Redcomb Pubs to launch new casual dining concept Lock House at Paddington Basin, eyes roll-out: Redcomb Pubs, led by Dan Shotton, will launch a new casual dining venture – Lock House – at the heart of the Paddington Basin redevelopment in London. Redcomb has signed a long lease agreement with European Land & Property on the site that will become Lock House Paddington, acquired through agents Shelley Sandzer, on the ground floor of waterside development 3 Merchants Square. Redcomb said it would invest more than £1.3m to develop the 3,700 square foot site to create a “casual, all-day dining and bar offering that will match the needs of new-look Paddington’s discerning and affluent residents, office workers and visitors”. Lock House Paddington is scheduled to open in September, with Redcomb exploring opportunities to roll-out the concept to other “high-profile metropolitan areas”. Open from 8am each day, the venue will feature a 180-cover bar, restaurant and mezzanine, with an extended 70-cover exterior dining space. The menu, developed by executive head chef Chris Spencer, will feature “street food-inspired dishes, superfood salads and grab-and-go options”, alongside craft beer, cocktails and fine wine. Shotton said: “These are exciting times for Redcomb as we scale up our programme of accelerated expansion and capitalise on new growth areas within Britain’s burgeoning casual dining sector. Our expansion into central London adds to our already strong portfolio of hospitality businesses operating within the suburbs and Home Counties, and we continue to explore new areas of growth to further develop our business.” Redcomb Pubs operates 14 pubs across London and surrounding counties and incorporates a number of pubs with rooms.
Crowdfunding start-up SyndicateRoom raises £3.1m: Crowdfunding start-up SyndicateRoom has completed its series A funding round, raising £3.1m. Angel investor and Abcam founder Jonathan Milner led the round with investors including Unicorn AIM VCT, which pledged the largest contribution, at £1m. The initial target of £2.3m (at a valuation of £25m) was reached only ten hours after going live on SyndicateRoom’s platform. In May last year, SyndicateRoom also completed a £1.2m funding round in just 33 hours. Funds will be used to support an aggressive growth strategy over the next six months. SyndicateRoom will boost its expansion into the equity capital markets and double its staff base. Chief executive and co-founder Goncalo de Vasconcelos said: “We are building the most successful and efficient incremental distribution platform for companies to raise equity investment at all stages of their equity journey, from idea to initial public offering (IPO). To have such strong demand from both retail and institutional investors is the strongest vote of confidence we could have regarding our expansion plans within crowdfunding and equity capital markets. I am hugely excited about the times ahead of SyndicateRoom and its potential to become a billion-dollar business.” In March, SyndicateRoom became a member of the London Stock Exchange, enabling crowdfunding investors to participate in IPOs and placings. It is the first platform of its kind to enter the public markets, enabling individual investors to have access to new equity issues on the same terms as institutions.
Detailed plans unveiled for leisure element of £400m Leeds scheme, including 11 restaurants: Detailed plans have been unveiled for the leisure element of the £400m mixed-use extension to Thorpe Park in Leeds, which includes 11 restaurants and a multi-screen cinema. Acting on behalf of Scarborough Group International and Legal & General, the Harris Partnership has lodged a reserved matters application for the retail and leisure phase of the development. The plans include a series of buildings providing 299,602 square feet of retail and leisure floor space with restaurants, a gym and a 60,000 square foot cinema making up the leisure-focused heart of the scheme. It will be linked to a retail terrace by a 16-metre wide central plaza running east to west through the development, reports Insider Media. Detailed discussions are ongoing with a number of other major operators for the retail and leisure space, of which 11 units are earmarked for restaurants. Scarborough and Legal & General Capital joined forces for the development of Thorpe Park Leeds in August last year with part of the site allocated for 300 new homes, to be built by Redrow, and a 113-acre public park with sports facilities.
Former footballer opens Afro Caribbean-themed chicken shop in Manchester: Former footballer Jonny Gorman has opened an Afro Caribbean-themed chicken shop in Manchester. Gorman, who signed for Manchester United at the age of 11, has launched Jaro Jaro in Hyde Road following years of planning, which all started on the substitute’s bench. In the midst of a successful career, which included nine international caps for Northern Ireland, four years at Wolverhampton Wanderers and a spell with Leyton Orient, a chance meeting with fellow footballer Callum Hassan changed Gorman’s career path. He told So Cheshire: “Callum owns a few restaurants in the north east and we were having a conversation about how football isn’t a career you can hold forever, and it all went from there. The dream was born and Jaro Jaro started to take shape!”
