Tootoomoo to launch Islington restaurant next month, fourth north London site: Healthy pan-Asian restaurant group Tootoomoo will open a venue in Islington next month, its fourth north London site. The restaurant is offering diners 50% off food during its soft launch, in advance of an official opening on Tuesday, 13 September. Tables will be available until 11 September for dinner on Tuesdays to Thursdays and all day from Fridays to Sundays – for walk-ins only as the restaurant in St Paul’s Road won’t take bookings. Tootoomoo Islington will also offer takeaway, collection and delivery services and will open as a “relaxed, vibrant and fun Asian tapas restaurant, transporting hungry Islingtonians from London to the authentic, open and honest ‘shophouses’ of Vietnam and Malaysia, cooking up quality street food inspired by Asian street markets”. Named after an Indonesian folklore story about a hungry giant, Tootoomoo is the brainchild of Philip McGuiness and executive chef Ricky Pang, where sharing plates take centre stage. Dishes include shichimi squid, barbecue pork ribs, and chicken gyoza, while cocktails have a distinctive Asian twist including the Caipirinha, which comes in a choice of lychee, mango, passion fruit, pineapple or chilli flavours. Islington is Tootoomoo’s other venues are in Crouch End, Whetstone and Highgate.




Hospitality trio to launch chicken restaurant and bar concept in Brixton: A trio of hospitality industry insiders will open a new chicken restaurant and bar concept in Brixton, south London. Pix co-founder Nathan Pattie has teamed up with Rollo Weeks, formerly of Sketch, and Lars Larson, previously of Cuckoo, to launch Fancy Funkin Chicken in Coldharbour Lane on the site of the former Phoenix cafe next month. The 50-cover dining room’s interior evokes an “urban, raw and residential warmth”, featuring hand-crafted antique and neon lighting, quirky furnishings, stencil art and a herb garden suspended overhead. The menu will consist of traditional herbed and spiced, free-range fried chicken dishes. Wings and boneless bites will feature alongside a selection of fried or flame-grilled chicken breast or thigh burgers such as the Totally Tropical Burger, served with charred pineapple and smoked chilli mayo. There will be a selection of craft beers, wine and cocktails available from the bar. Fancy Funkin Chicken will also host an eclectic and upbeat music programme of jazz and funk, with DJs performing from Thursday to Sunday.




Fledgling Leicestershire-based pub company Broood opens first site in Hinckley, secures Leicester bar for second venue: Fledgling Leicestershire-based pub company Broood has opened its first site, in Hinckley, and revealed it has secured its second venue, in Leicester. The company, which was founded in April by Steve and Jenny Thatcher, has taken over the lease of The Prince of Wales in Coventry Road, Hinckley. It will also open its second pub on the former Sloanes bar site in King Street, Leicester, in October. Broood specialises in spicy Portuguese chicken, real ales from “all corners of the UK” and coffee. The Hinckley pub, which is owned by Animal Pub Company, has been refurbished and renamed Broood At The Prince Of Wales. Steve Thatcher told the Leicester Mercury: “Broood is the marrying together of our three great passions – beer, chicken and coffee. We focus on high quality in all areas of the business and our chicken will be of the highest quality to match and complement our expertly selected beer range. Both Hinckley and Leicester have strong real ale communities and we’re looking forward to welcoming them into Broood in Hinckley, and then in another few weeks in Leicester.”




Patty & Bun to open sixth London site next month: Better burger brand Patty & Bun is set to open its sixth site in London, this time in Goodge Street. The new restaurant will open on Thursday, 15 September, with a soft launch featuring 50% off all food until 24 September (walk-ins only). Last month Patty & Bun opened its fifth site, a 40-cover, 805 square foot restaurant in Redchurch Street, Shoreditch. The new restaurant will feature Patty & Bun favourites such as Ari Gold (beef patty with cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickled onions, ketchup, and smokey mayo); and Lambshank Redemption (lamb patty with coriander, chilli, lettuce, buttermilk baby courgettes, pickled aubergine, cumin aioli, and feta). It will also offer milkshakes, including peanut butter malt, and cheese balls. Patty & Bun’s other sites are in Old Compton Street in Soho, London Fields, Liverpool Street, and James Street in Marylebone.




