Shoryu Ramen secures funds for further expansion: Shoryu Ramen Restaurant Group, which specialises in Kyushu cuisine from the southernmost of Japan’s main islands, has agreed an asset finance facility of more than £450,000 from Aldermore Bank to fund further UK expansion. Shoryu Ramen operates seven restaurants in London and opened its first outside the capital, in Manchester, in November. The company, part of the Japan Centre group, was founded in 2012 by chef Tak Tokumine and also recently opened a site in Fukuoka city. Tokumine told CCR: “We have ambitious plans to grow our business and the funding from Aldermore has enabled us to buy the assets we needed to drive our expansion. Aldermore took the time to really understand our business and its history, as well as our growth plans. They were able to provide a flexible facility, which we can access when we need additional funds. The bank was also one of the few providers offering asset finance for smaller but integral assets for our business, such as kitchen appliances.” Aldermore business development manager Sean Thorn added: “Tak has a great vision for the business and many more exciting initiatives in the pipeline, which we hope to be able to support.”
Starbucks starts rolling out paper cup recycling bins to stores: Starbucks has started rolling out paper cup recycling bins in its stores as part of an ongoing strategy to help reduce paper cup waste. An initial 20 stores in central and west London will offer the paper cup bin encouraging “from street to in-store” disposal to ensure more paper cups are recycled. The arrival of Starbucks’ new cup recycling bins follows a successful back-of-house trial run in partnership with waste management provider Veolia since last spring. Created for Starbucks, the bins are designed to help enable effective recycling. Each bin features clearly indicated sections for consumers to tip away excess liquid, remove the sleeve and lid, and stack their cup separately. From here the cup can be recycled through the store’s waste collection, rather than relying on local recycling facilities. Starbucks is encouraging all “to go” customers to return any takeaway paper cups to one of its stores, not only Starbucks cups. Simon Redfern, vice-president communications for Starbucks Europe, said: “This new bin design is a significant way to test not only how cups can be recycled in our stores but also how people will embrace the new behaviour. Paper cup waste is a complex but important issue across the industry. To help tackle it, our strategy focuses on increasing ways we can reduce, reuse and recycle and these new bins provide a way for customers to help us make a difference.” Beyond the introduction of the new bins, Starbucks continues to offer a 25p discount to customers using a reusable cup. Starbucks’ business customers can also recycle their paper cups via a “post-back” Cup Care scheme offered by Veolia.
First franchised Belgo site opens as part of new dual concept at King’s Cross hotel: The first franchised site of Casual Dining Group’s Belgian bar brand Belgo has opened as part of a new dual concept venture in King’s Cross, London. The Firoka Group has opened the franchised site at its Crowne Plaza Hotel as part of a £20m refurbishment of the former Holiday Inn site. It will be joined by the Bloom Kitchen and Bar, which is opening at the hotel on Tuesday, 7 February. The Firoka Group director Feroza Kassam created the concept of Bloom and franchised Belgo to run alongside each other. He said: “We are really excited about Bloom Kitchen and Bar and Belgo coming to the Crowne Plaza in Kings Cross. We feel they will create a unique dual experience. Bloom Kitchen and Bar is something new and Belgo has a prestigious pedigree. It’s the perfect mix.” Bloom Kitchen and Bar pays homage to the famous artistic set, The Bloomsbury Group, and the locality. The Bloomsbury Group, a collective of bohemian writers, poets and intellectuals, including Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell, worked together, studied together and were renowned for their influential, private and exclusive rendezvous. The 102-cover site has relaxed lounge areas and an outdoor terrace, with the main dining area featuring large tables, ideal for groups or sharing. Odes to the Bloomsbury Group can be seen throughout. The menu has been designed by leading London chef Kurt Zdesar and will include a selection of main courses and salads and pasta. Alongside the food menu, a specialist gin cocktail menu has been created to complement the concept. The Belgo restaurant takes reference from the brand’s core values surrounding Trappist monks. Diners at the 140-cover restaurant can expect quirky feature lighting, big banquette seating, reclaimed wood booths and eclectic artwork. Floor-to-ceiling stained-glass screens break up the restaurant, creating smaller intimate dining areas. Belgo was launched in Chalk Farm, London, in 1992 and has five company-owned sites in the capital as well as one in Nottingham.
Giant Hospitality strengthens portfolio with Tenby hotel, first of four sites planned in South Wales: Hotel operator Giant Hospitality has strengthened its portfolio after adding the Fourcroft Hotel in Tenby – the first of four sites planned in South Wales. The company will run the site, which overlooks the North Beach and harbour, on behalf of property company Northern Powerhouse Developments. It has bought the hotel, which has been in the same family since the early 1940s, from Chris Osborne for an undisclosed sum following a deal brokered by agent Colliers International. The Fourcroft has 40 bedrooms, most of which overlook the bay. Its restaurant, Ossie Morgan’s, has sea views and seating for up to 100 and there is also a conservatory, outdoor swimming pool and meeting rooms. Giant Hospitality has a growing portfolio of UK-based hotels, which it manages on behalf of Northern Powerhouse Developments. Northern Powerhouse Developments chairman Gavin Woodhouse said: “We are delighted to add the Fourcroft to our UK hotel portfolio. This is the first of four hotels we are acquiring and opening in South Wales to complement our existing hotels up and down the coastline of the UK.” The Fourcroft will be a sister hotel to the Llandudno Bay Hotel and Spa, which is part of the group’s premier hotel collection.
