Caprice Holdings opens The Ivy in St John’s Wood, seventh London site: Caprice Holdings, owned by Richard Caring, has opened its latest site for The Ivy, this time in St John’s Wood, the brand’s seventh London site. The new restaurant is in the high street at a site formerly occupied by Megan’s Grill & Bar. The venue comprises a main bar, restaurant and two outdoor dining terraces. Mirroring its sister sites, The Ivy St John’s Wood features interiors by Martin Brudnizki Design Studio and offers all-day dining, including brunch, afternoon tea and cocktails. Earlier this month, Caprice Holdings applied to open a 150-cover site for The Ivy in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, which would open in spring 2017. A Caprice Holdings spokesman said: “Each (Ivy) location is carefully hand-picked to value, reflect and add to the local area.” Last month, Caprice Holdings opened Ivy Clifton Brasserie in Bristol, the first venue for the brand outside London. The other Ivy sites in London are in Wimbledon Village, the West End, Kensington, Chelsea, Covent Garden, and Marylebone. The company also owns The Ivy restaurant, bar and lounge in Dubai.

 

 

 

Tiny Rebel has new brewery plans approved, wins Welsh government funding: South Wales brewery Tiny Rebel has had its plans for a new brewery and community space approved by Newport City Council. The brewery has also received funding from the Welsh government through a grant from its Rural Development Programme. Recently named UK Brewery of the Year at the International Beer Challenge, Tiny Rebel has found itself at full brewing capacity. Along with expanded production and storage that will increase capacity more than five-fold to five million litres a year, the new site will feature a flexible, split-level event space that will include a bar and kitchen, with a capacity for about 150 people. Tiny Rebel plans to use and hire the space for functions, beer festivals, pop-ups, live music, and brewery events and tours. Tiny Rebel co-founder Brad Cummings said: “This £2.6m relocation and expansion allows us to create the additional capacity we need as well as creating a vibrant new events space for the city.” Fellow co-founder Gazz Williams added: “Tiny Rebel Brewery started life in a garage. Four years later, the business is making progress we could not have imagined. The extra capacity the new site will provide will give us the flexibility to expand our range and give more people the chance to enjoy Tiny Rebel beers.” Tiny Rebel also operates bars in Cardiff and Newport.

 

 

 

Carlsberg UK adds gluten-free Czech lager to premium beer portfolio: Carlsberg UK is adding gluten-free Czech lager Celia to its premium beer portfolio from Tuesday, 1 November as part of a new working relationship with micro-brewer Zatecky Pivovar. Celia is traditionally batch-brewed for more than two months by Zatecky Pivovar, which is one of several micro-breweries co-owned by the Carlsberg Group around the world. The brewery was established in 1801 and is housed in the castle walls of Zatec, a historic city in the north of the Czech Republic. Carlsberg UK will exclusively offer two beers in its portfolio, each imported into the UK. Celia Organic is a 4.5% ABV organic lager, while Celia Dark is a 5.7% ABV dark lager. Both beers are brewed using a patented de-glutenisation process, while a silicon filtration technique means the range is also suitable for vegans. Liam Newton, vice-president marketing at Carlsberg UK, said: “Celia Organic and Celia Dark are quality Czech beers, loved by beer drinkers for their exceptional flavour and ability to perfectly complement good food. The fact they are brewed to be gluten-free gives the brand an added point of difference – particularly relevant given current consumer trends.”

 

 

 

Restaurant Group’s new chief executive in line for £1m shares bonus: The new chief executive of The Restaurant Group will receive up to £1m of shares under a bonus scheme. Andy McCue took over last month after former chief executive Danny Breithaupt departed following a number of profit warnings. McCue will pick up 282,675 shares in three years under a long-term incentive plan if performance conditions are met – worth more than £1m at today’s prices. This will be on top of a basic salary, annual bonuses, benefits and a pension. Full details of McCue’s pay have yet to be released but his predecessor picked up £1.1m last year. Stock market filings also reveal McCue spent £178,350 on 50,000 shares in the company earlier this week. Chairman Debbie Hewitt bought 7,012 shares for £24,859, meaning her total holding is worth about £136,600. New finance boss Barry Nightingale spent £49,632 on 13,617 shares, his only holding in the group.

