Three Michelin-starred chef Eneko Atxa to open Basque restaurant on 1 September with soft launch throughout August: Three Michelin-starred chef Eneko Atxa will open an informal Basque restaurant in One Aldwych hotel, Covent Garden, on 1 September following a soft launch throughout August. During the soft launch period, Eneko at One Aldwych will offer 50% off food. Renowned for his three Michelin-starred Azurmendi restaurant in Bilbao, Spain, Atxa will head in a new direction with his 110-cover restaurant and 35-cover wine bar. The new venue will offer a simpler, more relaxed culinary concept deeply rooted in traditional Basque cooking. Starters will feature the Txerri Boda Pork Festival (Iberico ham and mushroom duxelle in milk bread, suckling pig brioche and pigs trotter bocata). Main courses will include Basque-style hake tempura with red pepper sauce and parsley emulsion, while dressed beetroot tartar will be one of the vegetarian options. The dessert list will offer Atxa’s signature rice pudding lollipops with crisp white and dark chocolate hazelnut coating. The wine bar will feature a carefully crafted Spanish list, including the house Gorka Izagirre Txakoli from Atxa’s own vineyard. A bar menu with a selection of Basque-inspired dishes will also be available.
Pubco’s plans approved to turn Leicester’s oldest house into bar and restaurant: A pubco’s plans to turn Leicester’s oldest house into a bar and restaurant have been approved. 006pubco, which also runs Taps bar in nearby Guildhall Lane, had already agreed a 25-year lease with Leicester City Council for 15th century Wygston’s House in Applegate. Now permission has been approved to change the registered use of the grade II-listed premises from a museum. However, the new venue cannot operate between midnight and 7.30am. Geoff Thornton, 006pubcodirector, told the Leicester Mercury: “Wygston’s House is going to be a family-friendly destination for dinner or a drink, but we also hope to serve breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea and plan to host wedding receptions and private functions. As we did at Taps, our intention is to carry out a sympathetic conversion.” The timber-framed hall at the heart of the building dates to the 1490s.
McGettigan’s makes UK debut with Fulham bar opening: Global bar operator McGettigan’s has opened a venue in Fulham, its first site in the UK. The company bought the leasehold for Irish theme bar Brogan’s from Rainforest Café and Waxy O’Connor operator Glendola Leisure. The three-storey venue in Fulham Broadway offers live music and screens all major sporting events. It also offers a mix of “traditional Irish dishes, pub-grub classics and local favourites”. McGettigan’s opened its first bar in Dublin in the 1960s and now operates 11 venues in Ireland, with others in the Middle East, Singapore and New York. McGettigan’s brands itself “The Modern Irish Experience”, reflecting modern Irish food, culture, sports and music to bring a “real flavour of Ireland to a global market”. McGettigan Group chief executive Dennis McGettigan said: “It’s all about excellent food, beverages, service, entertainment and sport, mixed in with interactive feedback with our customers through social media.”
Venners launches stand-alone consultancy practice: Stocktaking and audit expert Venners has launched a stand-alone consultancy practice in its 120th year of business. The consultancy aims to help companies across the hospitality sector maximise profits and optimise controls with a unique style of “forensic analysis” through its team of ten senior consultants. Venners has been delivering auditing solutions and services in hotels, pubs, restaurants and catering services since 1896, but said economic demands, complex operations, and legislative changes had encouraged businesses to take a more proactive approach to profit and control. The new consultancy scrutinises operations and analyses data to identify opportunities and solutions that result in hospitality businesses being managed more efficiently. Managing director Trevor Heyburn said: “We’ve worked with international hostels, five-star hotels, restaurants, race tracks and major holiday parks as well as many smaller businesses on a project basis. Evidence showed us that even in the largest of organisations, external expertise was essential to maximise the opportunities. Over the fullness of time, Venners Consultancy has come into its own and is now a stand-alone service.”
