Jewish soul food trader Monty’s Deli to open permanent site in east London next month: Jewish soul food trader Monty’s Deli will open its first bricks and mortar site at a former bakery in Hackney next month following a successful crowdfunding campaign. 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, with backers including The Observer restaurant critic Jay Rayner, celebrity chef Tom Kerridge and food writer Gizzi Erskine. Monty’s Deli, which is renowned for its chicken soup and sandwiches packed with home-made salt beef and pastrami, will open the site in Hoxton Street on Tuesday, 18 April. Everything will be made from scratch on-site. Available to eat in or take away, the counter will run a ticket-style service during breakfast and lunch. The evening menu will consist of whole joints of hot pastrami or salt beef for the table; cholent – a traditional slow-braised brisket dish with bone marrow, potatoes and pearl barley; and beef and dill meatballs topped with pastrami-dripping breadcrumbs. A long bar will offer seats where customers can watch the meat being sliced and sandwiches being prepared, with a baked goods section displaying pastries and the guest bagel of the week. Ogus said: “It was my grandfather, Monty, who introduced me to Jewish food. Owen and I both started in bands but share this obsession. It was a happy coincidence we ended up not only making delicious meat but enjoying the performance of the slicing bar, of building these beautiful sandwiches and creating a great show people can take part in too.”
Revolution Bars Group converts dual-themed venue in Blackpool: Revolution Bars Group, the operator of 66 premium bars across the UK under the Revolution and Revolución de Cuba brands, has converted its dual-themed venue in Blackpool back into a single Revolution Russian, with more of a focus on food. The venue in Market Street, which is one of the largest in the seaside town, has undergone a £130,000 refurbishment to remove the Revolución de Cuba side of the site and features revamped kitchen and restaurant areas. General manager Martyn Reid told The Gazette: “When Revs opened in 2011 there were two different brands – the Revolution Russian Vodka brand and the Revolución de Cuba – some places were either one or the other, some were dual sites. The company has decided to change dual sites like ours and so we have made it more Russian but also updated it. It is a much brighter look and more food-orientated with quicker service and extended to 10pm. We have taken on more staff, between 15 and 20, and more chefs. The former Cuba top bar area has lost its Cuban tiles and will be more drinks-friendly, while the ground-floor main area will trend towards dining and a family area near the prom.” The company will open its next Revolution site in Southend at the end of April, which will showcase a new-look design that moves away from the current trend of urban reclaimed materials.
Cote to open Chester site next week: French brasserie Cote, which is owned by private equity firm BC Partners, will open its latest site, in Bridge Street, Chester, on Monday (27 March), creating 40 jobs. The company has invested more than £1m to refurbish the grade II-listed building, restoring the exposed stone and timber beams on the ground floor to ensure the 140-cover restaurant retains its “original character and charm”. Cote chief executive Alex Scrimgeour said: “Chester is a thriving city in the north west that’s unique in its character and charm. We’ve wanted to introduce people in the city to Cote for some time but needed to find the perfect location. We’re confident we’ve found it in Bridge Street and look forward to welcoming Chester residents and visitors into our new brasserie.” Cote operates more than 80 sites in the UK, with the nearest venues to Chester in Hale and Liverpool.
Ex-Mothership Group creative director takes on first pub: Heather Pistor, former creative director of bar and events company Mothership Group, has taken on her first pub. Pistor and husband Ben, a DJ and club promoter, have acquired the lease of The West Hill Tavern in Brighton, which is owned by NewRiver. The pub in Buckingham Place is undergoing a £50,000-plus refurbishment and will reopen in mid-April. It will include fresh decor and the introduction of a blend of old and new furniture. Injecting some east London inspiration, silent movies will be projected on the walls, while Radio 4 will play in the toilets. The West Hill Tavern will showcase craft beer, conditioned cask ale and kegged beer from the Society of Independent Brewers portfolio, creating a 70/30 split with food sales. Food will feature slow-cooked British meat, complemented by a simple dessert offering. Pistor left her role as creative director at Mothership when the couple moved from London to Brighton to start a family and realise their dream of running their own pub. Ben Pistor said: “The Westie feels a little tired and is in need of some investment, financially and emotionally. We’re delighted to be able to use our skills and passion to nurture it and help it realise its full potential.” A NewRiver spokesman added: “We’re delighted Ben and Heather have made The West Hill their first pub. They have the skills and experience – plus bags of energy and enthusiasm – needed to make it a busy, vibrant pub once more.”
