Busaba Eathai launches ‘new generation’ casual dining format in Oxford Circus: Busaba Eathai, the Thai chain founded by Alan Yau and led by chief executive Jason Myers, has launched its “new generation” casual dining format in London’s Oxford Circus. The company has opened the restaurant in Eastcastle Street, the first of a concept that features an evolved “Bangkok Thai” brand proposition and interior design. The 180-cover venue is the group’s 15th site, with the interior evolved to reflect present-day urban Bangkok with all its diversity and creativity. It features an exclusive collaboration with street artists Alex Face and Rukkit, with their graphic street art displayed in the restaurant and on the menus alongside images of Bangkok and art from throughout the city. Additional features include the temple wall with gold, brass, timber and Thai brickwork, alongside a new kitchen pantry and feature bar. As well as the classic Busaba square communal tables, guests can dine in spaces created for singles and couples at the concertina windows or on high tables near the bar. Executive chef Jude Sangsida has created a new menu, with the addition of a Bangkok chargrill category containing dishes such as Isaan-style chicken grilled over charcoals, and a new “Best of Busaba” set menu. There is also a new range of Thai-inspired cocktails and blended juices, alongside Asian beer and Thai spirits. Myers said: “The first Busaba opened just a stone’s throw away from Oxford Circus on Soho’s Wardour Street and remains one of our busiest restaurants, with queues today 17 years later. We’re thrilled that there continues to be growing demand for Busaba’s Thai food and hospitality offer, allowing us to open a new flagship West End restaurant in Eastcastle Street. We look forward to the continued growth of the restaurant group, in London and beyond.”
The Restaurant Group to shut Joe’s Kitchen venue at Nottingham shopping centre as part of 33 site closures: The Restaurant Group is to close its Joe’s Kitchen site at the Intu Victoria Centre in Nottingham less than a year after opening. The restaurant was one of the first to open in the shopping centre’s new dining area last November but The Restaurant Group said it would be one of the 33 sites that will close as per its trading statement in August. Frankie & Benny’s, Chiquito and Coast to Coast – other chains in its portfolio – will remain open in Nottinghamshire. A spokesman told the Nottingham Post: “The Restaurant Group has an estate of 500 restaurants. It is closing 33 but the staff will be offered jobs because restaurants always need good, trained staff. The company hopes those people will take jobs elsewhere.” As well as the Joe’s Kitchen site at Intu Victoria Square, the 33 underperforming sites The Restaurant Group is closing consists of 14 Frankie & Benny’s, 11 Chiquitos, three Coast to Coasts, one other Joe’s Kitchen, two Garfunkels and a pub.
UK investor acquires Thames-side pub freehold for £4.5m: Agent Savills has acquired the freehold of Thames-side pub The Ship in Mortlake from Henderson Global Investors for £4,525,000 on behalf of a private UK investor. The pub in Thames Bank comprises 5,633 square feet (523 square metres) of accommodation over two floors, let in its entirety to Spirit Pub Company until March 2044. The property generates £198,418 per annum. George Gawthrop, associate director in the central London investment team at Savills, said: “This was an opportunity to acquire an attractive, long-income London pub immediately adjacent to the former Stag Brewery development site acquired by City Developments in 2015. With a proposal to deliver a new ‘Riverside Quarter’ on the 22-acre site, which will include a fully integrated mixed-use development and scope for up to 850 homes, we expect The Ship to witness a positive impact on not just the day-to-day trading of the pub but also its underlying residual value.” JLL advised Henderson Global Investors.
Yummy Pub Company launches Chef Academy: Pub operator Yummy Pub Company has launched The Chef Academy and will welcome seven chefs with mixed levels of kitchen experience to work, learn and develop in the kitchens of its four London pubs – with accommodation included above its Somers Town Coffee House. The first chef, 25-year-old Josh Astarita, was without a home or a job but has started training. The academy has been developed by Yummy Pub Company owners Anthony Pender, Jason Rowlands and Tim Foster. Pender said: “It’s about creating opportunity and nurturing talent. The best part about it is we genuinely don’t care about their level of experience, it’s about their passion, not their past.” Each chef will be given a mentor and trained within the Yummy Academy, a company-wide training scheme that is mapped against the apprenticeship framework and accredited by the British Institute of Innkeeping. They will be introduced to each aspect of the kitchen, including health and safety, planning and ordering, innovation and development of dishes. Rowlands, who is also executive chef, added: “The aim is to take newbie chefs and give them an all-around, hands-on skill set. This will allow them to be able to run their own kitchens within 18 months. We’ll take them on trips to our country pubs, let them play around with ingredients, go on foraging adventures in the wild and they’ll get the chance to work with some top UK pub chef talent.”
