The Alchemist secures two new central London sites: The Alchemist, which is backed by Palatine Private Equity, has secured two new central London sites. The company will add to its Bevis Marks venue in the capital with openings in Covent Garden and Shoreditch. The first venue is set to open in St Martins Lane, Covent Garden, in November. The bar and restaurant will undergo a £1.6m investment and extend over 6,966 square feet, accommodating 72 covers. Following a £1.3m investment, the second venue will open in Old Street, Shoreditch, in March 2019. The new bar and restaurant will span 4,456 square feet and accommodate 76 covers with an outdoor area hosting an additional 28. The sites’ interior design will follow The Alchemist’s trademark “copper-cased wonderland” look, with interiors featuring a palette of amber, copper and red accompanied by unique and gothic artwork. Meanwhile, in keeping with the evolved style of The Alchemist, its Bevis Marks venue will undergo a £280,000 refurbishment, closing on Monday, 6 August before reopening a fortnight later. Managing director Simon Potts said: “We are delighted to finally announce these London venues. It has been a long time coming but we feel incredibly lucky to have secured two fantastic locations. St Martins Lane and Old Street are both vibrant and intriguing areas and offer a fantastically diverse drinking and dining scene. Overall, the locations feel a perfect fit. London is obviously a competitive market but following the success of Bevis Marks, we are confident we can offer a memorable and immersive experience. Customers at our existing site will see a real difference in our offering and design as we aim to elevate our venues with each launch, and these will be no different. We cannot wait to open the doors and put more Alchemist stamps across the city of London.”
ETM Group to make transport hub debut with London Bridge venue: ETM Group, the 14-strong bar and restaurant company, is to make its move into transport hubs with a debut train station site next year. The company will launch Redwood, a two-storey pub, next to The Shard at London Bridge. On the ground floor, the 2,000 square foot pub will offer a British brasserie-style menu, while the bar will dispense tank beer from large overhanging copper tanks alongside a large selection of classic wine, botanical cocktails and artisan spirits. Outside, the 54-cover, heated alfresco terrace will offer grab-and-go snacks from a custom-built service hatch, while the mezzanine floor will house a 1,700 square foot sports lounge. Ed Martin, co-founder and chief executive of ETM Group, said: “We are excited to bring Redwood to London Bridge and be part of the exciting redevelopment of one of London’s busiest stations. The opening of our pub, restaurant and sports lounge, Greenwood, in Victoria’s Nova development has been a great success and proves there is a huge appetite for experience-led venues that deliver on quality food, drink and sport.” Redwood is opening following the £1bn redevelopment of London Bridge station, which has seen a range of improvements including a huge new concourse, modern facilities, two new entrances in Tooley Street, and 15 fully accessible platforms. It will also see 92,000 square feet of new retail space and more than 70 units – the most in a Network Rail station. ETM Group recently secured £10m funding from HSBC to support its growth plans and in the next 12 months plans to open at least three venues, including Maple at Westfield next month. With a strong pipeline of additional sites in place, ETM Group said it plans to expand significantly during the next five years.
Corbin & King to make regional debut, at Bicester Village: London-based restaurant group Corbin & King is to make its regional debut this month. The company will open an all-day cafe in Bicester Village, Oxfordshire. Cafe Wolseley will open at the designer outlet shopping centre near Oxford towards the end of the month. Taking reference from the company’s flagship site in Mayfair, Cafe Wolseley will also offer an all-day menu in the grand European tradition, consisting of Wolseley favourites plus new elements, reports City AM. The new location will also offer a takeaway service and have a dedicated space for The Wolseley’s retail collections. Items for sale will include crystal glass, antique silver, bespoke hampers and luxury food. Since meeting in the 1970s, Chris Corbin and Jeremy King have gone on to build a portfolio of restaurants that includes The Delauney in Aldwych, Brasserie Zedel in Soho, Fischer’s in Marylebone and Bellanger in Islington. They will open their ninth London site, in St John’s Wood later this year. The partners sold a majority stake in the business to Thai hotelier Minor Hotels for £58m in December last year. Bicester Village features more than 160 high-end stores and welcomed 6.6 million visitors in 2016.
