New restaurant concept Arthur Hooper’s to open this week overlooking Borough Market: New restaurant concept Arthur Hooper’s will launch overlooking London’s Borough Market on Wednesday (3 May), featuring a designer jewel box interior and “wine wall”. The 51-cover restaurant in Stoney Street has been named after a Victorian fruit-seller who once lived at the previously derelict building. The menu, designed by chef Lale Oztek, will feature European small plates with ingredients sourced from market suppliers, including Neal’s Yard, Cannon & Cannon and Bread Ahead. Dishes will include mussels with nduja and turnip tops, and pork and fennel ragu fettuccine, alongside daily seasonal specials dependent on the best available produce. Liberty Wines has helped to curate a signature list for the wine wall that will feature more than 50 wines, including vintage specials. The rough jewel box interior has been designed by Buster + Punch creative director Massimo Minale, who has drawn inspiration from the neighbouring market. Oztek said: “I’m excited to bring my love and enthusiasm for food to such an iconic and historic destination.”
Butcombe Brewing Co appoints new project brewer: Brewer and operator Butcombe Brewing Co, owned by Liberation Group, has appointed Jayne Goater as its new project brewer. Goater, who has a Master of Science degree in brewing science and practice, joins from Molson Coors, where she worked on product and brewing process development. Butcombe recently rebranded to increase its appeal to the growing number of younger and female craft ale drinkers and Goater will influence the company’s beer to ensure it is popular with this market. She said: “There is a lot going on at Butcombe right now and it’s a very exciting time to join the business. I feel so fortunate I can earn a living making something I feel so passionate about. I hope to see a beer I have created and brewed on the bar soon.” Butcombe managing director Geraint Williams added: “Jayne brings an excellent technical background, accompanied by relentless energy and enthusiasm to our brewery. We’ve got a young, dynamic team at Butcombe supporting our expansion. We’re investing in Butcombe Brewing Co to ensure we have the best staff and facilities to drive our next phase of growth.”
Jamie Oliver completes acquisition of Jamie’s Italian restaurants in Australia: Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has completed the acquisition of Jamie’s Italian venues in Australia, receivers for the Keystone Group have announced. Receiver Morgan Kelly told Hospitality Magazine: “Management and operation of each of the Jamie’s Italian venues have now transferred to the new owners.” Oliver was granted extra time last week to finalise the acquisition of the six franchise-run restaurants following an urgent court hearing. The New South Wales Supreme Court was told if an extension of time was not granted, the Jamie’s companies, which are insolvent, would go into liquidation with the loss of more than 300 jobs. Administrator Katherine Barnet told the court both parties agreed to the sale on 31 December but there had been a delay in finalisation for a number of reasons, including the complexity of the transaction and negotiations with the respective landlords at each restaurant. Justice Fabian Gleeson agreed to a four-week extension and the deal has now been completed. Under the terms of the agreement with Jamie’s Italian International, all employees will be offered the same or similar jobs with the same terms and conditions. The Keystone Group was placed in receivership at the end of last year when it failed to renegotiate an A$80m loan with its financiers, the private equity group KKR and Olympus Capital.
Dorset-based pizza restaurant Baffi to open sixth site, in Poole: Dorset-based pizza restaurant Baffi is to open its sixth site, this time in Poole. The company will open the venue in High Street at a former clothes store. It has been granted a premises licence by Poole Council, with the restaurant set to open in June. Baffi offers Neapolitan-style pizzas that are cooked for no longer than 90 seconds in wood-fired ovens. The company has restaurants in Southbourne, Westbourne, Canford Cliffs, and Ringwood while work is under way on a fifth site, in Portswood. Co-founder Tom Ellis told the Bournemouth Echo: “Baffi has been well received across our four sites in Dorset and Hampshire over the past couple of years and we have built a loyal customer base. Baffi is keen to expand into similar areas. Building work is under way at our fifth site in Portswood, Hampshire, and we anticipate opening the doors in about seven weeks. Poole High Street is next on the list, towards the end of June.”