Intertain’s new app leads to 65% rise in employee engagement with HR resources: Intertain has said Pulse, its recently launched employee engagement app designed to help staff train, communicate and share best practice with each other, has led to a 65% rise in employee engagement with HR resources. The app, developed by software company CPL Online, also alleviates staff supply challenges by encouraging movement of employees between venues and has allowed Intertain to move common HR functionalities, such as rotas, appraisals and inductions, online. Pulse also includes a mentor matchmaking programme, which uses algorithms to match junior staff members with their best mentor, and a “MOJO” function (manager on job observation) that gives staff real-time feedback. It also geographically links an employee with their nearest training session. Since its launch, Pulse has received more than 1,000 unique smartphone downloads, the company said, with e-learning its most used function, responsible for 30% of all platform usage, followed by the messaging function at 16%. Speaking at the Bar and Nightclub Conference, organised by the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers and Propel, Intertain chief executive John Leslie said: “Pulse is an invaluable tool for our business. It will not only help us streamline processes and make day-to-day formalities easier for staff but it will also help us facilitate career progression for our employees.”
Gary Neville – GG Hospitality to add nightclub and university to rapidly growing Manchester portfolio: Gary Neville, who co-owns GG Hospitality with fellow former Manchester United footballer Ryan Giggs and Singaporean property developer Rowsley, has revealed plans to add a nightclub and university to the company’s growing portfolio in the city. Speaking to an invited audience at Insider Media’s 42 under 42 event at the Lowry Hotel in Salford, Neville said: “You would never associate Gary Neville with nightclubs but I’ve heard about a London concept in nightclubs that I’m bringing to Manchester. In the next months I will also be involved in a university for business, media and sport.” Neville said protests over GG Hospitality’s St Michael’s development had been “inevitable” but would not deflect him from big plans for Manchester. The St Michael’s development in the Jackson’s Row area of the city includes plans for a 200-bedroom, five-star hotel and 30,000 square feet of retail and leisure space, including two sky bars/restaurants. On 1 October, GG Hospitality took over dining, hospitality and event management at the National Football Museum in Manchester, with part of the deal seeing Michelin-starred chef Michael O’Hare overseeing the launch of The Rabbit In The Moon, a “space age Asian” restaurant on the fifth and sixth floors serving multi-course tasting menus. GG Hospitality’s Cafe Football will launch on the ground floor of the museum later in the year.
Edinburgh-based Indian street food restaurant concept Tuk Tuk to start expansion with second site, in Glasgow: Edinburgh-based Indian street food restaurant concept Tuk Tuk is to start expansion by opening its second site, this time in Glasgow. The company, which was founded in 2012, will open the new venue in Sauchiehall Street at the start of November. Named after the three-wheeled motorised rickshaws, Tuk Tuk’s dishes are inspired by the fresh, rustic food served at the roadside and railway stations across India to travellers, schoolchildren, rickshaw-wallahs and busy office workers. Tuk Tuk has revamped its menu especially for the Glasgow launch, with new additions including puri yogurt bombs and a range of popular Indian drinks such as mint mambo and lassis in flavours such as mango, coconut, lychee, sweet or salted. The restaurant is also a bring-your-own-booze venue and will offer takeaway and delivery services. To complement the modern furnishings, artists Conzo Throb and Ciaran Glöbel have designed Indian-inspired murals to adorn the walls of the restaurant. Tuk Tuk’s other site is in the Tollcross area of Edinburgh.