Former Domino’s Pizza director turned Papa John’s franchisee outlines plans for 20 sites: Former Domino’s Pizza regional operations director turned Papa John’s franchisee Amit Abhol has outlined plans to open 20 stores by 2020. Abhol, who operates four sites having opened his latest in Solihull in the West Midlands and acquired three stores at the end of 2017, said: “I will add a further five Papa John’s to my portfolio in 2018 and aim to be running a minimum of 20 within three years. These are likely to be a mixture of new and existing stores. With about 350 UK stores there is still so much potential to grow with the company and, as a result, I am joining at just the right time!” Abhol previously worked at Domino’s, based out of Northern Ireland, working his way up from taking phone orders to regional operations director in 15 years. He added: “In my previous role I was able to increase revenues of stores – some by more than 500% – and the knowledge and experience I bring to the table in terms of providing an excellent customer experience will be a key ingredient in our success.”
Tom Kerridge reveals name of first London restaurant: Two Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge has named his first London restaurant Kerridge’s Bar & Grill. The “British brasserie” will open on the ground floor of the five-star, 283-bedroom Corinthia Hotel in Whitehall in September, replacing Massimo restaurant. Kerridge’s career to date has focused on pubs in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, where he operates two-Michelin-starred The Hand And Flowers, Michelin-starred The Coach and The Butcher’s Tap, a joint venture with Greene King. Kerridge’s Bar & Grill will have 90 covers and its own bar. The focus will be on a rotisserie bar roasting meat, fish and vegetables in front of diners. Fridges will line the wall showcasing meat supplied by The Butcher’s Tap. The venue will also feature a glass cellar by the entrance and an 18-cover private dining room with its own open kitchen. Kerridge told the Evening Standard: “We are looking forward to doing what we do best – quality British cooking that is modern and exciting.” Corinthia Hotel London managing director Thomas Kochs added: “When we met Tom, we knew he was the perfect partner to open a restaurant with. We admire his approach to food, restaurants and his spirit of hospitality. I am confident we will create an incredible dining experience.”
Swansea-based Burger King franchisee Unionburger secures ninth site, two more to follow: Swansea-based Burger King franchisee Unionburger has secured its ninth Welsh site – in Newport. The company, run by brother and sister Chris Baker and Kim Jenkins will open the drive-thru at Newport Leisure Park after agreeing a deal with the park’s owner, Otium Real Estate, through agent Cooke & Arkwright. Having been handed over for the fit-out, it is anticipated the outlet will open on Monday, 30 July creating about 40 jobs. Unionburger has been operating since 1983. Its last acquisition was in Commercial Street, Newport, which it acquired in September 2015. Further Burger King drive-thrus are scheduled for the Trostre area of Llanelli and in Barry. Baker said: “We are excited to be opening our second restaurant in Newport. This unit will be our first drive-thru built to the new Burger King specification. The city is developing at a rapid pace, with growth in retail and residential sectors. The sheer number of new homes being built in the surrounding area gives us every confidence this new restaurant will be a worthy addition to our portfolio.” Cooke & Arkwright director Huw Thomas said: “The new venture will be Unionburger’s ninth in Wales – further driving its expansion in the region. We are keen to acquire other sites along the M4 corridor in South Wales and the border areas.”
Cookie dough concept Naked Dough to launch third site, in Camden:Cookie dough concept Naked Dough is to launch its third site, at Camden Market on Friday, 20 July. Naked Dough moved from operating a number of pop-ups in the capital to opening permanent kiosks at Intu Lakeside in Essex and Westfield London. Alongside Instagrammable, egg-free raw cookie dough, the concept offers dough milk, shakes and ice cream. Permanent flavours include Unicorn Food, Nak-Ed Sheeran and Buttery Biscuit Base. Naked Dough joins other recent additions to Camden Market, including poke bowl concept Lords of Poke, while Yolk Breaker, which focuses on egg bun sandwiches, will arrive in early July.
MasterChef: The Professionals runner-up Marianne Lumb to leave self-titled Notting Hill restaurant: MasterChef: The Professionals runner-up Marianne Lumb is to leave her Notting Hill restaurant Marianne, which she launched in 2013. The venue, however, will remain open. At the time of its launch, the restaurant in Chepstow Road was branded “London’s smallest fine dining restaurant”, featuring only five tables. However, Lumb tweeted: “It has been an incredible five years and I leave the business in a very healthy place. It’s time for my hard-working, dedicated team to step up to the plate.” A reply from the restaurant stated: “Marianne plans to cook and travel in Asia and we can’t wait to see what she gets up to.” Lumb, who trained at restaurants including Gravetye Manor, The River Café and Le Gavroche, was runner-up in the BBC television series in 2009, the same year she published her first book, Kitchen Knife Skills’.
