Hawksmoor opens seventh London site, in Borough: High-end steak brand Hawksmoor has opened its seventh London site and eighth overall, in Borough. The 144-cover venue in Winchester Walk is in a Victorian former hops warehouse and features original timber beams and brickwork. The downstairs, 14-cover Cook’s Room features its own kitchen, where Hawksmoor’s chefs test new dishes during the day while at night it turns into a private dining space offering a special menu featuring Borough Market produce. The main restaurant also features a weekly market specials menu, using ingredients from Borough Market. The location is particularly close to the hearts of Hawksmoor co-founders Will Beckett and Huw Gott as they built the brand on having close relationships with their suppliers. Many are located in Borough or nearby Bermondsey, including The Ginger Pig butcher. Gott told Hot Dinners: “We have always dreamed of opening a restaurant in the area. There’s something really special about being on our suppliers’ doorsteps and, as Borough was such an influence on us in the early days, it feels like ten years later we are coming home.” The other Hawksmoor sites are in Air Street, Guildhall, Knightsbridge, Seven Dials and two in Shoreditch, plus a regional site in Manchester.
Purple Pig to close New York-style gourmet pizza concept Dough Box: Gourmet burger restaurant Purple Pig is to close its New York-style gourmet pizza concept Dough Box. The company, owned by Som Emadi, launched the restaurant in Yarm, North Yorkshire, in September 2015 with a view to rolling out the concept. Now the restaurant in High Street will shut on Sunday (26 February), reports Gazette Live. A post on Facebook stated: “This coming week will be the last week of the Dough Box. We will be closing the doors after Sunday, 26 February. I would like to thank you all for your support and I would like to take this opportunity to announce a new taxi company Joe Maxi Cabs will call Winpenny House its new headquarters as of early March.” As well as pizzas, burgers and parmos, the restaurant offered quirky “night in” packages – some including a DVD and cocktails. At the time of the opening Emadi hoped the Yarm restaurant would be the “first of many”.
Mangobean signs deal for Stockport site: Newcastle-based Mangobean has agreed a deal to open a site in Stockport, Greater Manchester. The company is set to open the 2,100 square foot venue later this year at the £45m Redrock Stockport development, where it will join restaurant brands including Azzurri Group-owned Zizzi, PizzaExpress and Gourmet Burger Kitchen. A Mangobean spokesman told The Business Desk: “We look forward to providing Redrock visitors with our great-quality coffee and our other delicious food and drinks.” The new 75,000 square foot Redrock Stockport development combines restaurants, retail units, a ten-screen cinema, a 360-space car park and new public squares. Kate Butler, executive member for economy and regeneration at Stockport Council, said: “Mangobean is a fantastic addition to Redrock and I’m delighted it has chosen to open its new coffee shop in Stockport. The opening will mean there is something for everyone at Redrock, whether you are looking to enjoy a coffee with friends during your lunch break or going out for a meal.” GVA and Lunson Mitchenall are appointed agents for Redrock Stockport.
JD Wetherspoon to invest £2.35m in expanding Norwich pub: JD Wetherspoon is to invest £2.35m in the Bell Hotel in Norwich. The venue will close for a 16-week refurbishment on Sunday (26 February), with the site being extended above the Santander bank next door. While the work is ongoing, Wetherspoon staff will work at the company’s other branches in the city. The refurbishment will result in an additional 1,500 square feet of space. The garden is also being extended and a new kitchen, toilets and bar will be installed. Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “The Bell Hotel was our first pub to open in Norwich and continues to be extremely popular. We are committed to giving our customers the best pub possible and, as a result, we are carrying out the extension and refurbishment. We apologise to our customers that the pub will be shut for a number of weeks. However, we are confident they will welcome the new-look pub.”
Coaching Inn Group to start £1m transformation of Yorkshire hotel into Eatery and Coffee House concept: Independent coaching inns operator Coaching Inn Group is set to start the £1m transformation of The Golden Fleece hotel in Thirsk, North Yorkshire. The property, which is one of the oldest coaching inns in England and dates to Tudor times, will close for 11 weeks from Monday, 6 March. The development programme will convert the venue into Coaching Inn Group’s Eatery and Coffee House concept, with works including the refurbishment of the hotel’s restaurant, bar and accommodation. The Golden Fleece was acquired by Coaching Inn Group in a £5m double acquisition from Homfray Hotels in 2015, which also included The Feathers in Helmsley. Golden Fleece hotel manager Neil Doogan told BDaily: “As a much-loved, iconic local landmark, we wanted to maximise our prime location to ensure we are known as the go-to place in Thirsk for family friendly, relaxed all-day dining. The next 11 weeks will see major work conducted on the property to breathe a new lease of life into the historic coaching inn, while maintaining its Tudor architecture. The plans look fantastic and we’re excited to be introducing our Eatery and Coffee House concept, which will see the addition of locally sourced produce, contemporary twists on traditional favourites, plus our popular sharing menu.” Coaching Inn Group will launch a recruitment drive in April to appoint additional staff for the hotel.