ETM Group opens Burdock bar in the City: Tom and Ed Martin, of privately-owned ETM Group, have launched Burdock, a bar at the new Royal London House hotel in the City. With interiors designed by Tonik, the 2,000 square foot bar in Finsbury Square features four overhanging tank beers with rotating guest craft ales and seats up to 100 covers for breakfast, lunch and dinner alongside bar food and cocktails, Hot Dinners reports. ETM Group will open another bar and restaurant at the hotel this autumn – Aviary – its first rooftop venue. The 6,000 square foot venue has been designed by Russell Sage Studio and will be on the tenth floor. It will open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner and boast a 2,000 square foot south-facing terrace overlooking the City’s skyline. Two of the hotel’s ninth floor suites, each with its own terrace, will also be available for ETM Group’s use as private events spaces for 30 to 40 guests. Towards the end of the year, ETM Group will launch Greenwood at Nova in Victoria, the company’s 18th opening since it was founded in 2000.
Scottish ice cream maker Mackie’s to open its debut dessert parlour in Aberdeen ahead of planned roll-out: Ice cream maker Mackie’s of Scotland is set to launch its debut dessert parlour, in the £107m Marischal Square development in Aberdeen, with more sites to be rolled out in the future. Mackie’s has signed a 15-year lease to open its flagship ice cream parlour and coffee shop next summer. The 70-cover venue will offer more than 30 flavours of ice cream, plus Mackie’s own chocolate. Marketing director Karin Mackie said the company had travelled around the UK, Italy and the US to visit some of the world’s best ice cream parlours and gelateria chocolatiers to garner ideas. She added that Mackie’s ice cream parlour would be the first of many the company hoped to launch across Scotland and internationally in the next few years. She told Herald Scotland: “We are viewing this as the next chapter for the business and want to create the flagship branch in our home city. [We will] learn what works and then hope to replicate the best – at first in the other major cities across Scotland. The company vision is to become a global brand, and retail units further afield are part of the overall vision.”
Kent-based Papa John’s franchisee opens sixth site in county, in Canterbury: Kent-based Papa John’s franchisee Gurinder Atwal has opened his sixth site in the county, in Canterbury. Atwal, who first moved into the foodservice industry opening fish and chip shops with brother Sukdev, has launched the store in Sturry Road, creating 35 jobs. He said: “The original plan was to open in Canterbury six years ago. To cut a long story short, we have needed to be careful to find the perfect location and it has taken time to secure planning in this beautiful and historic city. Canterbury has a huge university population and we are now based near the student accommodation so this opening represents an exciting prospect for the expansion of our portfolio.” Papa John’s was founded in the US in 1984 and has more than 4,800 stores in 40 international markets and territories, including 300-plus in the UK.
Japanese brewer completes acquisition of Miller Brands UK: Japanese brewer Asahi Group Holdings, the new owner of super premium beer brands Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Grolsch and Meantime, has completed its acquisition of Miller Brands UK and the formation of Asahi UK. The investment in the new company and the acquisition of Miller Brands is part of Asahi Europe’s strategy to lead the development of the continent’s super premium beer sector. The new company and extended portfolio will further strengthen Asahi’s offering, giving businesses across Europe access to a range of imported beer. Asahi UK managing director Gary Haigh said: “Our super premium brand portfolio is powered by a seamless distribution network, expert customer marketing and sales capability – this means we can extend and grow Asahi’s ambition in the UK. Peroni Nastro Azzurro has been a key driver in the growth of the UK super premium sector, which is now worth £1.3bn and accounts for more than a quarter of the London beer market. With the backing of the Asahi Group we will be able to continue our strategies for the brands, building on their success and allowing our customers to benefit from meeting the demands of UK consumers for high-quality beer brands.” Asahi has bought SABMiller’s interests in Meantime, Grolsch and Peroni Nastro Azzurro following the £79bn acquisition of the UK brewer by AB InBev.
