Michel Roux’s new restaurant to offer bistro-style dining: A new restaurant from Michel Roux and his son Alain is set to open at the Taplow Riverside development next year offering “accessible dining”. Roux at Skindles will be a “relaxed bistro-style” restaurant at the site of the former iconic Skindles hotel in Buckinghamshire and is set to open in October 2018. The restaurant will be part of the Berkeley Homes riverside development and will be just down the Thames from The Waterside Inn, a three Michelin-starred restaurant set up by Michel and now run by Alain. At the restaurant launch event, Alain said it was important Skindles was incorporated into the name. He told the local newspaper: “Skindles has a lot of history that everyone knows, even if you are not from the area you have heard of the Skindles hotel. There will be a bar upstairs that will serve bar snacks and people will be able to come in for just a drink if they choose. The question is not looking how to get another restaurant with a Michelin star – we want to focus on value for money and quality. It will be somewhere people can come any time of the day for a coffee or lunch, where you can stay for ten minutes or two hours. It’s not like it needs to be a special celebration.” The restaurant will be next door to seven riverside villas that are part of the development.
London Shuffle Club launches Shoreditch shuffleboard club: The London Shuffle Club has launched a shuffleboard club, in Shoreditch. The club will occupy The Yard in Worship Street for ten weeks, with plans for a permanent site by the end of this year. As well as six shuffleboard lanes, the venue features Miami-style lighting, vintage posters, palm trees, pink flamingos, disco tunes, American-inspired pizza and cocktails. The space also features an astro-turfed courtyard with picnic tables. Shuffleboarding originated on cruise ships at the beginning of the 20th century as a popular on-deck activity. It found a new life as a night-time trend in Brooklyn in 2014. Alongside the shuffleboard courts, there are also two 22ft table shuffleboards, a version of the game popular in Scandinavia that relies on different skills. The venue follows a pop-up version last year. The London Shuffle Club founder Graeme Hawkins said: “Last year exceeded all expectations. The response was incredible and now we want to do it all again. The game’s appeal is in just how easy it is – anyone can take it up after a quick tutorial and it won’t take long before you feel like you’re good enough to go pro.” The London Shuffle Club Summer is open six days a week.
21 Hospitality Group to launch steak bar and butcher’s shop in Newcastle for sixth site: Newcastle-based 21 Hospitality Group, led by Terry Laybourne, is to launch a steak bar and butcher’s shop for its sixth site in the city. Porterhouse Butcher and Grill will open in Fenwick Food Hall in Northumberland Street on Wednesday, 9 August offering counter seating for about 14 people, table seating for 30 and an open kitchen. Aside from steaks, other dishes on the menu will include chicken liver paté with port wine jelly and sourdough toast, and slow-roasted sugar pit bacon loin with salad and hispi cabbage. Desserts will include soft almond meringue with peaches and raspberries. Laybourne told Insider Media: “Our chefs will treat all this premium meat with respect. They will work hand-in-hand with our butcher, taking a ‘we cook what we sell, we sell what we cook’ approach.” The venue’s website states: “At Porterhouse our philosophy is simple; to serve great meat with a focus on quality, flavour and provenance. Our team at Porterhouse have a passion for meat and are proud to serve you over our butcher’s counter as well as within our seated restaurant.” 21 Hospitality Group’s other venues are 21, Caffè Vivo, Café 21 at Fenwick, The Broad Chare and Saltwater Fish Company, all in central Newcastle.
Former M&B boss becomes Birmingham Airport chairman: Former Mitchells & Butlers chief executive Tim Clarke has become the new chairman of Birmingham Airport. He succeeds John Hudson OBE who is retiring after holding the position for the past 20 years. A long-standing resident of the Birmingham area, Clarke is currently a director of Associated British Foods and previously a director of Debenhams. Clarke said: “Birmingham Airport is growing strongly so I am looking forward to joining the business and helping to further develop its ambitions for the future. I believe Birmingham Airport has great potential for further growth and expansion, reflecting the strengths of the West Midlands economy and the benefits of HS2. My first objective will be to lead the recruitment of a new chief executive to fulfil that opportunity.” Clarke resigned as Mitchells & Butlers chief executive in 2009 after circa £500m losses arising from disastrous interest rate hedges. The company’s disastrous hedging position was made up of huge bets on long-term interest rates and inflation to secure the best terms for a planned £4.5bn property sale and leaseback. The onset of the credit crunch meant the debt-fuelled deal, the brainchild of activist investor Robert Tchenguiz, was shelved, leaving Mitchells & Butlers with spiralling losses.