All-night London Underground to launch on 19 August: The long-awaited all-night London Underground will launch on Friday, 19 August, new London mayor Sadiq Khan has revealed. The Central and Victoria lines will be the first to go live, with the Piccadilly, Jubilee and Northern lines to follow in the autumn. Plans for the all-night tube, which will provide a 24-hour weekend service, had been plagued by problems with rows between Transport for London and unions over pay and working conditions. Khan said: “The night tube is absolutely vital to my plans to support and grow London’s night-time economy – creating more jobs and opportunities for all Londoners. I have made getting the night tube up and running a priority, and London Underground has now confirmed that services on the first two lines will launch on 19 August.” The mayor’s office said the night tube would play a vital role in opening up London’s night-time economy to a host of new opportunities, supporting about 2,000 permanent jobs and boosting London’s economy by £360m. To meet the expected demand for services, there will be six trains per hour through central London on all-night tube lines between 12.30am and 5.30am. This will rise to eight trains per hour on the Northern line to meet demand at busy stations between Leicester Square and Camden Town. About 200 part-time drivers are currently taking part in a 14-week training programme. The all-night tube had initially been due to launch last September.
Restaurant owner jailed for six years after manslaughter conviction over peanut allergy death: A North Yorkshire Indian restaurant owner has been jailed for six years after being convicted of manslaughter following the death of a customer with a peanut allergy. In January 2014, Paul Wilson, 38, suffered severe anaphylactic shock after eating a takeaway containing nuts from the Indian Garden in Easingwold. Restaurant owner Mohammed Zaman, 52, of Huntington, has been found guilty of manslaughter after a trial at Teesside Crown Court. Martin Goldman, chief crown prosecutor at CPS Yorkshire and Humberside, said: “This is a truly tragic case in which Paul Wilson lost his life entirely needlessly. Mohammed Zaman directly caused the death of Mr Wilson by causing him to be served a meal he knew contained potentially lethal peanut powder. Zaman substituted almond powder with a cheaper ground nut mix, which contained peanuts. He failed to warn customers, failed to properly train his employees and failed to take any action following a previous serious allergic reaction. These failures led to Mr Wilson’s death. In this conviction, the CPS has sent a very clear message to the catering industry – there is a duty of care to your customers. If you ignore your responsibilities and regulations and put lives at real risk then we will not hesitate to prosecute.”
Barclays – improving responses to customer feedback could add £3.2bn to sector and its suppliers: Improving how the UK hospitality and leisure sector manages and responds to customer feedback could contribute an additional £3.2bn to the UK economy over the course of the next decade, finds the Barclays Feedback Economy report. This economic benefit will be achieved by improving how businesses such as hotels, bars, restaurants, travel businesses, health spas, sports clubs and cinemas monitor, manage and respond to customer feedback. Putting processes in place to better manage customer feedback will create a more responsive sector, attracting more overseas tourists and encouraging domestic visitors to stay longer and spend more, increasing spend per head and benefiting the sector’s wide supply chain. UK consumers are more likely to use and leave feedback than ever before. Barclays’ survey reveals three-fifths (59%) of UK consumers state that reading other people’s reviews plays an important role in helping them decide where to visit or stay. This rises to 70% among 25 to 34-year-olds. Millennials are also significantly more likely to cite online customer reviews as being very important in determining which hospitality and leisure services to use. Close to a third (29%) of 18 to 24s and (27%) of 25 to 44s rated online reviews as one of the three most important factors influencing their decision on where to stay – alongside more traditional factors such as value for money and customer service, as opposed to 18% of the over-65s. In addition, nearly half (45%) of all British consumers are more likely to leave a review today than just 18 months ago, citing factors such as ease of access through smartphones (42%) or awareness of the importance of reviews (33%). This means businesses need to put processes in place to avoid being left behind by customer expectations over time.
