Glee Club to open fifth site and first in Scotland: Comic Enterprises, which was founded in 1994 by Mark Tughan and operates three Glee Club comedy and music venues in Birmingham, Cardiff and Nottingham alongside a weekly night in Oxford, will open its fifth venue, in Glasgow in February. The Renfrew Street site will be part of the Cineworld complex that also houses a newly refurbished Walkabout and is the location of the 13,000 square foot former Highlight Comedy Club, which closed in 2009. It has a seated capacity of 400 and a standing capacity of 800. Comic Enterprises famously sued 21st Century Fox over the Glee name and trademark, which was registered by Comic in the 1990s, winning in both the High Court and Appeal Court. Tughan said: “With this episode now behind us, we have also benefited from a substantial recovery in sales and profits, with all sites trading profitably and reporting positive like-for-likes. With site availability improving and less competition from other comedy operators, now seems the ideal time to expand. Like the tortoise and the hare, we seem after 24 years to have become the market leader! We are looking for sites in Leeds and Bristol as well. Glasgow fits the bill and we’re delighted to be in a position to offer our shows for the first time north of the border, with a full range of mixed bill comedy nights, solo comics on tour, and live music.”
Caprice Holdings to open Brasserie of Light in Selfridges: Brasserie of Light, a new restaurant and bar from Caprice Holdings, will open as part of the final chapter of Selfridges’ £300m investment in its London store. The venue will feature London’s largest-scale artwork by Damien Hirst and offer all-day dining in a “chic, art deco brasserie” set within the department store. Caprice Holdings owner Richard Caring said: “When you think of the capital city of the world you think of London. When you think of London you think of Selfridges. In the future when you think of London restaurants I hope you will think of Brasserie of Light, a combination of extreme talent, extreme experience, extreme desire and extreme passion. The Brasserie of Light is a new-look spectacle with the input of Damien Hirst, Martin Brudnizki and the absolute strength of Selfridges. This mix has resulted in what I believe to be something very beautiful. It is about light, make-believe and dreams.” Selfridges managing director Anne Pitcher added: “It has been an exciting journey working with Richard Caring and his team on this project for what promises to be a spectacular addition to the Selfridges restaurant portfolio and London’s culinary map. I look forward to November when Selfridges will welcome guests to Brasserie of Light, where they should expect the unexpected.” The brasserie and bar will serve a mix of British and international dishes throughout the day. The a la carte menu will feature dishes such as scallops with red peppers, roasted fennel and capers to start, spaghetti with lobster as a main course and Pegasus Pie with yuzu coconut cloud for dessert. The weekend brunch menu will include avocado and poached eggs with turmeric, coconut and garlic hollandaise. In keeping with the Caprice style, the restaurant’s centrepiece will be Hirst’s 24 foot artwork, Pegasus, a crystal-encrusted statue with a 30 foot wingspan.
Nanny Bill’s, Smoky Boys and Mitsuryu to join Boxpark Wembley line-up:Gravy-dipped burger concept Nanny Bill’s, halal barbecue and burger brand Smoky Boys BBQ And Grill Haus, and traditional Japanese restaurant Mitsuryu will join the Boxpark Wembley line-up when it launches on Saturday, 1 December. It will be the first permanent site for Nanny Bill’s following a number of residencies including its recent takeover of John Lewis’ Oxford Street rooftop space. Nanny Bill’s is the brainchild of Darren Simpson, who started serving food from a 1970s Citroen HY truck in spring 2015. Smoky Boys operates sites in Amersham, Hounslow and Watford as well as a delivery kitchen in Stevenage. The company has also signed to open a site in Hemel Hempstead. Sharif Rahman and Hiron Miah launched the brand in Watford in 2016. Mitsuryu is a restaurant in Chinatown London that focuses on “teishoku” dining, traditional meals offered at Zen temples. Mitsuryu will bring its best dishes to Boxpark Wembley focusing on “simplicity, quality and freshness”, including hand-made sushi rolls and halal meat and fish. Boxpark founder and chief executive Roger Wade said: “It has always been our aim to offer authentic street food from across the globe under one roof and the vendors announced so far are helping bring this to life.” Boxpark Wembley will feature 27 independent restaurants, bars and cafes in total.
