Barrio Bars co-owners unite with Sovereign Loss team to open Soho venture: Barrio Bars co-owners Ferdie Ahmed and Ani Kyriacou have joined forces with Chris Dennis and Joe St Clair-Ford, the team behind London bar Sovereign Loss, to open a new venture in Soho. They have launched Disrepute in Kingly Street on the former site of 1960s haunt The Pinstripe Club. Inspired by its colourful history of scandal and infamy, Disrepute will combine “classic timeless qualities with 1960s counterculture and the best of London’s cocktail culture today”. Nestled in a 100-capacity basement between Carnaby Street and Beak Street, Disrepute (or DRP for short) welcomes members and non-members at certain times if space is available. The bar’s decor features panelled walls and vaulted ceilings, while the drinks menu includes cocktails and a luxurious collection of spirits and wine, with an emphasis on bottles from England.
Gino D’Acampo and Individual Restaurants open third My Restaurant site, in Leeds: Italian chef and television personality Gino D’Acampo has opened the third site of his fast-casual dining concept My Restaurant in partnership with Individual Restaurants. The 150-cover restaurant has opened in Leeds’ financial district following on from venues in Manchester and London’s Euston station. My Restaurant Leeds is set over two floors and includes an open kitchen and deli bar overlooking Park Row, as well as a basement prosecco bar. D’Acampo said: “After months of planning for the opening, I can’t wait to welcome guests to My Restaurant Leeds at this wonderful time of year.” Last month, Individual Restaurants founder Steven Walker told Insider Media the company was making progress on rolling out its partnership with D’Acampo. He said: “The plan is for four additional Gino D’Acampo sites in the 2017 calendar year, with a focus on major UK cities.” The W2D2 consortium bought and delisted Manchester-headquartered Individual Restaurants in 2011. W2D2 is led by Steven Walker and Iceland founder Malcolm Walker.
Roberts & Treguer opens second London pub restaurant with rooftop garden: Roberts & Treguer, the company behind all-day, four-storey pub restaurant The Culpeper in Spitalfields, east London, has opened a second site, this time in Clerkenwell. The company, headed by Gareth Roberts and Nico Treguer, has opened The Green in Clerkenwell Green on the former site of bar restaurant Dans Le Noir. The Green offers snacks such as devilled crab on toast, and honey and mustard-glazed ham with quince, and main dishes including whole grilled plaice with salsify, leeks and beurre blanc, and shoulder of lamb with suet pudding, purple broccoli, anchovy and garlic crumb. The drinks list features natural and organic wine from small growers and a selection of draught and bottled beer. The full structural refurbishment will be complete next year, including the rooftop space. Earlier this year, Roberts & Treguer received planning permission to create a “passivhaus” (ultra-low energy building) as part of a canal-side residential collection of houses and flats in Pudding Mill Lane in Stratford, east London.
Shepherd Neame reopens historic Berkshire coaching inn following £1.1m refurbishment: Shepherd Neame, the Kent-based brewer, pub and hotel operator, has reopened historic coaching inn The Ostrich in Colnbrook, Berkshire, following a £1.1m refurbishment. The Ostrich is the third-oldest inn in England, dating to 1106. It is in the heart of Colnbrook village but is also only five miles from Heathrow airport. Following the three-month refurbishment, The Ostrich offers 11 en-suite bedrooms. Traditional features such as oak beams, oak flooring and an inglenook fireplace have been preserved, while a new carved wooden bar has been installed. Shepherd Neame has also put in new furniture, lighting and decor, while the large garden has been landscaped and new seating installed. The refurbished kitchen is now open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a new menu and all dishes cooked fresh to order using locally sourced ingredients. The first-floor function room has capacity for 30, while a 16-cover private dining room on the ground floor is also available for hire. Shepherd Neame director of retail and tenanted operations Nigel Bunting said: “The Ostrich is a beautiful inn with real character and we decided to maximise its potential. Due to the inn’s proximity to Heathrow, we thought there would be a market for guests wishing to stay over and have already seen a high demand for the rooms.”
