Iconic West End restaurant Joe Allen reopens at new home: Iconic West End restaurant Joe Allen has reopened at its new home after its original premises was acquired by Hollywood star Robert De Niro, who plans to open a boutique hotel in its place. Much of the original site, which is just off The Strand, has moved to its new location on the corner of Exeter and Burleigh Street, from wood panelling and film posters to the bar and “even the walls and floor”. The menu remains the same – American-style classics such as burgers, pulled pork, steak and salads. Tim Healy and Lawrence Hartley bought Joe Allen, a late-night haunt for West End stars and an exact copy of the original in New York’s 46th Street, in 2012. De Niro will build an 83-bedroom boutique hotel after teaming up with BD Hotels and UK property firm Capco. He will be joint operator of the venue, which will feature a spa, members’ club and two restaurants. De Niro and BD Hotels run the Greenwich Hotel in Manhattan. Joe Allen’s sister site, Italian restaurant Orso, closed in July to make way for the development. In the same month, Healy and Hartley launched British-style brasserie Mustard in Brook Green, west London.
Esquires Coffee lines up three further sites as it opens latest outlets: Esquires Coffee has lined up three further sites as it opens its two latest outlets. The company is opening a shop in Balham, south west London, having acquired a pre-existing coffee house. Esquires said it had retained the store’s character and charm while putting the company’s stamp on the venue. The second store will open in Esher, Surrey, on Friday (25 August) and will be the fourth Esquires Coffee house for franchise owner Chris Rance. The two openings take the number of Esquire stores in the UK to 31. Meanwhile, Esquires will continue its expansion with openings scheduled before the end of the year in Yate in Gloucestershire, Hanley in Staffordshire, and Liverpool.
Black and White Hospitality to start expansion of Wheeler’s of St James’s brand with Liverpool site: Black and White Hospitality, which owns the rights to five restaurant brands belonging to celebrity chef Marco Pierre White, is to open a second Wheeler’s of St James’s site, in Liverpool. The 120-cover restaurant will open in November at the Pullman Liverpool hotel on the city’s UNESCO world heritage waterfront. The partnership is the first between the hotel chain and Black and White Hospitality. Pierre White said: “The Wheeler’s brand carries with it certain standards and certain connotations. It’s about the highest quality oysters, the freshest seafood and a memorable experience. I can see from the success of my Liverpool Steakhouse Bar & Grill that the people of this city have an appetite and desire for high-quality restaurants.” Black and White Hospitality chief executive Nick Taplin added: “It was a big decision to open Wheeler’s outside London. We feel we have found the perfect match for our second restaurant.” Meanwhile, Black and White Hospitality said it would open a Steakhouse Bar & Grill at a £15m development that will see Durham’s Shire Hall turned into a Hotel Indigo. Earlier this week, the company also said it would start expansion of the chef’s Mr White’s English Chophouse concept by opening a second site, in Whitechapel, east London. Black and White Hospitality, which also operates the Marco’s New York Italian and Bardolino Pizzeria, Bellini & Espresso Bar brands, has 38 restaurants in the UK, with more in development.
Laine Pub Company to raise fire-damaged Acton site from the ashes: Multiple pub operator and brewer The Laine Pub Company, which is backed by Luke Johnson, is to raise its west London pub The Aeronaut from the ashes in late autumn. The Acton venue, known for its exotic circus and cabaret shows and quirky carnivalesque gardens, suffered fire damage in the early hours of New Year’s Day. Laine said the site would have some “exciting new additions”, including the UK’s first pub-based combined immersive and virtual reality games set-up. Having pioneered virtual reality and immersive gaming in pubs such as The Four Thieves in Battersea and The People’s Park in Hackney, Laine plans to combine the two at The Aeronaut. There will be a new range of craft beer brewed by its Laine Brew Co business and the best of London’s brewers, plus enhancements to the garden and bar areas and the return of the Aeronaut’s sharing menu. General manager Dene Stevenson said: “We promised the show would go on and we are overjoyed work is continuing apace to rebuild and replace all that was damaged in the fire. The pub’s Big Top room will once again host the hair-raising aerial shows that have attracted circus-goers and cabaret fans week in, week out. For the people of Acton and in celebration of the memory of local airman George Lee Temple, upon whose pioneering spirit the pub is based, we are proud to announce The Aeronaut is rising again, and this time the ride will more thrilling than ever.”
Former Galvin Bistrot chef launches small plates concept in Soho: Former Galvin Bistrot chef Pratap Chahal has partnered with restaurateur Vic Singh to launch small plates concept Flavour Bastard in Soho. The restaurant has opened in Frith Street, with the name reflecting the concept’s “cuisine-agnostic” outlook featuring “multiple cuisines, multiple cultures”. Chahal’s menu includes tiny and small plates designed to be shared or doubled-up. Tiny plates include white lentil, chorizo and pecorino doughnut, and steamed rice cake with house kimchi, while small plates include miso and mango-glazed aubergine with peanut crumble, and steak tartar with tamarind, chilli and garlic. Desserts include quinoa pudding scented with vetiver and ginger, and churro ice-cream sandwiches. The venue includes a 20-seater bronze bar with drinks overseen by Nick Jones, founder of Wines of Momentary Destination, and including a house brew, cocktails, wine and sake. Chahal has also worked at Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s, Chez Bruce, Cinnamon Club and The Orrery, while he is founder of London-based fine-dining events company That Hungry Chef.