London-based multi-site operator opens fourth site: London-based multi-site operator Andy Bird has opened his fourth site in the capital. Bird has relaunched the Dartmouth Arms pub in Dartmouth Park having agreed a free-of-tie lease with owner Faucet Inn. The end-of-terrace pub, which had been shut for two-and-a-half years, fronts York Rise and sits within the Dartmouth Park Conservation Area, which is east of Parliament Hill. The 2,267 square foot property, which is arranged over ground floor and basement, has a rent of £70,000 per annum. The pub serves local beers and has a Sunday roast offer, while all staff are paid the London Living Wage. Bird also owns Fanny Nelson’s and The Chesham Arms in Hackney and is co-owner of the Happiness Forgets in Hoxton. Faucet Inn managing director Steve Cox told the Camden New Journal: “I am pleased to see the business back open and looking so fantastic. I am sure Andy Bird and his team will do an amazing job re-establishing this business within the community.”
Bubble and squeak-inspired concept fails in £100,000 crowdfunding bid: Bubble and squeak-inspired concept Bubble&, which has operated at festivals and markets, has failed in its £100,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. The company, founded by Rupert Smith and Marita Lietz, was offering a 22.22% equity stake in return for the investment. The funds would have been used to open a permanent restaurant in Southsea, Hampshire. However, it failed to secure the investment it was looking for. A message from Crowdcube said: “Unfortunately, Bubble& did not reach its funding target before the closing date.” The pitch stated: “The investment will fund capital expenditure on the kitchen, bar, furniture, construction works and our pre-opening costs, which include professional fees such as lawyers, rent and costs during fit-out and architects. The plan is to expand the concept to have multiple restaurants in the south east and London, and become a nationally recognised brand. We will be aiming towards a five-to-ten-year sale/exit.”
Not-for-profit organisation Food for Soul to launch community kitchen in Earl’s Court next month: Food for Soul, the not-for-profit organisation founded by chef Massimo Bottura, is partnering with London-based food waste charity The Felix Project to open its first UK project, in Earl’s Court next month. The joint venture will see community kitchen Refettorio Felix open in the St Cuthbert’s Centre on Monday, 5 June replicating Food for Soul’s previous projects – in Milan at Expo 2015 and last year’s Rio Olympics. The community space will undergo a six-week makeover to serve meals created from surplus ingredients provided by The Felix Project. For 25 years, St Cuthbert’s has acted as a drop-in centre for vulnerable people, including rough sleepers and those with addiction and mental health issues, providing a subsidised lunch service, counselling, showers and clothes. Refettorio Felix at St Cuthbert’s will provide an enhanced dining service, with monthly appearances by guest chefs including Claude Bosi, Monica Galetti and Oliver Peyton. Bottura said: “Chefs have risen to celebrity heights. I believe we can reflect these lights to illuminate the most pressing issues facing society today. Cooking is a call to act.”
Chef and author Stéphane Reynaud to open first restaurant outside Paris, in Shoreditch next week: French chef and cookery writer Stéphane Reynaud will open Tratra next week in Shoreditch, his third restaurant and first outside Paris. Tratra will be based in the basement at the Boundary Hotel, with a separate entrance in Redchurch Street, and will open on Wednesday, 10 May. The menu has been kept under wraps but Reynaud’s casual cuisine is largely inspired by recipes from the Ardèche region in France, where he spent his childhood. Having grown up in a family of pig farmers and butchers, Reynaud puts a large emphasis on meat and charcuterie. A chef for 25 years, Reynaud has written nine books, including best-sellers Ripalles, Terrine, Pork & Sons, and The Book of Tripe, selling more than one million books worldwide.
Jamie Rollo – Merlin Entertainments has scope to double planned number of hotel rooms, chief executive’s remuneration rises to £1.9m: Morgan Stanley leisure analyst Jamie Rollo has said Merlin Entertainments has scope to double the planned number of hotel rooms at its theme parks. Rollo said: “Themed hotels provide an immersive experiences for families and premium revenues to standard hotel offerings. Our work suggests Merlin is generating about £300 to £400 revenue per room per night for Legoland hotels, three to four times higher than comparable revpar. Adding hotels to theme parks also makes sense strategically – it increases visitor catchment area, revenue visibility, ancillary revenues, trading in shoulder periods, and guest satisfaction. Merlin said accommodation is 10% of group sales and guides to a 15% return on invested capital on new hotels. However, these figures exclude associated park ticket sales, and adjusting for this and looking at actual room rates being achieved we estimate it is generating a 30%-plus return on capital investment, implying hotels generate 20% of group Ebitda (though are not a separate division). The company currently has circa 3,600 rooms and seems ahead of its target to add 2,000 rooms by 2020. That will give it circa 5,400 rooms, but we see scope for that to double on its existing parks given it will only have 400 to 500 rooms per park versus peers double that (notwithstanding the various permissions needed to build hotels). Over the next five years we think hotel expansion could add 26% to group Ebitda, 5% annual growth in group Ebitda, more than the Midway or Legoland park divisions, both of which we think could circa 20% to group Ebitda. Adding it altogether gets to a bull case earnings per share of 50p by 2022, suggesting a £10 share price then, double current levels. We rate the shares ‘Overweight’.” Meanwhile, Merlin Entertainments chief executive Nick Varney saw his remuneration for 2016 jump to £1.925m compared with £733,000 the year before despite missing out on an annual bonus for the second year running, the company’s annual report has revealed. Varney’s remuneration for 2016 consisted of £583,000 salary, £21,000 in benefits, £1,193,000 in long-term incentive payments and £128,000 in pension. He was awarded a 1% pay rise in October taking his salary to £587,214 and received a further increase of 2.25% in April after the company decided to move its pay review to April instead of October.
