EAT appoints new executive chef: Fresh food-to-go retailer EAT has appointed Arnaud Kaziewicz as executive chef. French-born Kaziewicz was a MasterChef: The Professionals finalist in 2016 and has worked in some of the UK’s most renowned Michelin-starred restaurants. Kaziewicz said: “I am excited to join the EAT team to make our food great again. For me, this is an opportunity to get back to basics – simple, fresh ingredients combined to be eaten and enjoyed and always seasoned perfectly. High-street retail doesn’t have to be about mass production, it should be based on home-cooked food.” EAT marketing director Holly Oades added: “Arnaud brings a wealth of culinary knowledge, global travels and experience in food development to ensure EAT is a serious contender on the high street.” The company will also launch a new salad range on Wednesday, 25 April and has bolstered its baguette offering. The new salads will include Mexican guacamole and quinoa, and sweet pepper chicken. EAT operates more than 100 sites across the UK after launching in London in 1996.
HSBC – Whitbread shares now fair value: The two hedge funds that have bought stakes in Whitbread have caused the company share price to lift to fair value, analysts at HSBC have argued. The bank has downgraded the stock to ‘Hold’ after the recent rally, although the price target has been held at 4,800p. HSBC believes Costa Coffee and Whitbread’s hotel chain Premier Inn are both past their peak and face competitive and macro pressures. Analysts said: “Up to 2015, Costa enjoyed supernormal returns as it benefited from its first-mover advantage and limited competitive pressures. The market has since caught on to the growth in coffee consumption and competition is hitting the company from all directions – from direct peers with Starbucks and Nero upping their game on roll-out, refit, range and technology; from budget operators (Greggs, JD Wetherspoon, McDonald’s) improving coffee quality; and from premium peers rolling out in dense areas.”
Oodles Chinese opens fourth site, plans ten more by 2020: A noodle bar brand is to open its largest restaurant to date, in Derby this week. Oodles Chinese will open in Normanton Road at a site formerly occupied by Ismails Steakhouse on Saturday (21 April). It will be the brand’s fourth restaurant in the Midlands after opening two outlets in Leicester and one in Birmingham. The business specialises in freshly-made Indo Chinese cuisine. Customers can choose Chinese, Malaysian, Manchurian, Singapore and Thai dishes from the menu, which are served in small, medium or large boxes to eat in or take away. Mohammed Umar, founder and chief executive of Oodles Chinese, said: “Our arrival in Derby is one of the most exciting milestones for the Oodles Chinese brand and we are delighted to be here. We have really pushed ourselves to break into new ways of thinking and try innovative solutions we’ve never implemented before during the renovation of our biggest store to date. We are delighted with the end result. We are looking forward to introducing some unique Indo-Chinese food in what we feel is a real food experience for Derby residents.” The Derby opening will come only two months after the company opened its Birmingham restaurant. Its management team is now targeting ten more openings by 2020, creating more than 200 jobs.
Safestay has ‘real momentum’ as it continues UK and European growth: Larry Lipman, chairman of London-headquartered hostel operator Safestay, has told Propel the company has “real momentum” as it continues its growth in the UK and Europe. The company saw revenue at its four UK sites grow 15% to £8.5m for the year ending 31 December 2017, with like-for-likes up 13.5% to 74%. Total revenue increased 43% to £10.5m, while adjusted Ebitda was up to £3.2m compared with £2.2m the previous year. Loss before tax increased to £0.87m due to increased finance costs, compared with £0.47m the year before. The company completed the refinancing of its Elephant & Castle and Edinburgh hostels raising £11.4m of gross cash proceeds. The company agreed a new £18.4m five-year secured debt facility with HSBC to replace its existing bank loan and two convertible loans, in addition significantly reducing the cost of borrowings. Lipman said: “We have real momentum in the business and having a lot of fun at the same time. The whole vibe of hostels has changed – it’s no longer about single 20-year-olds staying in dirty rooms but families who are looking for decent accommodation at a budget price. Where else can you stay for £20 a night in Holland Park, London? We have a fantastic, competitive proposition. We’re confident 2018 will overshadow 2017. We’re keen to grow in both the UK and Europe but it has to be the right deal. 2018 has started well from a trading perspective and we have continued the portfolio’s expansion with the acquisition of a third hostel in Barcelona. We are looking forward to benefiting from a full year’s contribution from the assets we have acquired and completing the investment projects we have under way.” Safestay’s UK portfolio consists of two sites in London and one each in Edinburgh and York. It also has six European sites, including Lisbon, Paris and Prague.