Beatty and Norman relaunch Polpetto with new head chef and layout: Richard Beatty and Russell Norman have relaunched Soho restaurant Polpetto featuring a new layout and head chef. The Berwick Street venue now features intimate booths, while interiors take inspiration from Venice and offer larger tables and more generous spacing. A collection of black-and-white vintage photographs adorn the walls alongside antique wall lamps. Downstairs, the chef’s table seats 16 diners with views of the open kitchen. New head chef Anthea Stephenson, formerly of The Ledbury and River Café, has created dishes such as thinly sliced ox tongue with salsa verde and pine nuts, and larger sharing dishes including hand-cut chestnut tagliatelle with girolle mushroom and thyme. A new wine list features biodynamic, low-intervention and natural wine to sit alongside Polpetto’s vermouth-focused cocktail menu. Scott Macdonald, who was appointed Polpo managing director in June, said: “It is rare to come across a chef as talented as Anthea and her appointment represents the fulfilment of an ambition of mine – to have world-class cooking at our boutique Soho outpost.”
BrewDog’s new Canary Wharf site to accept cryptocurrency, hopes to roll out payment method to all UK bars: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has revealed its new Canary Wharf site will become the company’s first to accept cryptocurrency, with hopes to roll out the payment method to its other UK sites. The company will open the venue on Friday, 19 October in Churchill Place having secured a former Jamie’s Italian site in July. As well as cash and cards, the bar will accept Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash as payment. BrewDog stated: “We have worked our entire lives to challenge perceptions and be bold and uncompromising; the developers and miners of cryptocurrency are exactly the same. Adopting alternative payment options for craft beer is a natural fit, and what better place to start subverting the norm in financial transactions than the heart of London’s financial docklands? For generations, centuries even, trading has been part of life for the people of this part of the capital. Our ground-breaking Equity for Punks programme has revolutionised small business finance. The people who have invested in us and become Equity Punks have shown the city slickers what can be achieved by taking charge of something you believe in. Cryptocurrency is exactly the same. BrewDog Canary Wharf will accept Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash from the day it opens – and we hope to eventually roll out this way of paying into all our UK BrewDog bars.”
India-based fine dining brand Farzi Café to make UK debut next month:Farzi Café, the fine dining brand that launched near New Delhi in 2014 and now operates nine restaurants in the country and one in Dubai, is set to make its debut in the UK next month, in London’s Haymarket. The concept combines “traditional Indian and global dishes transformed by molecular techniques”. Farzi Café will open at the end of November or early December and will be overseen by award-winning chef Saurabh Udinia. His signature dishes will include dal chawal arancini (Sicilian arancini balls made with dal and chawal served with aachar, papad and chutney), and tandoori wild mushrooms with truffle and walnut dust. Farzi Café London will join forces with Dare Hospitality to offer a laboratory-style bar serving concoctions inspired by India’s Hindu past. Each cocktail will be created using equipment such as centrifugal machines and a sonic homogeniser. The venue will also offer wine from small producers alongside beer from Indian craft brewer White Rhino.
Benihana to take over Carluccio’s site in Glasgow for first restaurant outside London: Benihana, the worldwide Japanese teppanyaki restaurant chain that has three outlets in London, is set to open its first site outside the capital, in Glasgow. The company plans to open in a former Carluccio’s site in West Nile Street. Carluccio’s was due to close at the end of the year but shut earlier this week after being asked to leave the premises by its landlord. Benihana, which has restaurants in Chelsea, Piccadilly and at The Grange hotel in St Paul’s, has applied to Dundee City Council for new signage on the building. A Carluccio’s spokeswoman told the Evening Times: “Due to circumstances beyond our control and at the landlord’s request, Carluccio’s Glasgow has closed earlier than planned.”
Altrincham-based Italian restaurant Tre Ciccio secures two sites:Altrincham-based Italian restaurant Tre Ciccio has secured two sites as it begins expansion. Owners Francesco Scafuri, Alan Ritchie and James Gingell launched the concept in Moss Lane, Altrincham, in February. They have now acquired the Mercato Italiano site in Bramhall and have begun refurbishing the property ahead of an expected opening later this month. Meanwhile, a site in Ramsbottom is scheduled to open in mid-January. Tre Ciccio, which translates as “three chubby friends” in Italian, specialises in Neapolitan food including southern Italian-style roast chicken with potatoes, and wood-fired pizza, reports the Manchester Evening News.
