Aubaine founder launches free-range chicken concept in Marylebone: Aubaine Group founder Hani Nakkach has launched a free-range chicken concept – Chickens and Foxes – in Marylebone. The new venue in Baker Street specialises in rotisserie chicken to eat in and take away, offering only award-winning “Label Rouge” chickens. Label Rouge certification means hens are able to wander freely and are fed pesticide-free whole grain. All the birds at Chickens and Foxes are also halal and are slow-cooked in a rotisserie oven, the benefits of which include “juicy, tender meat that is bursting with flavour”. Chickens can be ordered whole or by the half or quarter, accompanied by a lemon and herb or hot and spicy sauce. The restaurant also offers roast dinners, with all the trimmings, on Sundays. Side dishes range from salads to more hearty choices such as tabbouleh and roast potatoes. Desserts include homemade chocolate and raspberry pot, while a concise drinks menu features soft drinks, cider, lager, ale and wine. Chickens and Foxes is open daily from 11am to 11pm. Nakkach launched Aubaine restaurant, boulangerie and patisserie in 2004. Today, Aubaine operates ten restaurants in London.
New Mexican brand to open in Soho next month: Corazón, a Mexican-style taco restaurant, is set to launch in Soho next month. Agents Restaurant Property acquired the site for Corazon in Poland Street. It has a ground floor of 830 square feet and a basement of 365 square feet, with a new 20-year lease. The “taqueria” will serve Mexican comfort food, with tacos at the heart of the menu, plus daily specials. Inspired by Mexico City’s Condesa neighbourhood, the eatery will be casual, with 55 covers. Corazón is the passion project of Laura Sheffield, a native Texan via New York City, who has spent more than a decade managing some of the UK’s most celebrated pubs and restaurants, including Corbin & King’s Fischer’s and The Riding House Café. She discovered a love for Mexican food while growing up in Texas. Chef Paul Daniel’s menu was developed during several journeys through Mexico’s distinct culinary regions and along the coast of California. He has more than 20 years’ experience in London restaurants, including Sartoria, Smiths of Smithfield, and as opening head chef of The Luxe in Spitalfields, before taking the role of head chef at The Riding House Café, where he worked with Sheffield. Most recently, he held the role of executive chef for the Village London group. Corazón’s menu will focus on a selection of ten signature tacos, along with daily specials.
Jason Atherton’s The Social Company to launch Temple & Sons restaurant in the City: Jason Atherton’s The Social Company will open the doors to Temple & Sons, a new City grill restaurant and bar, on Monday, 21 November. Adjacent to the iconic Tower 42, Temple & Sons is a second partnership for Atherton with Restaurant Associates. It will take a more casual approach in contrast to the fine dining at neighbouring sister restaurant, City Social. The venue will be set across two floors, each offering a different dining experience – an 80-cover grill restaurant and a 40-cover all-day deli and bar serving snacks and small plates, championing British produce throughout. Executive chef Paul Walsh, who also heads up City Social, will oversee the kitchen. James Boyle, managing director of Restaurant Associates, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Jason and his team again. The work we have done together at City Social has been outstanding and we hope to mirror some of this success at Temple & Sons. There is an appetite for a more casual style of dining in the City of London, and we are thrilled to be part of its growing food scene.” Atherton added: “Temple & Sons is my tribute to our great British produce and dining traditions. Following the success of our partnership with Restaurant Associates on City Social, I’m very happy to be working with them again.”
Bourgee smashes sales targets at new Chelmsford site: Steak-lobster lounge restaurant concept Bourgee has said it “smashed” all booking and sales targets during the opening weeks of its new Chelmsford site. The company’s second restaurant opened on 1 October at the city’s new £3m dining quarter. The 120-cover, two-storey site has a bar central to each floor. James Welling and Mark Baumann launched the “affordable luxury” brand in Southend in 2014 and have already agreed deals for sites in Bury St Edmunds and Norwich, with discussions at an advanced stage on a property near Colchester. Welling said: “The start in Chelmsford has been phenomenal, with thousands of bookings taken. Performance in terms of revenue has also been staggering and we have already hit the heights of Southend. While we have barely scratched the surface in terms of promoting our full offering, we are delighted with the start we have made and look forward to driving performance further in the coming weeks as we ready ourselves for our Bury and Norwich sites to open.” Last month, Welling told Propel the company would build a cluster of sites in Essex and East Anglia before gradually advancing across the country in an “organic, measured way”.