Surrey-based premium cider-maker launches £180,000 crowdfunding campaign to create community orchard and bottling line: Surrey-based craft premium cider-maker The Garden Cider Company has launched a £180,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdfunder to expand its range by creating a community orchard and bottling line. The company, founded by Ben and Will Filby, gets its apples from more than 3,000 members of the Chiddingfold community, who bring their windfall apples each year in exchange for a share of the cider produced. Flavours include original, raspberry and rhubarb, and plum and ginger. Funds raised will enable the team to plant and grow cider apple trees as well as eating apples that will be turned into apple juice, further expanding Garden Cider’s range. Apple juice requires chilling and pasteurising prior to bottling and the company plans to purchase the tank and equipment to make the premium juice that would also be offered in exchange for windfall apples as an alternative to cider. Ben Filby said: “We currently work with some Parent Teacher Associations in schools to gather apples from the community. In being able to offer apple juice we will be able to work directly with schools in educating children about food production, waste, provenance and the importance of nature’s role. Our farm will house about 3,000 trees, with three varieties of organic apples pollinated by our own bees. The last part of our project at Mill House Farm will be to restore the listed remains of 18th century Smock Mill. This will form the centrepiece of the farm and be open to the public and used as an educational resource for local schools and the wider community. The working windmill will not only be a living landmark but also a real statement about sustainability.”
Fork & Blade launches sustainable seafood concept Trawler Trash in Islington: Fork & Blade Group, the company behind The Black Penny Coffee House in Covent Garden and Mediterranean dining concept Firedog in Fitzrovia, has launched sustainable seafood concept Trawler Trash in Islington, north London. The 50-cover venue has opened in Upper Street on the site of former fish and chip shop Seafish, offering a weekly changing menu and cocktails. The “trash” in the title is because the restaurant focuses on fish often discarded by the industry such as pilchard, coley, sprat, grey mullet and crayfish. The venue has no freezers so only serves fish delivered that day, which means it isn’t open on Mondays, Hot Dinners reports. Trawler Trash retains a fish and chip shop feel but with polished concrete, exposed brick and an open kitchen. The cocktail bar to the rear seats a dozen people. The menu, by Fork & Blade executive chef George Notley, includes kipper carbonara with peas and rocket, and steamed mussels with cider, clotted cream, diced apples, parsley and hand-cut chips. Fork & Blade also operates boutique hotel brand Green Walnut.
Dirty Bones launches NYC apartment-inspired venue in Soho for fourth London site: US comfort food restaurant Dirty Bones has launched its fourth site in London, bringing its signature design style combined with old school hip-hop, soul and funk to Soho. The 1,600 square foot, 60-cover restaurant and bar in Denman Street takes its inspiration from the post-industrial-chic look championed by loft apartments in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. The decor includes bespoke neon lighting fixtures, intentionally mismatched furniture, timber and concrete flooring, and an antique floor-to-ceiling bookcase. The Soho menu showcases dishes such as slow ‘n’ low pork belly ribs marinated in Dr Pepper and burnt onion and ale barbecue sauce, as well as an all-new rotating selection of grass-fed British rib-eye steaks. A selection of cold pressed juices and creative hot drinks are available alongside cocktails. Dirty Bones’ other sites are in Kensington, Carnaby and Shoreditch.
