Giggling Squid co-founder to launch new Thai fast-casual concept: Pranee Laurillard, the co-founder of Giggling Squid, is to launch a new Thai fast-casual concept in the new year, called Lime Squeezy Thai Kitchen, Propel has learned. The new venture, which is a separate business to Giggling Squid, will open its first site in the former Wahaca restaurant in Chichester, West Sussex, with an opening scheduled for early February. The new concept will have a lower price-point than Giggling Squid, feature a takeout offer and communal tables. Laurillard, who founded Giggling Squid with her husband Andy in 2009, told Propel: “This is something I have wanted to do for a very long time, even before we launched Giggling Squid. The concept will be more in the fast-casual category, with everything focused on the meal being in one dish. I am very excited to be working on something new and looking forward to launching it next year.” Laurillard believes the concept will have the potential to be rolled out. She added: “My focus is getting everything ready for the first one, but I know there will be opportunities regarding other sites next year, and it is something I will keep my eye on.” In September, Giggling Squid opened its latest site – and biggest to date – in Cambridge. The 150-capacity venue became Giggling Squid’s 36th site. In June, it obtained a £5m loan through Barclays.
Boparan signs Slim Chickens franchise agreement for south west: Boparan Restaurant Group (BRG) is to further roll out its Slim Chickens brand, after entering into a franchise agreement to launch the US concept in south west of England. The company, which last month acquired the bulk of the Gourmet Burger Kitchen business out of administration in a deal valued in excess of £5m, has signed the franchise agreement with KK Restaurants SW, an established franchise operator with a track record in rolling out hospitality brands, including Pizza Hut Delivery and Costa Coffee, in the region. The first restaurant under the new agreement, which will see KK Restaurant open an initial five outlets in the south west, will open in Exeter next month. It is thought this could be a conversion of BRG’s existing Giraffe site in the city’s Princesshay scheme. It will become the tenth opening for Slim Chickens in the UK. Judd Williams, BRG’s franchise director, said: “We are pleased to have secured a franchise partner as experienced as KK Restaurants SW. This supports our ambitious growth plans to roll out the Slim Chickens brand across the UK.” Simon Wright, of KK Restaurants SW, said: “Slim Chickens is a scalable brand with bags of potential and we are delighted to be partnering with BRG to bring better chicken to customers in the south west.” In July, BRG confirmed JRK Restaurants as the first UK franchise partner for Slim Chickens, as it sought to accelerate the growth of the “better chicken” brand. BRG entered into a franchise development agreement with JRK Restaurants under which the new partners will open initially five outlets across the south coast. The first site under the agreement is located within Southampton’s Westquay Shopping Centre. BRG is thought to have a number of sites in various stages of development for Slim Chickens, with further openings believed to be lined up in Reading, Leeds and Sheffield. The brand was founded by Tom Gordon and Greg Smart in 2003 and currently operates more than 100 restaurants in the US.
Lucky Onion founders to launch The Double Red Duke restaurant and hotel in February next year: Sam and Georgie Pearman, founders of The Lucky Onion Group, which they have operated for more than ten years, are launching their biggest opening so far – The Double Red Duke in February 2021. The new site is part of their Country Creatures venture, which specialises in creating restaurants, inns and hotels that focus on great British hospitality. Overseeing the menu at the Cotswolds venue will be Richard Turner, who worked under the likes of the Roux brothers, Pierre Koffmann and Marco Pierre White. Using Turner’s expertise from working at Hawksmoor and Pitt Cue, the menu will focus on cooking over fire, with an open grill at the heart of the kitchen. The venue will have 19 bedrooms with Georgie Pearman leading on interior design at the 17th century coaching inn, which is located east of Oxford and close to Kelmscott. The current restoration project includes the extension of the current building to accommodate hotel bedrooms, a larger dining space and bar, and a garden room that will lead out to gardens and countryside. The Double Red Duke, named after a character from local folklore, will have a 12-seat feasting room, a garden room for 40 people and a 14-seat kitchen counter.