Michelin-starred chef opens Plymouth restaurant serving food on diners’ hands: MasterChef: The Professionals winner Anton Piotrowski has opened a restaurant in Plymouth in which diners are served food on the back of their hand. Piotrowski has faced a mixed reaction after ditching plates altogether for the first course at Brown & Bean. Customers who sit down for the nine-course taster menu, the only evening menu on offer, are first treated to a squirt of burnt apple puree and crunchy pork on their hand from a waiter. The small pile of food, topped off with apple blossom, must then be gobbled up without causing too much mess. Local food reviewer Louise Daniel hailed it as a “novel idea” and a “conversation starter” and said the food itself tasted “sensational”. However the Michelin-starred chef, who won the BBC show in 2012, has also seen the practice slammed as “pretentious”, reports The Sun. The “no plates” fad has seen diners across the country served food in everything from hats to table tennis bats, as documented by the “We Want Plates” Twitter campaign.
Surrey-based hotel company enters administration: Surrey-based Lionhouse Hotels, which owns and operates The Georgian Hotel in Haslemere, has entered administration. Mark Ford and Henry Shinners, of Smith & Williamson, have been appointed as joint administrators. The property was built by wealthy tanner William Cobden in the early 18th century and was extended in 1885 to include a third storey. It only became an established hotel in the 1930s. According to the administrators the hotel, which has 43 bedrooms, had run into cash flow difficulties in the months leading up to their appointment, reports Insider Media. The administrators said: “The company is continuing to operate under the control of the administrators and in association with Licensed Solutions. We are currently looking to sell the business as a going concern and a number of interested parties have already been in contact. However, we encourage interest from others and invite any party with an interest in acquiring the business and assets to get in touch.”
Leon partners with HelloFresh for delivery service: Natural fast food brand Leon has partnered with international fresh food delivery service HelloFresh to make it “easier for people to eat well at home”. Four recipes from Leon’s Happy Salads cookbook will be available to order during March and April through HelloFresh, which will deliver the ingredients and instructions required to make the meals. The Leon website states: “These recipes have been designed to be good for you and good for the planet. They are happy salads because they look happy. Happy because they signify happy occasions. Happy because you will love eating them. Happy because you will feel good afterwards.” John Vincent and Henry Dimbleby founded Leon in 2004. It currently operates 45 sites in the UK, with openings lined up for Manchester Trafford Centre and Paddington, London. The company also operates a site at Schiphol airport in the Netherlands.
Liverpool-based bar and restaurant owner to relaunch dock-side Circo site as Never Ever Land: Jason McNeill, who owns Liverpool city centre venue Castle St Townhouse, is rebranding his circus-themed bar and restaurant Circo in Albert Docks as a “new generation of entertainment” entitled Never Ever Land. The venue will open next month, with the former “freak show” being rebranded as a “kaleidoscope of thrill-seeking enchantment”. McNeill has drawn inspiration from theatrical entertainment companies such as Cirque De Soleil, with Circo Never Ever Land revolving around four key concepts – dinner shows, live lounge, nightclub, and private hire. The 7,000 square foot space has capacity for 250 people seated and 1,000 standing and will feature two dinner shows a week at 6pm with doors opening for a nightclub at 11pm. McNeill told BDaily: “The new space has been designed to enable our new aerial and acrobatic performances, with many introductions including our live artist lounge, a corporate and social creative event space, and our nightclub transformation. Whether guests have experienced our original Albert Dock concept or not, things will never be the same again.”
Hull-based operators to open Yorkshire’s first gin bar and distillery: Hull-based operators Lee Kirman and Charlotte Bailey are to open Yorkshire’s first gin bar and distillery in the city. Kirman and Bailey, who run The Minerva pub, are launching Humber Street Distillery Co in the Fruit Market and said it would be one of only a handful of combined gin bars and distilleries across the country. They are investing £160,000 in the project, which will feature a 150-litre gin still imported from Germany. The bar will open on Saturday, 15 April in Humber Street, with the still to be installed in August when the couple will begin producing their brand of fruit-flavoured gin. The 1,800 square foot venue will have a “speakeasy style”, with oak-panelled walls and leather seating, and feature photographs of Humber Street in days gone by. It will also have a heated outdoor area. About 100 varieties of gin, unusual spirits, local and international craft beers and bespoke cocktails will be on offer. Food offerings will include gourmet bar snacks and sharing platters. Kirman said: “We took inspiration from bars in cities such as London and Edinburgh but wanted to take it a step further by distilling our own gin on the premises. We knew we could make a real success of it because gin is seeing such a resurgence in popularity. We stock about 50 varieties of gin at The Minerva and they go down really well.”