New York-inspired cocktail bar concept set to open in Plymouth this month: A New York-inspired cocktail bar concept is set to open in Plymouth this month. Heather Crabb and Pete Hancock are launching The Manhattan Cocktail Bar in North Hill on the site of former student haunt Odd Bar. The building is being transformed into a 1930s Manhattan-style speakeasy, with a bespoke seating area, high stools, new bar and outside decking. Crabb said the venue would create a “grown-up and chilled space” for the over-25s market. She told the Plymouth Herald: “We took a spur of the moment trip to New York and just fell in love with it, hence the branding reflects the New York style. We’ll also be offering lighter bites and nibbles in the city’s style. This will be an alternative to the same old places and we won’t be doing the same old cocktails. People will be able to sample drinks they’ve never heard of.”
Easyhotel sells leasehold of restaurant space at forthcoming Liverpool site for £600,000: Easyhotel, the owner, developer, operator and franchisor of “super budget” branded hotels, has disposed of its restaurant space at its forthcoming site in Castle Street, Liverpool, under a 125-year leasehold agreement for £600,000. The space, which is currently a restaurant operated by a third party, comprises the ground floor of the building and portions of the basement. It has been sold to Rocket & Ruby Properties, which owns the restaurant. EasyHotel acquired the freehold of the six-storey office building in April last year for £1.3m. Refurbishment work to convert the upper floors into a 79-bedroom hotel has started, with an expected opening in January 2017. Chief executive Guy Parsons told Alliance News: “Our strategy is focused on the ownership of high-quality hotel assets and this transaction enables us to recycle capital through the disposal of surplus assets, the proceeds of which can be reinvested in future owned hotel projects to maximise shareholder returns.”
Joule’s set to reopen Ludlow’s oldest pub: Shropshire brewer and retailer Joule’s will reopen Ludlow’s oldest pub, The Rose and Crown, on Monday, 18 July following a major refurbishment. Joule’s acquired the pub in its Shropshire heartland in 2013 and a team of craftsmen have carefully restored the venue. Commissioned stained glass windows have also been added as well as the “Mouse Bar”, which has been created using recycled timbers and twinned with the “Mouseroom” at The Brewery pub in Market Drayton. The pub will offer a large selection of real ales and home-cooked food. Joule’s managing director Steve Nuttall said: “We’re proud to have so many craftsmen who contribute to all our pubs and have such joy in their work. Our philosophy is to allow our whole team a great deal of latitude in how they interpret our ideas. Our projects are very much a group effort – we don’t have any designers, each of our tradesmen put their own ideas into the work. I hope people will see the care and research that has gone into this refurbishment.”
Leon site named best airport fast food outlet in world: A Leon site has been named best airport fast food outlet in the world at the international FAB (Food & Beverage) awards. The natural fast food brand’s Heathrow Terminal 2 site saw off competition from fast food stores in airports from Washington DC and Houston to Bangalore, Hong Kong and Sydney to win the prize at the awards, held in Switzerland. Leon managing director John Upton said: “At Leon we want to help everyone to eat and live well. We aim to be where people need and want us, especially airports, because that is where Leon’s magical menu and big, warm welcome can bring a smile to your face as you head off on your travels.” The Heathrow site is run by HMS Host, which is part of the Autogrill Group. Autogrill Group chief marketing officer Ezio Balarini said: “We’re very satisfied to see that this year’s FAB awards has recognised the passion and enthusiasm which we foster, through our offer, a food culture in touch with new modes of travelling.” The FABs, which are organised by the Moodie Davitt Report and the Foodie Report, took place in Geneva.
Restaurant owners lodge plans for healthy cafe concept in Workington: The owners of Henry’s Bar and Grill restaurant in Workington have lodged plans to open a healthy cafe concept in the Cumbrian town. Ashleigh Ridings and Paul McGee have applied to Allerdale Borough Council to launch The Hungry Caterpillar in Finkle Street on the site of the former Craig Travel premises. The cafe, set to open in August, will offer a range of items, including salads, wraps, bagels, protein shakes and salads. Ridings said she wanted to use the cafe to help educate customers about healthy food. It would employ five staff, while an NVQ student with an interest in nutrition would also be offered the chance to help out. Ridings told the Times & Star: “We’ve got a lot of places doing pub food but this will give people a bit of variety. Once you find something you’re passionate about, it comes naturally.”
