food at The Greene Oak with an emphasis on “regionality”, reports Harden’s. Dishes include roast white onion soup with croquettes, pressed wild rabbit and mallard terrine with runner bean chutney, and cod tongue and cheek on toast with garlic butter. Brucan Pub Company already brews its own IPA while there are also plans to create a kitchen garden.
McDonald’s halts £100m UK media pitch, US franchisees ready to rally against sales strategy: McDonald’s has halted its estimated £100m UK media-buying review. The incumbent OMD and Starcom have been competing for the UK business in a closed review for several months, with the process “well advanced” and both agencies poised to pitch. It is thought McDonald’s has put the process, which is part of a global media review, on hold for an extended period, reports Campaign. There is speculation McDonald’s might be shaking up its marketing in the UK and is more focused on reviews in other markets. Meanwhile, McDonald’s franchisees in the US are ready to rally against the company’s strategy to improve weak sales. About 400 franchisees met in Tampa, Florida, to discuss setting up an independent operators’ association as a vehicle to push for change. One of the major complaints of the group is the cost of updating McDonald’s stores with refrigerators for fresh beef, while self-ordering kiosks haven’t been offset by higher sales. Stated goals to emerge from the meeting are for McDonald’s US franchisees to see 5% like-for-like growth this year and be cash flow positive for two years following the store remodel project, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Boopshi’s brothers to relaunch historic Hampstead pub: Ed and Ben Robson, the brothers behind schnitzel and spritz operation Boopshi’s, are to relaunch The Duke of Hamilton pub in Hampstead, north London, with business partner Adam Gostyn. The trio have taken over management of the pub in New End after formerly running The Horseshoe in Hampstead. Last year they reopened a pub in neighbouring St John’s Wood as The Clifton NW8. The team will work with a number of close partners and investors, including Andy Fletcher of synth band Depeche Mode, to open The Duke of Hamilton on Thursday, 1 November. The pub, which dates to the early 1700s, has been refurbished to retain many features alongside contemporary touches. Hampstead Jazz Club will open next door run by Lateralize, a part-owner in the pub. The menu will focus on “seasonal British produce and much-loved classics”, including favourite dishes from The Clifton NW8, while the bar will offer a wide range of craft and local beer, wine, gin and tonic, and homemade soda. Boopshi’s, which was in Windmill Street, Fitzrovia, closed with the site taken over by Taiwanese restaurant Bao.
Darwin & Wallace to open seventh site, in Ealing next month: Darwin & Wallace, the independent neighbourhood bar group backed by Imbiba, is set to open its seventh site, in Ealing, west London. The venue in Dickens Yard will launch on Saturday, 10 November. The design of No 17 Dickens Yard will resemble a European loft apartment with lounge seating, oak sharing tables and lamps. It will also feature a wrap-around terrace on the first floor overlooking a newly landscaped approach to the Dickens Yard development. The menu will change with the seasons with a focus on sustainability and making the most of responsibly sourced fish and wonky vegetables. Drinks will include coffee, cocktails, cask and bottled craft beer, and more than 30 wines. Darwin & Wallace managing director Mel Marriott said: “At a time when our audience is eschewing cookie-cutter design more than ever and seeking characterful backdrops in which to enjoy their social time, it is more important than ever we deliver a unique business in No 17 Dickens Yard. For me one of the most enjoyable aspects of life is discovering great places to share with my colleagues, friends and family. I hope Ealing will feel we have delivered on our promise.” The Ealing site adds to the group’s portfolio in Chelsea, Clapham, Richmond, Chiswick, Battersea and Wimbledon.
Robin Gill to launch Irish-influenced restaurant at Embassy Gardens development: Chef entrepreneur Robin Gill has revealed plans to open a restaurant at the Embassy Gardens development on London’s South Bank. Darby’s, named after Gill’s father, will launch in early 2019 next to the new £1bn US Embassy in Nine Elms. The restaurant will be on the ground floor of the development, which will include 2,000 apartments and the SkyPool, a 25-metre outdoor swimming pool 35 metres up between two residential towers. Irish chef Gill will pay homage to his heritage at Darby’s, which will differ from his other projects – Sorella, The Dairy and Counter Culture – which have focused on modern British and Italian food. Drinks such as stout and vermouth will also be brewed and distilled on-site, while Darby’s will be Gill’s biggest operation to date and feature a fire pit and bakery. He told the Evening Standard: “The SkyPool is phenomenal. We will look after the bar and food up there. There’s a lift at the back of the kitchen that leads to the tenth floor, where we will have a food offering based on the menu from downstairs, and that’s going to be incredible when it’s built. Darby’s is named after my father. He spent a lot of time in the States and his era was the 1940s and 1950s and it’s what he would have loved. I want to have the best stout in London and some incredible Irish whiskey.”