ASK Italian opens flagship site at London’s O2 Arena, further growth planned this year: Azzurri Group-owned ASK Italian has opened a flagship site at the O2 Arena in London. The site has more than 150 covers and its interior hints at the future direction of the brand, with a combination of modern design and traditional Italian materials. Inspired by the Mediterranean, its natural warmth and textures are reflected in the mix of furniture, colourful tiling and trailing plants to capture a breezy, al fresco feeling with everything centred around the open kitchen. The new O2 restaurant follows the opening of a venue at the Intu Metrocentre in Gateshead last month, with further launches already planned this year for Harrogate and Milton Keynes. ASK Italian managing director Harry Heeley said: “To be opening a flagship site in this landmark building is a statement of where ASK Italian is now, and continues the evolution of the brand. Over the past five years, we have re-established ASK Italian as an industry leader, and we’re now in a position to bring ASK Italian to new locations across the UK, which demonstrates great confidence in our brand and makes it a very exciting time for us.” ASK Italian has more than 110 sites across the UK.
Brighton Pier Group to launch table tennis concept Smash on Friday: Brighton Pier Group, which was formerly Eclectic Bar Group, is to launch a bar and restaurant concept featuring table tennis in Reading on Friday (27 May). Smash has been developed on the ground floor of the company’s Sakura venue in Gun Street as part of its move into “leisure” concepts. It will feature more than 50 craft beers and ciders, “artisan” pizzas and four Olympic-standard table-tennis tables. The venue will be open seven days a week from midday until late, and ping pong tables will be available for both pre-booking and walk-in. The creation of Smash follows company chairman Luke Johnson revealing in March it was planning to broaden the business to “more activity-based leisure concepts”. The decor will be contemporary, offering a laid-back vibe with exposed brickwork and industrial-style light fittings. Music will be a mix of retro indie and disco classics, with regular DJs and live music acts. Live sports events, such as the Superbowl, will be shown. Lee Nicolson, who took over as managing director last month, told Bar Magazine: “Smash is a new and radically different take on a sports bar product. Table tennis is a social sporting activity and we’re taking it back to its roots by bringing it into the entertainment arena. The game can be enjoyed by friends and work colleagues, and you don’t have to be good at it to have fun. We’ve added great food and drink and a cool, exciting environment to the mix to make Smash a unique experience.” Pizzas will be hand-made and cooked in an authentic Italian style, with fresh dough bases and high-quality ingredients. The company is working with some of the most reputable craft beer suppliers from around the world as well as brewing and bottling its own Smash beer in the UK. Eclectic Bars was renamed Brighton Pier Group after buying Brighton Pier in an £18m deal last month.
Slug and Lettuce partners with Uber to help customers get home safely: Stonegate Pub Company’s Slug and Lettuce brand has partnered with car booking app Uber to help customers as part of its Summer Jam campaign. Running from the spring bank holiday throughout the summer, the partnership is designed to help customers get home safely after a night out. Slug and Lettuce will be working closely with Uber to maximise visibility of the partnership with the logos and code being endorsed across all printed POS and digital communications as well as focusing on the larger groups. Customers will also get £15 off their first ride by using the code “Summer Jam” within a variety of sites, including locations in London, Manchester and Newcastle. Beth Macdonald, head of marketing at Slug and Lettuce, said: “Partnering with a leading brand like Uber is such a great opportunity for us and provides all of our customers with an affordable and safe alternative method to get home after a night of celebrating.” Uber UK marketing manager Oliver Hadden-Paton added: “We are absolutely delighted to partner with Slug and Lettuce to help their customers get from A to B safely. Whether it’s heading for post-work drinks or a bite to eat, this partnership is a brilliant opportunity for consumers to take advantage of a free first trip in London but also across the UK.”
Damson Restaurant Group to open new bar concept featuring in-house micro-brewery in Manchester: Manchester-based Damson Restaurant Group is to open a new bar concept featuring an in-house micro-brewery in the city. The company is launching the Gasworks Brewbar in First Street on the former Gaythorn Gas Works site. The bar will feature its own six-barrel micro-brewery and team of on-site brewers when it opens in August. Managing director Steve Pilling, whose company is also behind the Dockyard ale house and Liquorice bar brands, told Manchester Confidential: “With our passion for the raw ingredient and the knowledge and understanding of beer that we’ve built up since opening our first Dockyard, it really felt like a natural progression to start brewing our own. When I viewed the First Street site a year ago and started to understand the scope of the development, I knew we had found the right spot to create something unique and as yet unseen in Manchester.” In addition to its own brews, Pilling said the bar would continue to champion local brewers such as Shindigger and Brightside, alongside companies such as BrewDog, Goose Island and Left Hand.
