Wahaca to launch food product range: Mexican restaurant brand Wahaca will launch a new food product range from Monday (25 July). Developed by Wahaca co-founder and former MasterChef winner Thomasina Miers and her team, the new soft taco kits and Mexican ingredients range will, for the first time, give customers the opportunity to experience a taste of the brand’s authentic Mexican street food at home. The range is being launched in partnership with All About Food and will be available in up to 900 Tesco supermarkets as well as selected Wahaca restaurants. The taco kits come in three varieties, each varying in its level of heat, ranging from mild to hot, and will include tortillas, marinade and salsa. They are the “tomatillo & garlic mojo”, “tomato & smoky chipotle” and the “fiery habanero & achiote”. The range of individual ingredients available will include the “tomato & smoky chipotle”, and “garlic & chipotle” marinades as well as “tomatillo” and “chipotle” salsas. Miers said: “We are so excited to launch our soft taco kits this month. It has certainly been the year of the taco and so we are thrilled to be able to offer these simple, easy-to-use kits which will allow our customers and loyal fans to create a taste of Mexico in their own home.”
Costa Coffee reports 30% increase in footfall at Pokémon spotting stores: Following the launch of mobile app game Pokémon Go last week, Costa Coffee has seen a 30% increase in footfall across its Pokémon spotting stores. Pokémon have been sighted in two Worcester Costa stores – in St Martin’s Quarter and The Cross – since the app launched last Thursday, which in turn has resulted in a 10% sales uplift on the day of launch. Following the rise, Costa is encouraging players to share their Costa Pokémon sightings via the Costa Facebook page and is looking into introducing a Pokéstop selector on its online store locator. Pokémon Go player Jordan Scriven, 21, from Dudley, said he managed to capture more than 50 Pokémon at a Worcester Costa store. He said: “I came down to Worcester on the train and noticed there was a Pokéstop at Costa. In the last hour I’ve caught about 50 Pokémon!” Scriven also identified that the St Martin’s Worcester store is a PokéGym, a location where Pokémon can be trained. Caroline Harris, UK marketing director at Costa, said: “Our stores are proving to be the perfect place for Pokémon across the country to hang out. With our free Wi-Fi and irresistible coffee, we’re looking forward to seeing more Pokémon finders and Pokémon characters come through our doors over the summer.”
Harry Ramsden’s to open £2.5m next-generation restaurant at Blackpool Tower tomorrow: Fish and chip restaurant brand Harry Ramsden’s will open its next generation £2.5m restaurant at Blackpool Tower tomorrow (Thursday, 21 July). “Harry Ramsden at the Tower” features a modern take on seaside design, which has been specially created for Blackpool and its iconic landmark. As well as a wide-ranging menu of fresh, cooked to order rotisserie and grilled seafood and meat dishes, together with Harry’s world famous fish and chips and much more, the new outlet will provide takeaway as well as sit-in facilities for more than 200 diners. In addition, the new-look outlet, which has created 100 jobs and safeguarded another 30 following the closure of the company’s Promenade restaurant, will include gin and craft beer bars and a standalone cocktail bar as well as smoothie and juicing stations. £2.1m has been invested in the venture by Boparan Ventures, the owners of Harry Ramsden’s, with Blackpool Council contributing £400,000 towards building works. Harry Ramsden’s chief executive Joe Teixeira said: “Harry’s is moving into the next phase of its evolution, where we book-end our classic and most loved favourite dishes with a new range of innovative, tasty and great value options served in modern-day, seaside surroundings, and we are thrilled to showcase this new face of Harry Ramsden’s in the north’s favourite town. We believe Blackpool’s most iconic landmark is the ideal location from which to unveil the modern-day face of Harry’s, as both brands combine the proudest of heritages wrapped up firmly in a family focus. Just as the Tower itself recently enjoyed a major revamp, with this new opening we will unveil a totally new look which retains all the key elements which Harry himself introduced, but better reflects the modern-day face of Harry Ramadan’s.”