Bao and pickle cafe concept Bun House to launch in Soho: Bao and pickle cafe concept Bun House is set to launch in Soho early next year. Under the control of the Mossman Family Import Company, the street diner in Greek Street will offer traditional, Canton-style bao buns with Chinese pickles made in-house, plus sides such as prickly cucumber-style salad. Bun House will also offer homemade “house fries”, which are made from deep-fried duck tongues rather than potatoes. The venue will only have room for ten covers and mainly focus on grab and go, Hot Dinners reports. Individually priced steamed bao buns will include char siu with sticky barbecue pork belly, plus lamb, chicken, fish and vegetable options, alongside a selection of sweet dessert buns. Chinese soft drinks and craft beer from Hong Kong will top the drinks list.
Bar Soba clinches £3m from BGF, plans seven further UK restaurants, Mansigani made non-executive chairman: Bar Soba has received £3m investment from the Business Growth Fund (BGF) to fund plans to open seven UK restaurants, while the BGF has introduced the business to former Casual Dining Group chief financial officer Mohan Mansigani, who has been appointed non-executive chairman. Glasgow-based Bar Soba operates five restaurants across Glasgow, Edinburgh and Leeds and is now considering city centre sites in Aberdeen, Newcastle, Liverpool and Manchester. Following initial expansion into the north of England, it hopes to eventually operate 30 sites across the UK. Founder and chief executive Brad Stevens told the BBC: “I’m really excited about our ambitious expansion plans and that we’ve found the right partner to provide the funding and expertise we need to accelerate our growth. Expanding to 12 city centre locations will allow even more drinkers and diners to enjoy our combination of indulgent cocktails and freshly prepared street food inspired by the night markets of south east Asia.” Mansigani was chief financial officer of Casual Dining Group from 2002 to 2014, having previously been finance director at Costa Coffee and TGI Friday’s. He said: “I’ve worked with some really vibrant brands during my career and I see many of the same elements in the DNA of Bar Soba.”
South African barbecue concept Hammer & Tongs launches in Clerkenwell: South African barbecue concept Hammer & Tongs has launched in Clerkenwell, London. The restaurant in Farringdon Road features a three-metre braai grill on which the majority of dishes are cooked in front of customers. The menu is split in two – cuts and steaks, and skewers – and priced accordingly, Hot Dinners reports. Starters include braai-pot baked bread, while at the top of the scale diners can enjoy 700g T-bone steak with reblochon and tarragon gratin, smoked buchu and monkey gland sauce. Skewers are available as whole or half portions, including Arctic spruce-salted monkfish with confetti bush and aji panca pepper. The cocktail menu, curated by Pete Kendall of Milk and Honey, includes a Stellen-Spritz with caperitif rosso, Graham Beck sparkling wine and wild jasmine syrup. Ice for drinks are cut from a huge block on the bar.
Two Maidstone restaurants to close as owner looks to sell: Two restaurants in Maidstone, Kent, are to close after being placed on the market by their owner. The Buffet House and La Taberna are based in the same building in Union Street and both businesses will close when the site is sold. The current owner first bought the property in 2007 when it was known as the Comedy Creek Club. He developed the first-floor area, which has been operating as Spanish restaurant La Taberna for the past year. Agent Christie & Co has been appointed to handle the sale, with offers of £849,995 being sought for the freehold or £70,000 for the leasehold, with an annual rent of £45,000. James Hughes, business agent in Christie & Co’s Maidstone office, said: “This centrally located site presents an excellent opportunity for a new owner to introduce two new offerings to Maidstone, whether they are kept as restaurants or converted into different uses. The current business has built up a good reputation during that period with the local and wider community but there is plenty of room for further development. There is also an opportunity to obtain planning permission to add hotel rooms, which would give an extra dimension to the business.”