Former Gordon Ramsay chef Clare Smyth opens debut restaurant in Notting Hill: Former Restaurant Gordon Ramsay chef Clare Smyth has launched her debut restaurant, in Notting Hill. The 54-cover Core By Clare Smyth has open in Kensington Park Road offering “modern fine dining with a strong British ethos”. The menu focuses on a central tasting menu of ten to 12 constantly evolving dishes, with Smyth sourcing ingredients from British farmers, fishermen and producers, while there is also a selection of more than 400 wines and champagnes. The chef’s table at Core seats ten diners in front of the kitchen, while the entrance cocktail bar seats 18. Smyth has also sourced products from British manufacturers for the dining room, including crockery from Royal Crown Derby and silverware from Carrs of Sheffield. Smyth said: “Brought up on a farm you understand from an early age just how good our ingredients are and how important it is to support local producers. As chefs, we have access to some of the finest native produce in the world in Britain and I want to continue to celebrate that in every menu.”
YO! Sushi opens Canterbury site: YO! Sushi has opened a site in Canterbury, Kent. The venue has opened in Sun Street, close to the city’s cathedral. Ahead of the opening, the company cited the “excellent vibe” surrounding Canterbury and said it had been looking for the “perfect spot” in the city for some time. YO! Sushi chief executive Robin Rowland said: “We’re really excited to bring a taste of authentic Japanese street food to Canterbury. As the weather heats up, we hope visitors and locals in this historic city enjoy the fresh and vibrant dishes we have to offer.” YO! Sushi, which is backed by Mayfair Private Equity, currently has 77 restaurants in the UK, four in the US and 17 franchised operations in the Middle East and in other international airports around the globe. In the year to 29 November 2015, the company had turnover of £84m with Ebitda of £11m.
Moleface Pub Company boss lines up third fish and chip shop: Chef John Molnar, who operates the four-strong Moleface Pub Company, is eyeing a third site for his Cod’s Scallops brand. Planners at Erewash Borough Council have recommended the approval of a scheme to convert the former Fultons Food store in Long Eaton into another branch of the award-winning fish and chip shop chain. The brand has stores in Bramcote Lane in Wollaton and Mansfield Road in Carrington. Molnar told the Nottingham Post: “If we do get approved, I can’t wait to bring it to Long Eaton. There are more than 48,000 people in the area and it will be great to help employ more local people. We are looking at bringing 15 full and part-time jobs to the proposed shop. We hope to have the wet fish retail area, the restaurant and the takeaway approved. I’m a local businessman and employ local people, and I want to bring that to Long Eaton. I want to see the centre vibrant again.” The company was founded in 2011.
Yorkshire-based pub company Brewhouses acquires sixth site and first in Bradford: Dewsbury-based pub company Brewhouses, which operates venues in Yorkshire and Cheshire, has acquired its sixth site and first in Bradford. The company has bought the former Symposium ale and wine bar in Albion Road from Market Town Taverns. The pub is undergoing a major refurbishment and rebrand and will open later this month as the Idle Beerhouse specialising in craft beer and fresh food. The interior is being transformed with a new bar and kitchen upgrade, including a new open-coal grill. An outdoor area at the rear is also being refurbished to create a sun terrace with a year-round eating and drinking area below. The bar will offer craft beer, real ale, gin and tequila, alongside a changing menu of dishes made from ingredients supplied by local producers. Jason Shaw, of Beerhouses, told the Telegraph & Argus: “The interior was very dark. We’re brightening it up a lot more and it is going to have a clear identity. We’re not sectioning it off so there is a restaurant area and a drinking area, it is all very open. The statement of intent is clear, we want people to feel really comfortable here.” Beerhouses’ other pubs are The West Riding Refreshment Rooms and The Old Turk, both in Dewsbury, The Sportsman in Huddersfield, the Stalybridge Buffet Bar in Stalybridge, and The Cricketers Arms in Wakefield. Beerhouses is not linked to The Beerhouse, the pub launched in Bradford by Jas Bhatt and Kathy O’Brien in 2015.