 

 

 

Wagamama wins Ireland’s best Japanese takeaway award: Wagamama has won the best Japanese takeaway in Ireland category at an event organised by online food ordering and delivery service Just Eat. The company won the award ahead of Yamamori and Miche Sushi. Other winners in the awards included Dublin-based healthy food delivery company Camile Thai, which is set to open its first site outside the Republic of Ireland in London. It won the best Thai takeaway category. Firehouse Pizza beat Base and Domino’s to win the pizza category, while burger restaurant Bunsen picked up the award for best American takeaway. Subway’s Tallaght branch picked up the award in the best takeaway – lunchtime category for the second year running. Just Eat managing director Amanda Roche Kelly said the awards recognised the “growing and increasingly diverse takeaway industry in Ireland”. She said: “This sector is an important and significant employer and overall contributor to the economy. Increasingly, we are seeing the leaders in the sector responding to and anticipating consumer trends with new ranges, healthier options, lunchtime choices and traditional favourites often available from the one restaurant.”

 

 

 

Deliveroo signs to increase office space five-fold, hires retained PR firm: Deliveroo has signed for a new 51,500 square foot HQ, expanding the size of its headquarters five-fold after signing up at Cannon Bridge House in the City of London. Meanwhile, Deliveroo has appointed Havas PR UK as its retained consumer agency. Havas’ remit includes national and regional PR support for the brand, with the account team reporting into Deliveroo head of PR Kate Thomas. Deliveroo now has a presence in more than 70 cities across the UK after launching in London in 2013 – and in 11 other countries across the world. According to an FT article earlier this year, Deliveroo’s “network of more than 3,000 self-employed cyclists delivers food for more than 2,500 London restaurants” – and it is thought to be worth about £490m. Brian Beech, managing director of Havas PR UK, said: “The business is making an investment in PR support as part of a wider campaign to raise awareness of the expanding delivery service. It’s a really exciting contract for Havas to win, in an area where we have strong credentials.”

 

 

 

Rita’s team to launch Italian/Argentine canteen concept Quilombero in East India Dock: Missy Flynn and Gabriel Pryce, of late-night, American-influenced restaurant Rita’s, are set to launch a new venture in East India Dock this month – Italian/Argentine canteen concept Quilombero. Flynn, one of the founders of Rita’s, which closed its Hackney site in July, and chef Pryce told Hot Dinners their concept has been influenced by Italian migration to Argentina and the meeting of two cuisines. Meat and fish will be a major focus and Quilombero will roast whole fish from Billingsgate and joints of meat from Farmer Tom and Swaledale on an outdoor grill, also making good use of a wood-fired oven. Grouse and partridge will also be on the menu and sharing plates are planned, with fried potatoes and salsa verde added to the meat and fish. The lunch and dinner menus will feature three starters, three mains and three desserts, with dishes including burrata with salsa nero (roasted aubergine, squid ink and black salt) and hand-rolled trofie pasta with fresh pesto. There will also be an “aperitivo hour” from 5pm to 6pm daily, alongside South American small plates, including farinata, empanada and tostada. The breakfast menu will offer homemade bread, fresh focaccia and pastries, while the drinks list will feature Italian natural wines and a short, juice-heavy cocktail list.