Thai Leisure Group appoints Simon Firth as its first executive chef: Thai Leisure Group, operator of restaurant brands Chaophraya and Thaikhun, has appointed Simon Firth as its first executive chef as the company looks to grow its estate to 35 restaurants by the end of 2018. Firth, who spent the past ten years as group executive chef of Manchester Central Group, will head back-of-house operations across all Thai Leisure Group brands, focusing on training, compliance, purchasing and recruitment. Firth said: “I have been passionate about Asian cooking all my life and look forward to overseeing logistics at Thai Leisure Group and easing growing pains as the business looks to scale its operations over the coming year. One of my main goals is to make Thai cooking accessible to young chefs across the UK and promote the speciality as a viable option for young chefs leaving college. This new role gives me the platform to do that.” Thai Leisure Group managing director Ian Leigh added: “It’s great to have a chef of Simon’s calibre joining our team. The business is entering a period of expansion and his experience will prove invaluable in attracting, retaining and training new staff, as well as overseeing logistics during this busy period.” Meanwhile, the company has opened its tenth Thaikhun site, this time at Southampton’s £85m WestQuay Watermark development. Thai Leisure Group also operates the ChaoBaby and Yee Rah brands.
BrewDog turns BottleDog King’s Cross takeaway into latest bar: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has turned its BottleDog King’s Cross site into its latest bar. Launched two years ago, BottleDog offered bottles, cans and growler fills of craft beer but has now been rebranded as BrewDog Gray’s Inn Road to include upstairs seating and a basement bar. BrewDog stated on its blog: “We have converted the downstairs offices into a basement bar featuring five taps with three BrewDog beers and two rotating guest beers. For anyone who visited BottleDog and wished they could hang around, we have the perfect answer – comfy booths and other seating in our subterranean speakeasy. As well as the draft offerings from the downstairs bar, anything available for purchase from the shelves upstairs can be uncapped and enjoyed as well. If downstairs is too far to travel, we have also added seating to the original upstairs half of the building too! With a choice of more than 300 craft beers, the bar also stocks a range of snacks, including gourmet charcuterie from Serious Pig, and we are also rocking some amazing cheese boards.” Meanwhile, BrewDog has passed the £2m mark in its £10m mini-bond campaign on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. The mini-bond will pay 7.5% interest per annum over four years, with the move funding the company’s future expansion. The minimum investment for the BrewDog Bond is £500 – and it will be paying out the return bi-annually. So far, 749 investors have pledged £2,019,000.
Hospitality Jobs UK partners with HIT Training for new initiative: Online advertising job board Hospitality Jobs UK (HJUK) has agreed a two-year partnership with HIT Training, the national apprenticeship provider in the hospitality industry. It marks the launch of an initiative aimed at promoting national apprenticeships, work-based learning programmes, and staff development schemes in hospitality. HJUK founder Dawn Redman said: “We have a strong understanding of what trainees and employers need and our mission at HJUK is simple, to do everything we can to raise the awareness of apprenticeships available in this tremendous sector and in doing so reduce the ever increasing skills gap while assisting even more people to gain a qualification, apprenticeship or job.” HIT training managing director Jill Whittaker added: “Recruitment in our industry is a hot topic at the moment as businesses strive to find the right candidates during the current skills shortage, which is showing no sign of going anywhere anytime soon. We know how important it is for employers to find the right team members, which is why we have partnered with HJUK to offer added value to the businesses we work alongside and a greater opportunity for them to raise awareness of the career prospects within their teams. The sharing of information, creativity and resources is what helps make this industry so fantastic and, working with HJUK, we aim to offer a platform for businesses to do this. As well as advertising apprenticeships on the website, the expert team we have here at HIT will also be providing regular blog posts and information on updates to government information and initiatives relating to apprenticeships and training.”