Healthy rotisserie chicken concept Cocotte to open third London site, on Monday: Healthy rotisserie chicken concept Cocotte is to open a third site in London. The 60-cover restaurant will open across two floors of a site in Hoxton Square on Monday (23 April), with a terrace overlooking the square. The concept is inspired by French farm-to-table eating. Cocotte marinates its chickens for 24 hours in a secret recipe of herbs and spices. Chicken is available whole or by the half or quarter to eat in or take away alongside salad, sides and seven homemade sauces. The new restaurant’s drinks list will include independently sourced French wine and an extensive cocktail range. The decor will feature marble table tops, while the rooms will be adorned with ivy and other live plants. Cocette’s menu was created by chef and co-founder Romain Bourrillon, who has worked in a number of Michelin-starred restaurants. Cocotte launched its debut venue in Notting Hill in April 2016 and has a delivery-only site in Battersea.
Beirut-based The Lebanese Bakery heads to UK for second site: Beirut-based The Lebanese Bakery is heading to the UK for its second site. Brothers Samer and Bassam Chamoun will open the site in Covent Garden next month. The restaurant, based in Drury House in Russell Street, will seat about 30 but will also offer takeaway. The venue will specialise in manousheh (Lebanese flatbread) with toppings such as za’atar, cheese and chopped tomatoes. All food will be cooked in a traditional Arabic basalt rock oven, reports Hot Dinners.
7Bone Burger Co opens ninth site: 7Bone Burger Co, which is backed by Kings Park Capital, has opened its ninth site, this time in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset. The brand’s other sites are in Southampton, Bournemouth, Camberley, Reading, Newbury, Eastbourne, Hove and Portsmouth. 7Bone has become the eighth unit to open at the multimillion-pound Dolphin Square development following Prezzo, PizzaExpress, Nando’s, Cineworld, Whitbread-owned Costa Coffee, Anytime Fitness and The Rank Group’s bingo cafe concept Luda. Brazilian rodizio brand Preto and Mexican bar and restaurant Loco Mexicano have also broken ground but official opening dates have yet to be announced.
North west operator acquires third Robinsons pub, in Ashton-under-Lyme: North west-based operator Jonny Booth has acquired his third pub with brewer and retailer Robinsons. Booth has partnered with Paul Montegrande to reopen the Prince Of Orange in Ashton-under-Lyme following a joint investment with Robinsons. The venue, which now has a “beer and bagels” focus, was the 58th pub to be purchased by Robinsons and was acquired in April 1921. The spirit of the Victorian era is evident in the new look, with fixed furniture in the shape and form of a Victorian train platform and polished oak benches fitted against the windows. The beer and bagels menu encompasses four craft and eight cask ales. Hot bagels come with fillings such as barbecue pulled pork, chicken and the Mexican Wave, which combines barbecue pulled jackfruit, cheese, nachos, jalapenos and sour cream. Booth said: “Each meat-based bagel has a vegan counterpart so nobody has to miss out. Our food offering is a point of difference and something we are really proud of.” Booth also runs The Castle in Manchester and The Bakers Vaults in Stockport.
Bun House And Tea Room founders to open Soho hatch serving Chinese street food: Bun House and Tea Room founders Alex Peffly and Z He will open a hatch in Soho on Monday (23 April) serving jian bing, a street food dish popular in China. The duo will launch Pleasant Lady Jian Bing Trading Stall in Greek Street serving the traditional crispy skin crepes, which are stuffed with savoury fillings, folded and wrapped. Inspired by their travels around China, Pleasant Lady will use the flavours of He’s native Canton on its concise menu. Jian bing will be made fresh to order, cooked on a traditional hot plate and served once the batter has crisped and turned golden brown. Topped with a fried egg and fresh vegetables and layered with fiery tomato sauce, jian bing will come with a choice of pork, lamb or chicken, with house-made soy milk and soft drinks completing the menu. He said: “I have been dreaming of jian bing ever since I moved to London – it’s probably what I miss most. It’s taken a lot of late nights at the hot plate but we’re excited for Londoners to try our version.”
Fireaway to open third site, first with seating: Fast pizza brand Fireaway, which cooks pizza in 150 seconds, is to open a third site, this time in Thornton Heath, south London. Owner Mario Aleppo confirmed the new eatery in Brigstock Road would be the brand’s first dine-in restaurant. He said: “We opened the first one in Sutton 23 months ago and have since opened one in Streatham, but this will be our first one with seating as the other two are mainly takeaway and delivery. We use an old Italian pizza recipe from my grandmother’s home city Naples, which we brought over to be used in a subway-style layout where people can design their own pizza from 25 toppings, four bases and four cheeses. We then fast-fire in our oven for 150 seconds.” The restaurant takes the place of Brigstock Cafe and is expected to open at the end of this month.
