Moleface Pub Co owner to start expanding fish and chip restaurant concept: Moleface Pub Co owner Jon Molnar is to start expanding his fish and chip restaurant concept The Cod’s Scallops with a second site in Nottinghamshire. Molnar, who launched the concept in Wollaton in 2011, is opening the new venue in Carrington, creating 15 jobs. The Cod’s Scallops will take over the ground floor of the former Rasberry Interiors furniture shop in Mansfield Road and will feature a restaurant, takeaway and fresh fish counter. He told the Nottingham Post: “At the moment we’re getting around 1,500 people a week (at the first site). We’ve had people travel from Derby, people drive from Leicester, even some people come from Sheffield. Sat Bains is a regular customer; you can’t get more of a compliment to have one of the best chefs part of your takeaway. We would like to be open in mid-July – if we’re slightly earlier, then that’s great.” Molnar founded Moleface Pub Co in 2007, which has four sites in Nottinghamshire.



FrogPubs acquires 13th site: FrogPubs, the operator of English brewpubs and restaurants in France, led by Paul Chantler, has bought its 13th venue, the Chesterfield Café in Paris. Located in Rue Montmartre in central Paris, Chesterfield Café, formerly the French Beer Factory, features a bar, restaurant and nightclub built across three floors. FrogPubs will continue to operate the venue as Chesterfield Café before evolving it into a FrogPub later in the year. As with its other sites, the new venue will offer the three key Frog ingredients – American barbecue and soul food, burgers and artisan craft beers. Chantler said: “A little over a year after the acquisition of Kitty O’Shea’s Paris (now Frog Hop House), this new opening demonstrates the success of our concept in the capital, offering an authentic menu prepared fresh from high-quality ingredients in the friendly atmosphere of an Anglo-Saxon pub. It also attests to the enthusiasm of a growing audience for our beers, which we’ve brewed locally for 23 years respecting traditional artisan methods. We’re also delighted to renew our partnership with BNP Paribas, who are joining us on this journey with their valuable financial support.”



Steakout Meat House secures first sites outside London: London-based steak house Steakout Meat House, which is currently undertaking a £400,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube, has secured its first sites outside the capital. The eight-strong company, launched in 2008 by Kaysor Ali, is set to open franchise sites in Ilford, Essex, and in Birmingham. It stated: “We’re thrilled to announce that we’re opening two new restaurants. That’s three (including a flagship site in Stratford) for the next financial year so far, putting us ahead of our estimates. These are in central locations in Ilford and Birmingham and following their fit-out will be opening in the coming months. Both sites will be franchised.” Steakout Meat House is offering a 9.09% equity stake in return for the £400,000 investment it is seeking. So far, 48 investors have pledged £87,070 with 19 days remaining. The largest investment to date is £45,000. Having rebranded the business in 2013, and grown from two restaurants, it wants to “take advantage of the continued growth in casual dining across the UK”. The pitch states: “Our company earns a stable cash flow from franchise royalties and meat sales to stores, and we regard our 15% net profit (Ebitda) margin as very healthy for a company of our size in the food sector. The proceeds from this fund-raising will help greatly to speed up our expansion. Aside from the upgrade to our meat cutting facility, we plan to invest in a new flagship store in Stratford that we’ve managed to secure. The construction of this store has begun already, funded out of company profits. In addition, we want to invest to build up our management team in the areas of franchising and operations to enable rapid growth.” The company forecasts sales of £1,238,292 in its current financial year, rising to £2,271,590 in 2017, £4,553,777 in 2018 and £7,813,483 the following year.