Stevie Parle protégé Alex Jackson opens first restaurant: Alex Jackson, a protégé of Stevie Parle, has opened his first restaurant – Sardine – in Old Street, east London. The restaurant offers wood-fired dishes inspired by Provence and Languedoc, the islands of Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily, Italy’s Amalfi Coast and Spain’s coastal Catalonia area. Ingredients are sourced from France, the Basque country and Italy apart from meat and fish, which are sourced in the UK. Sardine’s centrepiece is a large communal table, where food such as lamb à la ficelle (whole leg of lamb tied on string and cooked over an open fire) will be served. Parle is involved in the operational support and management of the restaurant. He said: “Alex is a rare talent. A cook so at ease and naturally skilled he knows he doesn’t have to overcomplicate things.” Jackson began his career at The Dock Kitchen in Ladbroke Grove before moving to Rotorino in Dalston, which won a Michelin Bib Gourmand. He then headed to Mons Cheesemongers to learn more about the craft of the affineur.
M&B wins Good Egg Award for animal welfare commitment: Mitchells & Butlers has been presented with its first Good Egg Award in recognition of the company’s commitment to sourcing cage-free eggs. The presentation was made at the Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards run by Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), which celebrate the commitment of food businesses to improve animal welfare standards. The Good Egg Award recognises a company’s commitment to using free-range eggs across its whole business by 2017. The majority of Mitchells & Butlers’ estate already uses free-range eggs, with only a small number of Orchid conversions to be added in the coming months. Other foodservice recipients this year include McDonald’s, Pret A Manger, better burger brand Five Guys, and Gourmet Burger Kitchen. Mitchells & Butlers director of food trading David Gallacher said: “We are extremely proud of this achievement and pleased to have the company’s hard work and that of our egg suppliers recognised in helping to drive the successful implementation and management of our free-range egg supplies.” Dr Tracey Jones, CIWF director of food business, added: “We congratulate M&B on its achievement and encourage other foodservice companies to follow its lead.”
Gail’s Bakery pledges 10,000 breakfasts to help hungry schoolchildren: Gail’s Artisan Bakery, which is backed by sector investor Luke Johnson, is asking customers to help raise at least 10,000 breakfasts for hungry schoolchildren. Every day, 500,000 children in the UK are going to school too hungry to learn, the company said, and this year Gail’s is dedicating its annual street party to provide children with a nourishing start to the day. 22p is the cost of one breakfast for kids at school who need it most and Gail’s Bakery, along with 20 UK food and craft producers, will donate at least 22p from every item sold at the street party to Magic Breakfast, the charity that provides kids with healthy breakfasts. Londoners visiting the event, which takes place outside Gail’s original shop in Hampstead High Street from 11am to 5pm, will be asked to get involved too – with the help of a giant, live-illustrated map – by donating breakfasts for kids in their boroughs. The street party, now in its 11th year, is a celebration of craftsmanship. Companies hosting stalls will include Buchanan’s Cheesemonger, Cobble Lane Cured Meats, East London Liquor Company, London Beer Factory, Hampson Woods, PurEarth, and Pate Moi. Gail’s own products will be available on the day, with a sausage roll station and other fresh-baked sweets, savouries and breads. Gail’s founder Tom Molnar said: “No child should go without breakfast and we are humbled by the impact Magic Breakfast has in schools across London. The Gail’s Street Party, as well as being great fun, allows us all to help kids learn better by having healthy breakfasts.”
Rök opens smokehouse restaurant in Islington, second London site: London-based smokehouse restaurant Rök has opened its second site in the capital, this time in Islington. Rök, which launched in Shoreditch, has opened a 60-seat venue in Upper Street and is influenced by the “old cooking techniques of northern Europe”, specialising in “brined and cured British meats cooked on fire and served alongside fermented and preserved seasonal UK produce”. Main dishes on the seasonal menu come with a choice of pickle and include pigeon with Jerusalem artichoke and Muscat grapes; duck with lingonberry bacon jam; kid goat with celery relish, burnt leek and capers; and pork with granny smith and caraway kraut. Desserts include birch syrup chocolate pudding with smoked beetroot ice cream; and lost bread with white chocolate ice cream and blood orange rhubarb jam. The bar offers cocktails and a larger wine list than the Shoreditch site, with a focus on biodynamic and minimum intervention wines. Rök Islington is open daily from midday to midnight.