Manchester-based Tattu to start expansion after signing for second site, in Leeds city centre: Adam and Drew Jones, the brothers who operate Chinese restaurant Tattu in Spinningfields, Manchester, are set to start expansion of their concept after signing up to open a second site, this time in Leeds city centre. The brothers have signed a 20-year lease agreement with Evans Property Group (EPG) to open a 5,500 square foot, ground-floor unit in the Bond Court development. The 180-cover restaurant in Minerva House will also feature external seating and is part of EPG’s £25m investment programme. Adam Jones told BDaily: “We’ve been looking at several sites across the north of England but have been patient in finding the right location for our second venue. The plans for the development of Bond Court are very impressive. We’re looking forward to getting on-site in the new year and creating a venue we hope Leeds will be proud of.” Work is under way at Bond Court on a 95-bedroom, five-star Dakota Deluxe hotel that will open in spring 2017, while Living Ventures has committed to the development by signing a 25-year lease extension for its Blackhouse Grill restaurant and bar after EPG secured planning permission to create a terrace and introduce improvements amounting to about £1m. EPG portfolio director Alan Syers added: “The new restaurant has the right cosmopolitan feel to complement the Dakota Deluxe hotel and will create a real sense of unity between East Parade, Bond Court and Greek Street.”
Late-night wine bar and dining room The Laughing Heart launches in London: Late-night wine bar, off-licence and dining room The Laughing Heart has launched in Hackney, east London. The venue in Hackney Road features a basement wine shop offering organic and biodynamic wine, while the 40-seat wine bar upstairs has a 300-strong list of living wines, with many displayed in an ice-filled trough in the centre of the dining room. The menu features dishes such as cod roe with furikake and crudite, Isle of Mull scallop crudo, line-caught Cornish brill with xiao xing broth and rice, and gig and fennel tart. On Sundays, The Laughing Heart offers a set lunch based on a Chinese banquet, Hot Dinners reports. The concept is the brainchild of Charlie Mellor, formerly of Elliot’s, Brawn and Primeur, while the head chef is Tom Anglesea, who has worked at Chiltern Firehouse and Per Se. Front of house is Cedric Maillard, who used to be head sommelier at Sager + Wilde. The shop opens at 2pm, Wednesday to Saturday, and the bar from 7pm on the same days. Both open at midday on Sundays. The kitchen opens until 1am, while the bar/off licence closes at 2am.
Revolution opens tenth Revolucion de Cuba, in Harrogate: Revolution Bars Group has launched its tenth Revolucion de Cuba, this time in Harrogate, Yorkshire, the first of three openings in the company’s current financial year. Revolution has invested £1m to transform the venue in Parliament Street, which is on the site of the former Rehab nightclub in the town’s dining quarter. The new Revolucion de Cuba is spread over two floors and features a dedicated Havana Bar offering craft cocktails, premium drinks and theatrical mixology. Freshly-made, Latin-inspired dishes are on offer seven days a week, featuring “bold, wholesome and rustic flavours”. Revolution Bars Group chief executive Mark McQuater said: “This will be our tenth branch of the highly successful concept and we have another two opening before Christmas. This follows the success of our recent openings in Liverpool, Nottingham, Leeds and Milton Keynes. The location is perfect – right in the hub of Harrogate’s dining quarter. We’re confident we will bring something unique to Harrogate’s fantastic food and drink scene.” The company also operates 53 sites under its Revolution brand.
Kurt Zdesar opens Italian restaurant concept Fucina in Marylebone: Kurt Zdesar, the man who brought Nobu to London as director of operations for Nobu Europe, has launched Italian restaurant concept Fucina in Marylebone. Zdesar, who opened The Black Roe Poke Bar and Grill in Mayfair earlier this year and also operates “Nikkei” sushi bar Chotto Matte in Soho, has partnered with Stefano Stecca (Locatelli and Novikov) on the new project. The menu at the new restaurant in Paddington Street is based on recipes from Zdesar’s childhood, with a “modern twist”. Dishes feature pasta hand-made on-site, alongside stone-baked pizza cooked in a wood-fired oven, Hot Dinners reports. There is a wood-fired pit downstairs for roasting suckling pig, lamb, boar and other large meat cuts, while products made in-house such as bread, pastries, charcuterie and gelato will be on sale at the next-door panetteria, which is due to open in November. The panetteria will be headed by former Princi head baker Massimiliano Porta and will also offer cold-pressed juices, freshly ground coffee, and Italian groceries, alongside sandwiches using meat cooked in the fire pit.