William Grant reports profit tops £250m following turnover boost: Global distiller William Grant & Sons has reported profit after tax rose to £250.2m for the year ended 31 December 2017, a 12.6% rise from £222.1m the previous year. Group turnover was £1,188.1m from £1,061.7m in 2016. The company said favourable performance was driven by volume and value growth of core brands, which all performed well within their respective categories. The main contributors to overall growth were Glenfiddich, Hendrick’s and The Balvenie. The company attributed strong growth of Glenfiddich to the brand attracting the “next generation of premium whisky drinkers through the release of high­profile expressions”. William Grant & Sons said: “The Glenfiddich Experimental Series, Winter Storm, was launched in 2017 and continues to take single malt in a bold new direction. Hendrick’s Gin continues to lead the super-premium gin category with the brand’s unusual positioning.” During 2017, William Grant & Sons acquired Tuthilltown Spirits Company, where it distils Hudson whiskey, and opened a grain distillery and bottling plant at Tullamore for Irish whiskey brand Tullamore DEW. The company also took full control of distribution arrangements in its key market, France. Chief executive Simon Hunt said: “Our strong 2017 performance is testimony to the hard work and talent of our dedicated team around the world. Since William Grant founded our company more than 130 years ago, we have consistently invested in our people and brands for the long term. We continue to develop the business with an independent and pioneering mindset, giving us a strong competitive platform for continued future growth.” Earlier this week the company announced the expansion of its Hendrick’s Gin distillery in Girvan, Scotland, to incorporate a “gin palace”. William Grant & Sons’ other brands include Grant’s, Sailor Jerry, Monkey Shoulder and Drambuie.
Richard H Turner and Colin McSherry to lead kitchen of new Mayfair restaurant Gridiron: Chefs Richard H Turner and Colin McSherry are to lead the kitchen of a new restaurant opening in Mayfair this month. The duo will head Gridiron, which will launch at Como Metropolitan London in Park Lane on Tuesday, 30 0ctober. The restaurant, which will open in a spot that formerly housed The Met Bar, will combine Turner’s expertise in open-flame cooking and ethical sourcing with McSherry’s creativity and fine dining craft honed at kitchens that include The Clove Club, The Ledbury, The Fat Duck and Murano. Gridiron will have 62 covers and pay homage to the “ancient art of grilling”. Fire-cooked specialities will include whole roast turbot with chicken salt and butter, and roast red mullet with gentleman’s relish. Brothers Max and Noel Venning, of Three Sheets in Dalston, have created the cocktails, while Fiona Beckett’s wine list will range from new world to French and other European classics. Turner said: “With charcoal and live-fire cooking every ingredient becomes a unique encounter – the way the meat, fish or vegetable responds to the flame. We are thrilled to partner with Como Hotels and Resorts to showcase the techniques inherent in this simple yet flavourful way of cooking.”
Emily Roux launches Notting Hill restaurant to continue family dynasty:Emily Roux has opened restaurant Caractère with husband and Le Gavroche head chef Diego Ferrari in London’s Notting Hill. The opening in Westbourne Road makes her the third generation of the Roux family to operate a restaurant in the UK. Combining Roux and Ferrari’s love of classic French and Italian food, the menu is an expression of their culinary backgrounds and includes dishes elevated from the meals they “love to cook for each other at home”. As the name Caractère suggests, the menu is divided into six “character traits”, with up to three dishes in each section. Emily Roux is the daughter of Michel Roux Jr and granddaughter of Albert Roux Sr. Albert Roux and Michel Jr have run Mayfair restaurant Le Gavroche since 1981.
JD Wetherspoon gets go-ahead for Dorking pub: JD Wetherspoon has been given the go-ahead to open a site in the Surrey town of Dorking (population 11,185). The company has been granted permission by Mole Valley District Council to convert five shops in St Martin’s Walk into a 238-seat venue. The application was approved despite concerns from some councillors about losing a large number of retail units while there were vacant pubs in the town centre. Four of the shops in St Martin’s Walk are occupied and each tenant has been offered alternative premises, reports Surrey Live.