Bao to open third site: London-based Taiwanese restaurant Bao is to open its third site. The company will launch the venue at an undisclosed location in Borough in 2019. Bao Borough will “offer a different culinary experience to its sister sites”, reports Hot Dinners. Bao launched its Soho restaurant in April 2015, offering Chinese snacks, steamed buns and sharing dishes, followed by its second site, in Fitzrovia, in July the following year.
 
Joe Allen team to relaunch Mustard as Provencal-inspired restaurant: The team behind iconic West End restaurant Joe Allen will relaunch their British brasserie Mustard in Brook Green next month as a Provencal-inspired restaurant. Tim Healy and Lawrence Hartley bought Joe Allen, a late-night haunt for West End stars, in 2012. They launched Mustard in Shepherd’s Bush Road in 2016 but will reopen it as Le Petit Citron, a new concept from Hartley and wife Emily. Mustard will remain open until the end of October before reopening as Le Petit Citron on Friday, 9 November. The new-look restaurant will offer classic French bistro dishes alongside wine, coffee and pastries inspired by “long summers spent with family in the French countryside”. The menu will include onglet steak frites with pastis, garlic and herb butter; and lemon and garlic poussin with French beans, persillade and pine nuts. Weekend brunch will include waffles with maple syrup while the drinks list will focus on aperitifs. Hartley said: “Every year we visit Provence and always bring a slice of the lifestyle back to London with us, whether a recipe or a touch of the serenity we find in the hills. It’s a place we feel inspired by. Le Petit Citron will go some way to returning classic French bistros to our high street – relaxed, welcoming and unfussy.”
Mykonos-inspired bar, restaurant and members’ club to open in Mayfair: A Mykonos-inspired bar, restaurant and private members’ club will open in Mayfair on Thursday, 1 November. Onima is the brainchild of Alexandros Andrianopoulos, who has managed restaurants such as Nammos and Interni on the Aegean island as well as businesses in New York and Dubai. The five-floor townhouse in Avery Row, once the headquarters of Cartier, will offer “five dimensions of pleasure” including a restaurant, lounge, cocktail bar and a regularly changing art collection. The venue will also house a private members’ club and a glass-enclosed rooftop terrace. The menu will feature Mediterranean dishes with Asian influences including beef tartar with orange ponzu sauce, heritage tomatoes and celery; and pineapple carpaccio with cardamom, star anise and coconut panna cotta. The Onima website states: “We are creating a chic and elegant environment with the heart of a vibrant local restaurant and the exclusive feel of a members’ club that is accessible and comfortable for all our fashionable and discerning guests.”
Thornbridge and Pivovar to open second site for joint venture, in York:Derbyshire-based Thornbridge Brewery and bar operator Pivovar have revealed they will open a second site for their joint venture, in York in December. They will launch a three-storey pub in former pawnbroker Herbert Brown & Son on the corner of Jubbergate. Work has begun on a £500,000 refurbishment with the venue set to open on Saturday, 1 December as the Market Porter. The ground floor will feature a horseshoe bar and serving area, with gas lamp-style lights and views across the market. The kitchen will be on the first floor with a seating area overlooking the rooftops of Shambles Market. The second floor will offer views of York Minster’s Rose Window, reports York Press. Thornbridge Brewery and Pivovar are due to open their first site together later this month, in Birmingham. The companies announced the joint venture in December last year with plans to open ten pubs nationwide in the next five years.
Camerons to open first Head of Steam site in Wales with Cardiff launch this month: Camerons Brewery will open a Head of Steam in Cardiff this month – a first venue for the brand in Wales. The company will open the bar on Tuesday, 30 October in Church Street on the site of a former Harvester, creating more than 30 jobs. The venue, which will become the 15th Head of Steam site, will offer 45 cask and keg lines alongside cocktails, beer cocktails, wine, spirits and soft drinks. Food will be served daily including British pub classics, stone-baked pizza, burgers, 12-inch hotdogs and The Besler light bite and beer flight taster board. Jim Bentley, retail managed house director, said: “We are excited to bring the Head of Steam to Cardiff. This will be our first venue in Wales and we feel it is ideally located in this brilliant city, so it should be a real success.” Camerons’ estate consists of more than 70 venues. It acquired The Head of Steam brand in 2014 and plans to open further venues in the coming months.