Amber Taverns sells Scunthorpe pub to London-based investment group: Community pub operator Amber Taverns has sold The Penny Bank in Scunthorpe for £200,000 to a London-based investment group. The new operators of the High Street pub, under a leasehold agreement with the Cartlidge Morland Group, will be a company called Portcullis Pubco. Director Andrew Cartlidge stressed The Penny Bank would remain a community pub with manager Shaun Smith at the helm. The new operators have promised to invest in the 30-year-old business, with plans for an on-site restaurant. Cartlidge told Grimsby Live: “It is a lively, established and successful venue with an emphasis on sports, entertainment, good value, quality service and most of all enjoyment. Over time it is intended to add a distinct food offering.” Amber Taverns sold the freehold following a strategic review of the business. The pub was originally opened as The Mint by local publican Mick Pogson following the conversion of a former Barclays and Yorkshire Bank branch. It later traded as the Bishop Blaize before taking its present name.
Mad Squirrel increases equity offer in £250,000 crowdfunding campaign: Hertfordshire-based brewer and retailer Mad Squirrel has increased the equity offer in its £250,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to expand its craft beer shop estate. The Hertfordshire-based company, founded by Greg Blesson and Jason Duncan-Anderson, is now offering 2.95% equity instead of the original 1.93% in return for the investment. So far, 147 investors have pledged £100,760 with 13 days remaining. Mad Squirrel plans to use the funds to expand its craft beer shop estate and recently secured its sixth site, in Harpenden. It aims to add another this year, with plans for three more by 2020. The pitch states: “We recently installed a state-of-the-art brewery and have shown 180% growth in three years. We operate five Mad Squirrel Craft Beer outlets in commuter belt towns, with moving annual total revenues up 45%. Our taprooms have built a positive reputation for great beer and education – this has created cordial relationships with the authorities. Our strategy of opening more wet-led Mad Squirrel taprooms is focused on current consumer trends for great beer and value for money. Market insights show food-biased outlets are experiencing a decline in revenues compared with wet-led outlets showing a renaissance.” Mad Squirrel, then trading as Red Squirrel Group, raised more than £665,000 on Crowdcube in 2016 to expand its brewery and craft beer shop estate.
Kitty Fisher’s team to open second restaurant, next month: The team behind Kitty Fisher’s in Mayfair is to launch its second restaurant, Cora Pearl, in Covent Garden next month. Owners Tom Mullion, Oliver Milburn and Tim Steel will launch the venue on Tuesday, 10 July in Henrietta Street. Following the narrative of its sister restaurant, Cora Pearl is named after a celebrated British-born courtesan. Originally from Covent Garden, Pearl became the party queen of Paris. The trio said the restaurant would “reflect the drama and excitement of her glamorous demi-monde life”. The restaurant will seat 60 covers over two floors of a historic townhouse. The interiors will be influenced by Pearl’s era, with parquet flooring, dark textiles, ferns, upholstered wall-panels, tarnished mirrors and vintage lights. The ground floor will house the main dining room, while the lower ground floor will feature an open kitchen and cocktail bar. The kitchen will be led by George Barson, head chef at Kitty Fisher’s for the past 15 months, who will continue to head up both sites as executive chef. The menu will draw inspiration from the British and French influences of Pearl’s life, with dishes such as fish stew, confit pork belly with smoked quince, and brill and devilled crab alongside daily specials. The drinks list will feature cocktails, Martini and an old world wine list.
Bristol-based Pizzarova to open third site: Bristol-based pizza restaurant Pizzarova is to open its third site in the city. Founder Alex Corbett will open the venue in Park Street on the site of former tapas restaurant La Tomatina, which closed in July last year. Corbett launched Pizzarova in 2013, selling wood-fired sourdough pizza from a fleet of Land Rovers. It opened its first restaurant in Gloucester Road in 2015 before adding a site at Wapping Wharf last summer. Now it will open its third restaurant – and largest to date – on Tuesday, 26 June. Alongside pizza, the venue will offer garlic bread and dips, craft beer and juice. Corbett told the Bristol Post: “We’ve been on the lookout for the perfect third location so we’re extremely excited to be bringing Pizzarova to the city centre with our new Park Street restaurant.”