Three Michelin-starred chef Anne-Sophie Pic to make UK debut: Three Michelin-starred chef Anne-Sophie Pic will make her UK debut when she opens a French restaurant in the Four Seasons hotel in central London. La Dame de Pic will operate out of a grade II-listed building near Tower Hill Street. Pic, one of the few female chefs to be awarded three Michelin stars, has opened renowned restaurants all over France. She is known for her unlikely flavour combinations and La Dame de Pic’s menu is likely to be similar to its Parisian counterpart, which has flavour mash-ups such as white cheese ice-cream with rocket and cardamom for starters, or beef with smoked coffee for mains. The interior of the restaurant, which will open early next year, will evoke the feel of classy Parisian brasseries, with wood carvings, leather banquettes and mirrored columns, Hot Dinners reports. The venue will also feature a private wine cellar.
‘Fast casual lunch’ firm Zucla raises double its £90,000 crowdfunding target with month to go: Zucla, which “creates fresh and healthy tailored lunches cooked in front of you from its Fleet Street theatre kitchen”, has raised more than double its £90,000 target on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube, with almost a month still to run. The company, founded by Dev Shah, is offering a 17.28% equity stake in return for the investment and is raising funds to launch more sites. So far, it has raised £198,420 from 126 investors and is now “overfunding” with 27 days remaining. The largest investment to date is £25,000. Zucla said it had served more than 40,000 lunches since launching in January and seen 14% monthly revenue growth. The pitch states: “Within 12 months of closing this funding round, we aim to open two more sites. With two sites up and running we see sales projections for year-end 2017 of more than £1.1m having served over 200,000 lunches. Our three-year outlook is to create eight sites in total. The funds will be used to open a second site. The third site and onwards we aim to fund from retained earnings and either lease financing or bank loans. To date, the directors have invested more than £215,000, plus an interest-free loan of £30,000 from family and lease financing (less than £50,000). Zucla serves “real food” to people who care about what they eat! Fresh, healthy food cooked right in front of you in our theatre kitchen. Each of our dishes can be tailored and served in minutes. Fleet Street London, our first site, is where we offer a large variety from three distinct zones – wok/stir-fry, curry and salads. Customers have thousands of permutations to bespoke their lunch. Zucla aims to create a new segment – fast casual lunch.”
Hull-based, high-end Indian restaurant Tapasya starts expansion with second city site: Hull-based, high-end Indian restaurant Tapasya has started expansion by opening a second site in the city. Tapasya founders Mukesh Tirkoti and Tapan Mahapatra have invested £1m in the new site in the CatZero building in Humber Dock Street. Tirkoti has run five-star hotels and restaurants in India and opened destination restaurants in London. As well as its evening menu, Tapasya@Marina is the first restaurant in the region to offer Indian afternoon high tea, served by a dedicated tea butler. The teas are served alongside traditional Indian snacks, including naan khatai – Indian cookies – green pea and potato filler Punjabi samosas, railway lamb patties, and deep-fried tiger prawn pakodas. A company spokesman told the Hull Daily Mail: “Guests taking afternoon tea and high tea will have the opportunity to discover some of the finest and rarest teas from across the world. Tapasya@Marina has created its own indulgent take on this tradition, which is served on a three-tiered silver stand. From the savoury to the sweet, each element of your high tea has been given a contemporary twist with an Indian influence.”