Sustainable restaurant launches in Whitechapel with Des McDonald-devised menu: A sustainable restaurant has opened in east London with a menu devised by Steve Gibbs, formerly of luxury events caterers Urban Caprice, and Des McDonald, former head chef of The Ivy. Motley has launched in the Qbic hotel in Adler Street, Whitechapel, offering “waste not” dishes that feature produce that would otherwise be discarded. Local markets feature heavily in the supplier line-up, while the 130-cover, all-day restaurant bar and lounge has been designed to celebrate the “quirks that make people human”. Breakfast and brunch dishes include a breakfast big pan, while the a la carte menu features naked superfood avocado burger with beetroot patty, and Motley fish and chips with battered codling, salt and pepper squid, tempura prawns and tartar sauce. The drinks list includes sharing cocktails, craft beer, punch and wine and is overseen by Dan Berger, former head of bars at Soho House’s The Ned. The main dining room includes multiple enclosed private spaces available for hire. A spokesman said: “Motley is a place that is more than food and turning tables, it’s somewhere to relax, hang out and meet like-minded people – all with a considered environmental footprint.” He told Propel the concept would be rolled out to the other Qbic hotel, in Amsterdam, and “onward from there”.
Usain Bolt brings Tracks & Records to London for first UK site: Olympic multi-gold medallist and world record holder Usain Bolt has brought his Jamaican bar, restaurant and late lounge concept Tracks & Records to the UK. The venue has opened in Middlesex Street, London. Split across two floors, the space features a mix of “bold flavours” alongside sports memorabilia and a soundtrack of reggae and dub courtesy of live DJ sets. The menu includes jerk chicken and pork, and fried fish and bammy, while the rum bar offers more than 150 varieties, 100 of them Jamaican. There is also a range of signature cocktails including a selection exclusively created for London. Bolt said: “London is my second home and a place close to my heart so it’s brilliant to share a taste of Jamaica in the capital.” The other three Tracks & Records are in Jamaica – in Kingston, Ocho Rios and Montego Bay – operated by Kingston Live Entertainment Group. Chief executive Gary Matalon said: “After much success with our Tracks & Records restaurants, we’re delighted to be opening in the UK. Our new location, in the heart of the capital, is the perfect spot for friends to get together and embrace Jamaican culture by enjoying traditional flavours while dancing the night away.”
Rugby League stars open second Manchester site for cafe concept: Rugby League stars Jon Wilkin and Mark Flanagan have launched a second site in Manchester for their cafe concept Pot Kettle Black. Wilkin, who plays for St Helens, and Flanagan, from fellow Super League side Salford Red Devils, launched the venture in Barton Arcade in 2014. Now they have added a second site in the city, at Number 1 Spinningfields, after agreeing a deal with landlord Allied London. The new cafe has a similar menu to its sister site, which features modern twists on classic dishes such as eggs benedict and bacon butties. The owners were inspired to open their venue after sampling the cafe culture while playing in Australia. Wilkin told The Business Desk: “We have crafted Pot Kettle Black from a desire to build a company dedicated to the art of brewing the best coffee and cooking vibrant, easy-going food.” Rochelle Silverstein, associate director of retail and leisure at Allied London, added: “Pot Kettle Black is the perfect addition to Spinningfields and Number 1. We’re really excited to be supporting another dynamic independent and one so loved in the city centre.”
Daylesford opens fourth London cafe: Lifestyle organic brand Daylesford has launched its fourth London cafe and farm shop. The company has opened the 7,500 square foot venue in Sloane Avenue, Brompton Cross. Spanning three floors, the 80-cover cafe features open ovens on the first and second floors making it the first London site to serve Daylesford’s sourdough pizza, alongside spit-roasted lamb joints and whole organic chickens. A juice bar offering organic plant-based drinks and smoothies is another new addition, while a counter serves seasonal salads and sandwiches to take away. Daylesford will also host supper clubs, wellness workshops and butchery masterclasses. Meanwhile, the farm shop offers products from the Daylesford organic farm including cheese, milk and yogurt. Founder Carole Bamford said: “For Daylesford’s fourth opening in London we wanted to find a space and home that retained the character and identity of our other London outlets and continued to echo the natural warmth and spirit of the farm.”