Chopstix trials new brand identity at Aberdeen opening: Noodle brand Chopstix is trialling a fresh brand identity at its newly launched restaurant in Aberdeen. The new venue in Union Street is next to the Trinity Shopping Centre on the site of a former Pizza Hut that closed in 2011. The Chopstix Group’s refreshed livery has been developed in partnership with brand agency Mystery Design. The brand’s new look and feel will be assessed during the next few months in preparation for the launch of Chopstix Group’s flagship restaurant in Oxford Street, London, later this year, where a full unveiling of the new store concept will take place. Chopstix offers “authentic Asian recipes from China, Thailand, and Korea”. Chief operating officer Max Hilton Jenvey said: “The Trinity Centre is an ideal central location for our Chopstix Noodle Bar. Our location in Union Street will allow us to serve the Aberdeen community in a high-footfall city centre with longer opening hours, from 11am to 11pm. We will provide our guests with faster, fresher, healthier authentic Oriental fusion cuisine in a cool, casual and relaxed family environment.” Linda Stewart, general manager of the Trinity Centre, added: “It is great to see another empty unit in Union Street filled with a great brand. I am sure the Aberdeen public will respond positively to the fabulous restaurant and takeaway offer.” Chopstix Group operates almost 60 sites across the UK and Ireland.




Middletons Steakhouse and Grill to open sixth site with £1.5m Leicester launch in October: Norfolk-based Middletons Steakhouse and Grill will open a £1.5m restaurant in Leicester this autumn, its sixth site. The 200-cover restaurant will open in a grade II-listed former NatWest bank in St Martins on Friday, 14 October. Middletons has taken a 20-year lease on the property and the opening will create 60 jobs. The building, designed in 1900 in the baroque revival style, had lain empty for 16 years and is undergoing a sympathetic renovation, with construction work well advanced. Middletons managing director Steve Hutton said the painstaking restoration includes refurbishing the original doors and panels, which are made from rare Brazilian mahogany. He told the Leicester Mercury: “As the work has progressed we’re increasingly aware of what a magnificent building this is. The huge former banking hall, based on ancient Roman architecture, is an amazing space and we can’t wait to throw open our doors and welcome the people of Leicester to our most ambitious project to date.” Hutton hopes to open further restaurants in the Midlands once Leicester is established and has plans for a seventh site in Peterborough, which he hopes to open early next year. Steve and Tracy Hutton opened their first Middletons Steakhouse and Grill in King’s Lynn in 2010. The company’s other sites are in Norwich, Milton Keynes, Colchester and Watford.




PizzaExpress and Wildwood sign deals to open at new leisure complex in Sittingbourne: PizzaExpress and Tasty brand Wildwood have signed deals to open at a new leisure complex in Sittingbourne, Kent. They have agreed to take units in the same building as the eight-screen cinema, on what is currently The Forum car park, reports Kent Online. While the Spirit of Sittingbourne consortium behind the £59m town centre regeneration project has remained tight-lipped on the names of the brands, they are both named in a Swale Council report. Four other smaller restaurant units in the leisure building are yet to be let but negotiations continue, stated the report, which is due to go before the council’s scrutiny committee on Wednesday (31 August).




Tony Macaroni set to open 14th Scottish restaurant after acquiring G1 Group pub in East Kilbride: Scottish restaurant company Tony Macaroni is set to open its 14th site in Scotland later this year after acquiring a former G1 Group-owned pub in East Kilbride, which closed last week. The new Italian restaurant will be the third Tony Macaroni venue in East Kilbride when it opens on the site of pub restaurant The Byre in Eaglesham Road at St James Retail Park. Tony Macaroni launched its debut site in East Kilbride in 2007 and is set to open takeaway Tony2Go at Lindsayfield Retail Parade in the town. The company’s other restaurants include Dunfermline, Motherwell and Livingston, as well as a number in Glasgow and Edinburgh, with a 13th site planned for a former Blockbusters store in Irvine. Staff at The Byre may be employed at other G1 Group venues, including the Corinthian in Glasgow, the Daily Record reports. G1 Group manages more than 55 venues in Scotland, including bars, hotels, cinemas and a casino.




New buffet restaurant concept to open at former Mimosa site in Telford next month: A new buffet restaurant concept will open next month at a former Mimosa site in Telford, Shropshire. Sham and Laura Uddin are launching Four Corners World Buffet on Friday, 2 September having acquired the lease of the Southwater leisure complex building for £400,000 last month. The restaurant, which is creating ten jobs, will offer Chinese, Indian, Italian and Mexican food. The site has undergone a redesign and will include a number of “live stations”, where chefs will cook the food in front of diners, while an a la carte table service menu will also be available. A new dessert station featuring fresh waffles and crepes will also be introduced. The Uddins said they hoped to create separate dining rooms at the venue that could host private parties and special occasions. Sham Uddin told Shropshire Live: “The redesign has gone very well and we are really excited about the grand opening. We are looking forward to welcoming lots of new customers to our restaurant.”