Starbucks launches third annual Starbucks for Life competition: Starbucks has launched its Starbucks for Life competition for the third consecutive year, giving members of its Rewards programme in the US and Canada an opportunity to win prizes including Starbucks for Life, Starbucks for a Year, Starbucks for a Month, Starbucks for a Week, and millions of “bonus stars”. Until 16 January, Starbucks Rewards members can earn game plays when they make a purchase in participating stores using either their registered Starbucks card or mobile app. Members can redeem game plays and collect digital game pieces online. They can also complete challenges to earn extra game plays and bonus stars towards rewards, and win prizes by collecting game pieces. Seven customers will win the grand prize of Starbucks for Life, 45 will win Starbucks for a Year, 250 customers will win Starbucks for a Month, and 800 will win Starbucks for a Week.
Molson Coors appoints Phil Whitehead as UK and Ireland managing director: Molson Coors has appointed Phil Whitehead as managing director of Molson Coors UK & Ireland. He will head a new-look country leadership team, with the responsibility of delivering Molson Coors’ “first choice for consumers and customers” ethos. Whitehead has been with Molson Coors for 11 years, most recently as chief supply chain officer in Europe, and has been instrumental in driving Molson Coors’ customer-centric agenda in the UK during the past five years. Whitehead said: “We have established an ambitious, customer-focused team in the UK and Ireland that is leading the way in transforming the industry. The political and legislative landscape has changed significantly since the start of the year, yet our business continues to thrive. We have the best portfolio we’ve ever had and I look forward to working with our reinvigorated team and our loyal customers to grow our business further in 2017 and beyond.” Whitehead has taken on the role from Frederic Landtmeters, who has become chief executive of Molson Coors, Canada. Whitehead’s appointment is one of many staff changes at Molson Coors UK and Ireland, including Martyn Cozens being appointed to the newly created position of on-trade sales director.
Newcastle-based restaurateur opens third site: Andy Hook, owner of Blackfriars in Newcastle and Hinnies in Whitley Bay, has opened his third restaurant in the region, this time in Newcastle Quayside. Hook has teamed up with head chef Troy Terrington to open Dobson and Parnell, a 65-cover restaurant specialising in refined British and European cuisine using ethically sourced, seasonal produce direct from nearby farms and markets. The set menu features dishes such as hake-smoked clam with pickled lemon, and shoulder of pork with parsnips, trivet onions and pickled walnuts. The grade II-listed venue in Queen Street formerly housed Terry Laybourne’s Michelin-starred 21 Queen Street, as well as modern British restaurant Pan Haggerty. Hook told Chronicle Live: “I fell in love with this site the first time I saw it. That was in the mid-90s when I used to peer longingly through the windows at the elegant Victorian dining room and happy diners. It’s perfectly proportioned as a restaurant with a cavernous kitchen ideally suited for Troy’s innovative and creative cooking. What’s more, Newcastle’s Quayside has experienced a revival of top-notch restaurants and bars in the past year, so when we saw an opportunity to open in such a vibrant location, we just couldn’t resist.”
JD Wetherspoon to open new Edinburgh pub: Pub operator JD Wetherspoon will open its new pub in Edinburgh on Tuesday, 13 December, creating 124 jobs. The company has spent £2.5m to develop the outlet, which is on the site of former live music venue The Picture House in Lothian Road. The Wetherspoon pub, which will be renamed The Caley Picture House, will be managed by Matthew Knowles. The Grade B-listed building was originally the Caley Picture House, which opened in 1923 with silent film Game of Life. In 1928, the building was enlarged for the new “talkies”, with an imposing entrance block added at the right-hand side. The new pub will be open from 7am until 1am, seven days a week. Food will be served from opening until 11pm. The interior design has a contemporary edge, a modern take on classic art deco, with striking black and gold tones throughout. The company already runs The Standing Order and The Alexander Graham Bell, both in George Street, The Booking Office on Waverley Bridge, The Playfair at the Omni Centre in Leith Walk, The Foot of the Walk in Constitution Street, Leith, as well as The White Lady in St John’s Road, Corstorphine.