Eddie Rocket’s to open fourth Northern Ireland site: US-style diner and burger bar Eddie Rocket’s is to open its fourth restaurant in Northern Ireland. Franchisee Justin Ward is opening the outlet in October at Lisburn Leisure Park in Lisburn, on the former site of safari-themed family restaurant Makhulu 5. Ward runs the other three Northern Ireland restaurants – two in Belfast and one in Newry. An Eddie Rocket’s spokeswoman told the Belfast Telegraph: “Justin plans to expand further and open more Eddie Rocket’s diners in Belfast city centre as opportunities arise.” Eddie Rocket’s was founded by Dubliner Niall Fortune and has about 40 branches in the Republic of Ireland. It will open a new restaurant at Point Village, Dublin, in September.
Tenzo claims 6% rise in growth for app users: Hospitality tech platform Tenzo, which is the brainchild of Hummus Bros co-founder Christian Mouysset and Adam Taylor, has said its app has helped users to record a 6% year-on-year rise in growth. The company said the system also helped users cut sales forecast errors by 28% and increase average review scores by 19%. Tenzo, which graduated from TechStars in 2016, said it had added Barworks, the central London bar and pub operator, to its list of clients alongside other pub companies such as Upham Group. It said the addition meant the system is currently live in more than 150 sites. Tenzo helps pubs view their sales, operations and social data in one app. Upham Group chief financial officer Robb Harris said: “Our managers are excited by Tenzo’s potential. They’ve all seen slightly different benefits – some think it’s great to have access to the social media, others are pleased to have a tool that helps them on the forecasting side, while another’s first reaction was it’s the perfect tool to help him train and develop assistant managers.” In April, Tenzo raised £600,000 in a seed investment round led by Acequia Capital, Force Over Mass and angel investors Charlie Songhurst, Michael Orland and London-based Getti Restaurants. The financing is being used to fund Tenzo’s international expansion, new hires, and technology.
Brixton restaurant Salon to reopen featuring separate bar and wine store: Founder and head chef Nicholas Balfe is closing his Brixton restaurant, Salon, and will reopen it on Friday, 1 September to feature a ground-floor bar while launching a wine store next door. Balfe is working with architects HH+ and designer Finch Munro, of Finch London, to create an upstairs dining room with banquette seating made from reclaimed timber. Balfe’s cooking will remain the star of the show with dishes such as whole baked aubergine with smoked almond cream, preserved blackberries and rainbow chard. The new downstairs bar will feature concertina windows, while customers will be able to purchase a selection of house-made syrups and preserves. The new menu will offer snacks and sharing dishes to accompany wine and classic cocktails. Balfe will also launch the Salon Wine Store next door to the restaurant in Market Road, stocked with low-intervention, artisan wine. Guests will be able to buy bottles to bring into the restaurant or to take home. Balfe said: “I’m looking forward to reopening Salon with its beautiful new design and sharing it with our loyal customers but it will also breathe new life into the restaurant and renew the space for the next part of our journey.”
Former head chef at Michelin-starred restaurant Dabbous opens first venture: Ross Gibbens, former head chef of Michelin-starred restaurant Dabbous in London, has launched his first venture, in Bristol. Gibbens has opened Wellbourne in The Mall, Clifton Village, on a site previously occupied by Indian restaurant Krishnan’s Kitchen. Wellbourne is an informal 36-cover wine bar and restaurant serving modern seasonal food alongside a hand-picked selection of wine, craft beer and spirits. Dishes include buttered sea kale with Dorset crab and wood sorrel; loin of veal with sweetcorn, Scottish girolles and meadowsweet; and blackened apricots with fresh honeycomb ice cream. Gibbens told the Bristol Post: “The food is based on tried and tested combinations but with a modern touch and lack of clutter on the plate. The food is innovative and seasonal.” Gibbens also worked for Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saison, The Vineyard at Stockcross, and The Square in Mayfair.
Historic Cornwall inn on market for £1.2m: The Old Ferry Inn at the Fowey river crossing in Cornwall has gone on the market for £1.2m. The former coaching inn, which has been providing bed and board for travellers on the old London to Penzance road for more than 400 years, is being marketed by agent Colliers International. The property, which has 12 letting rooms, overlooks the Bodinnick to Fowey ferry, which dates to the 13th century, as well as Ferryside – the family home of writer Daphne du Maurier. The Old Ferry Inn is owned and operated by husband-and-wife teams Pascal and Penny Rivault and David and Amanda Lewis. The Rivaults are looking to downsize while the Lewises wish to retire. Ed Jefferson, from Colliers International, said: “The Old Ferry has bags of character. There is a wood-burner and stone floor, the bar is packed with historical artefacts and local memorabilia, and the views over the estuary are stunning. The new owners have the option of taking on the suite of rooms presently used as staff accommodation. And with net sales to June 30 2017 of £525,000, the Old Ferry is still bringing in plenty of business.”
Continuum Attractions acquires forest park in Wales: York-based Continuum Attractions, which operates visitor attractions such as The Canterbury Tales in Kent, has acquired GreenWood Forest Park in Y Felinheli, North Wales. Agents GVA brokered the deal on behalf of the park’s owners Andrea and Steve Bristow. GreenWood Forest Park is a TripAdvisor UK top ten attraction. Continuum Attractions chief executive Juliana Delaney told BDaily: “GreenWood Forest Park is a wonderful addition to Continuum’s growing UK-wide portfolio.” GVA director Richard Baldwin added: “GreenWood Forest Park is a high-quality asset. Significant transactions over the summer continue to showcase the rude health of the alternative leisure markets and their potential as positive investment opportunities.” Continuum Attractions’ portfolio includes York’s Chocolate Story, the Emmerdale Studio Tour and Village Tour in Leeds, and the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth.