Living Ventures co-founder Danny Fox to launch brasserie concept in Manchester: Living Ventures co-founder Danny Fox is launching a restaurant concept in Manchester this month. Fox will open School For Scandal in First Street on Monday, 20 August at a site formerly occupied by cafe bar The Laundrette. School For Scandal will be a 100-cover neighbourhood brasserie with outdoor terrace. The concept is based on the “scandal of love”, with walls featuring tattoo imagery and decor evoking a sense of Manhattan alongside hints of traditional British interiors and wood panelling reminiscent of an English boarding school. The menu will feature tacos, burgers and steaks off a charcoal grill, pizza from the oven, salads and small plates. The drinks offer will include cocktails, beer and spirits. Fox said: “Every neighbourhood needs a school to enrol in, and this is ours. This concept is fun and mischievous. We really wanted to create somewhere cool but fun where you can enjoy quality food and drink and be sociable. We’re excited to open in First Street and welcome everyone to enjoy or create their own bit of Scandal!” In 2016, Fox launched his eponymous gourmet restaurant in Hale Barns, near Altrincham. Fox is a 120-cover, 4,000 square foot restaurant offering meat and fish from an open grill alongside pizza cooked in a wood-burning oven. Fox founded Living Ventures with Jeremy Roberts and the late Tim Bacon. He helped grow the Living Room bar chain before selling it to Premium Bars and Restaurants. He was also operations director at Individual Restaurant Company, which operates 32 sites nationally.
 
Jamie Oliver adds to Pizzeria portfolio in India: Jamie Oliver has added to his Pizzeria portfolio in India by opening a new site in Mumbai. It is the company’s second Jamie Oliver Pizzeria in Mumbai and its fourth in India in total. The group also has two Jamie’s Italians in the country. The new site is located on the first floor of the CR2 Mall in Nariman Point and hosts 54 covers. It serves hand-made pizzas, salads, al forno dishes as well as a selection of locally inspired cuisine. Oliver currently has more than 50 international sites in 24 countries across his range of brands.
Restaurateur Clive Watson to open new venture at Tower Bridge boutique hotel: Restaurateur Clive Watson, who is behind Blixen and Lorne and previously of Village East, The Garrison and Riding House Café, is to launch a new venture in Tower Bridge. Watson will open Provisioners in November at new boutique-style hotel The Dixon. Provisioners will take references from SE1 and the area’s cultural heritage. The interior will be inspired by modern design movements, artists’ homes and European cafe culture. The restaurant will have a varied European all-day menu. Provisioners’ adjoining cafe will project an Italian feel, with coffee roasted in-house and cakes and toasted sandwiches available during the day, before the venue turns into a wine, aperitivo and charcuterie bar in the evening. Watson said: “Provisioners will be a place where you have everything you need to help you relax, unwind and refuel, whatever your mood. We’d like to be a bustling hotel and neighbourhood restaurant offering intuitive and natural hospitality tailored to each guest’s needs – we are all different after all.” The Dixon will join Autograph Collection Hotels, Dominvs Group’s first Marriott branded property. Dominvs Group director Jay Ahluwalia said: “We are delighted to be working with Clive Watson on the launch of Provisioners as we move towards introducing this vibrant, eclectic and varied offering to the area.”
McDonald’s to award gold card giving one customer free meals for ‘life’: McDonald’s is to award a gold card that will give one customer free meals for “life”. The winner of a new competition will receive the Mobile McGold Card, which will allow them to eat free at McDonald’s restaurants for 50 years. The card will come in the form of a phone case engraved with the winner’s name, although the winner will also have the option to choose a cash alternative, reports the Evening Standard. Only those in the US aged 13 and above can enter and must place an order on the McDonald’s app before Friday, 24 August at 11.59pm. Those keen on winning the card will be able to place an order or send one email per day to increase their chances. McDonald’s stated: “The card give-away is exclusive to the McDonald’s App, which allows customers to customise their orders, get exclusive deals and place their order using their phones.”
Monty’s Deli passes 50% mark in £150,000 crowdfunding campaign for expansion: Jewish soul food trader Monty’s Deli has passed the 50% mark in its £150,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to roll out sites in a number of new indoor food markets across the UK. Mark Ogus and Owen Barratt, who launched the concept as a market stall in 2012, raised £50,000 in late 2016 on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter to open the first bricks and mortar site, at a former bakery in Hoxton Street, Hackney. They have since opened a second site – in the new “Kitchens” development at Old Spitalfields Market. Now Monty’s, which is named after Ogus’ grandfather, is planning further expansion and is embarking on the new fund-raise, offering 9.68% equity in return for investment. So far 104 investors have pledged £78,110 with 25 days remaining. The company stated: “The idea was to give London something it had been lacking for a long time – a real ‘kosher-style’ Jewish deli, where the meat and mustard, bread and pastries are all made on-site. This place would hold all the secret recipes that make a great deli. We call this ‘Jewish soul food’ because, in essence, soul food is all about roots.” Ogus said: “Our experience in markets is proven and our love for the food we make unrivalled. We have spent years perfecting recipes and we now have a year under our belts as restaurateurs. The stage is set for us to roll out Monty’s Deli across London.”