Las Iguanas to launch Chelmsford restaurant this month, submits Colchester town centre plans: Casual Dining Group brand Las Iguanas will open a restaurant at the new Bond Street development in Chelmsford, Essex, on Monday, 31 October, its 45th site, while it has also submitted plans to open a venue in Colchester town centre. Las Iguanas will join better burger brand Byron, Azzurri Group-owned ASK Italian, The Restaurant Group-owned Coast to Coast and Bill’s Restaurant at the £150m complex, which also features a John Lewis store and Everyman Cinema. The restaurant will feature the brand’s new winter menu, with additions to the tapas menu, including taco planks and corn and habanero fritters. New desserts include Kahlua chocolate cortado, while new cocktails have been added, including Watermelon Margarita (Olmeca Tequila with watermelon and lime). Meanwhile, Las Iguanas has submitted plans to Colchester Council to open a restaurant in Greytown House, close to High Street. The company hopes to open the venue next year and create 40 jobs.
Comptoir Libanais opens Bath restaurant, 15th site: Comptoir Libanais, the Lebanese canteen specialising in fresh Middle Eastern dishes, has opened its 15th site, this time in Bath. The 170-cover restaurant has opened in the new Little Southgate food quarter in the city centre, joining Thai Leisure Group-owned Thaikhun and Splendid Hospitality’s Deep South-inspired gourmet chicken brand Absurd Bird. Comptoir Libanais, owned by Levant Restaurants Group, signed a 20-year lease for the 4,000 square foot unit at the complex, which is owned by Aviva Investors and British Land. The opening is its second in the south west this month, following the launch of a site in Exeter. Comptoir Libanais also opened a site in Soho earlier this month, and is set to open two further restaurants in London – its first in-store restaurant in John Lewis’s flagship Oxford Street store and a venue in Gloucester Road, Kensington, that will launch in November.
Plans submitted to replace former ISIS nightclub in Nottingham with five restaurants: A former nightclub will be demolished and replaced with five new restaurants after revised proposals for the development were granted planning permission. The former ISIS nightclub in Redfield Way closed in 2009 after a spate of violent incidents. Nottingham City Council’s planning committee granted DLA Architecture permission for six A3 units – meaning they can be used for restaurants or cafes – in December. However, an amended scheme for five A3 units – which could create 140 jobs – has been presented to councillors. CGI images shown to the planning committee gave a glimpse of what the units may look like – with mock names such as Dando’s, Pizza Press and Live Fries, presumably named after Nando’s, PizzaExpress and Five Guys. The development, plans of which have been submitted on behalf of Oakgate Retail and James Farhad Eftekhar-Khonssar, has also been scaled back by 2,400 square feet since December. Three of the revised units will be 4,000 square feet, while the other two will be 3,000 square feet. One of the units will now have its back to the road – a change “driven by the commercial needs of the scheme”.
Bath craft brewery lands national listing with Handmade Burger Co: Electric Bear Brewery has secured a significant listing with Handmade Burger Co. The Bath-based brewer will see two of its core range of beers stocked in 27 Handmade Burger Co restaurants across the UK. British pilsner Edison and Livewire IPA will feature on the menu alongside seasonal rotating guest beers such as Elemental, a 4.4% ABV crystal rye IPA, and the brewery’s popular milk stout, Split Milk. Electric Bear founder Chris Lewis said: “We’ve only just celebrated our first birthday and if someone had told me this time last year we would see our beers behind the bar at Handmade Burger Co, I wouldn’t have believed it. The team has worked incredibly hard to brew some great beers and to get them out across the country. It’s a crowded market for craft breweries at the moment so it’s great to see the quality of our beer has been recognised by such a well-known restaurant group and that our passion and hard work is paying off.” Handmade Burger Co recently opened a restaurant in Bath city centre, which will take stock of Electric Bear beers. Chris Sargeant, of Handmade Burger Co, said: “We spend a lot of time sourcing the best local products and ingredients for our restaurants and Electric Bear is the perfect craft beer to serve alongside our burgers.