Former KFC manager opens Papa John’s site in Blackpool: Former KFC manager Vijay Kumar has opened a Papa John’s site in Blackpool. Kumar has opened the store in Whitegate Drive. He said: “I worked for KFC for more than ten years, then went on to set up several of my own fried chicken shops. However, I became aware of Papa John’s and thought it would be a great idea to become part of such a popular brand through becoming a franchisee. I will be responsible for my own stores and yet have all the support and back-up of a leading brand right behind me. Papa John’s is growing rapidly and this represents a great chance to cash in! I chose Blackpool as I know the area well. My local knowledge combined with my experience of the fast food industry, plus the excellent training provided at Papa John’s newly refurbished headquarters, means I feel confident I have all the right ingredients to make my Papa John’s franchise a success!”




Food writer and chef Ravinder Bhogal to open debut restaurant Jikoni in Marylebone next month: Food writer and chef Ravinder Bhogal will launch her debut restaurant – Jikoni – in Blandford Street, Marylebone, next month after partnering with restaurateur Ratnesh Bagdai. Jikoni, meaning “kitchen” in Swahili, will feature flavours from Britain, East Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Close to Chiltern Street and Marylebone High Street, the site comprises 1,733 square feet, including a 771 square foot ground-floor space and a 962 square foot basement, with a rent of £110,000 per annum and a lease that runs until 2031. The menu will be split into snacks, small plates, big plates and desserts. Scotch eggs, a signature at Bhogal’s pop-ups, will take pride of place, including quail scotch egg with banana ketchup and pickled cucumber. Small plates will include an Indian take on the American “sloppy Joe”, made with Herdwick mutton keema, pickled onions and mint chutney, while big plates will feature comfort food such as shepherd’s pie. There will also be a daily changing rice plate celebrating curries from around the world. Bhogal said: “I am so excited to welcome guests to Jikoni and what I hope will be an extension of my home and kitchen.” Bhogal has also worked with Le Café Anglais and Mark Hix for a series of residencies and stars in her own television series, Ravinder’s Kitchen, on BBC Worldwide. Guy Marks, of agent Restaurant Property, advised on the deal, with Nash Bond the other agent involved.




McDonald’s forced to recall more than 32 million Happy Meal fitness ‘toys’: McDonald’s has been forced to recall more than 32 million Happy Meal fitness tracker “toys” after receiving reports that some children suffered skin irritation and burns using the devices. The “Step-it” activity tracker wristbands – handed out by the company in the US and Canada between 9 August and 17 August – were supposed to encourage children to be more active during their summer break and to coincide with the Rio Olympics. The pedometer measures steps and blinks quickly or slowly depending on the pace of the person wearing it. However, the company has now issued a recall of roughly 3.6 million wristbands in Canada and 29 million in the US. McDonald’s told customers they could have a free replacement toy and a yogurt tube or bag of apple slices if they returned the wristbands to a restaurant in person.




Four Hundred Rabbits starts expansion with second London opening: Sourdough pizza and craft beer restaurant concept Four Hundred Rabbits has started expansion by opening its second site, this time in Nunhead, south east London. The new 40-cover restaurant in Evelina Road is on the former site of gourmet coffee and cake shop Bambuni, which is relocating to a site nearby. It follows the launch of Four Hundred Rabbits’ debut site in Crystal Palace last year. Inspired by authentic Neapolitan pizza recipes, Four Hundred Rabbits uses a sourdough starter made from British rye flour and ferments the dough for up to 48 hours. It is then cooked at about 400 degrees in a wood-fired oven, with British seasonal produce used for toppings. The new venue offers 12 beers that rotate each week from brewers in the UK and Europe, including four draught beers served in three-quarter-pint schooners, four chilled bottles, and four cans. Four Hundred Rabbits also offers a range of juices and soft drinks and serves six flavours of gelupo, which will change according to the season.




New burger and shake restaurant concept to open in Nottingham: A new burger and shake restaurant concept is set to open in Nottingham. Chef Ed Halls is launching Griddle & Shake in Fletcher Gate within the city’s Lace Market. It is set to open in November, offering a selection of food and drink, including burgers with unlimited toppings. Drinks will include craft lagers from Freedom Brewery and BrewDog and a range of unlimited refillable soft drinks. Halls told the Nottingham Post: “I’ve chosen Nottingham as my first location for the Griddle & Shake brand due to it being such a vibrant and foodie city. I can’t wait to introduce everybody to the brand in November and to our bigger and better burgers, customisable shakes and unique menu offering.”




New British-style steakhouse concept MooMoo’s launches in King’s Lynn: New British-style steakhouse concept MooMoo’s Steakhouse Bar and Grill has launched in King’s Lynn, Norfolk. The independent business has opened in Chapel Street in the town centre, combining a coffee shop, main restaurant and cocktail bar. From 8am to 4pm, the coffee shop serves light bites, while the restaurant opens for evening meals. On Sundays, it offers a carvery serving lunches from midday to 5pm. The upstairs cocktail bar features table service, with more than 30 cocktails on the menu. General manager Jay Evans told Lynn News: “The steakhouse isn’t in the form of an American-style restaurant but will serve a traditional British menu. We believe MooMoo’s will bring something different to Lynn and our intention is to bring a city feel to a market town. We hope to open more in the future.”