Hakkasan unveils new board directors after resignation of chairman: Hakkasan Group has announced additions to its board of directors – a new chairman, Khalifa Bin Butti, and three new directors, former Senator Norm Coleman, Hani Buttikhi and Ramez Attieh. They will serve alongside current board director Neil Moffitt, who also continues as chief executive. The announcement follows the resignation of Hakkasan Group chairman Khadem al-Qubaisi, with the new appointments taking effect immediately. Commenting on his appointment to Hakkasan Group, Bin Butti said: “I am excited to become chairman of Hakkasan Group’s board of directors and to work alongside Neil and my fellow board members to steer the group through an upcoming period of planned ambitious growth. I would also like to take this opportunity to state that, contrary to recent media reports, the shareholders have no intention of selling Hakkasan Group and are committed to supporting the executive team as they continue to expand into new markets and brands.” Moffitt said: “I’m happy to be joined on the board by world-class business people who, I’m sure, will add a huge amount of value in guiding Hakkasan Group’s global expansion, as we continue to implement our growth strategy.” Founded in the UK, Hakkasan Group is headquartered in both London and the US with more than 50 venues across the US, Europe, Middle East, and Asia. Its stable of brands also includes restaurants Hakkasan, Yauatcha, Herringbone, Searsucker, HKK and Sake no Hana.


Gusto opens £1m Lytham St Annes site: Gusto, the Italian restaurant brand operated by Living Ventures, has opened its £1m site in Lytham St Annes, Lancashire. The 4,000 square foot venue in Dicconson Terrace is on the site of a grade II-listed former doctor’s surgery. The 130-cover restaurant also features an outdoor terrace seating 40 diners, while the opening has created 60 jobs. Gusto managing director Sue Crimes said: “Lancashire’s restaurant scene is in a period of enormous growth and we felt the time was right to bring Gusto to Lytham.” Gusto, which opened its first site in Alderley Edge in Cheshire in 2005, has 12 other sites across the UK, with openings planned in Birmingham, Leamington Spa, and York.


Five Guys to open first venue in France this summer, second Paris site to follow: Better burger brand Five Guys will open its first site in France this summer. The restaurant will launch at a 310 square metre site in Cour Saint-Émilion, Paris, while Five Guys will open a second site in the city – at the Gard du Nord train station – in the summer of 2017. Maxime Lestringant, head of Five Guys France, said: “We have the weapons to succeed in a buoyant French market with high demand and ideal locations to be presented in the best way possible.” Five Guys has 1,300 restaurants and employs 40,000 staff across the US, Canada and the UK. Lestringant said: “The French market has been in the viewfinder since 2014. It represents a transition between England and Europe.”


Purecraft Bar and Kitchen opens second site in Nottingham: Purecraft Bar and Kitchen, which opened its first venue in Birmingham in 2014, has opened its second site in Nottingham. The company has opened the venue in the former HSBC branch in St Peter’s Gate following a £500,000 refurbishment, creating more than 25 jobs. Purecraft’s three directors are former Michelin-starred Dorchester chef Andreas Antona, co-founder of Purity Brewing Co Paul Halsey, and Martin Hilton, a former director at Mitchells & Butlers. The venue offers beers from Purity brewery – a sister company of Purecraft – as well as many others from around the world. Dishes include braised lamb shoulder and lamb faggot with beer-braised onions, minted peas and potato puree. Antona told The Business Desk: “Nottingham is a dynamic city with plenty going on in the food and drink scene. As a (company) that’s as serious about food as we are about beer, we’re confident that we’re bringing something different to the area. We’re really looking forward to sharing our passion for great food and beer with the food and drink lovers in the city.” Hilton previously said Purecraft was looking to expand to six or seven sites across the UK and was eyeing cities such as Leeds, Manchester and London.


M&B to launch All Bar One Aberdeen city centre venue in summer 2017, fourth Scottish site: Mitchells & Butlers will open an All Bar One venue at Marischal Square, Aberdeen, in the summer of 2017, its fourth site in Scotland. The £107m Marischal Square project is at a key location in Aberdeen city centre and All Bar One will occupy a 6,000 square foot prime site, joining a 126-bedroom Residence Inn by Marriot on the development’s client list. Aberdeen City Council leader Jenny Laing said: “All Bar One is one of Britain’s best-loved brands and its commitment to Aberdeen’s city centre regeneration programme is testament to its confidence in the area and the strategic value it places on our economy.” All Bar One operates 50 venues across the UK, including two sites in Edinburgh and one in Glasgow. Mark Millett, retail director for the All Bar One brand, said: “We are delighted that development work on our new bar/restaurant will begin shortly and we anticipate we will be opening the new All Bar One at the end of August 2017.” The Marischal Square development is more than halfway into its 116-week construction programme.