Left Handed Giant to open new brewery following £1m crowdfunding campaign: Bristol-based Left Handed Giant Brewing, which is led by former BrewDog operations director Bruce Gray, is to open a new brewery after raising more than £1m through a crowdfunding drive. The company, which is looking to increase its output from 3,000 hectolitres to near the micro-brewery limit of 5,000 hectolitres, will move into Bristol’s new leisure quarter, Finzels Reach, which will be at the Compressor Building overlooking the waterfront. The ground floor of the building will be returned to its former use as a brewery, where Left Handed Giant Brewing will also house a brewpub. Finzels Reach is being created by south west developer Cubex. Director Gavin Bridge told Insider Media: “We are thrilled to have Left Handed Giant officially on board and we look forward to seeing the rich heritage of the striking Compressor Building brought to life.” The brewery is expected to open in June 2019, with fit-outs scheduled to begin in February. Left Handed Giant raised £1,068,570 earlier this year on Crowdcube. Its current brewery will be retained to create sour beer.
Caprice Holdings launches Harry’s Bar in James Street: Caprice Holdings, owned by Richard Caring, has opened all-day dining destination Harry’s Bar at the St Christopher’s Place development in James Street, central London. The 150-cover restaurant and terrace is a sister site to Harry’s Dolce Vita and offers a menu featuring Italian dishes and weekend brunch. A cicchetti menu – small plates traditionally served in Venetian bacari bars – are also available. The bar serves Italian wine and cocktails, while interiors feature luxurious banquettes and artwork with nods to 1950s Italian glamour. The name was inspired by the bar’s namesake – a private members’ club that opened in Mayfair in the 1970s. Caprice Holdings launched premium casual concept Harry’s Dolce Vita in Knightsbridge in December 2017.
Hertfordshire-based Turkish restaurant bids to start expansion with second site: Turkish restaurant Misya Mezze & Grill, which has a restaurant in Stevenage High Street, is looking to start expansion with a second site in Hertfordshire, in Welwyn Garden City. The family-run business has submitted plans to Welwyn Hatfield Council to transform town centre pub the Parkway Bar, which has been vacant since the end of last year. Misya’s website describes the business as being established for more than 30 years in the UK and offering food inspired by Anatolia. Owner Isa Demir told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “I think Welwyn Garden City will be a good location for a Turkish restaurant. We’re busy in our Stevenage restaurant. We want to open in towns that haven’t got a Turkish restaurant so we can be the first.”
JKS Restaurants appoints executive chef: JKS Restaurants, the London restaurant group founded by Jyotin, Karam and Sunaina Sethi, has appointed Jitin Joshi as executive chef of Michelin-starred Mayfair eatery Gymkhana. After training in India, Joshi moved to London in 2001 and worked under Eric Chavot before becoming head pastry chef at another Michelin-starred restaurant, Gordon Ramsay’s Maze. He also worked at Atul Kochhar’s Benares. Joshi will oversee all menus at Gymkhana and work with JKS Restaurants’ founders on plans for new projects and expansion. The Sethis’ London portfolio includes Indian restaurants Trishna and Brigadiers, two sites for Sri Lankan concept Hoppers and delivery-only concept Motu Indian Kitchen.
New £30m indoor ski centre in Middlesbrough to feature restaurants and bars: A £30m indoor ski centre in Middlesbrough includes plans to feature a range of leisure facilities including restaurants and bars. The newly named Subzero development, proposed for land close to the football club’s Riverside Stadium, received outline planning permission in March 2017. A new brochure released by developer Cool Runnings (NE) also proposes two indoor ski slopes, a bowling alley, trampoline park, soft play area, climbing wall, indoor skydiving and a gym. Plans to develop water facilities at the surrounding dock that include a cable ski and surf pool are also being considered, Insider Media reports. The brochure states: “Subzero is destined to become an iconic attraction perfectly blending retail leisure and dining to provide an enhanced visitor experience. The new plans also unlock about 25 hectares of land for the growth of commercial and residential developments. This is an exceptional opportunity for leisure operators and retailers seeking to be part of this rapidly expanding area.”
Hostel operator Safestay acquires Brussels site for €1.6m: London-headquartered hostel operator Safestay has acquired a site in Brussels for €1.6m (£1.4m). The company has bought the leasehold of the 50-bedroom Hotel Opera, which is the company’s eighth in Europe. Safestay plans to rebrand and convert the property into a 200-bed hostel that will open in January. The remaining term on the lease is five years with an option to extend to 2032. The total consideration of €1.6m will be satisfied by a cash payment of €1.4m from the group’s existing cash resources and the assumption of €200,000 of debt. Chairman Larry Lipman said: “Hotel Opera has been a good hotel but we believe we can make it into an excellent hostel. The building and central location mean it’s ideal to attract some of the tens of thousands of visitors who come to Brussels each month. Given it is an operating hotel, conversion will be quick and many of the team will continue under the Safestay brand. We expect the transaction to immediately enhance earnings. We are executing on our ambitious roll-out plan and look forward to completing similar deals in other prime city locations.”