 

 

 

Creative Hospitality Group partners Enterprise to invest in Swansea’s landmark Adelphi Hotel: Work has started on an ambitious eight-week project to totally transform Swansea’s landmark Adelphi Hotel. The project is a joint investment by Enterprise Inns and Creative Hospitality Group, led by local entrepreneurs Bruno Nunes and Mike Griffiths. The multi-site operators and Enterprise have invested a combined £270,000 in the scheme, and aim to reopen the new-look Adelphi before Christmas. Nunes said: “We’re now on-site and on the way to creating a fresh, innovative offering we believe will appeal to discerning customers. We’ve so much lined up, from great beer and American diner-style food to live entertainment seven nights a week, including music, comedy and bingo. There will also be table tennis, retro arcade games, giant screens showing live sport, pinball machines, and table football, all in an industrial-look setting featuring exposed brickwork, corrugated sheeting and wooden-topped oil drum tables. We’re looking to reflect the recent evolution of Wind Street with the diversity of our offering, and create a down-to-earth feel. This is also a great example of a pub company like Enterprise working in a different way with a local independent business such as ours, and they’ve given us the freedom to be really creative and invest in the things we believe will work best.” Nunes and Griffiths have a combined 41 years of experience in the creation of food and drink concepts, and have operated venues all over the UK and abroad. Creative Hospitality Group comprises Bambu Beach Bar and Peppermint, both in Wind Street; Brewstone in Uplands Crescent, Swansea; and Peppermint in Mill Lane, Cardiff. A second Brewstone is planned in Penarth.

 

 

 

Pound Pub operator reports turnover drop, goes into red: Here for Your Hospitality, which operates four Pound Pubs as part of its estate, has reported turnover dropped £383,098 to £7,270,192 in the year to 31 December 2015. The company stated: “Turnover was down generally across the group. Gross profit dropped 31.6% to 29.7%. Free cash flow generated in the business continues to be used to reduce bank borrowings or on capital expenditure to maintain and improve the estate. Bank debt was reduced by £660,000 in 2015 and has continued in the first half of 2016. The decision has been taken to sell a number of assets to improve working capital and profitability within the business. The holding value of a number of assets has been adjusted to reflect current values. The directors have negotiated new sources of finance since the year-end and, as a part of this, it is proposed to seek further funding from shareholders.” The company made a loss of £1,526,499 after an impairment charge of £1,853,701 – it made a profit of £526,794 the year before.

 

 

 

Survey of McDonald’s franchisees in US finds sales slowdown as launch of all-day breakfast reaches one-year anniversary: McDonald’s franchisees in the US have claimed the company’s sales turnaround is slowing. The company is lapping last year’s launch of all-day breakfast, which helped boost same-store sales by as much as 5.7% in the fourth quarter of 2015. However, the excitement of all-day breakfast has been wearing off and McDonald’s franchisees are now expecting flat-to-negative growth for the rest of the year, according to a survey by Nomura analyst Mark Kalinowski. “No way we can beat last year,” one franchisee wrote in response to the survey, which polled 30 operators who collectively run more than 270 restaurants. There are more than 14,000 McDonald’s locations in the US. The franchisees surveyed said their like-for-like sales growth slowed to 0.2% in the third quarter, and they expect that metric to decline by 0.8% in the fourth quarter of this year. McDonald’s reports third-quarter earnings next week. Several franchisees complained that McDonald’s was squeezing their profits by forcing them to offer too many discounts, and that things would only get worse for them as the cost of labour rose. “Kick the discounting addiction. Focus on profitable sales, not just customer counts,” one franchisee wrote.

 

 

 

Nordic Bakery opens fourth London site, at Seven Dials: Scandinavian bakery and coffee shop Nordic Bakery will open its fourth London site after signing for a 928 square foot site at Seven Dials. The new site in Neal Street, due to open in December, is part of Nordic Bakery’s ongoing expansion plans in the capital. The cafe will offer a range of products based on genuine Nordic recipes and ingredients, including smoked fish and a unique take on the Finnish cinnamon bun. Nordic Bakery joins another artisan baker at Seven Dials after Bread Ahead’s recent opening of its second London site – at a 520 square foot unit in Monmouth Street. Nordic Bakery co-owner Miisa Mink said: “Our location on the main pedestrian walkway of Neal Street is close to the interconnecting streets of Seven Dials and offers visitors a peaceful place to stop and enjoy a fika or to take away a coffee and lunch.” Julia Wilkinson, portfolio and group restaurant strategy executive at Seven Dials owner Shaftesbury, added: “Nordic Bakery and Bread Ahead are excellent new additions, both passionate about what they do and sure to bring something different to Seven Dials.” Davis Coffer Lyons acted for Shaftesbury in the deal with Bread Ahead, which represented itself. Graeme Wait acted for Nordic Bakery and Shaftesbury were represented by Shackleton and JLL.

