Eclectic to start expansion of Smash concept with Wimbledon site: Eclectic Bars, a subsidiary of the Brighton Pier Group, is to launch a second site for its experiential concept Smash, this time in Wimbledon, south west London. Eclectic launched the table tennis, bar and restaurant concept in Reading in May 2016. The new venue will open on the site of the company’s Po Na Na nightclub in The Broadway on Saturday, 30 September offering more than 60 craft beers and ciders, hand-made Italian pizza and four Olympic-standard ping pong tables. The venue will be open daily from midday until late, with 12-inch sharing pizzas made on-site alongside salad, garlic bread and fries. Music will be a mix of retro, indie and non-commercial tracks, while live sports will also be shown. Eclectic Group managing director Lee Nicolson said: “Our first Smash in Reading is proving a huge success, which has given us the confidence to further develop this radically different take on an immersive product. Table tennis is a social sporting activity and we’re taking it back to its roots by bringing it into the entertainment arena. We’ve added great food and drink and a cool, exciting environment to the mix.” Eclectic Bars operates 13 venues under brands including Embargo Republica, Lowlander, Lola Lo, Po Na Na, Fez Club and Coalition.
Drake & Morgan to launch bar and restaurant The Listing in City for 23rd site: Drake & Morgan is to launch bar and restaurant The Listing in the City of London for its 23rd site. The venue will open at the new Cannon Green building in Bush Lane on Monday, 6 November offering cocktails and all-day dining. The Listing will feature a sleek bar space with marble-topped tables and mirrors and offer bespoke cocktails, hot toddies, wine, champagne, spirits and craft beer, Hot Dinners reports. The menu will include breakfast, mains, flatbread, superfood salads and sharing boards, with the venue open from 7.30am until midnight, Monday to Friday. The decor will feature curved booths and a terrace with views over Suffolk Lane. Drake & Morgan will open its 22nd site, The Allegory, on Monday, 16 October on the ground floor of Brookfield’s 600,000 square foot mixed-use office, residential and retail space in Bishopsgate. Managing director Jillian MacLean said: “The City of London is Drake & Morgan’s heartland.” Drake & Morgan will also open a venue in St Peter’s Square, Manchester, before the end of the year.
Crafted Projects gets go-ahead for destination development in Newcastle, explores taking gin and beer bar concept nationwide: North east-based Crafted Projects, formerly known as Ladhar Leisure, has been given the go-ahead for a major food-led development in Newcastle. The company has been granted permission by the city council for its White Hart Yard scheme, which will open up and connect venues in Grey Street and the Cloth Market. It is also exploring taking its gin and beer bar concept Pleased To Meet You (PTMY) nationwide and has relinquished its interest on its Pig and Whistle and Destiny venues to facilitate the arrival of the Rev Da Cuba scheme. Crafted Projects director Barry Ladhar said: “It is just two years ago since we extended PTMY (in High Bridge) and we have seen a big increase in footfall – bookings for this Christmas are at record levels. The PTMY brand is being taken to Morpeth and we are looking at expanding it nationally.” Meanwhile, Ladhar said he hoped phase one of White Hart Yard would be open for Easter 2018. The inspiration for the concept, which is expected to create at least 150 jobs, comes from pop-up developments in areas of London such as Shoreditch and Borough Market. Ladhar added: “We want to create a cultural and hybrid festival venue in the heart of Newcastle that will stir up music, food and drink, and discussion, focusing on the very best the north of England has to offer in street food, cocktails, music events and the pioneering craft drinks market. Regular street stalls, pop-up cinema, guest chefs and masterclasses mixed with the best in food, drink, music and retail will make this a unique Newcastle experience.”
Gordon Ramsay relaunches Heathrow restaurant Plane Food with new grab-and-go offering: Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay has reopened his Heathrow restaurant Plane Food following a major redesign and refurbishment. The newly styled dining room at Terminal 5 features a multifunctional space that can be rapidly turned into a semi-private dining area. The new-look venue now features an Asian bar with open kitchen, while Ramsay has launched Plane Food Grab & Go, a pre-prepared offering passengers can take away to enjoy on their flight. The core menu has been updated and features British classics with global inspirations, including short-rib beef burger with chimichurri mayo, and duck leg with lentils and green beans. The cocktail bar offers a menu of small plates including salt and pepper baby squid. Children dine for free. Ramsay said: “I’m excited for travellers of all ages to experience the new-modern Plane Food that has been inspired by influences from all around the globe.” Heathrow retail director Chris Annetts added: “Since its opening in 2008, Gordon Ramsay’s Plane Food has become a cornerstone of the Terminal 5 experience for many of our passengers. We are proud to continue our partnership.” Gordon Ramsay Group comprises 31 restaurants globally and seven Michelin stars. In December, the company secured a ten-year extension to its Plane Food contract at Terminal 5, leading to it enhancing the offering.
Papa John’s franchisee opens second site with Ashton-under-Lyne store, eyes further growth: Papa John’s franchisee Peter Gill has opened his second site, in Ashton-under-Lyne, Manchester, and is eyeing further growth. Gill, who runs a store in Grantham, Lincolnshire, has opened the venue at Heys Retail Park, creating 20 jobs. He said: “I joined Papa John’s last summer. Before that, I worked in the insurance industry so it’s been a significant change for me, plus a big learning curve! It was always my intention to open multiple Papa John’s and so my second store is really just the start. I chose Ashton-under-Lyne as it has lots of potential and the area continues to attract investment. A number of household brands already occupy sites on the Heys Retail Park including Tesco’s, so we anticipate lots of walk-in trade. Until now, I’ve been very hands-on in the Grantham store but with expansion I see my role changing into more of an operational one. I have learned much from opening my first Papa John’s and look forward to using this experience to help with the running of Ashton-under-Lyne and other potential outlets in the future.” Papa John’s, which was founded in the US in 1984, has more than 350 sites across the UK and more than 5,000 stores in more than 40 international markets and territories.