Bokan restaurant to open on 37th floor of Canary Wharf hotel next month: New restaurant Bokan will open next month on the 37th floor of Novotel in Canary Wharf offering dinner, drinks and dancing across three storeys. The menu at Bokan, which is old Saxon for “lighthouse”, has been devised by former L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon head chef Aurelie Altemaire. It will feature British charcuterie and cheese for nibbles, while mains will include line-caught cod, lamb shank and a Highland venison pie, Hot Dinners reports. The venue’s luxury bar will be on the 38th floor and stocked with wine, craft beer and cocktails made with boutique spirits from small-batch distilleries. It will also offer “experimental” bar snacks, including oatmeal-dusted chilli squid and scotch eggs with beetroot relish. The 39th floor will feature a DJ mezzanine and terrace views across the London skyline. The venue, which will open on Wednesday, 1 March, will offer a boozy bottomless brunch on Sundays featuring sharing plates and cocktails.
Punch launches digital ordering platform that combines Buying Club with call centre: Punch publicans can stock up using a new e-commerce platform that has given the pubco a “single view of customers across its sales channels”. The Punch Buying Club website and call centre have been replaced by a single digital platform for staff to buy supplies. Commerce consultancy Salmon has effectively given Punch one website with two front ends – one for clients and one for call centre representatives. Customers can log on to the new system from any device, while integration of the DataCash gateway has enabled secure multichannel payment processing. Customers have a personalised view of their account, outlet and deliveries and can book depot collections. Punch head of infrastructure and service delivery David Moulton-Bark told Internet Retailing: “Our aim was to enhance the multichannel experience for our publicans across devices and implement a more manageable system across the business. With our new bespoke Order Management System, which is co-ordinating our customers’ experience across sales and fulfilment channels, we are managing our omnichannel operations far more effectively. Salmon’s best-in-class service will be a game changer.”
Loungers secures Mansfield site: Loungers, the Lion Capital-backed cafe bar operator, has secured a site in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. The company is opening the site in the former Lloyds Bank in Stockwell Gate, between Market Place and the Four Seasons shopping centre entrance. The building has been empty since the bank moved out a number of years ago. Now the property is being refurbished by Arba Group ahead of Loungers’ opening this summer. Director Richard Burns told The Business Desk: “This is fantastic news for Mansfield and shows the town centre is a promising place to be, where businesses want to be located.” Loungers was founded in 2002 in Bristol by friends David Reid, Alex Reilley and Jake Bishop. The group, which also operates Cosy Club, intends to open a minimum of 20 sites in 2017 and will reach the milestone of 100 venues by the end of April.
Northcote Leisure Group launches apprentice restaurant series: Northcote Leisure Group is launching an apprentice restaurant series at its Cafe Northcote site in Blackburn. The company’s up-and-coming talent will showcase their skills during six pop-up evenings spread over three months. From the chefs to the front-of-house team, the project is entirely apprentice-led, offering the insight and experience of running a kitchen and restaurant by organising, managing and delivering the series of events themselves. Co-owner Nigel Haworth said: “It’s a fantastic opportunity for the apprentices to show their enterprise and talents. They are controlling everything and will focus on the complexities of making the food, service and ambience special. The cooking, marketing and service is all down to them and I’m sure they’re going to put everything into the nights to make them a great experience for the diners and themselves.” Each evening will consist of a bespoke five-course menu plus coffee with the option of a matched beer or gin flight created by Northcote sommelier Alexandros Kitsos. Proceeds from each event will go towards the BKs Heroes, Blackburn Nightsafe and Blackburn Youth Zone charities. The first two evenings will take place next month, with the other weekend events in April and May.
Patisserie Valerie to open Lichfield site: Patisserie Valerie, the company that has sector investor Luke Johnson as executive chairman, is to open a site in Lichfield, Staffordshire. The company has secured a site at the new Friarsgate development in the town. It will join Bistrot Pierre, the restaurant group backed by private equity firm Livingbridge, PizzaExpress, Azzurri group-owned Zizzi and Birmingham-based Handmade Burger Company, which have all previously agreed sites at the development. In total, Friarsgate is expected to bring between eight and ten restaurants, 20 shops, 82 apartments and 11 townhouses to the city centre. Richard Upton, deputy chief executive of developer U+I, told the Lichfield Mercury: “It is an exciting time for Lichfield and I am confident our investment will generate jobs and growth for the area, which has always been a key objective for the Friarsgate development.” Patisserie Valerie, launched in 1926 in Soho by Belgian-born Madame Valerie, has more than 115 sites across the UK.