Smashburger lines up fourth UK site, in Newcastle: Better burger brand Smashburger has lined up its fourth UK site, in Newcastle. The company, set to make its UK debut in Milton Keynes this week, has signed to open in Intu Eldon Square shopping centre’s new dining quarter, reports Chronicle Live. Smashburger is taking on Unit S1 at Sidgate, which will be rebranded as Grey’s Quarter when it opens this autumn, featuring 20 new restaurants within the complex. The company has pledged to open 35 stores and create 1,400 jobs during the next few years. As well as Milton Keynes, Smashburger has already secured sites in Bath and Bristol. UK managing director Tim Lowther said the market was not yet saturated, despite the explosion of premium burger chains during the past few years. Smashburger burgers are created by smashing a ball of fresh beef on to a hot buttered grill, which Lowther said creates a seal that keeps juices inside the patty. Smashburger, which has 335 restaurants in 35 US states and seven countries, was founded by former McDonald’s executive Tom Ryan. It signed a partnership with AL Ventures, part of the MSG Group, last year to launch in the UK.
Harry Ramsden’s unveils new city restaurant format: Fish and chip restaurant operator Harry Ramsden’s has unveiled a new city format, while it is preparing to enter the Scottish licensed trade sector for the first time this week. The company has chosen the Royal Mile in Edinburgh for its first Harry’s City restaurant, creating 25 jobs. Created predominantly for city dwellers, shoppers, tourists and the business community, the service-led model features an urban design and decor as well as a wide-ranging menu of fresh, cooked to order rotisserie and grilled seafood and meat dishes. Opened in partnership with Harry Ramsden’s Scottish franchisee Seven Seas Ventures, the 3,000 square foot restaurant in Hunter Square offers a takeaway service as well as seating for 70 diners. Meanwhile on Friday (27 May), the brand will bring its new pub format to Scotland with the opening of Harry Ramsden’s at The Three Bridges in South Queensferry. Designed to extend its proposition into the traditional institution of pubs, the format simultaneously retains the local pub identity while remaining true to its own heritage. The opening comes as a result of the company’s partnership with Punch – their first site launched in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, in March. The Harry Ramsden’s team will manage all aspects of the outlet’s day-to-day operation, serving breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. Chief executive Joe Teixeira said: “We relish this opportunity to enter into new markets and pride ourselves in selecting great locations, surroundings and cities which hold truly international appeal. For those reasons, we believe Edinburgh is the ideal place from which to unveil our newest models and further extend the modern-day face of Harry’s to a new generation of customers. We are extremely proud of our heritage, which has maintained Harry Ramsden’s position as one of the UK’s most recognised brands for almost 90 years. Our existing formats continue to trade exceptionally well across the country and attract an ever-increasing and broadening customer base. As we continue to look to the future and further invest in the brand, these new concepts feature key elements of all that is loved by our loyal fan base. However, now we are incorporating a more up-to-date look and feel, resonant with the new generation of Harry’s customer. We believe this brand stretch will further enhance Harry Ramsden’s status in the modern day, casual dining market that is flourishing in towns and cities across the UK.”
Leelex reveals plans to bring Portobello Road Gin back home with distillery complex featuring pub, bar and hotel: Hospitality group Leelex has revealed plans to launch a vast distillery complex for its Portobello Road Gin brand on the street it takes its name from, incorporating a pub, gin and tonic bar, visitor centre and hotel. It will mean the gin is distilled entirely in the iconic London Road for the first time since 2011, when – only months after launching – the company was forced to outsource much of its production to keep up with demand. The four-storey development of a former pub on the corner of Portobello Road and Talbot Road will see a 400-litre gin still fitted in the basement, a striking contrast to the 30-litre still at the distillery’s original home above the Portobello Star pub. Alongside this there will be a modern visitor centre called The Ginstitute, where guests will be able to learn about the history of gin and try their hand at blending their own. The ground floor will be turned into a pub called The Resting Room, where spirits will be served direct from barrels above the bar. It will have the style of a decadent Victorian gin palace and will also offer craft beers and English wines alongside gastro-pub-style British food. A floor above will be Gin Tonica, a Spanish-style restaurant and bar that will stock 200 different gins and about a dozen different tonics. It will serve tapas dishes in a nod to the huge popularity of gin and tonic in Spain. At the top of the building will be a private dining room as well as a small number of hotel rooms, making it London’s first distillery people can stay in. Portobello Road Gin managing director Ged Feltham told the Evening Standard: “It feels a bit crazy, but for some time we have been determined to bring all our gin production in-house and it is amazing that this will enable us to do that without leaving Portobello Road.”