Double AA Rosette-winning chef to head new Manchester bar restaurant: Double AA Rosette-winning chef Andrew Green is to head a new bar restaurant in Manchester. Mamucium, which will feature a 120-cover restaurant and 70-seat cafe, is set to open at the newly developed City Buildings, which will also house Hotel Indigo Manchester – Victoria Station. Green has joined Hotel Indigo group from the five-star Lowry Hotel. He told Insider Media: “I am really excited to be a part of Mamucium and cannot wait to introduce my new creations to diners in the city. I intend to keep the menu simple, serving classic food with my own unique spin.” Mamucium has been designed by 3DReid and will be developed by BH Group. James Houlston, BH Group managing director, added: “We wanted to create a destination like no other in the city. Mamucium was the name given to the Roman fort that was the birthplace of Manchester, which we felt represents our vision for the venue perfectly. Being at the gateway to the NOMA regeneration site and the entrance to the newly refurbished Victoria Station, we want to create a modern venue that represents Manchester reborn.”
Pho opens at former Polpo site in Exeter: Vietnamese street food restaurant group Pho has opened its 27th site, in Exeter. The company has opened the venue in the dining quarter at the Guildhall shopping centre having taken on a site that previously housed Polpo. The 80-cover restaurant seats a further 40 people outside, reports Exeter Live. Stephen and Juliette Wall opened their first Pho restaurant in Clerkenwell, London, in 2005 after they quit their jobs, travelled the world and found themselves inspired by Vietnamese cuisine.
Canard to open third London site, at Tooting Market: France-inspired street food-style restaurant Canard will open its third London site, in Tooting Market this month. The brainchild of Francophile supper club hosts turned street traders Hugo Worsley and Jacob Cooper, Canard takes street food dishes and refines them using classic French cooking techniques. The menu includes The Canard Burger with crispy confit duck, fig jam, rocket and mustard mayo on brioche, and croque monsieur on sourdough with leek béchamel and garlic butter, reports Hot Dinners. Canard’s other sites are at Peckham Levels and The Pergola in Paddington.
Bob & Berts lodges plans for Kirkcaldy site as part of Scottish expansion push: Northern Ireland coffee company Bob & Berts, which is backed by the Business Growth Fund, has lodged plans for a site in Kirkcaldy as part of its plans to expand into Scotland. The company has already secured sites in Dunfermline and Falkirk as it pushes into the country. Now it has lodged plans with Fife Council to open a site in High Street, Kirkcaldy, in a unit formerly occupied by fashion retailer Next. Colin McClean, who founded the company with his father Arnold and brother-in-law David Ferguson in 2013, told Fife Today: “Work will begin at the end of October in Kirkcaldy to hopefully open by December. We know there are quite a few standard coffee shops in the high streets but we think what we offer is unique and will add an interesting dynamic.” Bob & Bert’s currently has 16 coffee shops across Northern Ireland. In August last year, the company announced plans to open 30 stores across the north, Republic of Ireland and Scotland in the next four years.
Kent-based Turkish restaurant A La Turka to open fourth restaurant, in Ramsgate next month: Kent-based Turkish restaurant A La Turka is to open its fourth site, in Ramsgate next month. Owner Mehmet Dari is opening the venue in Ramsgate harbour on the site of tapas bar The Bench on Monday, 3 September. A La Turka states on its Facebook page: “We are happy we’re expanding our family by opening a new restaurant in Ramsgate. It’s in a beautiful location just a few steps from the beach across the street from the newly renovated Royal Victoria Pavilion.” A La Turka serves dishes originating from Gaziantep, a city and settlement in Turkey’s south eastern region, where Dari grew up, reports Kent Live. A La Turka currently operates two venues in Canterbury and one in Herne Bay.