Handmade Burger Co gets go-ahead for York site: Birmingham-based Handmade Burger Co has been given the go-ahead to open a site in York. The company has been granted permission by the city council to open a restaurant on the site of the former Trespass shop on the corner of Finkle Street and St Sampson’s Square, reports York Press. Last year, Handmade Burger Co co-founder Chris Sargeant said the company planned to add 15 sites to its 28-strong portfolio during the next three years. Sargeant launched his first restaurant with brother Richard in Birmingham in 2006 and now operates venues across East and West Midlands, Yorkshire, the north east and Scotland, as well as sites in Manchester, London, Reading and Southampton. There are other sites in the pipeline for Bristol, Bournemouth and Grey’s Quarter in Newcastle.
Indian street food and cocktails concept Chai Thali launches in Camden: All-day Indian street food and cocktails concept Chai Thali has launched in Camden. The 150-cover restaurant and bar in Mandela Street offers a hefty menu of street food, snacks and desserts inspired by the subcontinent, from Delhi and Mumbai to the rich curries of Kerala. It also offers hot chai, turmeric lattes, craft beer and an array of cocktails with an Indian twist, Hot Dinners reports. Breakfast dishes include scrambled eggs with masala spices served with hot, buttery brioche, while main meals include Dhaaba Murg chicken curry, inspired by the roadside restaurant dhabas of Punjab. There are also Lamb Ki Chaampe chops cooked in a tandoor oven and served with kachumber, a traditional vinegary side salad. For dessert, there is frozen kulfi and carrot halwa with ice cream and pistachio. The lunchtime “on the go” menu features mini thalis, paratha rolls with paneer or chana fillings, and minced lamb burgers. The restaurant’s website states: “Blending the old with the new, Chai Thali is all about India’s traditional and modern street food cultures. Our authentic kerb-side snacks and sharing plates are delicious paired with a craft beer or one of our spice-infused signature cocktails.”
Innis & Gunn signs China distribution deal: Scottish brewer and retailer Innis & Gunn has signed a deal to distribute its beer to the on and off-trade in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. The distribution deal with Dxcel International will focus on Innis & Gunn’s flagship ale Original and Ossian, a golden ale by Inveralmond Brewery, which was bought by Innis & Gunn in April last year. The China deal will see Dxcel International utilise its vast network of premium bars and restaurants and premium off-trade, including hotel chains and supermarket groups. Dxcel International also operates an estate of Tap House pubs and Dean’s Bottle Shops in major Chinese cities such as Shanghai and Shenzhen. Innis & Gunn will enlist Shanghai-based Scotsman Alan Hepburn to work alongside Dxcel International in supporting its sales and marketing plans. Innis & Gunn founder and master brewer Dougal Gunn Sharp said: “Exports have always been very important to us since we started 13 years ago. We’ve seen our products do exceedingly well in Canada, the US and Sweden and we thought it was about time we headed into the largest beer market in the world. China excites us not only because of its size, but also its growing passion and thirst for great craft beer. In Dxcel International, we have found partners with not only the network to distribute beer, but tremendous insight on consumer tastes and a joint passion on educating and informing consumers about the breadth of what great beer is and can be.” The deal follows Innis & Gunn’s campaign on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube, which raised £2.5m to fund the roll-out of it’s Beer Kitchen brand and double its turnover to £25m during the next three years.
East Sussex-based Harvey’s launches canned beer range to ‘open up whole new market’: East Sussex-based brewer and retailer Harvey’s has launched a canned range of beers as it looks to “open up a whole new market”. The company, based in Lewes, started using cans after being asked to supply beer for the British Airways i360, a 450-foot viewing pod in Brighton. Harvey’s spokesman Bob Trimm said: “With our new branding on the cans it created a whole new market for us, with a younger demographic clearly attracted to our beer – some of whom told us they would never have tried it if they’d only come across it in cask. We believe cans give us the opportunity to engage with a demographic and a route to market that would not have considered us as solely a cask ale producer. We’ve had interest from companies that supply cruise ships and airlines and we’re also talking to restaurants and hotels. These are all conversations we couldn’t have had with cask ale.”