Tasty to bring Wildwood to Birmingham city centre: Tasty is set to open a site for its Wildwood brand in Birmingham city centre. The restaurant will be at a site formerly occupied by the Yorkshire Building Society in New Street. In the 1980s, the building housed a Pizza Hut. The new restaurant will create 40 jobs although an opening date has yet to be revealed, the Birmingham Mail reports. It is the latest addition to New Street following the opening of an Apple store and the anticipated launch of a 180-cover restaurant by better burger brand Byron, which is due to open this year and will be the company’s first West Midlands site. Earlier this month, Tasty opened its first Wildwood site in Wales, at Llandudno. Wildwood currently operates 49 restaurants, with openings due in the next couple of months in Worcester Park in Surrey, Bournemouth and Edinburgh, which will be the brand’s first site in Scotland. Last month, Tasty reported sales increased by 28% in the 28 weeks to 3 July on the corresponding period to £21,794,000 (2015 – £17,050,000). Adjusted operating profit, before pre-opening costs, non-trade items and interest, was £1,925,000 (2015 – £1,684,000), a 14% increase on the corresponding period and adjusted pre-tax profit for the period increased by 17.5% to £1,615,000 (2015 – £1,375,000).
Starbucks to open Roastery in Japan: Starbucks will open a Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Japan in 2018. Located in the Nakameguro district, an upscale neighbourhood known for boutiques and art galleries, the venue will be designed in collaboration with architect and Tokyo Olympics 2020 designer Kengo Kuma. Starbucks opened its first Roastery in Seattle in 2014, the most successful store opening in the company’s history. Since then, Starbucks has announced new locations will open in Shanghai next year and New York in 2018. At the 13,000 square foot site, consumers will be able to watch the whole process of coffee being created alongside artisan bread baked on-site by Italian food partner Princi. Howard Schultz, chairman and chief executive of Starbucks, said: “As it was when we opened Japan as our first market outside North America in 1996, the country continues to be an important and dynamic coffee community for Starbucks. We are proud to bring our customers a distinct, immersive and innovative retail experience that celebrates the craft of coffee in an unprecedented way.”
New US West Coast concept Pomona’s to open in Notting Hill: New West Coast/California-style restaurant and bar concept Pomona’s is set to launch in Notting Hill next month. The new venue in Hereford Road, at the former site of The Commander gastro-pub, will feature a 120-cover restaurant and an American bar headed up by Kestutis Sturba, former head bartender at Gordon Ramsay Restaurants. Chef Gareth Sanderson has taken inspiration from his extensive travels along the West Coast of America, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, Hot Dinners reports. Dishes will include sweet potato toast with avocado, labneh, lime and cilantro gremolata, and crispy pork belly with mojo de ajo, smoked polenta and winter leaf salad. Desserts will include caramel croissant and prune pie with crème Anglais.
Honey & Co team launches Middle Eastern grill concept in Fitzrovia: The team behind Fitzrovia restaurant Honey & Co has launched a Middle Eastern grill concept in the prestigious London district. Honey & Smoke has opened in Great Portland Street and offers a combination of meze and grill, with dishes including baba ganoush with burnt aubergine dip and seeded lavoush, charred marinated octopus with meshwiya, and pigeon with sweet onion, pine nuts and sultanas, Hot Dinners reports. Honey & Co was founded by husband-and-wife team Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich. Packer trained at the Orrery under Chris Galvin, while Srulovich learned to cook in his native Jerusalem. Packer and Srulovich have co-authored two books, including Food From The Middle East, which was voted food book of the year by The Sunday Times. On the Honey & Co website, the couple state: “The food we cook is the food we grew up on and also the food we grew to love – our moms’ and aunties’ food, the street food we always crave, the food we tried at our friends’ houses and, most of all, the things we miss from our childhood.”
Michelin-trained chef launches modern British cuisine concept Box-E at Bristol box park: New modern British cuisine concept Box-E has launched in Bristol. The restaurant is in Cargo, the box park that recently opened in Wapping Wharf. Box-E is the brainchild of husband-and-wife team Elliott and Tess Lidstone. Elliott Lidstone was most recently head chef at The Empress gastro-pub in Hackney, east London, and before that worked at Michelin-starred Berkshire restaurant L’Ortolan. Box-E spans two shipping containers and features an open kitchen and decked outside area. The feeling is very informal, with Tess front of house and Elliott in the kitchen, making the venue feel “more like eating at a friend’s house”, according to the Bristol Post. The food is modern British and seasonal, with a frequently changing menu showcasing local produce, fish from Cornwall and some foraged ingredients. Dishes include hake with braised leeks and autumn truffle, and crispy polenta with sprouting broccoli and buffalo Gouda. There is also an “unwritten” five-course tasting menu. The wine list includes organic cava, white Rioja and a natural wine made from grapes grown near Mount Etna.