Balans Soho Society to open Seven Dials cafe-style site, sixth London venue: London-based casual dining group Balans Soho Society will open its latest venue next month in Seven Dials, close to Covent Garden. The 60-cover venue in Monmouth Street will open seven days a week for breakfast, brunch, lunch, supper and late-night dining, with a cafe-style approach. Designed by Simon Costin, the 100 square metre space will feature many of the elements of its sister sites – the flagship restaurant in Soho, plus venues in Kensington High Street, both Westfield shopping centres and a cafe in Soho’s Old Compton Street. The decor will feature dark wooden tables and “curious collectables” in secret cabinets and on shelves, the company said. A limited number of covers will also be available outside during the summer months. Overseen by executive chef Crispin Chetwynd, the kitchen will serve seasonal dishes from locally sourced producers. Classic and signature cocktails will appear on the drinks menu, including Captain Redleg’s Afternoon Tea and Strawberry Martini. Owner David Taylor said: “The new cafe-style Balans Soho Society will continue to offer a haven for the rogues, rascals and reprobates of London wishing to escape the everyday routine.”
Grind opens seventh London site at Royal Exchange: London-based Grind, the independent coffee and cocktail bar, has opened its seventh site in the capital at the historic Royal Exchange. The company is celebrating the launch with a “Free Coffee Friday” on 27 May. It has spent more per square foot than before as it aims to ensure Royal Exchange Grind brings speciality coffee to the City in a setting it said was a far throw from the fading trend of the spit-and-sawdust cafes that have so long been the face of high quality coffee in London. The site features a sweeping marble bar and bespoke brass shelving. The area has a rich coffee history with nearby Cornhill home to London’s first coffee shop, which was opened in 1652 by coffee pioneer Pasqua Rosée. A bit further along was Jonathan’s Coffee House, which opened in about 1680 and would go on to become the London Stock Exchange. Co-founder David Abrahamovitch said: “I’m delighted we’ve finally found a home for Grind in the City. We’ve been asked by our customers to come into the City at least once a week since we first opened in Shoreditch five years ago, and it’s taken us a long time to find the perfect space, but we couldn’t have imagined a better home for Grind than historic grade-I listed Royal Exchange.” Grind also has two sites in Soho as well as venues in London Bridge, Holborn and Covent Garden.
Michelin-starred New York restaurant Aquavit to launch central London site: Two Michelin-starred Nordic restaurant Aquavit New York will open a central London site in the St James’s Market redevelopment, just off Regent Street. The restaurant in Carlton Street has been brought to the UK by Philip Hamilton, founder and chief executive of Aquavit London, and will offer all-day dining, showcasing contemporary Nordic cuisine and design when it opens this winter. The menu will be overseen by Emma Bengtsson, executive chef of Aquavit New York, and will be executed by head chef Henrik Ritzen – formerly of The Dover Street Arts Club, La Petite Maison and Lutyens. The menu will evolve with the Nordic changing seasons and include dishes such as butter-poached cod with fennel aioli and salt-baked celeriac root, and seared duck breast with pickled quince and buckwheat porridge. Bengtsson said: “I cannot imagine a more exciting city than London to make us another home. The London culinary scene is one of the most vibrant in the world and I am thrilled Aquavit will be part of that community.”
Mu Mu eyes Leicester and Loughborough as it looks to grow six-strong East Midlands estate: Northamptonshire-based gourmet burger company Mu Mu is eyeing restaurants in Leicester and Loughborough as it aims to build a chain of six sites in the East Midlands. Gareth and Emily Disante opened their first site in Kettering two years ago followed by a venue in Northampton in December. Now they are aiming to launch restaurants in Leicester and then Loughborough. Gareth Disante told the Leicester Mercury: “It’s on the cards but we haven’t signed for a unit in Leicester yet. It’s our next project – hopefully followed by one in Loughborough and ultimately a small chain of about six in the region. We’ve found a good location is absolutely key. It’s worth paying more rent and rates to be nearer the centre so that’s what we want to do in Leicester.” Mu Mu sells elaborate burgers, pizzas, cocktails and “freakshakes”, which are milkshakes topped with cakes, doughnuts and other things. The restaurants feature an industrial, urban theme and loud music.