 

 

 

Wadworth reopens Wiltshire pub following £400,000 refurbishment: Brewer and retailer Wadworth has reopened The Three Crowns in Devizes, Wiltshire, following a £400,000 refurbishment. The new-look pub now features an open-plan layout and bar, while a toilet block has been replaced by a contemporary courtyard and a newly installed kitchen has been created to enable the pub to serve food all day. Wadworth owns and operates more than 200 pubs in the south west and is investing in its pubs in Devizes as part of an improvement programme. The family-owned company has produced beer at its Victorian brewery in the market town since 1875, and still makes local deliveries using shire horses. Wadworth operations director of tenanted pubs Lloyd Stephens said: “This is another investment in our Devizes improvement plan, which we are very proud of. We are really looking forward to welcoming customers to this great venue.” In August, Wadworth opened its first London pub, The King’s Arms in Fulham, which is managed under its premium segment – Great Pub, Great Food.

 

 

 

Starbucks promotes Belinda Wong to chief executive of Starbucks China: Starbucks has promoted Belinda Wong from president to chief executive of Starbucks China. In this role, Wong will oversee Starbucks’ plans to double its scale to operate 5,000 stores in China by 2021. Wong will continue to report to John Culver, group president, Starbucks Global Retail. “Over the past five years, Belinda’s vision, experience and push for innovation has elevated Starbucks in the hearts and minds of the Chinese people and created a strong foundation for Starbucks’ growth in China,” said John Culver, group president, Starbucks Global Retail. “Belinda embodies our mission and values as a company, and her promotion will help further propel Starbucks’ efforts in building the partner and customer experience for the China market over the long-term.” Wong added: “It is a privilege and honour to be appointed to lead Starbucks business in China during this important time. There continue to be tremendous opportunities for Starbucks in China and I look forward to further elevating the mission and values of our company through growth and innovation for our Chinese partners and customers.”

 

 

 

Former music producer behind the menu of new ‘mindful’ restaurant concept Counter Kitchen in Clerkenwell: Chef Matt Edwards, a former music producer who has worked with The White Stripes, Hot Chip and Badly Drawn Boy, has used his passion for “cooking and rock star creativity” to design the menu at “mindful” restaurant concept Counter Kitchen, which has just launched in Clerkenwell. Edwards has also worked at renowned London restaurants St John and Hix Oyster & Chop House, and his seasonal menu focuses on “nutrient-rich ingredients and punchy flavours designed to awaken the senses”. Counter Kitchen is the brainchild of Benjamin Meyer and William Heath, who plan to expand the concept to other sites. The menu and approach is underpinned by their motto “Because Mother Nature Nailed It”, keeping things simple to allow natural flavours to “shine through”. The all-day restaurant in Goswell Road features a spacious terrace and offers warming bowls, salads, soups and cold-pressed juices. The breakfast menu features an original take on avocado toast – topped with homemade cucumber kimchi and served with an optional poached egg or beetroot-cured salmon. Drinks include Allpress coffee, bio-dynamic wine and a selection of beer and cider from small independent producers.