Tiny Rebel reveals plans for new £2.6m brewery in Newport to support growth: Award-winning brewery Tiny Rebel has revealed plans for a new £2.6m brewery and community space in Newport, South Wales. The new premises mark the start of significant expansion that will increase the brewery’s capacity more than five-fold. Since it was started four years ago by co-founders Brad Cummings and Gazz Williams, Tiny Rebel has rapidly grown. As well as opening two Urban Tap House pubs in Cardiff and Newport, the brewery has released a list of limited edition beers alongside a strong-performing core range, which includes its Welsh red ale, Cwtch – the Champion Beer of Britain 2015. Due to the success, Tiny Rebel has found itself at full capacity, spurring plans for larger brewing facilities to meet increasing demand. The new site will cover nearly 30,000 square feet and will include a bar and event space as well capacity for bottling and canning lines. It will also have significantly increased storage, which will allow for a large increase in production. In total, the new site allows for the business to expand capacity to five million litres annually – nearly nine million pints. Cummings said: “Tiny Rebel Brewery started life in a garage, born out of our passion for flavoursome, drinkable beers. Four years later, the business is making dramatic progress. We’ve established ourselves with award-winning brews like Cwtch and built a growing community of Tiny Rebel fans. This £2.6m relocation and expansion is a project we’ve been looking at for the past 24 months and one all the Tiny Rebel team have put their heart and soul into. As we were desperate for additional capacity in both brewing and packaging, this will enable us to do even more to support the growing demand for Tiny Rebel beer, both at home and abroad.”
Turtle Bay to open Exeter restaurant next month, first site in Devon: Caribbean restaurant chain Turtle Bay, which is backed by Piper Private Equity, will open a restaurant in Exeter next month. The company will open its first Devon site at the new £12m Queen Street dining quarter at the redeveloped Guildhall Shopping Centre on Tuesday, 23 August, creating more than 50 jobs. It has invested £800,000 in the 215-seat venue, which spans 4,015 square feet and will feature an open kitchen and island bar. Customers can expect to see repurposed shipping containers, oil drum lampshades, reclaimed wood and old speakers. A spokesman told the Exeter Express & Echo: “The restaurant is designed to create the perfect atmosphere for enjoying bold, spicy food and drink, and its ‘look’ is as vibrant and lively as you might expect, with each restaurant designed bespoke for its location.” Other restaurant brands set to open in the dining quarter include The Stable, the artisan pizza and cider brand in which Fuller’s has a 76% stake, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, barbecue restaurant Grillstock, and Faucet Inn’s Scandinavian-inspired restaurant and cafe concept Kupp. Turtle Bay, which was formed by Las Iguanas co-founder Ajith Jaya-Wickrema in 2010, has 29 sites across the UK.
Individual Restaurants’ Opera Grill opening to complete Chester Dining Quarter: Individual Restaurants’ new venue, Opera Grill, will complete Chester’s Dining Quarter when it opens in the “first two weeks” of August. The Manchester-based group’s new venue will be the flagship for its Restaurant Bar & Grill brand. It will be in a former Methodist chapel in Pepper Street, sandwiched between Casual Dining Group brand Las Iguanas and The Restaurant Group-owned Coast to Coast, which opened last year along with Prezzo’s Tex Mex brand Chimichanga. The 250-cover restaurant will feature rooftop dining, with three bars over two levels, including a glazed pavilion on the first floor. The ground floor will also feature a stage for live performances by DJs, musicians and perhaps even opera. The open kitchen area will include large, wood-fired ovens, creating a “theatre of food”, where diners will “see the production from beginning to end”. Individual Restaurants’ other brands are Piccolino, Bank Restaurant & Bar, and its collaborations with celebrity chef Gino D’Acampo.
Thai Leisure Group launches new Thaikhun children’s menu: Thai Leisure Group has launched a new children’s menu for its Thaikhun brand. More than 50 parents and children were invited to get involved in developing the menu with parenting blogger Alice Judge-Talbot. The “mix and match” concept sees youngsters choose from a selection of dishes, with each element served separately allowing children to experiment with new tastes. Flavours include Thai green curry, pad thai and creamy nut-free chicken satay. Served with a crunchy vegetable pot to start and ice lolly for dessert, the menu also includes a drink. Additionally, Thaikhun has teamed up with National Geographic Kids Magazine to give youngsters a mini-magazine filled with activities and fun facts about Thailand. Thai Leisure Group managing director Ian Leigh said: “We are extremely excited to have launched a menu we know our customers will love, because they’ve helped us to create it. Our aim is to bring families together with an experience parents will love and that excites young diners, leaving a lasting impression. For the most adventurous young diners, Thaikhun is offering free creepy crawlies, an experience the little ones won’t soon forget.”