Tasty set to bring Wildwood to Wales after winning al fresco dining dispute in Llandudno: Tasty is set to bring its Wildwood restaurant brand to Wales after winning its al fresco dining dispute over tables and chairs in Llandudno. The company had previously been granted permission by Conwy Council to open the 140-cover restaurant and 24-seat cinema in Mostyn Street, creating 30 jobs. But the plans to push on with the venue hit a snag because of restrictions imposed on putting seating outside the venue. The company wanted to put five tables and 14 seats outside the restaurant to increase its covers and also fit with the Mediterranean theme of the chain. Wildwood submitted an application to remove the condition, which has been lifted by the council clearing the way for work to start on the site, reports the Daily Post. The council said: “On balance, the external seating area is considered to be acceptable in this instance.” Wildwood has 33 restaurants in the UK and has started work on a site in Lincoln that is due to open in July.
Zizzi signs for new food and leisure terrace at Hull shopping centre: Azzurri Group-owned Zizzi has signed to open a restaurant at the new food and leisure terrace being developed at St Stephen’s Shopping Centre in Hull. The company is the second tenant for the scheme with trampoline park business Gravity having previously revealed it will open a site later this summer. The new food and leisure terrace will be on the site of the former Gala bingo hall, which is being converted into four separate units having been empty since 2009. Centre manager Jim Harris told the Hull Daily Mail: “We will have three new leisure operators, including Gravity, and two new restaurants. Zizzi is already confirmed and we also hope to have a New York diner. We are looking to provide a new area for food and leisure aimed at the post-6pm market. We want to create a buzz in the city, which we haven’t had for years. It is time we really started driving the night-time economy forward. Whether shopping centres, cafes, pubs or theatres, we all need to work together to achieve this.”
Krispy Kreme to open Glasgow Central train station site, second venue in city: Krispy Kreme is set to open a venue in Glasgow Central railway station, its second site in the city. Excited enthusiasts of the company’s products posted online pictures of floor-to-ceiling posters in the windows of an empty unit in the transport hub, the Evening Times reports. The bright green-branded notices state: “Krispy Kreme – coming soon!” Krispy Kreme UK entered the market in October 2003 in London and currently operates 65 stores across Britain. In February, the UK’s largest Krispy Kreme outlet opened at Intu Braehead in Glasgow, serving more than 18,000 consumers in its first week and selling more than 310,000 doughnuts. Customers queued overnight at the town’s former Clydebuilt Scottish Maritime Museum. Earlier this month, Krispy Kreme was subject to a $1.35bn buyout by JAB Beech, a JAB Holding subsidiary that owns Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, Caribou Coffee, Peet’s Coffee & Tea and Stumptown Roasters. Krispy Kreme has just also opened its first stores in Bangladesh and Cambodia as part of Asian expansion plans.
Coffee Republic continues international expansion with Bahrain opening: Coffee Republic has continued its international expansion by opening its first site in Bahrain. The company has opened the outlet in the capital Manama, with a second elsewhere in the country due to follow shortly. The Manama venue, which is close to The Royal University for Women, comprises 2,500 square metres on two levels, with more than 100 covers, a mezzanine area, two lower floor areas, a terrace, and meeting rooms. It marks the 23rd international site for the company with another site due imminently at Menorca Airport. In the UK, Coffee Republic is about to start work on its third franchised site in partnership with the Mid Counties Co Op Group at the superstore in Stourport, Worcestershire. This follows openings in Walsall in the Midlands and Highworth in Wiltshire, with further openings planned during 2016. Coffee Republic has 32 franchised sites and three company-owned outlets in the UK as well as more than 450 concessions in places such as hospitals and cinemas.
Patisserie Valerie opens Chippenham site: Patisserie Valerie, the company that has sector investor Luke Johnson as executive chairman, has opened a site in Chippenham, Wiltshire. The company has opened the outlet in Borough Parade. It offers the brand’s patisserie and cake range, which are hand-made on-site. It is the brand’s 13th site in the south west region. Patisserie Valerie, launched in 1926 in Soho, London, by Belgian-born Madame Valerie, has nearly 130 sites throughout the UK. Earlier this month, parent company Patisserie Holdings reported revenues of £35.0m, an increase of £6.1m or 21.1%, for the six months ended 31 March for the brand.