Wiltshire-based Hop Kettle Brewing Company to open second site, in Swindon: Wiltshire-based Hop Kettle Brewing Company is to open its second site, in Swindon. Planning officers from Swindon Borough Council have approved a bid to convert an upper-floor office in Devizes Road, Old Town, into a bar. Hop Kettle Brewing Company founder Tom Gee said the bar, located above tapas restaurant Los Gatos, would have the feel of a high-end private members’ club. He told the Swindon Advertiser: “We want it to be a relaxing bar with a different feel – definitely not a pub.” The company also operates The Red Lion pub in Cricklade, where Gee first started brewing Hop Kettle beers after he bought the site in 2008, and a brewery on Swindon’s Hawksworth Industrial estate.
AccorHotels on track to install 1,000 urban food gardens by 2020: French hotel group AccorHotels is operating 600 on-site urban food gardens and is on track to hit its target of 1,000 by 2020. The move is part of a commitment the company made in April 2016 to cut food waste by 30%. The pesticide-free gardens supply herbs and vegetables for the company’s restaurants and bars. Thomas Dubaere, AccorHotels chief operating officer for northern Europe, said in a statement: “As a group that produces a lot of food for our guests across the world, it is vital we play our part in reducing waste and investing in sustainable systems.” AccorHotels recently set up beehives on its rooftop garden at Novotel London Tower Bridge, which it said would enable staff to harvest 30kg of honey by the end of 2018. AccorHotels has also committed to planting ten million trees by 2021 through agroforestry and reforestation projects around the world. The company has an estate of 4,500 hotels – 26 UK sites feature urban gardens.
Craft soft drinks company Gunna closes crowdfunding campaign after raising more than £875,000: Craft soft drinks company Gunna has closed its fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube after raising more than £875,000. The company was initially looking to raise £500,000 and was offering 17.54% equity in return for the investment to fund expansion. It has now closed the campaign with 262 investors pledging £876,150. The pitch stated: “The UK soft drinks market was worth £15.2bn in 2017, with 1.4% in market growth. Gunna competes in the carbonates sector, which has more than 30% of the market share. In the same way craft beer has transformed its market, consumer research shows there is an opportunity for craft soft drinks because millennials are looking for great-tasting, healthier and more natural soft drinks. Gunna is currently growing with revenue up 300% versus 2017 (average loss month-on-month in 2017 of £45,000; 2018 average loss of £42,000). It is already stocked in more than 3,500 outlets. Funds raised will be used for trade marketing to drive Gunna into more outlets, recruitment of new sales people and consumer marketing to increase awareness.” Gunna was founded by Melvin Jay, who launched marketing strategy and innovation consultancy Clear Ideas in 2002. Clear Ideas was acquired by M&C Saatchi for £18.4m in 2007.
Loungers opens Chesterfield site: Cafe bar group Loungers, which is backed by Lion Capital, has opened a site in Chesterfield, Derbyshire. The company has launched Sorbo Lounge in the former Chesterfield Post Office building in Market Place, creating 25 jobs. Loungers has invested £500,000 to transform the site into a retro-inspired bar featuring eclectic artwork, oversized vintage sofas and old school benches, reports the Derbyshire Times. The company operates almost 130 venues under its Lounge and Cosy Club brands and is on track to reach 140 sites by the end of the year. Last month, the company launched Tarko Lounge in Barnstaple, Devon. Loungers was founded by friends Dave Reid, Alex Reilley and Jake Bishop in 2002.
Oxfordshire brewer to launch debut micro-pub, in Witney: Oxfordshire-based brewer Oxbrew is to launch its debut micro-pub, at a former charity shop in Witney. The 30-seater venue will open in Langdale Court on Saturday, 18 Augustfeaturing a cold room and kitchen. Oxbrew is the brainchild of step-father and son Simon Scamp and Aaron Baldwin, who operate an eight-barrel brewhouse at Enstone Airfield, near Chipping Norton. The company produces “good-quality craft cask ale, keg beer and bottles”. The venue will add food at a later date but will initially focus on Oxbrew’s own beer and those from other local brewers. Scamp told the Witney Gazette: “We covered a lot of festivals and outdoor events and wanted a permanent base. We could have taken on a pub but this gives us freedom to put our own mark on a place – and we’ve designed it from scratch.”
Bistrot Pierre opens at former Baptist church in Preston: Private equity-backed restaurant group Bistrot Pierre has opened a site in Preston. The restaurant is located in a 19th century Baptist church in Fishergate and has stood in the town centre for almost 160 years. It is the company’s fourth site in the north west. The Fishergate bistro, which has created 50 jobs, seats 164 customers inside and 50 outside. Bistrot Pierre, which currently operates 24 sites, received £9.8m from private equity firm Livingbridge in 2015 to support its expansion plans.