Krispy Kreme to open two new sites in Glasgow: Krispy Kreme is set to open two new sites in Glasgow this summer – in the Buchanan Galleries and Silverburn shopping centres. Buchanan Galleries will host a sit-down store, while the Silverburn site will feature a takeaway counter. Doughnuts for each store will be delivered each morning from the company’s Hotlight site at Intu Braehead, the company’s largest UK outlet, which opened in Glasgow in December. Krispy Kreme chief marketing officer Judith Denby told Herald Scotland: “We are hugely excited to be expanding in Scotland due to the fantastic reaction we have received at our stores in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee.” In May, it was reported Krispy Kreme was going to open a site at Glasgow Central train station after posters appeared in the windows of an empty unit in the transport hub stating: “Krispy Kreme – coming soon!” The site has yet to open. Krispy Kreme UK entered the market in October 2003 in London and currently operates more than 70 stores across Britain.
Torquay-based bar operators to open bierkeller: Torquay-based bar operators Ashley Sims and Keith Byron will open a German-themed venue in the Devon town. Sims and Byron, who run the Apple and Parrot, are launching The Bier Keller next month just off Fleet Street on the site of the former Blu Cargo bar. The duo said having transformed the fortunes of the Apple and Parrot they were keen to start expanding their portfolio. Sims told the Torquay Herald Express: “I initially lost interest in this project once I found out licensing didn’t want a ‘stand up to drink’ establishment. They wanted a sit-down, mainly eating venue. But it was fellow local businessman Micky Sheehan’s idea to create the German-themed bar. When I told him about the licensing criteria, he said ‘that place is crying out to be a keller, I’ve seen them in Bristol and Cheltenham and they are the next big thing’. Work commences now and The Bier Keller will open in August.”
Five Guys to open in Watford next month: Better burger brand Five Guys will open a restaurant in Watford next month. The company will launch the venue in High Street on Monday, 1 August in the grade II-listed building previously occupied by Que Pasa, reports the Watford Observer. Founded by the Murrell family in Arlington, Virginia, in 1986 and named after the five brothers who worked together to make the chain an international success, the brand has 46 restaurants in the UK, having opened its first in Covent Garden in 2013.
Morales to open Peruvian restaurant Casita Andina in Soho this month: Ceviche founder Martin Morales will open his new restaurant, Casita Andina, in Soho on Peruvian Independence Day (Thursday, 28 July). The new venue in Great Windmill Street will offer a “unique insight into the Peruvian Andes through its food, art and traditions”. Casita Andina has been inspired by Peruvian “picanterias” – family-run restaurants that serve the local community and travellers. It will have 58 covers set across two floors, with Peruvian art and textiles throughout. There will be a ceviche counter on the ground floor, alongside a takeaway area and pisco bar. The upper floor will be a 30-seat dining room leading to an open air patio seating eight. The kitchen will be headed by executive chef Vitelio Reyes, formerly of Michelin-starred Lima London. The lunchtime menu will feature five snacks, five hot dishes, five cold dishes and two desserts. Dishes on the dinner menu will include pork tamale with salsa criolla, rocoto chilli with skate stuffing, and crispy aubergine with uchucuta herbs. Morales operates Peruvian restaurants Ceviche Soho, Michelin-Guide listed Andina in Shoreditch, and Ceviche Old St. He is also an author and appears regularly on TV cooking shows.
Patisserie Valerie opens site in Bury shopping centre: Patisserie Valerie, the company that has sector investor Luke Johnson as executive chairman, has opened a site in Bury, Greater Manchester. The company has opened the cafe at the Millgate Shopping Centre as part of plans to grow in the north west of England. It offers the brand’s patisserie and cake range, all hand-made on-site. Patisserie Valerie, launched in 1926 in Soho, London, by Belgian-born Madame Valerie, has about 130 sites throughout the UK.