Lantana to open fourth London site, in Southwark: London-based cafe chain Lantana is to open its fourth site in the capital, this time in Southwark. The brand, which already has sites in Shoreditch, Camden and Fitzrovia, will open a venue at Thrale House in Southwark Street, on the edge of Borough Market. The 84-cover site consists of 3,313 square feet arranged over ground floor and basement. Lantana has signed a new 25-year lease at a rent of £65,000 per annum exclusive. The cafe will sit next to O’ver, the Italian street food restaurant that uses pure seawater as a chief ingredient. Rob Meadows, director of agents Davis Coffer Lyons, which acted for landlord Amazon Properties, told CoStar: “The Lantana concept has been pioneer of the Australian-run modern cafe scene in London, testament to the growth and proliferation of some exciting boutique coffee-led concepts in the sector of the market. There is a distinct and growing trend for these brands to offer a quality, all-day food menu, which can evolve to also capture evening trade.” Lantana was launched in 2008 by Shelagh Ryan, Michael Homan and Caitlin Ryan.
Restaurants and bars proposed as part of redevelopment of Tetley Brewery site in Leeds: Plans have been lodged for the redevelopment of the former Tetley Brewery site in Leeds. A mixed-use scheme with capacity to support about 6,500 jobs is envisaged featuring landmark buildings, hotels, homes, shops, restaurants and offices alongside a new city park. The application by Vastint Leeds includes 161,500 square feet of shops, restaurants, bars and takeaways, as well as two hotels with a total of 400 bedrooms. The scheme also includes up to 850 homes and 915,000 square feet of business space, reports Insider Media. At its height in the 1960s, the brewery employed 1,000 workers and was the world’s largest producer of cask ale during the 1980s. In 1998, Tetley was taken over by Carlsberg and the Leeds brewery was closed in 2011 and demolished the following year. The headquarters now house a contemporary arts and learning centre.
Holiday park operator sold out of administration to former owner: Independently-owned holiday and residential park operator Lifestyle Living UK has been sold out of administration to a former owner. Lifestyle Living UK, which has sites across Cumbria, Norfolk and Suffolk, entered administration in December, with Jason Baker and Miles Needham, of FRP Advisory, appointed joint administrators. Since coming into the Cambridge-based company, the administrators have continuously traded all its sites and have now sold the business and assets to a group owned and run by Tony Barney, who operates a number of parks across the UK and was owner and chairman of Lifestyle Living for four years before selling the business in 2014. Barney will continue to trade the business and its sites under the Lifestyle Living brand, safeguarding about 30 jobs across all sites. He told Insider Media: “It is great to be back at Lifestyle Living and I look forward to reinvigorating the sites so they can serve another generation of holiday-users and lodge owners with the high standards they have come to expect. With more than 30 years of experience in the holiday and residential parks sector, I could see an opportunity to come back to a business I helped build and take it on to a new level.”
M&B launches Toby Carvery partnership with Royal British Legion: Mitchells & Butlers has launched a charity partnership between its Toby Carvery brand and The Royal British Legion. All 172 Toby Carverys in the UK will add a special pudding to their menus, with 25p from each sale donated to the charity. Toby Carvery Facebook fans voted for the jam and coconut sponge to be the official charity pudding. Money will be used to support active and veteran members of the armed forces and their families, with Toby Carvery aiming to raise £100,000 for The Royal British Legion by the end of 2018. The brand has also partnered with the Defences Discount Card, which gives members of the armed forces, their spouses and veterans 10% off their food bill. Toby Carvery brand operations director Martin Gosling said: “The Legion’s cause is close to employees and guests of Toby Carvery up and down the country.”
West Berkshire Brewery takes delivery of £4m brewing equipment for new facility: West Berkshire Brewery is set to further ramp-up production following delivery of equipment from Italy worth £4m to its new brewery in Yattendon. A convoy of 28 lorries from Parma delivered the equipment, including specially designed bottling, kegging and canning lines, to the 38,000 square foot premises, which is being built next to its existing brewery. The new facility is due to start production in August and will also feature a bar, cafe and shop. The move is the brewery’s fourth expansion since the company was founded in 1995 by Dave and Helen Maggs, who appointed international brewing entrepreneur David Bruce as chairman in 2013. Bruce said: “This is a transformational time for our brewery and our £6m investment in its future will create one of the most pre-eminent brewing and packaging facilities in the UK.” The company raised £1.7m on crowdfunding platform Seedrs last year towards the new brewery, visitor centre and its first pub, which opened in Islington, north London. Earlier this month, West Berkshire Brewery returned to Seedrs looking to raise up to £3.8m for further expansion. The company is offering a 28.10% equity stake in return for the investment of £3,781,002, which is being run as a private campaign open to existing shareholders with a share price of £3.