Former Claude Bosi protégé acquires hotel for second site: Former Claude Bosi protégé Andrew Jones and wife Hannah Springham have acquired a hotel for their second site. The couple, who opened Farmyard Restaurant in St Benedict’s Street, Norwich, in 2017, have bought The Dial House in Reepham from Iain Wilson for an undisclosed fee. They will take over the boutique hotel next month with Jones dividing his time between the two sites as executive chef. Springham, a television executive producer, will launch wedding and party company Marigold Events at The Dial House. Jones worked at top London restaurants including Corrigan’s of Mayfair and Claude Bosi’s The Fox And Grapes in Wimbledon Common before the couple moved to Reepham in 2015. He told the Eastern Daily Press that after opening Farmyard there was always a plan to add additional sites. They had pencilled in early 2019 for expansion but The Dial House was an opportunity they “could not miss out on”.
Peak District-based Bradfield Brewery acquires second pub: Peak District-based Bradfield Brewery has acquired the King & Miller in Deepcar, near Sheffield, for its second pub. The property was available at offers in the region of £195,000 through agents Everard Cole. The pub features an open plan bar that provides about 50 covers and also offers a games area, separate function room, kitchen and three-bedroom accommodation. Family-run Bradfield Brewery is based on a working farm in the Peak District in the village of Bradfield. Using natural spring water from its own borehole, it produces a range of cask-conditioned real ale. Its brewery pub – The Nags Head – is a mile from the farm. Everard Cole director Jon Heald said: “The King & Miller is an attractive pub with enormous potential and we received terrific interest from a number of operators. The Bradfield Brewery team produces some fantastic ales and we’re confident it will make the pub a great success.”
Former Wetherspoon pub in Newport to reopen this week: A former JD Wetherspoon pub in Newport, South Wales, will reopen under new ownership this week. The Tom Toya Lewis in Commercial Street was one of 45 premises the company put on the market in 2017. It was briefly taken off the market before being put back up for sale via auction in February this year. The pub has been bought by Warrington-based Close Community, which was incorporated in September 2017. The company is not planning to change the name above the door. The Tom Toya Lewis will reopen for business on Friday (20 April). Deputy manager Alison Harrison said: “I worked here when it was a Wetherspoon pub and I’m so happy they’re reopening and keeping the same name. We’ve been working with a local historian to find authentic pictures of Tom Toya Lewis so we will be able to celebrate his story and present a bit of an exhibition to customers. It’s such a community pub and we have so many regulars – we couldn’t be more excited to open.” Tom “Toya” Lewis was the teenage hero of the 1909 Newport docks disaster.
Aprirose puts Connah’s Quay pub on the market: Investment firm Aprirose has put The Halfway House pub in Connah’s Quay in Wales on the market, with an asking price of £600,000. The Church Street pub is currently owned by Milton Pubs and Taverns, a company formed by Aprirose, which acquired it along with 72 other sites from Mitchells & Butlers. It is being marketed by agents Fleurets.
Coach House Inns secures funding to add accommodation pods to Herefordshire gastro-pub: Coach House Inns has secured funding to add five accommodation pods to The Riverside gastro-pub in Aymestrey, Herefordshire. The 16th century former coaching inn has been transformed into an award-winning venue known for its sustainable ethos and food. The hexagonal, one-bedroom pods will open in October in the gardens of the main site. The en-suite pods, which will take the number of rooms at The Riverside to 11, will include stand-alone roll-top baths, wet rooms, electric car-charging points, and terraces, some with a hot tub. Coach House Inns, led by Harry Lewis, operates three sites – the others are The Manor Arms Inn in Abberley in Worcestershire and The Fox & Hounds in Llancarfan in South Wales – while a fourth venue is set to open in the “coming weeks”.
Bristol-based operators open second site: Bristol-based operators Ben Harvey and Dominic Borel have opened their second site in the city. The cousins, who launched Pasta Loco in Cotham Hill in July 2016, have opened Pasta Ripiena in St Stephen’s Street. The new restaurant is half the size of Pasta Loco with 22 covers and features an open kitchen, reports Bristol Live. The site was once part of Mr Wolf’s nightclub and bar, which Harvey and Borel used to visit in their youth. The menu at Ripiena, which means “stuffed pasta” in Italian, includes confit duck tortellini with celeriac puree, caramelised endive and Pedro Ximenez, and black truffle, porcini and ricotta mezzaluna. Drinks include a short wine list as well as cocktails, spritzers and aperitifs.
Buzzworks starts recruiting for 70 roles at new marina restaurant: Buzzworks Holdings has started a recruitment drive to fill 70 positions at its new Scotts Bar & Restaurant, which will open at Port Edgar Marina in South Queensferry this summer. Buzzworks was recently named in the top Best Companies to Work for in 2018 list for a third year running. Buzzworks Holdings managing director Kenny Blair said: “We place a real emphasis on our team of staff and this is a great opportunity for like-minded individuals to grow and develop with us as we launch Scotts in the east.” Buzzworks Holdings currently operates ten sites. In February, Blair told Propel the Ayrshire-based company was looking to “flex its model slightly” as it grew the business, with more of a focus on drink and accommodation.