Newcastle-based Spanish food and drink importer lodges plans to open tapas restaurant in city: Newcastle-based Spanish food and drink importer Kaltur Food has lodged plans to open a tapas restaurant in the city. The company has applied to the city council to transform the former End Clothing shop in High Bridge into the Kaltur Restaurant, which would specialise in hot and cold Spanish food, wines, sherries and cocktails. It has applied for a premises licence to open from 10am to midnight, and also proposes to have a small area to sell wine and food to take away, reports Chronicle Live. The company runs a business importing Spanish food and drink to sell online and through its shop in Heaton. It sells cheese, olive oil, cold meat, aperitifs, seafood, snacks, condiments and wine. Kaltur Food’s origins lie in the olive oil business, which it has been involved in for more than four generations, under the Olivares Campo de Jódar name, harvesting its own olive groves in Jódar, southern Spain.
Wasabi to open restaurant in Oxford this autumn: London-based sushi and bento business Wasabi is to open a site in Oxford this autumn. The company is opening the restaurant in the former Vodaphone shop at the junction of Cornmarket Street and Market Street, creating 30 jobs. Spokesman Sam Rees-Williams told the Oxford Times: “We are very excited about opening a new branch in Oxford. We started out 13 years ago as the only food retailer selling individually wrapped pieces of sushi. For shoppers it will make a change from the usual sandwiches and salads, and as well as sushi there will also be hot food bento boxes featuring hearty Japanese classics like chicken katsu curry.” Wasabi opened its first site in 2003 on London’s Embankment and now has 46 restaurants in the UK.
Berber & Q Grill House team to open second site on Monday, in Exmouth Market: The team behind London-based Berber & Q Grill House will open its second restaurant in the capital on Monday (25 July). Josh Katz and Mattia Bianchi are launching the Berber & Q Shawarma Bar in Exmouth Market. The new 40-cover venue will specialise in shawarma, slow-cooked on a rotating spit over hot coals. Lamb shawarma will lead the new menu, with Middle Eastern-style rotisserie chicken also central to the offering. Diners will be encouraged to make wraps with the meat and condiments. Enormous, bi-fold windows will open out on to Exmouth Market and feature a takeaway hatch. Inside, there will be a bar, an open kitchen and a second dining room, with seating comprising a mixture of tan leather bar stools and steel-framed low stools, tucked under reclaimed wood tables. The drinks offer will include Middle Eastern frozen slush cocktails, wine and beer. Katz, who has previously worked at the Ottolenghi, Galvin Bistrot Deluxe and Zest restaurants, will take influence for Berber & Q Shawarma Bar from Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Israel as well as closer to home – the shawarma houses of Golders Green he visited as a schoolboy growing up in London. Bianchi said: “Shawarma Bar will continue Berber & Q’s relaxed and informal vibe, a place to celebrate good company and down-to-earth eating and drinking. Exmouth Market seemed a fitting location for our second restaurant too – we’re lucky to be in the company of many great restaurants and chefs.”
Martha Ortiz to launch Mexican restaurant at InterContinental London Park Lane: Renowned chef Martha Ortiz will bring her celebrated Mexican gastronomy to London in a new restaurant at InterContinental London Park Lane. The restaurant’s exclusive entrance will be at the convergence of Mayfair, Knightsbridge, Hyde Park and Piccadilly. The restaurant will open in early 2017, designed by David Collins Studio (Zedel, Bob Bob Ricard, The Wolseley), and feature many references to Mexican design and culture. The InterContinental already houses a restaurant led by celebrity chef Theo Randall. Ortiz, chef patron of Mexico City’s award-winning Dulce Patria, is recognised for resurrecting and reinvigorating Mexican culinary traditions. She has penned eight cookbooks and appears regularly on television in central America. She said: “We will deliver the beauty, vibrancy and spirit of Mexico to London in a total experience of the senses.”