Adnams begins archiving project: Suffolk brewer and retailer Adnams has started an archive project to record and organise items and documents collected since the company was founded in 1872. Adnams has brought in Patsy Dallas, a professional archivist, to help with the work. She has spent time in a variety of locations around the company’s home town of Southwold, finding items ranging from deeds of long-closed pubs, bottles of beer (still sealed) and even some vintage bicycles. All the items will be catalogued, photographed and safely stored. A lot of the materials reveal social history as well as that of the Adnams brewery – one find includes documents relating to the Fox and Goose in Fressingfield when the pub was owned by the local church. The company said: “We are fortunate that in the past a lot of items have been carefully kept and we will make sure we are doing the same in the future. Archive materials have already inspired the design of the Jack Brand beer range and will be used in the redesign of The Swan Hotel in Southwold in 2017.” Visitors can see a selection of items from Adnams’ history on display at the start of their brewery and distillery tour.




Edison – building blocks in place for Rank Group: International equity research firm Edison has said the building blocks are in place for Rank Group. Issuing its update, Edison stated: “A weak quarter four left final results a tad below our forecasts despite good results in Mecca venues and Grosvenor digital. However, cash generation was strong and the dividend was lifted by 16%. The organic growth strategy (focusing on multi-channel development) remains intact and while the failure to progress what would have been a transformational acquisition of William Hill (with 888) was a disappointment, it demonstrates the scale of management’s ambitions. We suspect that future accretive opportunities will arise within the consolidating online gambling space. Rank’s shares have fallen from a 2016 peak of 295.5p (on 8 January) weighed by concerns over UK consumer spending, disappointment over Mecca’s digital migration issues, and uncertainty around the William Hill situation. However, the rating now looks too low, with annualised 2016 estimated EV/Ebitda only 6.9 times versus 11.9 times for the peer group, suggesting good upside potential. We are hopeful of a positive quarter one 2017 interim management statement in mid-October, which would be a positive catalyst.”




Rainbow to double size of Cardiff casino and add new restaurant as part of £3m redevelopment: Casino operator Rainbow is to double the size of its site in Cardiff and add a new restaurant as part of a £3m redevelopment. The company is giving the venue in Mary Ann Street, opposite the Motorpoint Arena, an overhaul before relaunching in October. The project will double the size of the casino and include an update to the interior, rationalising the layout and improving visibility and access. It will also feature slot machines, casino tables and an outdoor smoking terrace with new electronic gaming machines. A larger late-licence bar and a new restaurant will also be added. Rainbow Casino Cardiff general manager Richard Phillips told Insider Media: “Our new-look casino will have something for everyone looking for a night to remember. A bigger, improved casino means we have created 30 roles for which we are currently taking applications. These roles span front-of-house and customer service roles to catering and managerial posts.” Rainbow also operates casinos in Aberdeen, Birmingham, Bristol and Teesside.




Whitbread shortlisted for energy award: Whitbread has been shortlisted in the 2016 Love Energy Savings Awards. The company is up against Denton Working Men’s Club, Ian Hazel Funerals and R&R Ice Cream in the innovative saver category. Explaining the reasons for making the shortlist, the judges said: “As part of its green efforts, Whitbread has been recognised for ensuring every new hotel and coffee shop it opens actively works to reduce its carbon footprint by cutting down on waste production, usage and water consumption.” Love Energy Savings managing director Phil Foster said: “We established the Love Energy Savings Awards to celebrate businesses’ efforts towards becoming more energy efficient, and we’re proud to see them grow even more in their second year. We hope the awards will not only give these businesses the recognition they deserve but also inspire others to make changes within their own organisation. Everyone has a part to play, and hopefully if we all work together we can reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and secure a better future.”




Dalata enters talks to operate Dublin hotel: Irish hotel company Dalata has entered into exclusive discussions to acquire the operating interests of a Dublin hotel. Completely refurbished in April 2014, the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel was built in 1972 and comprises 502 guest rooms. The property is located “within minutes” of Dublin city centre, reports Insider Media. Dalata said that in collaboration with another party, which is negotiating to purchase the property, it had entered into exclusive discussions to acquire the operating interests and commit to a leasehold interest in the hotel. The deal is subject to further due diligence, with Dalata stressing “there can be no certainty at this time that a transaction will proceed”. Earlier this year, Dalata moved to the main stock markets in London and Dublin as part of its growth plans. The company outlined plans for the move from AIM and ESM earlier in the year, with the board believing it had “grown and matured” during the past number of years, with the main market the “most appropriate platform” for its future development