Rio Ferdinand’s Rosso pairs with Hong Kong’s Langham Hotel for new international cocktail exchange: Manchester restaurant Rosso, co-founded by former Manchester United and England footballer Rio Ferdinand, has been paired with The Langham Hotel in Hong Kong as part of the first D1 International Cocktail Exchange. Devised by drinks company D1 London Spirits, Rosso will join eight other high-end UK venues that have been paired with nine top cocktail bars in south east Asia. Rosso has been paired with the award-winning Artesian at The Langham. Rosso will serve The Artesian HK Spice Cocktail created by its twinned venue for the next three months, while Rosso mixologists have created the Mancunian Mandarin for The Langham. D1 London Spirits founder Dominic Limbrey said: “It’s about exploring and understanding the nuances and character of different places and very local flavour, which can be found in the carefully curated cocktails served with an element of theatre in these hand-picked world-class bars.”
London-based pub The Square Pig reopens following extensive refurbishment featuring new downstairs cocktail bar: London-based pub The Square Pig has reopened following an extensive refurbishment and now features a downstairs cocktail bar. The new-look venue, on the corner of Holborn Square, has high repurposed-wood tables surrounded by tartan-topped seating and green leather banquettes, with vibrant artwork depicting Holborn’s varied history and mixology links. There is also an extensive outside decked area and a range of private hire options. The downstairs hidden speakeasy bar has teal, black and dark brown leather booths, with contemporary light fixtures. The new diner-inspired menu includes light bites, mains and sharing dishes, including its signature Smoke House Burger – a rare breed patty topped with pulled pork, American double cheese, homebrew barbecue sauce, maple bacon, tomato and red onion served in a cream bun. Drinks include a range of spirits and gin ‘n’ tonic cocktails as well as a range of draught beers, local cask ales, wines and ciders.
Subscription cocktail and premium craft spirit company fails in crowdfunding bid: Subscription cocktail and premium craft spirit company Tipple Box has failed in its bid to raise £80,000 on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to accelerate its growth. The company, founded by Sonny Charles in 2014, increased its equity stake last week to 13.79% from 9.64% in return for the investment. However, it failed to secure the investment it was looking for. A message from Crowdcube said: “Unfortunately, Tipple Box did not reach its funding target before the closing date.” The pitch stated: “Tipple Box is a cocktail and premium craft spirit experience. We provide cocktail kit and batch-spirit sampling boxes. These contain curated recipes, premium spirits and ingredients to help our customers make delicious cocktails at home or sip exciting tipples. Customers have the option to subscribe monthly or purchase an individual box through our online market place. We have secured a retail listing with John Lewis and we’re working towards stocking with Fenwick’s and Lakeland, among others. We have proven the demand for our product and established the sales channels. We’ve established our products effectively. We aim to aggressively scale through marketing and customer acquisition. We aspire to sell Tipple Box to a global drinks brand, such as Diageo or Pernod Ricard or a large company within the market. The subscription commerce market has recently witnessed Naked Wines sell to Majestic Wines for £70m, and Graze sold a majority shareholding to the Carlyle Group.”
Azzurri backs Radio Alice pizza concept set for Hoxton Square launch: Azzurri Group, which operates ASK Italian and Zizzi, is backing new pizza concept Radio Alice, which is set to launch in Hoxton Square, east London, in December. The concept is the brainchild of brothers Salvatore and Matteo Aloe, who have united with Gail’s Bakery co-founder Emma King, who will oversee the project. The Aloes own Berbere, which operates five pizzerias in Italy. They use mother yeast and stone-ground flour to produce dough that is left to ferment at room temperature for 24 hours, producing a pizza base that is crispy outside and soft inside. They then cook the base first and add organic, seasonal toppings afterwards. The new restaurant, on the former site of pub Monikers, will also offer a selection of Italian organic wines as well as beer from Brew Fist in Italy and London’s Kernel Brewery. Radio Alice is named after an Italian pirate radio station from the 1970s. Salvatore Aloe said: “Radio Alice was fiercely Italian and deeply rooted in the rebellious. Their proud spirit and unconventional approach have always been an inspiration to us, and we hope today’s Radio Alice Hoxton will be much the same. We want our food to reflect that attitude so the ingredients are from traditional organic and slow food producers in Italy and Britain.”