The ONE Group opens 12th STK site, in Ibiza, first licensed agreement restaurant: The ONE Group has opened the 12th site of its international steak restaurant brand STK, in Ibiza. The company has launched STK Ibiza at the Ibiza Corso Hotel and Spa at Marina Botafoch in Ibiza Town. It marks the brand’s first location in Spain, joining other European sites in London and Milan. The restaurant features two dining floors, as well as two private dining rooms, a main lounge, and a terrace with sweeping ocean views. The ONE Group chief executive Jonathan Segal said: “STK Ibiza marks a big milestone for the brand and our company overall, as the 12th STK. We are thrilled to open our newest location on an island internationally known as a destination for the best in nightlife and entertainment. STK Ibiza also provides an opportunity for the company to drive high-margin licensing revenue at low capital cost – a significant part of our strategy as we continue to expand the STK brand.” The ONE Group entered into a licensing agreement with Dubai-based Foxhole Holdings to develop the Ibiza property. The agreement includes a one-time entry fee, as well as ongoing royalties based on sales from the restaurant. Additional STK restaurants currently in development in cities across the globe include Edinburgh, San Diego, Denver, Boston, Miami, Dallas, Austin, Puerto Rico and Toronto.
BrewDog outlines ‘hit list’ for new bar locations: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has outlined its “hit list” of towns and cities for new bar openings and the criteria required for potential sites. The company is offering a £1,000 finder’s fee to anyone who identifies a suitable location. The company said UK locations to pay particular attention to are Brixton, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Oxford and Peckham, while internationally it was eyeing Copenhagen, Paris, Reykjavik, Vienna and Zurich. BrewDog also outlined five criteria for sites – 1,800 to 4,000 square feet in size (550 to 1,200 square metres); ground-floor location (all on one level preferred); prominent frontages (lots of cool windows are ideal!); corner sites (always work well for a BrewDog bar); and away from major licensed/leisure areas (no retail or leisure parks). BrewDog stated in its blog: “As we move into the second half of the year it is high time we dusted off the covers of our BrewDog Bar Hunt Atlas to scour the globe once again. We have a hit list of UK and international sites on the radar and, as ever, we are drafting our legion of craft beer fans to aid us in that quest. As we can’t be everywhere at once, your help in unearthing potential sites can often be the difference in us opening a cutting-edge craft beer bar in a particular city. Oh, and if that weren’t reward enough, there’s also a £1,000 finder’s fee!” Entries must be submitted by Wednesday, 31 August.
Coffee#1 submits plans to open Warwick site: Coffee chain Coffee#1, which is owned by Cardiff-based SA Brain, has lodged plans to open a site in Warwick. The company has applied to Warwick District Council to open a store in High Street having agreed a deal to take over the site of the Warwick Antiques Centre, which is relocating nearby. Coffee#1 will take up the lease in early August, reports Antiques Trade Gazette. The company currently has 67 sites across the UK, with SA Brain having acquired the business in 2011.
Taco Bell opens first UK drive-thru, in Cleethorpes: Mexican restaurant brand Taco Bell has opened its first UK drive-thru site, in Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire. The company has launched its tenth UK site – and first opening of 2016 – at Meridian Point, creating 30 jobs. As well as the drive-thru, the 50-seat venue features an open kitchen and mobile phone charging points. Franchisee Arjun Patel, of Northgate Fast Food, told the Grimsby Telegraph: “We have had such a great response from each of our Taco Bell restaurant openings and are really excited to be able to bring that enthusiasm to Cleethorpes.” Nick Dawson, Taco Bell Europe general manager, added: “This is the sixth Taco Bell restaurant our franchisee Northgate Fast Food has opened in the UK. We are proud to have such a great local partner, with a strong synergy to the brand and a vision to continue to bring Taco Bell to the people of the UK.”
Rum & Crab Shack opens second site, in Exeter: St Ives-based Rum & Crab Shack has opened its second site, this time in Exeter. The seafood bar and restaurant has launched in Catherine Street on the site of the former Gourmandine Creperie and Bistro, creating 23 jobs. It serves a predominantly Louisiana-style seafood menu and more than 80 rums, including Dead Man’s Fingers, a spiced rum invented by the restaurant’s co-founders Al Roach and Chris McGuire. Alongside the rums, there is a range of guest cask ales and bottled Cornish and imported beers. McGuire told the Exeter Express & Echo: “Our restaurant in St Ives is seasonal so we felt as an independent business we would bring something new to the city.”