Mediterranean dining concept to launch in Scunthorpe town centre: Mediterranean dining concept Magnolia Cafe and Restaurant is set to open in Scunthorpe town centre next month. The new venue will open on the corner of Frances Street and High Street at the former site of Hing Long, whose owners closed the Chinese restaurant earlier this year. Magnolia owner Orhan Ahmed, who has worked in the catering industry for more than 15 years, said he would launch the restaurant in “three to four weeks” and had invested £50,000 in the project. The opening will create 15 jobs. He told the Scunthorpe Telegraph: “We are going to offer English breakfasts in the day and then, after 5pm, it will be a Mediterranean restaurant. We will have two separate menus.”
Shepherd Neame reopens historic Kent pub following £275,000 refurbishment: Kent brewer and retailer Shepherd Neame has reopened the East Kent pub in Whitstable following a three-month, £275,000 refurbishment. Dating to 1802, the historic pub is close to the town centre and beach. The makeover included creating an area at the front of the pub with bench seating, while the large garden at the rear has a new patio and a pergola-covered seating area with heating and lighting. Inside, more space has been created by moving the bar from the centre of the pub to the far corner, while a former games room at the rear has been opened up by removing the dividing wall. The pub will be run by new licensee Philip Outram, a drummer in a local rock and roll band. He said: “A new PA system has been installed as part of the refurbishment, and we are really passionate about continuing the East Kent’s live music tradition.” Shepherd Neame director of retail and tenanted operations Nigel Bunting added: “We are delighted with the East Kent’s new look and confident Philip will take the pub from strength to strength.”
Cote raises £66,000 for charity via pavlova sales: French brasserie Cote has raised £66,000 for charity Swings & Smiles through sales of pavlova – its September dessert special. The Berkshire-based charity provides play facilities for families who have children with special needs. Cote chief executive Alex Scrimgeour suggested the promotion after hearing about the charity’s need to raise £450,000 to build a dedicated facility. Swings & Smiles supports families from Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire and Surrey, as well as Berkshire. The lease on its home runs out in 2017 and it is aiming to build the new facility in the next two to three years. Swings & Smiles founder Sian Cook said: “It has been an incredible fundraising initiative and we are so grateful to everyone at Cote and their customers for their kindness and generosity. Through Cote, our fundraising has now reached 25% of the target.”
Champagne prices could rise £3 a bottle post-Brexit, highest percentage increase among wines – report: Champagne prices could rise £3 a bottle post-Brexit, the highest percentage increase among wines, according to the latest Wilson Drinks Report. However, the impact for consumers will be lower if producers focus on cash margins and not gross margin percentage, the report added. The effective increase in the cost of wines imported from Europe into the UK market, arising from the fall in the value of the pound, has put significant pressure on producer/distributor margins, the report said. Because of the nature of the value chain for wine, and the significant proportion of cost attributed to UK duty, the impact of a fall in the pound is much stronger for higher-value products where most of the cost relates to the product and not consumer taxes, it added. The Wilson Drinks Report looked at two scenarios – producers that try to maintain their gross margin percentage versus those that try to maintain the same cash margin for their wines. Assuming there is no change in the UK duty imposed on still and sparkling wine imported from Europe and VAT remains at 20%, a bottle of Champagne costing £25 before Brexit could go up by £3.06 if producers and retailers both maintain their gross margin percentage, equivalent to a 12% increase for consumers. A bottle of prosecco costing £9 pre-Brexit would need to go up by 66p if producers wanted to maintain their gross margin percentage. The report said the impact of sterling’s fall would be significantly reduced if producers focused on trying to maintain their cash margin instead of their gross margin percentage. In this case, Champagne would only need to increase by £2.30 for the same 15% fall in the pound. Wilson Drinks Report managing director Tim Wilson said: “While our analysis can perhaps be labelled as yet more Brexit scaremongering, it is worth remembering that the vast majority of wine purchased in the UK is bought on promotion, so a 4% or 5% increase in the regular selling price will likely have little impact on consumers.”