Gresham Collective to reopen 300-year-old Camden pub this month under original name: London-based multiple operator Gresham Collective will reopen a 300-year-old Camden pub under its original name this month. The company, led by Will Clayton, acquired the historic Load of Hay in Haverstock Hill, which had been operating as gastro-pub The Hill Bar & Brasserie for more than ten years, last summer. It is now refurbishing the listed property ahead of reopening at the end of the month. The company told the Camden New Journal: “We are a craft beer bar and kitchen. Our emphasis is on quality fresh food and interesting drinks served in a relaxed environment.” The Load of Hay, which opened in 1721, was rebuilt in 1863. From 1965 until 1974, it was called the Noble Art in honour of the Belsize boxing club and gym behind the building. Gresham Collective also runs the Cork and Bottle in Leicester Square and the Pride of Paddington in west London, a traditional-style pub with bedrooms above.


Joe’s Kitchen and Loungers line up York sites: Joe’s Kitchen, which is owned by The Restaurant Group, and Loungers are lining up sites in York. The Restaurant Group has applied to the city council for a licence to open Joe’s Kitchen – its first in Yorkshire – on the former Café Rouge site in Coney Street. It wants to open the restaurant daily from 8am to 12.30am, with alcohol sales running from 10am to midnight, reports York Mix. Joe’s Kitchen currently has 12 sites, including at Manchester Airport and the Victoria Centre in Nottingham. Meanwhile, Loungers is set to bring its Cosy Club brand to the city. It has applied for a licence to open the venue inside the 1911 York building on the site of the former Macdonalds Furniture store. It wants to open the site from 8am daily, closing at midnight from Sunday to Wednesday, with a 12.30am finish between Thursday and Saturday. Alcohol would be served from 10am to half an hour before closing time. Loungers currently operates 13 Cosy Clubs, including in Bath, Cardiff, Leicester and Manchester, with its 14th opening this week in Derby.


Greene King submits plan for new-build Farmhouse Inns site in Nottingham: Greene King has submitted a planning application to build a £3m Farmhouse Inns at a Nottingham business park. A Farmhouse Inns spokesperson said: “We can confirm that a planning application has been submitted for Woodford Park and we are excited at the prospect of introducing a new family friendly pub restaurant to the area, which we hope will be welcomed by local people. We believe it could become an important part of the community as well as bring local employment opportunities with the prospect of up to around 80 full and part-time jobs.”


JD Wetherspoon to appeal Welwyn Garden City rejection: JD Wetherspoon will appeal a decision to reject its plans for a Welwyn Garden City pub. The company wanted to redevelop a 1920s house in Parkway into a venue, but had planning permission unanimously rejected by Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council in November. However, a JD Wetherspoon spokesman has told the Welwyn Hatfield Times an appeal for the site will be submitted “imminently”. When lodged, it will then be referred to the Planning Inspectorate, the body that deals with planning appeals. The Welwyn Garden City Society opposed the plans, and chairman Shaun O’Reilly said he was “staggered” at JD Wetherspoon’s “incredible” decision not to accept the council’s verdict. He added: “They got such a resounding vote against it I’m surprised that they are putting any effort or money behind any appeal. Frankly, it’s quite incredible.” However, Longcroft Lane resident Gavin Meaden, an engineer, said he would like a Welwyn Garden City JD Wetherspoon pub, regardless of whether it is in Parkway or closer to the town centre. “I think they bring the sort of pub that we don’t currently have,” he added.