High-end Indian restaurant Baluchi enters UK market with London launch: High-end Indian restaurant The Baluchi has opened its first site in the UK. Housed in luxury hotels throughout India, the brand has opened in The Lalit London hotel in Tooley Street. The menu features a diverse selection of flavours from many Indian regions, including Kashmir, Bengal, Kerala and Goa. Dishes include suroor e shorba (Keralan-style lobster bisque with coconut and cognac), and phalahaar (melon, blood orange, pink lady, fresh figs, grapefruit and carom seeds with honey dressing). The kitchen is headed by executive chef Arup Dasupta using ingredients from far-flung destinations such as Kashmiri Gucchi mushrooms from the foothills of the Himalayas, alongside a selection of teas from the Tea Lounge in Kolkata. The decor features vaulted ceilings, hand-made cobalt chandeliers, and Indian furniture and tapestries. The venue, close to Tower Bridge, also has a bread bar – the Naanery – and the Baluchi Gallery, which offers “traditional English tea-time snacks with an Indian twist”, such as Bangla-Scotch egg with kasundi relish and Punjabi samosas.
Charles Wells to open third Pizza, Pots and Pints site, in Peterborough: Bedford-based brewer and retailer Charles Wells is to open its third Pizza, Pots and Pints site, this time in Peterborough. The company is opening the venue in Queen Street on the site of the former Clarkes fine-dining restaurant. Prior to 2013, it had been the brewer’s Grapevine pub. The venue will offer artisan pizza cooked in a wood-fired oven as well as “one-pot comfort food” such as mac and cheese and cheesy squash casserole ham hock fricassee, along with Charles Wells beer. A spokesman told the Peterborough Telegraph: “Following the successful launch of our Pizza, Pots and Pints concept at the Salisbury Arms in Cambridge two years ago, we’re looking to bring its winning formula to Peterborough. It has been received better than we could have hoped and we feel we have found a winning formula so it makes more sense to go with a managed site. We have been tracking this site for some time and this gives us a great opportunity to have more creative control and do something different to the other operators.” The company has lodged plans with the city council for new signage and some internal alterations and expects to open the site in the summer. Charles Wells’ other Pizza, Pots and Pints site is The Old White Horse pub in Baldock, Hertfordshire.
Fuller’s appoints Georgina Young as company’s first female head brewer: London brewer and retailer Fuller’s has appointed Georgina Young as its first female head brewer. Young replaces John Keeling, who will continue to mentor her as well as promote the company on a wider global stage. Fuller’s Beer Company managing director Simon Dodd said: “This is a fantastic move for George and owes a great deal to John Keeling. He hired George as a production brewer in 1999, has developed her throughout her career at Fuller’s, and will continue to mentor her. With George assuming day-to-day responsibility for the brewery, John will have more flexibility to promote Fuller’s on a wider global stage. He plays an important ambassadorial role and is in demand worldwide to speak at conferences and judge at numerous high-profile international beer awards. John will also continue to work on numerous other projects such as collaboration beers.” Keeling added: “I’m delighted to see George promoted to this role. She is very well respected at Fuller’s and throughout the wider industry and is the first female head brewer at Fuller’s. She’s a great person to lead the brewery going forwards and inspire the next generation of brewers.”
Birmingham-based Indian Brewery opens first bar: Birmingham-based Indian Brewery has opened its first bar, in a vacant unit at Queensway Arches in the Jewellery Quarter. The brewer, which is based in Great Barr and makes a small range of craft beers, has converted Arch 16 in Livery Street, which was previously occupied by coffee shop Brewsmiths. The site serves breakfast with an Indian twist until midday and then offers a street food menu featuring pakora pops and Indian fish and chips. The beer is served in craft cans, bottle cask and on draught and includes The Indian Brewery’s own beers as well as a range of guest ales. Indian Brewery owner Jaspal Purewal told The Business Desk: “We’ve wanted to set up a bar for our brewery for a long time and the Jewellery Quarter is the perfect location. There are so many exciting things happening here. This will be our flagship store – for all to consume our beers along with in-house artisan coffee and street food.”
Thwaites freezes beer prices: North west brewer and retailer Daniel Thwaites is to freeze its own beer prices to its tenants. It means the prices paid by its publicans for Thwaites-branded products will remain the same for the rest of 2017. Director of pubs and brewing Andrew Buchanan said: “We hope this news is a welcome boost to our licensees. We know currently there are tough trading conditions and they are facing cost increases in a whole host of areas. That is why we are committed to supporting our customers wherever we can and why we are going to hold our prices this year. We too have seen our costs rise but we have found a way to absorb that this year so we don’t have to pass it on to our publicans.” Thwaites currently brews a large range of seasonal ales at its brewery in Blackburn. The freeze on prices will include these, as well as other brands it owns, such as Nutty Black, Thwaites Original and Thwaites Smooth.
Whitbread secures licence for hub by Premier Inn in Soho: Whitbread has secured a licence for a hub by Premier Inn in Soho. The company was successful in its application to Westminster Council’s licensing committee despite the Berwick Street site sitting within the West End Cumulative Impact Zone and local residential opposition. The circa 110-bedroom hotel is due to open in 2018 and will join the already opened hub by Premier Inn sites in St Martins Lane and Dacre Street. A third hotel under the format is due to open shortly in Tothill Street. Licensing solicitors John Gaunt appeared on behalf of Whitbread at the hearing.
Cote gets go-ahead for Shrewsbury site: French brasserie Cote has been given the go-ahead for a site in Shrewsbury. The company has been granted permission to convert an empty unit in Princess House, The Square. The plans include an outside seating area in front of the restaurant and three retractable verandas, the Shropshire Star reports. Cote, which is owned by private equity firm BC Partners, has more than 80 sites in the UK.