Pizza Hut launches loyalty scheme where customers can earn unlimited points: Pizza Hut in the US has launched a spend-based loyalty programme that allows unlimited accrual of points. “Hut Rewards” also offers a flexible point redemption system that allows customers to redeem points for any medium or large pizza. Pizza Hut said its loyalty programme, “unlike those of its competitors”, allowed points to accrue without daily limits. As part of the introduction, loyalty members can earn double points between 10 August and 1 October. Jeff Fox, Pizza Hut US chief brand and concept officer, said: “We noticed other loyalty programmes had limitations in how they rewarded people and, as a brand with a belief that ‘no-one out pizzas the Hut’, we recognised the need to create a first-of-its-kind programme, specifically an unlimited points programme that rewards every dollar.”
Japanese restaurant and cocktail bar Taka to launch in Mayfair next month: Restaurateur Andrey Datsenko and his sister Anastasia are to bring their Japanese restaurant and cocktail bar concept Taka to Mayfair. The venue will open in Shepherd Market next month taking inspiration from the Datsenko’s debut restaurant in Tokyo of the same name. Taka will offer an “authentic Japanese dining experience in a contemporary setting”. The venue will be set over two floors, with the 28-cover restaurant on the ground floor offering a range of Japanese signature dishes. An illuminated sign at the bottom of the stairs will read “for the sake of the saké” and lead to an intimate lower ground-floor bar. The centrepiece will be a bespoke illustration of a flowering tree created in Japanese newspaper, while there will be a range of saké, Japanese liquor and whiskey cocktails on offer. Interiors have been designed by Object Space Place, with walnut and bespoke oak on the ceiling, weathered brick walls, and a built-in leather and oak bench mixed with larger sharing tables. Andrey Datsenko said: “The stunning listed Shepherd Market in Mayfair is the perfect place for Taka to call home. Japanese food and drink have always been particular favourites and I’m looking forward to taking it to the next level.”
Trampoline park operator expands with acquisition of Go Ape subsidiary: Trampoline park operator Oxygen Freejumping has expanded with the acquisition of Air Space Trampoline in a multimillion-pound deal. The deal brings Oxygen Freejumping’s total number of trampoline parks to ten and is in line with the company’s strategy of reaching 20 parks by the end of 2018. Funding for the undisclosed acquisition was provided by London-based private investment company NM Capital. Air Space Trampoline, a subsidiary of Go Ape, operates three trampoline parks in East Kilbride, Stevenage and Wolverhampton. The parks are in high-footfall leisure and retail destinations and have welcomed about one million customers during the past two years. David Stalker, chief executive of Oxygen Freejumping, said: “We are delighted to have acquired these three sites and to consolidate our number-one position in the UK market. The parks are highly cash generative, conveniently located in high-footfall areas and run by highly experienced management teams with a focus on delivering a safe and high-quality experience to our customers. With UK obesity rates at an all-time high in the UK, we are driven by the urgent need to get people moving. Fun, inspiring physical activities in childhood are proven to lead to healthy, happy and active lifestyles in adulthood. Trampolining offers an accessible solution for tackling the childhood inactivity pandemic. More than 1.5 million people have been active at Oxygen alone during the past 18 months and we are committed to providing a wide range of new and fun activities to get the country jumping.” Chris St George, principal of NM Capital, added: “We founded NM Capital two years ago to back ambitious entrepreneurs who have the potential to create exceptional value. We see this as a great opportunity and look forward to working with David Stalker and his team as they further establish Oxygen Freejumping as the market leader in this exciting sector.”