Ceviche founder to launch gluten-free Peruvian restaurant in Soho: Martin Morales, who pioneered Peruvian food in London when he launched Ceviche in 2012, will open another concept in Soho – a traditional Andes picanteria with every dish gluten-free. Morales has branded Casita Andina “London’s most traditional Peruvian restaurant yet”. It will offer food from the Andes inspired by his grandmother, who lives on the mountain range, and be fitted out to look like a traditional house from the area. Morales told the Evening Standard: “It will serve warming food for the soul, with plates designed for sharing, and will be cosy with lots of character.” Dishes will include lamb loin served with maca, mushrooms and crushed corn nuts, and chupe – a fish stew made with king prawns, coriander and quinoa. The restaurant will import chocolate from Peru for desserts, although 90% of produce will be sourced from within the UK. Morales said: “It’s Peruvian cooking but there will be elements of fusion because there’s no point in pretending we’re not a London restaurant.” Casita Andina will feature a ceviche counter and a bar specialising in pisco, Peru’s national spirit, as well as an open-air patio. It is due to open in July and will be Morales’ fourth restaurant following Ceviche in Soho, Andina in Shoreditch, and a second Ceviche near Old Street.


Swindon restaurateur in £1m spend to convert nightclub into mega venue: Restaurateur Alan Mok is to relocate his two Swindon restaurants into one mega-site at a former nightclub in Old Town. Mok, who owns Le Rendezvous in Haydon Street and Swindon Rendezvous in Theatre Square, will resite the restaurants at the former Studio nightclub in Hooper’s Place. He is investing more than £1m to transform the site into an ultra-modern, 250-cover restaurant with a private function room. Interior design features will include computer-operated mood lighting, an ample bar and booths to give it a “London feel”. Mok told the Swindon Advertiser: “We are not going to change how we operate as a restaurant, we are just going to bring something a lot bigger. I looked at this building and thought it had so much potential. I am never going to get this size building in a prime location in Old Town again. I also want to bring something new to Swindon. I want to make it a hub – an eating and entertainment centre. Swindon is really growing and I think this is the right time.”


Peterborough chef launches fine dining concept in city centre: Lee Clarke, former head chef of Clarkes in Peterborough, which won a Michelin Three Forks Award, has opened his own fine dining concept in the city centre. Prévost, which has just opened in a 16th century mews in Priestgate, is set in the former Flyers Club, with ingredients sourced as locally as possible, including beef aged by a butcher in Stilton and wild mushrooms foraged from nearby woods. Clarke told the Peterborough Telegraph: “Prévost is right in the heart of the city and I can’t wait to share the different tastes we have created in the kitchen with the people of Peterborough. I want the Prévost experience to have an air of fine dining but without the formality; diners can expect an exploration of taste that’s quintessentially British but full of surprises.” The 28-cover restaurant is open plan, with an open kitchen, but also has a private dining room upstairs and an after-dinner snug. It will offer three, five and nine-course meals, with dishes including pig, lobster and monk’s beard, brown trout and asparagus, and yogurt and plums with lavender caramel.


Interbev launches brand management and distribution business, reveals first UK deals: Interbev has launched an international brand management and distribution business, Interbev Brands, and announced its first UK brand partners for distribution – Spanish beer Moritz, German pilsener Karlsbrau UrPils, and Scotch whisky LABEL 5. Interbev delivers multi-channel distribution to consumers, the trade, international distributors and importers in more than 25 markets. It said Interbev Brands had been created to give brand partners a model that offered multi-channel distribution in the UK directly to consumers and the trade through its own fulfillment businesses, and internationally through its network of distributor partners. Interbev said the new business also provided brand strategy and marketing expertise. Interbev founder and owner Steve Brogan said: “Our business was established in 2008 to sell and distribute international drinks brands around the world and we have widespread experience in adapting to the changing dynamics of the market globally. Expanding our business offer to include exclusive brand management was a natural evolution.”


Bid launched to build community-owned distillery: A whisky firm has launched a community share offer in a bid to build the first community-owned distillery in Scotland. Glenwyvis Distillery Community Benefit Society plans to raise £1.5m to develop a new distillery in Dingwall. It is about 90 years since the last distillery closed in the Highland town. The whisky company, in conjunction with the organisation Community Shares Scotland (CSS), is offering investment opportunities from £250 to locals living in all IV postcode areas. The developers said they hoped this would ensure a high level of local ownership of the distillery. Shares are also open to whisky lovers worldwide with investment opportunities of up to £100,000. Helicopter pilot and farmer John F Mckenzie is behind the plans to resurrect whisky production in the town.