 

 

 

Krispy Kreme to open first York site next month: Krispy Kreme will open its first site in York on Friday, 4 November. The new store will be at McArthurGlen’s York Designer Outlet in Fulford, which houses 120 brands. As well as 16 varieties of doughnuts, the store will offer coffee and Kreme Shakes. Krispy Kreme chief marketing officer Judith Denby told Minster FM: “We are extremely excited to be bringing the joy of Krispy Kreme to York next month, and can’t wait to welcome in busy shoppers to grab their dozens!” The York store will be Krispy Kreme’s sixth in Yorkshire, with three in Leeds, including a Hotlight store at Birstall Shopping Park, and one each in Sheffield and Batley. Earlier this month, Krispy Kreme UK confirmed the sale of 100% of the company’s share capital to Krispy Kreme Group, its US-based brand owner. It is expected that the transaction will be completed by the end of the month. The company said that despite the deal, all staff would be retained and Krispy Kreme UK would pursue its current business strategy, which is focused on “delivering profitable growth through the opening of new retail stores and self-serve cabinets across the UK and Republic of Ireland and driving core sales growth across the existing estate”.

 

 

 

Pilpel to open fifth London site next week, in Aldgate: Family-owned restaurant group and falafel bar Pilpel, which specialises in Middle Eastern street food, will open its fifth London site – in Aldgate – on Monday (24 October). The menu at the 50-cover, 1,850 square foot restaurant in Alie Street will focus on three signature dishes – falafel, houmous and saabich (houmous, aubergine and boiled egg) – to eat in or take away in pita bread or a salad box. Dishes are served with a choice of salads and sides such as hard-boiled eggs, aubergine, guacamole and chilli and tahini sauces. Pilpel’s falafel is made to a secret recipe handed down to founder and owner Uri Dinay by his grandfather, who ran a falafel and houmous kiosk in Tel Aviv for more than 60 years. The result is a crisp, fluffy product made from 100% chickpeas, fresh spices and herbs without the addition of flour. Dinay said: “We have quite a following in the City already serving fresh, healthy food with exceptional service and lots of love. We’re confident this will be a great new location for us.” Pilpel operates two sites at Smithfield and others in St Paul’s and Fleet Street. The company plans to open two more sites by the end of 2017. The group also owns Mediterranean restaurants Badolina and Barraka in Spitalfields.

 

 

 

Meantime opens UK’s smallest craft beer bar: Greenwich brewer Meantime is opening Britain’s smallest craft beer bar in Greenwich – the Make Time For It. The bar, which measures just 6ft by 8ft – smaller than the perimeter of a snooker table – has space to accommodate only two people at a time. Entry is free and members of the public can pre-book a time slot or simply turn up on the day to experience the bar. The Make Time for It will be situated in Peninsula Square in North Greenwich, handy for gig-goers heading to the O2. Doors will open on Friday (21 October). The Meantime Make Time for It bar has been designed in collaboration with six of the country’s finest craftspeople as part of the company’s “Make Time For It” campaign. The bar offers the public an opportunity to take a break from busy life and digital distractions – mobile phones will be handed over to the resident landlord encouraging patrons to take time together over the nation’s favourite drink. Rich Myers, marketing director of Meantime Brewing Company, said: “The Make Time For It campaign was designed to highlight the importance of time, the fifth ingredient in our beers, as well as celebrate the best of British craft from across the country. The bar was designed to help create the perfect drinking environment – a space to appreciate craft in a variety of forms and the perfect spot to spend time catching up with a mate over a beer. We’re also exploring the idea of sending the bar on tour around the country, made possible by the fact it fits comfortably in a Transit van!”

 

 

 

Prezzo to open Reading restaurant: Prezzo is set to open a restaurant in Reading. The new venue will launch in Crockhamwell Road in the suburb of Woodley at a site formerly occupied by Cargo Homes. A Prezzo spokeswoman told Get Reading the restaurant was expected to open on Thursday, 1 December. The launch will arrive in time for Prezzo’s winter menu change, which this year is expected to feature a new range of Italian wines and “hearty, warming dishes”. Winter menu options will include a new antipasti board with toasted sourdough and various salamis, chicken and wild mushroom ravioli, as well as Amaretti and carrot cheesecake on the desserts list. Last week, Prezzo announced it had lined up a second site in Aberdeen, at a unit in the £107m Marischal Square development. Last month the company, which is backed by TPG Capital, reported revenue increased to £213,812,000 for the year ending 3 January 2016, compared with £189,890,000 the year before. Profit before tax rose to £21,715,000, compared with £18,525,000 the previous year. The company had 276 restaurants at year-end, up from 259 the year before. The company stated: “We will continue to grow the business via selective new unit openings across the UK and also now in Ireland. With a number of important initiatives to drive our top line and enhance margins, together with tight control over operating costs, we expect to deliver further growth for our investors.”