Supper set to see monthly revenue exceed £1.2m in November: London-based premium food delivery service Supper is set to see monthly revenue exceed £1.2m in November. The company, which is aiming to raise £5m as it looks to expand its presence into new international cities, is reportedly “continuing to go from strength to strength”. Venture capital fund Moscar Capital, which led the company’s £1.5m fund-raising round last November, is also leading the latest effort. Supper is looking at launching in cities such as Dubai, Singapore, New York and Monaco. The business currently has 130 restaurants on its platform, and this number has been steadily growing by 10% each month. It also has around 61,000 registered customers, a figure that is increasing by 1,500 per month. Founded by Peter Georgiou in 2015, Supper uses a fleet of specially adapted scooters and directly employed drivers to cater for the premium end of the market, setting it apart from sector heavyweights such as Deliveroo and UberEats. It currently works with restaurants including Zuma, Hide and Roka.
Dirty Bones launches sister delivery brand and kerbside pick-up: US comfort food and cocktails brand Dirty Bones has launched a sister delivery brand and kerbside pick-up service. Dirty Wings delivers American-style wings, fried chicken and buns across the capital. The menu, launched on Deliveroo in the first instance, includes popcorn bites, crispy fried chicken thighs and half and full buckets of wings in five different flavours. There are also American-style desserts and shakes as well as its cocktails in pre-mixed pouches, ready to pour at home. Meanwhile, Dirty Bones has converted its street-side burger hatch at its Kensington site into a 1950s-style kerbside pick-up. Customers are able to order New York-inspired burgers as well as its Dirty Vegan plant-based patty and dishes from the Dirty Wings menu. Dirty Bones co-founder Cokey Sulkin said: “We wanted to bring something new to the party in what’s been a tricky time for all. We’ve developed a new concept that celebrates our key messages – good food and good times. The Dirty Wings and kerbside launches are fun and quirky at their very core.”
Chef Mark Hix to open first pub: Chef Mark Hix will open his first pub, The Fox Inn in the historic hamlet of Corscombe, Dorset, when lockdown is lifted in December. The pub was bought by local residents Eva and the late Ray Harvey in 2012 to save it from being turned into housing and to preserve the hamlet’s history. Located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the grade II-listed building is just four miles from Beaminster and 40 minutes from Hix’s fish and seafood restaurant in Lyme Regis, which opened in July. Hix said: “The owners of the pub have been family friends for many years. When they offered me the lease, I thought it could be a great opportunity, despite these uncertain times that we are in. It will be my first pub so it’s an exciting new project for me in the countryside where I’ll be serving local meat and game along with some British pub classics, a contrast to the fish and seafood offering in Lyme. With all the challenges that we are facing now, it’s great to be able to focus on an exciting new project. It’s important to me that I keep The Fox as a traditional local pub with great food and drink. Since lockdown in spring, the pub has only been open three days a week, so I am looking forward to opening six days a week for the locals and visitors to the area to enjoy once more.” The pub will feature The Fox Room and Bill’s Garden Room, named after Hix’s late grandfather, which will seat 35 covers serving local seasonal food. Hix said after a small refurbishment next spring, The Fox will also offer overnight stays at its two double rooms.
Ivan Simeoli to launch seafood restaurant Crudo in Brick Lane: Chef and restaurateur Ivan Simeoli will open seafood restaurant, speakeasy bar and a fishmonger on Brick Lane called Crudo. The east London site will open for a soft launch on Friday, 4 December, and is the latest opening from Simeoli who opened Laboratorio Pizza, also in Brick Lane, in March. Crudo will have its restaurant and fish shop on the ground floor with the secret cocktail bar on a lower level, with a side door entrance on Hanbury Street. The restaurant menu includes a selection of shellfish and tempura plus small and large plates. The Sea Bun section offers dishes such as fried octopus with crispy black cabbage, black olives and mayo; tuna tartare with burrata, caper mayo and spicy tomatoes; iced prawn with fior di latte, crunchy bacon and basil mayo; and salmon and ricotta with garlic oil, courgetti, iceberg and dried tomatoes. The soft launch runs from 4 December until 12 December and customers will be entitled to 50% off food.