Punch invests nearly £800,000 in three Highland sites: Punch is investing almost £800,000 in three Highland sites. The company is transforming the Blacksmiths pub in Culloden; The Eagle Hotel in Dornoch; and the Corriegarth Hotel in Inverness into “quality contemporary venues with a modern twist”. The Blacksmiths is undergoing a £200,000 makeover that will see its food offer revived, with much of the investment focusing on the 86-cover restaurant and kitchen facilities. A 50-plus capacity function room will also be updated and the bar area given a makeover. Punch is looking for an operator to take on the pub. The Eagle will receive a £275,000 investment and work is due to start on-site in early October. Built in the 1840s, the nine-bedroom inn is the oldest established hotel in Dornoch. The investment will focus on upgrading the en-suite bedrooms, the 60 capacity bar, plus the 45-cover restaurant that dishes up home-cooked food. In the autumn, the Corriegarth Hotel will undergo a £292,000 investment. It will see each of the six bedrooms at the inn refreshed alongside the bar and restaurant, which serves a range of homemade pub classics and specials and a choice of regional and national cask ales. Punch’s investment in the Highlands comes after the company revealed in April it would invest £3m in its 200-plus Scottish estate during the next 12 months.
Pachamama founders open second site in London: Creative Restaurant Group, which is behind the Marylebone-based Peruvian restaurant Pachamama, has opened its second site in London. The company has launched Chicama in King’s Road, Chelsea, which “marries the vibrant flavours of Peru with the fresh catches of Cornwall”, with no meat on the menu. The restaurant has been designed with sharing in mind and also has an outdoor terrace, reports Just Opened London. The small plates menu includes seabass ceviche with coconut yuzu, cucumber, samphire and radish; and scallops with charred mushroom “steak”, apple miso and plantain. The daily catch fish dishes, which are cooked over a robata grill, feature monkfish tail and lemon sole served in lobster oil chimichurri or fermented sweet potato sauce. Meanwhile, the cocktails are based on mezcal, Japanese whiskey, sake and pisco.
Honest Burgers opens 15th site, in South Kensington: London-based Honest Burgers, which is backed by Active Private Investment, has opened its 15th restaurant in the capital, in South Kensington. The company, led by Tom Barton and Philip Eeles, has launched the venue in Thurloe Street, reports Just Opened London. Diners can choose from beef, chicken or vegetarian burgers, all made from British produce. The beef patties are made from 35-day, dry-aged British steak, sourced from the Ginger Pig farm in Yorkshire. A simple selection of homemade sauces accompany the burgers and includes chipotle mayonnaise, curry sauce and bacon ketchup. There is also a brunch menu featuring avocado toast and its take on a fry-up, the “Honest Brunch”. Honest Burgers, formed when Barton and Eeles met while serving tables in a Brighton restaurant, opened its first site in Brixton in 2011.
Camm & Hooper to launch Soho Square site, fifth London venue: Imbiba Partnership-backed event and hospitality group Camm & Hooper will open its fifth London site – Six Storeys on Soho – in the autumn. The new venue will take inspiration from Soho Square’s Bohemian past, with the townhouse featuring six floors of bars, restaurants and private events rooms for the “discerningly curious”. Camm & Hooper, which is looking to “revolutionise the events sector” in London, said it would “challenge the concept of private member clubs by offering this experience to guests without a membership fee”. Six Storeys on Soho will host “intimate concerts, operas, plays, masquerade balls and private events”. It will comprise a restaurant and bar on the ground and first floors, with the other four floors providing their own “stories”. Individual floors or the whole house will be available to hire for events and special functions. Camm & Hooper managing director Claire Lawson said: “We are really looking forward to creating a special experience in the heart of Soho and London’s West End – and bringing our own indulgent escapade to life.” Camm & Hooper also operates Tanner & Co and Tanner Warehouse in Bermondsey, Banking Hall in Cornhill, and The Victorian Bath House in Bishopsgate Churchyard.