Giggling Squid to open Wimbledon Village site in October for first London restaurant: Thai restaurant group Giggling Squid, which is backed by the Business Growth Fund, is set to open its Wimbledon Village site in October. It will be the brand’s first venue in London. Giggling Squid currently trades from 21 sites, with further openings in the pipeline, including Windsor, Bath and Cheltenham. In June, the company appointed Mark Priest as finance director to assist in the company’s “next phase of growth”. Owned by Thai-born Pranee Laurillard and husband Andrew, Giggling Squid took a £6.4m investment from the Business Growth Fund in 2015 to accelerate growth plans. Founded in the basement of a tiny fisherman’s cottage, now Giggling Squid’s Brighton restaurant, the couple opened their first site in Hove in 2009.
Caffe Nero’s Irish plans receive knock back in Cork: Caffe Nero has had planning permission turned down for a new coffee shop in Cork. Planners in City Hall have refused permission for the outlet as the City Development Plan has restrictions on such businesses in St Patrick’s Street. “The proposed use of the unit as a coffee shop would materially contravene the provisions of the City Development Plan, which aims to protect areas of prime retail frontage in the city centre retail area,” planners said. “The proposed development is therefore unacceptable and refusal of permission is recommended.” Caffe Nero lodged plans in May seeking permission to convert the ground and first floors of 110 St Patrick’s Street from retail to coffee shop use. The premises is on the western side of the street close to the entrance of the Savoy and across from a Starbucks outlet. The location most recently operated as a store selling calendars. The company is also planning a second Cork cafe in Oliver Plunkett Street, where the Ovens Bar was previously located. Caffe Nero has nine coffee shops in Ireland, eight of them in Dublin. In 2016, the company launched plans to open 40 stores in Ireland.
German chain Leonardo acquires Scottish hotel group: Germany-headquartered Leonardo has acquired Scottish company Portland Hotels, increasing its footprint in Edinburgh and gaining a presence in Glasgow, Perth and Aberdeen by adding Portland’s five sites. The portfolio will be integrated into the wider Leonardo portfolio, which will comprise more than 80 hotels following the acquisition. Its portfolio in the UK will grow to seven hotels, adding to the Leonardo Royal in Edinburgh and the Leonardo Hotel London Heathrow Airport, to total 1,048 rooms. The Portland sites are the 52-bedroom boutique Edinburgh City Hotel, the 111-bedroom Edinburgh Capital, which also has seven meeting rooms, the 137-bedroom Glasgow Pond Hotel with three meeting rooms, the 34-bedroom Huntingtower Hotel in Perth, and the 202-bedroom Speedbird Inn at Aberdeen Airport. Leonardo Hotels Europe managing director Daniel Roger told Deadline: “When we entered the market in the UK two years ago, we made it our goal to further expand our portfolio and strengthen the recognition of the Leonardo Hotels brand. The purchase of Portland Hotels underscores this. I am convinced our guests will love and appreciate this expansion of our offerings in key destinations across Scotland.” Leonardo Hotels was advised by JLL Hotels and Hospitality Group as well as West Ridge Asset Management, French Duncan and DLA Piper. Brodies represented the existing shareholders.
Whitbread opens Premier inn and Beefeater in Whitley Bay: Whitbread has opened a Premier Inn hotel and Beefeater restaurant in Whitley Bay. The 68-bedroom venue is next to the iconic Spanish City Dome, with the restaurant next door. The opening of the pair has brought an investment of £1.4m to the area and created 59 jobs. North Tyneside’s elected mayor Norma Redfearn said: “This development is a key element of North Tyneside Council’s Seafront Master Plan, which includes more than £36m of investment in the coast at Whitley Bay.”
South London pub operator launches neighbourhood restaurant in Brockley: Matt Ward, who operates The White Horse pub in Brixton, has launched neighbourhood restaurant Parlez in Brockley. The venue has opened in Coulgate Street offering home-cooked food using seasonal ingredients. Parlez offers breakfast, daytime, evening and sharing menus, with evening dishes including pan-fried hake with Jersey royal potatoes and mussels, and grilled chicken burger with avocado, brie and skinny fries. The Parlez website states: “Parlez celebrates an independent spirit and enjoys sharing with the community. Relax in comfortable surroundings with good food and familiar faces. With nods to the classic French bistro, music coming from curated playlists and colourful artwork hanging from the walls, our style is a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Think local and encourage a healthier look at life.”