Fever Bars to bring Moomoo brand to Southend this month following £1m investment: Fever Bars, led by Mark Shorting and Nigel Blair, is to open a site for its Moomoo brand in Southend, Essex, following a £1m investment in a site that formerly housed Mayhem nightclub. The company, which also operates the Fever, Boutique, Beach and Kukui brands, will open the venue in Warrior Square on Friday, 26 October. The unit in Maitland House has been empty since early 2017, when Mayhem closed after 11 years of trading. Moomoo will feature three different spaces – a commercial club room, a retro party room and a kukui tropical-style room. Fever Bars marketing director Duncan Squires told the Basildon, Canvey and Southend Echo: “Work on the club began on-site about two weeks ago and we have got the basic structure of the club and rooms in place. We think it will be really good for the town.” Fever Bars operates more than 30 sites.
Taiwanese dim sum brand Din Tai Fung to make UK debut in December with Covent Garden launch: Taiwanese dim sum restaurant chain Din Tai Fung is to make its UK debut in the first week of December with an opening in Covent Garden. The Taipei-based chain has signed a 25-year lease with Aberdeen Standard Investments to open a 250-cover restaurant at 5-6 Henrietta Street. The company has agreed a rent of £1.2m a year for a 9,000 square foot unit arranged over ground floor and basement. Its signature dish consists of steamed pork dumplings passed through six stations, each manned by a team of dim sum chefs. Other popular dishes include steamed chicken soup. Key ingredients will be imported from Taiwan to maintain flavour consistency, while fresh ingredients will be sourced locally. A bar will offer Taiwan-inspired cocktails and traditional Chinese tea, while the venue will sell a range of Taiwanese sauces and souvenirs. Din Tai Fung has 151 restaurants worldwide, with branches in Japan, the US, Singapore, China, South Korea, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Australia, Thailand, Macau, United Arab Emirates and the Philippines. It will open a second site in London next year, in Centre Point.
Stonegate scoops award as Licence Trade Charity celebrates sector’s support: Stonegate Pub Company has been recognised for its support of the Licensed Trade Charity as it picked up an “outstanding corporate contribution” award. Stonegate was recognised at the charity’s annual general meeting for raising awareness of services to its staff. Licensed Trade Charity services manager Carolyn Jenkinson said: “Stonegate has almost 800 pubs and has communicated the help and support we offer to all its pubs by sending them our information packs and posters and distributing our new film. It helps us reach out to those in the trade who need assistance.” Licensed Trade Charity chief executive Jim Brewster also thanked the industry for its support as the charity helped a record 8,300 current and former pub, bar and brewery workers benefit from its support services in 2017, including grants, counselling and advice. A total of £982,000 was provided in social and educational grants, while 550 grants were provided to people in need, including rent, furniture and white goods, and 78 grants were given to support education and training. A total of 385 people called the charity’s free advice service, with 50% of calls related to money worries and 15% concerned with housing and fears of being made homeless. Other concerns related to physical and mental health, including serious illness and stress. The charity said it is aiming for 12,900 people to benefit from its services by 2021.
Britvic switches to 100% renewable energy for UK sites: Britvic is to power all its UK manufacturing sites using 100% renewable energy, starting this month. The company is looking to cut emissions by 15% by 2020 in a bid to save more than 17,000 tonnes of CO2 a year. The move is part of a new four-year deal with energy provider E.ON. Britvic senior sustainability manager Alison Rothnie told Edie: “The move to renewable electricity in GB through our partnership with E.ON is a significant step, not only in helping us minimise the environmental impact of our operations and reduce our carbon emissions but also supporting the development of a low-carbon future for the UK.” The majority of Britvic’s manufacturing sites are based in the UK, Ireland, France and Brazil. Its operations in Ireland and Brazil are already powered entirely by renewables, while its French sites use low-carbon energy sources. Britvic has also boosted the number of electric and alternative fuel vehicles to more than 20% of its UK fleet, while 100% of its plastic bottles are recyclable.