Casa Brasil to open in Brighton Marina: Casa Brasil has signed a deal to open its fourth UK restaurant venue – at Brunswick Developments’ Marina Boardwalk in Brighton. The restaurant chain has taken a new 15-year lease on the 6,000 square foot unit that forms part of The West Quay Development Company’s first-phase development at The Boardwalk. The new site is set to open this summer. Casa Brasil has restaurants in Southampton, Bournemouth and Port Solent, with plans to open a fifth venue in Bristol before the end of this year. David Hall, of Casa Brasil, said: “The opening of our fourth restaurant marks a major milestone in the company’s development. In less than a year since its opening, Port Solent is already our fastest-growing outlet, accounting for more than 50% of our diners. The prospects for The Boardwalk are equally exciting as Brighton is another amazing waterside destination.” The unit was secured on behalf of Casa Brasil by Holloway Iliffe & Mitchell. Director Tom Holloway added: “Following the huge success of the Port Solent restaurant, the new unit at The Boardwalk is another exciting development for Casa Brasil.”
Peel Hunt – Domino’s Pizza Poland has moved from a concept to a credible roll-out proposition: Peel Hunt leisure analysts Ali Naqvi and Ivor Joners said Domino’s Pizza Poland has moved from a concept to a credible roll-out proposition. Issuing a ‘Buy’ note on the shares with a target price of 35p following the company’s first-half results, they said: “Like-for-like sales grew 28% versus circa 16% in the prior period. Total sales grew 57%, with the addition of five new stores in the period – two in new cities (Szczecin and Zielona Gora). Like-for-like sales and new store openings performed ahead of management expectations, driven by better site selection, marketing and promotions as well as growth in underlying brand awareness. The group traded well throughout the period, not skewed to Euro 2016 or aggressive promotions. We believe the group maintained strong margins in the period, which combined with better marketing and promotions activities could sustain the positive momentum going into the second half. The group opened five new sites in the period, including two by a new franchisee (JAR), which self-funded site openings in April and June. HLM, another franchisee, acquired its fourth site in July in Warsaw. We expect this trend to continue as brand recognition improves. The pipeline for opening remains strong. The group currently has two sites ready for opening in the second half. We maintain our ‘Buy’ recommendation and, in light of the strong and better than expected trading update, we are putting our target price under review. Once the group has released its interim results on 19 September, we will have greater clarity over medium and long-term growth forecasts on which to base our new target price. There is still much to be done, and a few years to wait until Domino’s Pizza Poland achieves profitability at group level. However, every update over the past few years has shown real progress and has built confidence that Domino’s Pizza is establishing itself as a national brand in Poland. The store model, operational structure, marketing and site development, now look fully formed and primed to exploit what is a considerable opportunity in an untapped market.”
Craft Beer Clan of Scotland launches whisky barrel-aged beer venture with Williams Brothers: The Craft Beer Clan of Scotland has formed a new brewing venture with craft brewer Williams Brothers of Alloa with the release of a series of whisky barrel-aged beers. Clan Brewing Company has produced four new beers using barrels from four whisky regions – Speyside, Highlands, Lowland and Islay – and is already exporting to markets in Japan, Singapore, Beijing and Hong Kong. The company is headed by Chris Miller, who grew Harviestoun Brewery into one of the UK’s leading craft beer producers and has more than 20 years’ experience in the sector. Miller’s new venture was formed in partnership with Scott Williams, founder and brewmaster of Williams Brothers Brewing Co, and international whisky expert Charles PB MacLean. Miller said each of the four beer recipes, which are barrel aged for up to nine months, had its own flavour profile that matched the distinctive and subtle nature of the barrels sourced from Islay, Lowland, Speyside and Highland whisky casks. He added: “We’ve wanted for some time to bring something of our own to the market, which is why we launched the Clan Brewing Company. We’re excited about these new beers and what they say about Scottish brewing.” In the UK, the four Clan Brewing Company beers are being sold exclusively through The Whisky Shop’s 20 outlets as well as its Paris store and website. The new venture marks expansion for the Craft Beer Clan of Scotland, which was launched two years ago.