Prestige Purchasing announces board changes: Prestige Purchasing has announced changes to its board, appointing David Kelleher as chief commercial officer. Kelleher brings almost 20 years of purchasing and consulting experience, having previously held director roles with purchasing companies Procure4 and PSL. Meanwhile, commercial director Michael Luke, who Prestige Purchasing said had been integral to the company’s rapid growth during the past five years, has decided to step down from the board and leave the business to focus on new opportunities. Chief executive Shaun Allen said: “I am delighted to welcome David to the leadership team of Prestige. This is an important appointment for the business and David is a perfect fit with our business values and a strong commercial leader capable of driving our ambitious growth plans over the next few years. I would also like to thank Michael for his tremendous support and wish him well for the future.”
Norwich-based coffee shop to open second site: Norwich-based coffee shop Artel is to open its second site. Kieran Harper and Nicole Mitchell launched the concept in Wensum Street three years ago, which with only six seats is one of the country’s smallest coffee shops. Now they will open in London Street on the site of former bistro 67 London Street, which closed in December. The coffee shop will span two floors with seating for up to 60 customers, while the food menu will include an “Australian-inspired brunch”. Mitchell will also operate Artel Studio, which will offer graphic design services and provide a platform for local artists. Most things in the coffee shop will be available to buy, including stools and certain fittings and decorations, reports the Eastern Daily Press.
Harlem-influenced, soul-food street trader Holy Moly Macaroni launches debut site: Harlem-influenced, soul-food street trader Holy Moly Macaroni has opened its debut site. The concept is the brainchild of Birmingham chef Anthony Duffy, who has opened a 1,750 square foot restaurant at the city’s Grand Central shopping centre, opposite Mexican restaurant Tortilla. The menu includes its Uptown Mac dish with wild mushrooms and truffle oil as well as baby-back pork ribs, chicken and waffles, plus a selection of sides and desserts. Until now, Holy Moly Macaroni has been operating at markets and festivals and has also featured at Digbeth Dining Club, reports the Express & Star. The interior of the 60-cover restaurant includes industrial elements and neon lighting.
Altrincham-based Italian restaurant to open second site, in Chester:Altrincham-based Italian restaurant Da Noi is to open a second site, in Chester. The venue will open “this summer” at a site in Bridge Street in the city centre that was formerly occupied by French restaurant La P’tite France, The Chester Chronicle reports. Dai Noi, which is located in Old Market Place, Altrincham, offers party, set, lunch, a la carte and children’s menus. The restaurant offers classic Italian dishes including pasta and pizza alongside wine and cocktails.
Nottinghamshire-based market trader launches debut Japanese cafe and izakaya: Nottinghamshire-based market trader Yuka Mayall has launched a debut Japanese cafe and izakaya, in Beeston. The concept, Sora, has launched in Chilwell Road at a site formerly occupied by Flying Goose Cafe offering tempura, donburi, soba noodles and green-tea ice cream. The venue also offers Japanese-style sandwiches and iced tea and coffee, set meals and dishes such as fried crispy chicken, pumpkin croquettes and panko-covered king prawns. Desserts include mocha – balls of sweet rice dough filled with green tea or yuzu ice cream – alongside homemade cakes and Japanese afternoon tea. Mayall, who operates a market stall in Beeston town centre and has operated pop-ups at a local pub, told Nottinghamshire Live: “This is exactly how I cooked in Japan.”
Whitbread opens £9m Premier Inn and Beefeater restaurant in Gloucester:Whitbread has opened a 104-bedroom Premier Inn and Beefeater restaurant in the Baker Quays development in Gloucester. The company has invested more than £9m in the project and created more than 50 jobs. Baker Quays is part of a wider £60m project to regenerate Gloucester’s docks. Paul Smith, acquisitions manager for the south west at Whitbread, told Gloucester Live: “This marks our first hotel in Gloucester city centre and reflects strong demand for Premier Inn bedrooms from our customers visiting the city on business and leisure trips throughout the year. The hotel is another great example of how Premier Inn can support complex regeneration projects.”
Reading-based independent cafe CUP opens second site: Reading-based independent cafe Coffee Under Pressure (CUP) has opened a second site. Owners Maria Fyssaki and Nasios Nasos have launched the outlet in Blagrave Street, opposite Reading Town Hall, at a site formerly occupied by La Baguette cafe. The new CUP will have 36 seats inside with room for a further 12 outside. The first CUP opened in St Mary’s Butts, next to Reading Minster, in August 2015. As well as coffee, the concept offers 20 varieties of loose-leaf tea and a selection of pastries, pies, salads and wraps, In Your Area reports.