ASK Italian returns to Worcester after four-year hiatus: Azzurri Group-owned ASK Italian has returned to Worcester as part of the city’s £20m Cathedral Square development. The 144-cover restaurant features pagoda-style interiors, with ivy and hanging plants and an outdoor dining area offering prime views of the cathedral. ASK Italian general manager Younesse Chibane told the Worcester News: “Cathedral Square was a bit of a dry area and nothing was happening. Even though it still looks a bit like a building site outside there is still a lot of excitement. There will be plenty of competition between all the other businesses. So far the reaction has been fantastic.” ASK Italian’s site in Angel Place, Worcester, closed in January 2013. Chibane added: “The old restaurant was in the wrong place – but we’re not going anywhere.” ASK Italian joins a number of other brands at Cathedral Square, including YO! Sushi, better burger brand Byron, Loungers’ Cosy Club, and Mitchells & Butlers’ All Bar One and Miller & Carter.
London-based Wedge Issue Pizza + Beer starts expansion with second site, in Shoreditch: London-based Wedge Issue Pizza + Beer has opened its second site in the capital, this time in Shoreditch. Husband-and-wife team Darren Atwater and Martha Gall have launched the site in Bethnal Green Road having opened a debut site in Clerkenwell last year. The East End venture can seat 12 but is mostly aimed at the takeaway market, offering pizzas by the slice. Wedge Issue Pizza + Beer offers thin crust, Pacific West Coast-style pizzas that use a dough that has been proofed for three days and a sauce crafted the traditional Neapolitan way. Atwater and Gall, who both hail from Canada, launched the concept after living in London for almost a decade and growing tired of waiting for a pizzeria to open that combined “great pizza with a wide selection of draught beer”.
The London Kitchen partners with Deliveroo to launch canapés-on-demand service: Catering company The London Kitchen has partnered with Deliveroo to launch a “canapés-on-demand” service. Seasonal options include watermelon with chilli feta and chocolate mint caviar on pea for the summer months, and scallops with cauliflower and crispy pancetta for winter. The London Kitchen founder Damian Clarkson said: “We have built a reputation on bringing tiny pieces of perfection to some of London’s finest venues and are thrilled to be able to deliver to even more fabulous parties all over London with Deliveroo.” A Deliveroo spokesperson added: “Great food is an essential for an awesome get-together so we are delighted to offer incredible party food to London’s soirees, shindigs, and gatherings.”
Pret A Manger rolls out reusable cup discount: Pret A Manger has rolled out its 25p reusable cup discount across all its UK stores following a three-month trial in London. Pret A Manger brand director Caroline Cromar said: “During the past three months we’ve been offering customers in London 25p off their hot drink when they bring in a reusable cup. We have been really encouraged by the response to the trial and, as a result, are delighted to be rolling the discount out to all Pret shops around the UK. The discount is on any of our barista-prepared organic coffees, teas and hot chocolates when a customer brings in their own reusable cup – no matter the size or design of the cup (yes, even ones with competitor branding)! We’re really pleased to see the uptake the incentive has had in our London shops so far. It’s one small step we can take to encourage a reduction in paper cup usage across the UK.”
Stonegate Pub Company updates Common Room menu for Fresher’s week: Stonegate Pub Company is to update its millennial-focused menu for its Common Room sites on Tuesday, 8 August – in time for Fresher’s week. The revamped menu will be on offer at 45 Common Room sites with additions including wrapped burgers, sharers, challenge dishes and freakshakes. The burgers section has been revamped to feature a burger of the month, with additions to the sharing and greenhouse sections. To reflect the eating habits of the millennial, the breakfast, lunch, burger and drinks menus will be available all day with a new “crisps and chips” section added. The canned cocktails section of the drinks list has also been expanded, while there will be a new selection of craft beers. Stonegate Pub Company operates more than 690 pubs split into two divisions – Branded (Slug and Lettuce, Yates’s, Walkabout, Common Room and Venues) and Traditional (Proper Pubs, Town Pub & Kitchen, and Classic Inns).