New all-day brasserie inspired by Tel Aviv cafe culture opens in Hampstead: A new all-day brasserie inspired by the cafe culture of Tel Aviv has opened in Hampstead, north London. Café Hampstead has launched in Rosslyn Hill on the site of the former Rosslyn Arms pub. The ground floor has 50 covers while the first floor has a cocktail bar that can accommodate up to 40 guests. The modern Middle Eastern menu is designed for sharing, with dishes using ingredients sourced locally where possible and changing regularly according to the season. Small plates include lamb ragu with tahini, fresh oregano and pitta; and fried calamari with harissa and aioli dip. Larger dishes include lamb cutlets on Jerusalem artichoke purée; and marinated prawn kebab with Moroccan spices, harissa, aioli and salad. Wine from Europe and Israel complement the dishes alongside a “skin” variety sourced from New Zealand. Breakfast is served daily with dishes including scrambled eggs and smoked salmon. The cocktail bar offers a concise drinks list of classics and house variations using ingredients and spices such as cardamom and arak, a Levantine anise-flavoured spirit.
Cheese-inspired street food trader Raclette Brothers to open permanent site at Pop Brixton: London-based, cheese-inspired street food trader Raclette Brothers is to open a permanent home in the capital next week. The company will open Alpine-themed restaurant Alpes at Pop Brixton on Tuesday (24 April). The company said its restaurant would be the first in London to serve raclette – a dish of melted cheese poured over meat, potatoes and pickles using a traditional heating machine. Waiters will offer traditional Raclette de Savoie or Bermondsey Raclette cheese from Borough Market’s Kappacasein dairy. Diners will also be able to enjoy traditional tartiflette – a French-style cheesy potato bake – and fondues ranging from daily changing British cheese to a mixed Blue Fondue. Lighter bites will include charred asparagus with butter bean hummus and rosti balls with homemade sauerkraut, reports The Evening Standard.
YO! Sushi offers free ‘carb-loaded’ dishes to London Marathon runners: YO! Sushi is offering free “carb-loaded” dishes to anyone taking part in this weekend’s London Marathon. The Marathon Menu is available at select YO! Sushi stores in the capital until Saturday (21 April). The dishes are pumpkin katsu curry, which is full of vitamins and antioxidants to boost performance; chicken chahan (protein to help rebuild muscles); albacore truffle ponzu (low-fat, high-protein fish); and vegetable yakisoba (carbohydrates and vegetables). Participants have to show their registration email or letter for London Marathon 2018 with their runner’s number to receive a free meal. YO! Sushi operates almost 100 restaurants in eight countries, with the majority in the UK. The company is owned by Mayfair Equity Partners and serves seven million customers a year.
Heineken reports UK first-quarter volume drop, growth elsewhere: Heineken has reported volumes in the UK were down “mid-single-digits” in its first quarter as an early Easter was more than offset by colder weather. Overall, consolidated beer volume was up 4.3% organically, with growth in Asia Pacific, Americas and Africa, Middle East and Eastern Europe more than offsetting lower volume in Europe. Heineken volume was up 8.1% driven by Brazil, South Africa, Russia, Nigeria, Italy, Mexico and Vietnam. Jean-François van Boxmeer, chairman of the executive board and chief executive, said: “Performance in the first quarter was in line with expectations, with volume growth benefiting from an earlier timing of Easter this year and a slow start last year. The Heineken brand grew by 8.1% and we saw continued growth momentum in key markets around the world. In Europe, volumes were negatively impacted by cold weather across the region. Our full-year guidance remains unchanged.”
Mystery rebrands Swarovski’s flagship restaurant: Upscale jewellery chain Swarovski has had its flagship restaurant at the Swarovski Crystal Worlds museum in Wattens, Austria, rebranded by Mystery. The agency’s project at the Daniels Kristallwelten restaurant encompassed all graphic design elements, including brand identity, menus, visitor panels, eat-in and takeaway restaurant materials, signage, uniforms and marketing collateral. The restaurant has reopened offering an international all-day menu and separate, smaller lounge zones to give the area more structure while sticking to the original concept of a single space. Views of the alpine landscape and the garden remain a big attraction. Mystery managing director Steve Sharp said: “This sort of opportunity rarely presents itself and it’s been an amazing experience to be part of the ongoing development of such an iconic brand. We’re looking forward to continuing our partnership with several other projects.” The museum was built in 1995 to celebrate the Austrian company’s 100th anniversary