Bolton-based brewery for sale after going into administration: Bolton-based brewer Dunscar Bridge Brewery has been put up for sale after going into administration. Ian McCulloch and Dean Watson, of Begbies Traynor, have been appointed joint administrators. Dunscar Bridge Brewery had traded since 2008, operating a 27-barrel brewing plant and The Bleachworks private function room. Initially it produced a large range of beers, which led to an award from the Society of Independent Brewers. New recipes were introduced and, only this year, it launched craft beer range Big D. McCulloch told The Business Desk: “Dunscar was a well-established and highly regarded brand supplying products to the local area and beyond. Unfortunately, it has ceased to trade as a result of rising costs in an increasingly competitive industry. We are in the process of marketing the business and assets for sale to identify interested parties that may wish to continue the business.”
Hoxton restaurant and bar team to launch Philippine concept this month:The team behind east London restaurant and bar 100 Hoxton is to open a Philippine concept this month. Head chef Francis Puyat and 100 Hoxton founder Andrew Zilouf have repurposed a former events space next door to the bar in Hoxton Street. Kinilaw & Buko will offer a split menu, with the Kinilaw side offering a Philippine take on ceviche alongside daikon-fermented shrimp with green peppercorns and garlic, and hand-dived scallop with cucumber, radish, lime and fermented roe. The Buko side will focus on Philippine ice cream served in coconut shells, including the Pop Star (lychee ice cream with sumac popping candy). Kinilaw & Buko will also offer cocktails, wine and craft beer.
Pan-Asian tapas concept Gamma Gamma to launch in Soho this month: Pan-Asian tapas concept Gamma Gamma is to launch in London this month. Sakib Ahmed and Romo Chowdhury will open the restaurant in Greek Street, Soho, on Monday, 22 October at a site formerly occupied by barbecue concept Bo Drake. Set across two floors, interiors will be “sophisticated, industrial and minimal”, with a large double-sided bar as the focal point. The menu will focus on fusion dishes designed for sharing, with some including exotic meat such as zebra, kangaroo and ostrich, complemented by cocktails, sake, wine and beer. The menu, created by executive chef Jonathan Villar, will include tiger prawns and coconut Thai ceviche, and crispy sesame squid with yuzu mayonnaise. The grill section will feature kangaroo steak alongside curries such as jungle curry with minced ostrich loin.
Former St John executive chef to head kitchen at new Hackney multi-arts space: Former St John executive chef Chris Gillard is to head the kitchen at EartH, the new multi-arts space in Hackney, east London. Auro Foxcroft, who owns Village Underground, the creative hub housed in former tube carriages, shipping containers and a warehouse in Shoreditch, has transformed the former Hackney Arts Centre into EartH. Foxcroft will team up with Gillard to open 150-cover EartH Kitchen at the end of October in the centre’s former cinema foyer on the first floor. Gillard told Hot Dinners: “I have cooked everywhere from St John to muddy festival fields. EartH Kitchen will draw on all those elements, emphasising traditional hospitality with all food made in-house and a willingness to experiment. We’re looking forward to welcoming apprentices from Hackney City College. EartH Kitchen will be a place for training with the promise of a role in the team at the end of it.” The restaurant will also offer jazz nights and low-key DJ sets, while the bar will be run by Toni Castillo, also formerly of St John, who has created a European-focused wine list and cocktails.
Incipio Group to install Frizzenti cocktails-on-tap system across estate:Incipio Group is set to install Frizzenti’s cocktails-on-tap system across its estate. So far, 12 taps have been installed in the operator’s recently opened Pergola Olympia site, with Pergola Paddington and The Prince in West Brompton Crossing to be fitted later this month. Frizzenti managing director George Workman said: “The cocktail market is growing at 7% per year and currently only one-third of the market is able to serve cocktails. We believe there is a large part of the market untapped.” Workman said Frizzenti was in talks with a number of major UK operators including “pub and restaurant groups, hotels and major sporting stadiums”. Giraffe restaurant group is currently rolling out the system in its estate. The Frizzenti range currently offers five cocktails with a further five to be added in the first quarter of 2019, Workman said.