Bill’s opens Sevenoaks site: Bill’s Restaurants, owned by Richard Caring, has opened its site in Sevenoaks, Kent. The company has launched the venue in London Road on the site of former sports bar and restaurant Tex Mex, which closed last year. Bill’s now has 74 restaurants in the UK having opened its first site in Lewes, East Sussex, in 2001. The nearest venues to Sevenoaks are in Tunbridge Wells and Bluewater shopping centre in Stone. In March, Bill’s Restaurants managing director Roberto Morretti told Propel Multi Club Conference the company would trial new formats as part of a focus on maximising the brand’s potential. He said: “I think Bill’s has the opportunity to alter the concept with different formats. We will trial smaller footprints and smaller models. Bill’s can replicate the success of branded coffee shops with a British offer, with great heritage and really amazing environment – and some exciting innovation. We can definitely see a daytime Bill’s – maybe even going back to the original way of doing things in Bill’s. We are spending this year making Bill’s the best it can be – but we will continue to grow.”
Northcote Leisure Group to open cafe-restaurant in Blackburn’s £34m Cathedral Quarter next month: Northcote Leisure Group, run by celebrity Michelin-starred chef Nigel Haworth and wine expert Craig Bancroft, will open a new cafe-restaurant in the £34m Cathedral Quarter in Blackburn next month. The company is launching Cafe Northcote at the Cathedral Quarter in the newly named Walsingham Hall on Wednesday, 8 June, creating 15 jobs and two apprenticeships with a work placement and training partnership with Blackburn College. The licensed bistro-style venue for 78 diners will initially open from early morning to late afternoon. It will operate as a restaurant in the evenings during December, over Christmas and New Year, and at other special times. Haworth is creating a special menu for Cafe Northcote offering coffee, food-to-go, breakfast, afternoon tea, Sunday lunch, fresh breads, sweet treats, pastas, salads and platters, including Lancashire specialities such as Eccles cakes and black pudding. He told the Lancashire Telegraph: “We look forward to new, exciting times expanding the Northcote brand into Blackburn and being part of bringing this incredible Cathedral Quarter development to life.” Haworth and Bancroft also run the Northcote Hotel, a 26-bedroom luxury hotel and Michelin star-winning restaurant in Langho, near Blackburn.
Randy’s Wing Bar pop-up launches permanent site at London’s Here East food quarter: Randy’s Wing Bar, which appeared as a pop-up at Dalston Yard and Night Tales, has opened its permanent site at London food quarter Here East in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The menu offers five types of wings, including North American Buffalo (in a spicy buffalo sauce with truffle blue cheese), and Hanoi Tuk Tuk (in a Vietnamese fish sauce, with crispy garlic and fresh coriander). The 70-cover restaurant also serves chicken burgers, including The Original (buffalo sauce, blue cheese and lime aioli), and The Argy Bhaji (onion and chilli bhaji, with cumin and lime southwest mayonnaise). Sides include chicken liver popcorn, “furious fries” with feta, and chicken scratchings with smoked sea salt, Hot Dinners reports. The dessert menu features Guilty Pleasure (chocolate brownie, gingerbread ice cream, salted caramel sauce and ginger biscuit), while drinks include craft beers, cocktails and a short wine list. Here East is on the site of the former Olympic press centre. The canal-side dining and drinking area, opposite the artists’ studios of Hackney Wick, will be home to 12 bars and restaurants.
Malhotra Group to launch loyalty card: Newcastle-based pub, restaurant and hotel operator Malhotra Group is launching a loyalty card. The company will launch the scheme on Wednesday, 1 June, offering customers five points for every £1 spent. This will equate to 5p, which can then be exchanged for food or drink at any of the group’s participating leisure venues. Each card will come with points worth £5 already added and, to celebrate the launch of the Maloyalty card, customers will be able to gain double points at all participating venues throughout June. Loyalty card holders will also receive bespoke offers and birthday rewards. Director of operations Atul Malhotra told Chronicle Live: “Each of our venues is fortunate in having a loyal customer base and this is our way of rewarding them for their continued custom. We also hope the Maloyalty cards will encourage users of one venue to try another and introduce first-time customers to the breadth and range of venues in our portfolio.” Malhotra Group’s venues include The Duke and Market Lane In Newcastle as well as the Scalini Italian restaurants in Jesmond and Gosforth, The Runhead in Gateshead, and The Sandpiper, Cullercoats.