Michelin-starred chef heads kitchen as young entrepreneur snaps up St Andrews seafood restaurant: Michelin-starred chef Davy Aspin is heading the kitchen of Seafood Ristorante, the new name for St Andrews’ iconic The Seafood Restaurant, which has reopened under a new owner. The cube-shaped restaurant, which overlooks the North Sea, has been acquired by entrepreneur Stefano Pieraccini, 22, who will be mentored by his father Adrian, who previously owned the Rocca restaurant in the town and the five-star Rocpool hotel and restaurants in Inverness. Seafood Ristorante will refocus on Italian-style quality dining, with Aspin supported by head chef Ian Syme and Scotland’s Young Chef of the Year Jamie MacKinnon, who also won BBC 2 television series Chef’s Protégé in 2013. Covers have almost doubled, from 44 to 80, with staff numbers rising to 30. Pieraccini said: “I am spending over £100,000 in rebranding, refurbishment and expansion. I have been brought up in a family whose entire focus has been the restaurant trade and, from the time I worked in the industry as a kitchen porter at 14, I have dreamed of running my own restaurant.” Tim Butler, former owner of The Seafood Restaurant, will focus his attention on expanding his £1m turnover St Andrews Brewing Co.
Ampersand Events secures Design Museum contract: Ampersand Events, CH&Co Group’s events and catering business, has been named an approved listed caterer for London’s newest contemporary events space – the Design Museum. The museum’s new £83m home in Kensington High Street offers an inspirational events space, perfect for high-end, conceptual conferences, dinners, receptions and screenings, such as fashion, design and branding launches. Ampersand Events secured its listed caterer status following a competitive tender. The team also catered for the Design Museum’s official opening party in November, the first event in the new space. The party, co-hosted by the Design Museum and Alexandra Shulman, was attended by 1,200 people.
Yorkshire-based Indian restaurant Bengal Brasserie to open fifth site and third in Leeds next month: Yorkshire-based Indian restaurant Bengal Brasserie is opening its fifth site next month – and third in Leeds. The company, which also has sites in Wetherby and York, will open the 120-cover restaurant in Merrion Way on Monday, 3 April. The new venue marks a seven-figure investment in premises, staff and the fit-out of the 3,600 square foot site, bringing total investment by the business to £2m. Managing director Malik Dobir told The Business Desk: “The new restaurant is our largest and the location is ideally situated close to the Merrion Way leisure venues and the Leeds Arena, which has really boosted the north of the city centre in recent years.” The company employs 100 staff across the group.
Marston’s to open new-build Derby hotel in June: Marston’s is to open a 38-bedroom new-build hotel next to its Blue Jay pub in Linville Close, Derby, in June. The company is advertising for staff at the two-storey, multimillion-pound hotel, which will be called Blue Jay Lodge. A 40-space car park is also being built, bringing the total number of bays on the site, including those for the pub, to 128. Marston’s is working with Jobcentre Plus to recruit staff for the hotel, while it is also looking for ten additional staff for the neighbouring pub. Jackie Thompson, employment partnership leader at Jobcentre Plus in Derby, told the Derby Telegraph: “Hospitality is a particularly buoyant sector in Derby at the moment. As well as Marston’s, we have been recruiting staff for Marriott Breadsall Priory, Premier Inn and Jury’s Inn.”
Leasehold of award-winning Portobello Road coffee shop goes on market: The leasehold of award-winning independent west London coffee shop Lowry & Baker has been put up for sale. The owner-operated shop in Portobello Road, Notting Hill, which opened in 2010, is being marketed by agent Christie & Co. Lower & Baker opened in 2010 and has established itself as a leading local independent. Seating 20 to 25 inside and 12 in the outside seating area, the business boasts “healthy profits on short hours”, currently closing at 4pm daily, although a premises licence has recently been granted allowing the sale of alcohol until 10.30pm. Lowry & Baker is the current holder of Time Out’s Love London award for the best cafe in Notting Hill category. Christie & Co business agent Lucy Hall, who is handling the sale, said: “Lowry & Baker offers a fantastic and rare opportunity to purchase a profitable and highly regarded cafe in one of London’s most famous streets. As the current owners have opted to work part-time on shorter trading hours, there is plenty of scope for new owners to build profits through longer opening hours.” The leasehold is being marketed for £118,000.