Vietnamese restaurant concept Banh Bao Brothers launches in Waterloo: Vietnamese restaurant concept Banh Bao Brothers has launched at the new Leake Street Arches development in Waterloo. The brainchild of Chris Evernden and Raymond Ly, the menu focuses on banh bao, a steamed dish made with minced pork, Chinese sausage and a quail egg, alongside noodles and Vietnam-inspired cocktails. The venue seats about 80 people across two floors with a separate bar. Customers can play a dice game to win rewards such as food and drink discounts. Evernden told Hot Dinners: “There are a wider variety of noodles in Vietnam than anywhere else in the world and we will have a few of our favourites, with some others we’ll rotate for our specials.” The development will see eight former railway arches turned into a collection of independent restaurants and bars, including a second site for casual dining concept Mamuśka! Polish Kitchen and Bar.
Chicken wing pop-up Wingmans opens debut bricks and mortar site, in Kilburn: Chicken wing pop-up Wingmans has opened its debut bricks and mortar site, in Kilburn, north London. The venue has launched in Kilburn High Road under the banner Authentic Wingmans Wingery offering a new, expanded menu and a bar with a late licence. The site formerly housed gastro-pub Kilburn Ironworks. The concept has operated at a number of festivals and events including Glastonbury, Winter Wonderland and Notting Hill Carnival and won the best buffalo wings category at London Wingfest. Other items on the menu include truffle mac ‘n’ cheese balls, Hot Dinners reports.
Bristol coffee roaster opens London barista training site made from items destined for landfill: Bristol-based Extract Coffee Roasters has opened a barista training facility in London made from recycled materials destined for landfill. The company has joined 50 other businesses, including Toast Ale, at Sustainable Bankside in Sumner Street. Extract has used a former Covent Garden pub floor for its espresso bar, while its benches are made from leftover supplies sourced from a housing project in Victoria. The company, which has been trading for 11 years, supplies coffee to more than 70 cafes and restaurants across the capital and more than 500 businesses across the UK. Co-founder Lee Bolam said: “It is great to finally have a place of learning in the capital and in the vibrant neighbourhood next to Borough Market to support our growing Extract community with training and business support. We’re fully committed to sustainability at our Bristol base, from roasting our coffee on four second-hand roasters, which we restored ourselves, to recycling all our waste coffee grounds and using 90% renewable energy to power the roastery. It’s great to finally have a place in London that is also in line with our sustainable values.”
IM Properties buys freehold of forthcoming Premier Inn on Anglesey for £6.9m: Birmingham-headquartered IM Properties has bought the freehold of a hotel being built in Wales on a major regeneration site. Whitbread is constructing an 80-bedroom Premier Inn at Parc Cybi, near Holyhead, at a 120-acre logistics and industrial scheme. Conygar Investment Company has forward sold the hotel, which is scheduled to be completed in January 2019, receiving net proceeds of £6.9m. Conygar chief executive Robert Ware told Insider Media: “We are pleased to have agreed the sale of this development project, which will complete in January 2019 at a very competitive price, reflecting the strong appetite we are seeing for properties benefiting from long-term income, let to high-quality occupiers.” Parc Cybi’s first phase includes a 30,000 square foot Gateway Office scheme along with 109,000 square feet of logistics and industrial units. Plans for the hotel were submitted to Anglesey Council in September last year to build a £4m hotel with an associated restaurant, bar and 84 parking spaces. The design and access statement said: “The plan recognises tourism as a key driver in the island’s economy and the proposed development will serve to support and develop this sector. Visitors staying overnight will have an additional positive impact on the local economy.” Developers also believe the hotel could house workers for the proposed Wylfa Newydd nuclear plant, 13 miles away at Cemaes.
Anderbury acquires third site after buying Chester hotel off £6.25m asking price: Hotel operator Anderbury has added a third site to its portfolio after acquiring Rowton Hall Hotel & Spa in Chester off an asking price of £6.25m. The company has bought the property from the Wigginton family in an off-market deal through agents Christie & Co. The hotel comprises 40 en-suite bedrooms, function and conference facilities, a luxury spa, and award-winning restaurant. Anderbury also owns the St George Hotel in Llandudno and Hatherley Manor Hotel & Spa in Gloucestershire. Ryan Lynn, director at Christie & Co’s Manchester office, who handled the sale, said: “We are pleased to have worked with our client, Gordon Wigginton, and his family on this project and to have been able to achieve such a strong result for them in a sale of the hotel on a confidential basis. We wish them a very happy retirement from the hotel business after years of being in the industry and wish the buyers Anderbury every success with the hotel.”