 

 

 

Nines Global Buffet starts expansion with Swansea site: Nines Global Buffet is set to start expansion by opening a second UK site, this time in Swansea. The company’s first restaurant launched in Cambridge at the start of the year and offers “cuisine from around the world”. Its new 230-cover buffet restaurant will open in Castle Street later this month at a site formerly occupied by Cosmos. It will feature live cooking stations, with chefs preparing and cooking food to order in front of customers. The restaurant will serve a wide range of dishes for one set price, ranging from £7.99 for weekday lunch to £14.99 for weekend dinner. Diners will be able to enjoy hundreds of dishes, from freshly made sushi to Spanish paella, Wales Online reports. There will be a dedicated grill bar and barbecue station for meat-lovers, alongside a good selection of vegetarian dishes. The dessert menu will include creme brulee, tiramisu, cheesecake, gateaux, profiteroles and chocolate fountains. Nines Global Buffet general manager Alice Yi said: “We are really looking forward to opening and bringing this new dining concept to Swansea. We hope our great choice, quality, and affordability will make Nines a popular spot for the residents of Swansea.”

 

 

 

New World Trading Company reports turnover and Ebitda boost: New World Trading Company, the Graphite Capital-backed pub restaurant group, saw sales increase 70% to £30.1m in the year to the end of March 2016, with company Ebitda increasing 63% to £3.5m. The group, which was acquired by Graphite for £50m earlier this year, opened seven new sites during the financial year, including four The Botanist venues in Birmingham, Marlow, Farnham and Knutsford; The Trading House sites in London and Glasgow; and The Club House in Liverpool, to take its estate to 15. Chris Hill, managing director of New World Trading Company, said: “From an early stage we knew that New World Trading Company was a special business. Our first two sites were the incredible Oast House in central Manchester and a suburban pub, The Botanist, in a leafy location on the outskirts of Greater Manchester. They were two businesses that were very different to each other, which were both very successful. Creating venues with mass appeal that produce sales way above the industry norm was something Tim Bacon and Jeremy Roberts, of Living Ventures, had been doing for 20-plus years.”

 

 

 

Whitbread signs for Premier Inn featuring Beefeater and drive-thru Costa Coffee in Reading: Whitbread has signed a lease deal with developers Kier Property to operate a Premier Inn – to include a Beefeater restaurant and drive-thru Cost Coffee – at the Reading Gateway development. Premier Inn will take charge of the 120-bedroom hotel once it is built in Worton Grange, with completion due for winter 2017. As part of the development, Kier Property will also build 175 homes, 12 retail units, two car showrooms, a pub and a bank on the former Hewlett Packard site. Kier was granted outline planning permission for the development in April, with construction due to begin in early 2017. Kier Property managing director Pip Prongué told Get Reading: “This letting represents a key milestone in the development of this scheme. The commitment of Premier Inn marks a major step towards creating a new and exciting destination, which will also create a significant number of much-needed jobs in this part of Reading.”