Clove Club team announces permanent closure of Two Lights restaurant:American concept Two Lights, which was operated by the team behind The Clove Club, has announced its permanent closure. The Shoreditch site, which was led by chef Chase Lovecky and opened in 2018, made the announcement on Instagram. It read: “Guests, family and friends of Two Lights, it is with great sadness we announce the closure of the restaurant. Like so many of our peers from the first lockdown in March, we have had huge obstacles to try and overcome and, unfortunately, the recent curfew, tier restrictions and this second lockdown have finally made the continuation of the restaurant untenable. We’ll see you on the other side.”
Lincoln & York continues to trade profitability throughout pandemic: Coffee sourcing, roasting and packaging company Lincoln & York has said the business has continued to trade profitability throughout the coronavirus pandemic and will emerge “leaner but stronger”. It comes as the business reported an increase in sales and profit before tax along with its parent company. Turnover at Lincoln & York rose circa 10% to £42.5m for the year ending 31 January 2020, compared with £38.4m the year before. Operating profit was up to £5.7m compared with £4.7m the previous year, while pre-tax profit increased 21% to £5.5m compared with £4.6m the year before. Accounts for its parent company Elsham Wold Estates revealed turnover rose to £48.7m, compared with £45.9m the previous year. Operating profit was up to £6.2m compared with £5.3m the year before, while pre-tax profit rose to £5.9m, compared with £5m the previous year. Lincoln & York supplies the out-of-home, foodservice, specialist retail, contingency, wholesale, vending and export markets. In their report accompanying the accounts, directors stated: “We are quite confident the business is in good shape financially and in terms of our capability of taking advantage of any opportunities that may arise as a result of covid-19 and, while there may be tricky times in the coming months or years, we are in a good place to navigate it and we fully intend to do so. While the future is uncertain, we have continued to trade profitably throughout, and have maintained cash reserves. We will come out of this epidemic leaner but stronger. As a business that has spent the past 20 years focusing on the out-of-home and foodservice markets, we have naturally been affected and so next year’s results are unlikely to be as attractive.”
Gastro-pub the Pony & Trap to open second site in Bristol: Michelin-starred Pony & Trap will open a second site, in south Bristol. Josh Eggleton, chef and owner of the award-winning original in Chew Magna, near Bristol, also operates Root and Salt & Malt at Cargo, The Kensington Arms in Redland and Yurt Lush next to Temple Meads. The highly rated gastro-pub, co-run by Josh’s sister Holly Eggleton, is known for its ever-changing seasonal menu that sources its food locally yet attracts diners from across the country. The new site will be in North Street but there are no details on its opening date. An Instagram post read: “We are opening a second restaurant in south Bristol. Details coming soon… ”
UK’s first vegan poké bar opens: The UK’s first vegan poké bar has opened – as a street food truck, in Bournemouth. Hoke Poké is located in the car park of vegan junk food restaurant Plant Hustlers. Hoke Poké offers a selection of plant-based poké bowls with vegan replicas of salmon, prawns and chicken. Plant Hustler has also undergone an extensive rebrand over the past few months including a change of name, having previously been known as Dirty Vegans. Aaron Bryans, who is behind both concepts, said their ethos is centred on “ethical practices, inspiring people about the joys of vegan food and eating consciously – whether they’re plant-based or not”.
Maray launches ‘at-home’ boxes: Liverpool-based Middle Eastern-inspired restaurant and cocktail bar concept Maray has launched “at-home” boxes with delivery available across the UK. They feature a selection of mezze, a DIY falafel kit, lamb kofta or aubergine shawarma, dessert and “optional treats from the bar”. A selection of wine and ready-to-mix cocktails can be bolted on to orders. Co-founder Tom White told The Guide Liverpool: “We’ve road-tested loads of boxes from across the UK and have loved the attention to detail and experience, especially from the likes of Sabor, Arabica and Elite Bistros. Gary Usher from Elite went as far as inviting us into the kitchen to see how they put their boxes together. We’ve had such great support from our customers and community, so we really hope these boxes bring a bit of a smile back to people’s faces over the next few weeks. We’ve tried to pour as much Maray into them as possible, from the second you tear off the tape, we want you to enjoy yourself.” Maray, which is backed by Rosa’s Thai Cafe founders Alex and Saiphin Moore, operates restaurants in the Albert Dock, Allerton and Bold Street.