Pie and mash shop Piecaramba! starts expansion with Southampton site: Winchester-based pie and mash shop Piecaramba! has started expansion by opening a second site, in Southampton. The concept, which offers pie and mash while also operating as a comic book store, has opened the site in Carlton Place. The restaurant is larger than its debut site and is set over two floors with a function area for private parties and events. Rob Litchfield, who founded Piecaramba! with Phil Linssen, told the Daily Echo: “We have worked hard to establish ourselves in Winchester. We would love to open more sites and we’ve earmarked a couple of other towns for expansion, if and when the time is right.” The first Piecaramba! opened in Winchester in October 2016 with restaurant critic Jay Raynor branding it a “bloody good pie shop”.
American-inspired street food brand Hanks opens debut permanent site, in Deptford: American-inspired street food brand Hanks has opened its debut permanent site, in Deptford, south east London. Hank’s Burgers + Beers has opened at Deptford Market Yard across the road from the site where Victoria Thake and Simon Drake launched the concept in 2014. Hanks has traded at markets such as Southbank Centre and Kerb while exploring and developing its American-style menu. It features aged beef patties and Cajun fries along with American-style beer sourced from London brewers and curated by nearby shop and tasting room Hop, Burns & Black. Hanks’ burgers include The Big Smoke (panko-crumbed smoked tofu with mushroom marmalade, garlic aioli, lettuce and American cheese) and the Big Blue (6oz aged beef patty with stilton, caramelised onions, lettuce and mustard).
Team behind street food and cocktail bar Zindiya launches Indian gastro-pub concept in Solihull: The team behind street food and cocktail bar Zindiya in Moseley has launched an Indian gastro-pub concept in Solihull. The Saddlers Arms, which closed permanently last spring, has been transformed into the Tap & Tandoor offering craft beer and Indian food. The pub has been refurbished to accommodate 80 diners with a new kitchen and a design that mixes a traditional pub style with Indian heritage. Upstairs office space has been converted into private dining rooms. Zindiya was launched by husband-and-wife team Ajay and Shivani Kenth in February 2017. Ajay Kenth told Birmingham Live: “This is a different concept to Zindiya. This is more about restoring a once iconic pub to its former glory, albeit with a few changes. Zindiya was borne from our passion for Indian street food and Tap & Tandoor is being created out of love for the Great British pub, which is constantly under threat. We will use the skills and knowledge we have picked up with Zindiya but the pub will stand on its own. We hope to deliver exceptional food at reasonable prices while retaining that pub feel.”
Scottish brewer WooHa closes crowdfunding campaign after raising £180,000 to boost US sales: Scottish brewer WooHa has closed its fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube after raising more than £180,000 to upgrade its packaging equipment and boost sales efforts in the US. The company was offering 4.76% equity in return for the investment, with an initial target of £125,000. In total, 227 investors pledged £183,180 and the campaign has now closed. The company’s beers are stocked in JD Wetherspoon and Stonegate Pub Company sites in the UK, while WooHa also exports to EU countries and the US, with its “bold, Scottish branding” mainly aimed at export markets. WooHa Brewing Company was founded in 2015 and moved to a larger, 6.2-acre site in the Highlands last year to “accommodate rapid expansion”. It aims to be selling its products through 14 distributors in the US by the fourth quarter of this year. The pitch states: “WooHa is all about big ambitions and showing the world Scotland produces great beer. WooHa has always had a focus on the export market – with the US its main target. WooHa can be found in Tennessee, California and Washington DC. We aim to launch the beer in Alabama, Texas, Maryland, Florida, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Ohio. The new site has allowed capacity to increase five-fold. However, the volume of beer sold is limited by capacity of the current bottling line. WooHa is looking for funding to help finance new packaging equipment to remove this bottleneck and allow the company to continue to grow its international reach.”
Wadworth adds accommodation to Hampshire village pub following £650,000 investment: Devizes-based brewer and retailer Wadworth is adding accommodation to its Bartons Mill pub in Old Basing, Hampshire, following a £650,000 investment. The company will open The Barn, which consists of 12 rooms, in July. The accommodation has been created using a barn that had sat on the site unused for many years. Each room retains the traditional character of the building. Wadworth business development manager Michael Phillips said: “This is great news for the area with the new rooms being added. I’m confident Barton’s Mill will provide business and leisure travellers with a great B&B venue.” Bartons Mill was originally a 17th century mill known as Old Basing Mill.