Mexican restaurant owner launches burrito bar in Middlesbrough: The owner of Mohujos Mexican restaurant in Stockton, County Durham, has opened a burrito bar in Middlesbrough. Wendy Sayers has launched Mohujos Burrito Bar in Bedford Street. Customers are able to enjoy a range of dishes such as burritos and tacos to take away. Sayers told Gazette Live: “This is something I have wanted to do for a long time. I did research into burrito bars and saw how they were popular in other parts of the country. I really thought the concept would work here and Bedford Street seemed to be the perfect place for one.”
Worcester pub owner opens city’s first micro-pub: Worcester pub owner Chris Hankins has opened the city’s first micro-pub. Hankins, who owns the Brunswick Arms, has launched The Bull Baiters Inn in St John’s. The site, which has decor designed to give it an old-fashioned feel and look, has seating for about 20 and only sells real ales and locally sourced ciders. Drinks are served straight from cooling cabinets and kegs, which stand by the bar. Hankins told the Worcester News: “It is all about the appreciation of beer. It’s going back to how pubs used to be – conversation and good ale. This is the only micropub in Worcester. There aren’t many places you can open one. I think there will be a real market for this in Worcester. When you look around it feels like it has always been a pub (but it) was a Polish food shop and, before that, part of Foregate Patisserie.”
Cabana to create ‘Brazilian beach’ on London’s South Bank to celebrate Olympics: Brazilian barbecue restaurant Cabana will create a Rio-style beach on London’s South Bank to celebrate this summer’s Olympic Games. The company will use 85 tons of white sand for its “CopaCabana” beach, which will sit on the banks of the Thames from late May until the end of September as part of Cabana’s #RoadToRio party. The beach will feature a “bonde” food tram as a centrepiece, alongside a cocktail bar reminiscent of Rio’s lifeguard tower “postos”. Traditional Brazilian cocktails will be on offer as well as Cabana’s own version of Pimm’s – the Rio Pimm’s. The bar will also offer wine and Portuguese beer Sagres, as well as non-alcoholic drinks. A company spokesman said: “Grab your own slice of Brazilian life at our homemade Rio this summer at the CopaCabana beach. It’s the only place to get into the spirit of the games and get you on the #RoadToRio!” CopaCabana Beach will open daily from 11am until late at Queen Elizabeth Walk, Southbank Centre. Cabana, founded by Jamie Barber and David Ponte, operates ten UK sites – in Brixton, Islington, Leeds, Covent Garden, Westfield Stratford, Westfield White City, Manchester, Wembley, the O2 and Newcastle.
Craft Beer Co sells five millionth pint: Craft Beer Co has sold its five millionth pint of craft beer since being founded in 2011. The company operates six sites across London and one in Brighton, while it is set for Croydon’s Boxpark later this year. Founder and managing director Martin Hayes said: “When we set out on this journey in 2011, we were in a market that was just getting to grips with the term ‘craft beer’, some might say we still are. However, our promise to consumers has never changed; we’re a fiercely independent business that buys on quality, not brewery deals or price. I suspect we dedicate a greater percentage of time to hunting out the best craft beers in the world for our customers to enjoy than any other business in our sector. I’d like to think that’s what sets us apart. To hit the five million pint mark was a pleasing landmark and testimony to those who work for us and the many great craft brewers in the UK and around the world that supply us.” He added: “We’re in discussion over a couple of new sites right now and I suspect at least one will materialise in the coming months but, as always, it’s important to get the deal right – something only experience tells you.” Last month, Craft Beer Co revealed it had enjoyed a record year, with turnover up 16.8%.
Carlsberg UK puts ‘pubs at the heart’ of Euro 2016 advertising campaign: Carlsberg UK said it is putting “pubs at the heart” of its sponsorship of the England team and UEFA’s Euro 2016 football tournament, which kicks off on Friday, 10 June. Carlsberg has created an online film – “Substitute Pessimism for Optimism” – set in a fictional pub called The Three Lions, which encourages fans to get behind the England team. The brewer said football tournaments were worth more than £60m to the on-trade and showing live football could add an uplift of 60% to a pub’s rate of sale. Pubs in England with names such as The Red Lion will “pubstitute” their signage for “The Three Lions” bespoke pub signs featuring players such as Wayne Rooney and Joe Hart. Carlsberg UK vice-president marketing Liam Newton said: “We’re using our brand credentials and unique role as the official beer of UEFA Euro 2016 and the England team to support pubs to deliver an incredible experience for their customers, beer-lovers and football fans over what promises to be a huge summer for the on-trade.”