 

 

 

Gourmet Burger Kitchen eyes Maidstone site: Gourmet Burger Kitchen is looking to launch a restaurant in Maidstone, Kent. The company has submitted a licensing application for a unit in the Lockmeadow Leisure Complex in Barker Road. The application states the restaurant is looking to operate from 10am to 12.30am at a unit formerly occupied by barbecue buffet restaurant Fogo Chophouse, Kent Live reports. Earlier this month, Gourmet Burger Kitchen signed for a site at the new £45m Redrock Stockport development, while last month it opened a restaurant at the newly opened £12m Queen Street dining quarter in Exeter city centre, the brand’s first site in Devon. Gourmet Burger Kitchen was founded in 2001 in Battersea, south London, and now operates almost 80 restaurants in the UK. The nearest venues to Maidstone are in Canterbury and at the Bluewater and Lakeside shopping centres, all in Kent.

 

 

 

Cotswold Hotel & Spa reopens after £1m refurbishment: Award-winning Cotswold House Hotel & Spa has reopened after a £1m restoration, which includes full renovation of its restaurant, bistro and bedrooms. The hotel has undergone a full renovation of the newly named restaurant Fig, as well as the bistro and bedrooms, and also opened a new tea room, all of which was showcased when it officially launched its new look with a champagne reception this month. General manager Craig Webb said: “The hotel refurbishment has been an exciting project for our staff and the local residents of Chipping Campden. We’ve had an excellent response from clients new and old and look forward to welcoming more and more guests over the next few months.” Cotswold House Hotel & Spa is part of the Bespoke Hotels company. Formed in 2000, the group now has more than 170 properties worldwide and can lay claim to be the UK’s largest independent hotel group.

 

 

 

New cocktail and tapas concept Barcode to launch in Barry: New cocktail and tapas bar concept Barcode is set to launch in Barry, South Wales, next month. The new venue will open in Broad Street at a site formerly occupied by Chinese restaurant Oriental Diner. The idea is to bring a “bit of Cardiff’s cocktail scene to Barry” and is the brainchild of entrepreneurs Lewis McGowan and Jonathan Holmes, Wales Online reports. They hope Barcode will be a family friendly venue. It will open daily from 4pm to midnight, Monday to Friday, midday to 3am on Friday and Saturday, and midday until 8pm on Sundays.

 

 

 

Spanish street food concept Squid Kitchen launches east London residency: Spanish street food concept Squid Kitchen has launched a new residency in east London. The company, which began as a market stall in Chelsea, will take over the kitchen of the 119 Lower Clapton cafe in Hackney until the end of November. Dishes are inspired by the vibrant food markets of Madrid, including slow-cooked chorizo with paprika, piquillo peppers and sherry vinegar chickpeas, and signature baby squid stew with piquillo peppers and pinto beans accompanied by garlic toast. Bar snacks and desserts are also on offer, with the drinks menu featuring rioja, craft cerveza from Beavertown Brewery and Umbrella Brewery, as well as Square Root Soda, which is hand-made in Hackney. There are also two gin-based cocktails on offer.

 

 

 

Hotel Chocolat reports turnover and profit boost: Hotel Chocolat Group has reported sales up 12% to £91.1m in the year to 26 June 2016. Ebitda (pre-exceptional) was up 57% to £12.3m (2015: £7.8m). Pre-tax profit (pre-exceptional) was up 181% to £8.2m (2015: £2.9m). The company completed £8.3m of capex projects in support of growth strategy and opened seven new stores, taking the group total to 83 sites. An investment in a chocolate factory in Huntington was completed on time, which increased capacity by more than 20%. A fifth Shop+Cafe format opened in Worcester and is said to be “trading well”. Exceptional costs of £2.6m related to the acquisition of Hotel Chocolat Estates and the admission to trading on AIM. Angus Thirlwell, co-founder and chief executive of Hotel Chocolat, said: “I am very pleased with our performance since we were admitted to trading on AIM in May this year. Our results are strong, the Hotel Chocolat brand has continued to strengthen and we have made good progress with our three strategic priorities of investing further in our British chocolate manufacturing operations, growing our store estate and developing our digital offering. Our plans for the peak winter season are well set and I am confident our Christmas ranges will be our best ever, as customers continue to appreciate our “more cocoa, less sugar” approach throughout all our categories. I look forward to further progress in the year ahead.”