Encant owner Victor Garvey to open Rambla restaurant in Soho next month: Victor Garvey, chef-patron of modern Spanish restaurant Encant, will launch his third venture – Rambla – next month. Garvey will open the 60-cover venue in Dean Street, Soho, on Wednesday, 4 October. The menu will focus on Catalan cuisine, the food of Garvey’s youth, while the venue takes its name from Barcelona thoroughfare La Rambla, where he lived as a child. The menu will be divided into three sections – Cru (raw and cured); Mar (seafood); and Muntanya (mountains). Dishes will include fresh Mediterranean sea urchin with Iberico lard toast, jumbo scallop with smoked roe sauce and crystallised veal jus, and Catalan black pudding sandwich with green apple slaw. It will feature an all-Spanish wine list as well as gin and classic cocktails. The interior of Rambla will be light and atmospheric, reminiscent of Barcelona’s elegant-but-casual beachfront restaurants. Garvey said: “Rambla will bring to Soho many of the characteristics our guests love about Encant, while also being very much its own place. The food will be familiar to anyone who knows Catalan cuisine, while also being innovative and fun, with great drinks and service to go with it.” Garvey opened Encant in Covent Garden in March 2016 followed by wine and cheese bar Sibarita in nearby Maiden Lane in June this year.
Restaurateur Neil Gill launches northern chip shop concept for third Finsbury Park site: Restaurateur Neil Gill has launched a chip shop concept for his third site in Finsbury Park, north London. Gilly’s Fry Bar has opened in Clifton Terrace and is modelled on the northern fish and chip shops of Gill’s youth – but with an Asian twist. It not only focuses on fish and chip shop classics such as battered cod with scraps but also on the art of tempura cooking – an idea Gill came up with while working with Alan Yau at Busaba Eathai. The Gilly’s Fry Bar menu is split into five sections – snacks, fry, raw, donburi rice and sides. To complement the food, the highball cocktail menu introduces combinations such as gin with lemon, cherry and elderflower; and vodka with Cointreau, lemon juice and cream soda. Inventive shots, pickles and punches are also available. The 35-cover restaurant’s decor has a casual, contemporary design with “subtle nods to 1980s Sunderland chip shops”. Gill said: “Having established Season Kitchen and The Lamb pub locally, I jumped at the opportunity to open another restaurant within the community I call home. I love the idea of marrying traditional Japanese with traditional British flavours while using age-old frying techniques in the process. I like fried food and I like highball cocktails, and my gut tells me it is a good idea.”
Australian entrepreneur to launch sushi hand rolls concept Inigo in Soho: Australian entrepreneur Jeremy Bliss and Charlie Hall, of hospitality site Code London, are to launch sushi hand rolls concept Inigo in Soho. The debut Inigo kiosk will open in Great Windmill Street on Wednesday, 11 October using its own sandwich-style take on traditional sushi. Rather than cones, Inigo’s sushi rolls will be tube-shaped and instead of traditional fillings will contain an array of Japanese-inspired ingredients such as crushed wasabi peas, macadamia nuts, broccoli and ponzu tuna. There will be six rolls to try, including ponzu-marinated tuna with baby gem lettuce, spicy mayo and crushed wasabi peas, and miso-cured salmon with avocado, macadamia nuts and pickled daikon, Hot Dinners reports. Inigo will also offer rotating specials, salad and soup, alongside soft and alcoholic drinks. Coffee and breakfast will be served from 9am. Inigo said it would shun plastic wrapping in favour of compostable packaging, while the playlist will be curated by Luke Pritchard, singer and guitarist of The Kooks, who is a friend of Bliss’ and also an investor in the business.
Zizzi eyes Coventry shopping centre site: Azzurri Group-owned Zizzi has submitted plans to open a restaurant at the Cathedral Lanes shopping centre in Coventry. The company has applied to the city council for a premises licence to occupy a site in the complex’s dining quarter in Broadgate, reports the Coventry Telegraph. It would join restaurant brands Wagamama, Casual Dining Group-owned Las Iguanas and Loungers brand Cosy Club, while Graphite Capital-backed pub restaurant group New World Trading Company is also looking to bring its The Botanist brand to the centre. Developer Shearer Property Group is developing Cathedral Lanes to house seven new restaurants. Zizzi has 145 sites in the UK and earlier this month unveiled new packaging as it looks to grow its share of the out-of-restaurant channel.
Brixton-based dim sum restaurant and bar Courtesan to relaunch this week with new look and menu: Brixton-based dim sum restaurant and bar Courtesan will relaunch this week following an extensive refurbishment. The venue in Atlantic Road will feature a new look, menu and all female-produced drinks list. The restaurant and bar, peppered with neon lights and bright red graphics, will be furnished with jade velvet booths and large silk lanterns, and will feature vintage Chinese artefacts throughout. A geometric, neon-lit Sayagata-patterned staircase will lead downstairs to the late-night venue featuring mirror installations and optical-illusion art. The menu will feature dim sum, noodle and rice dishes, bao buns and a changing list of specials. The Courtesan bar will serve wine, cocktails and spirits, supplying beverages produced or grown exclusively by women. In addition, Courtesan will introduce a multi-disciplinary entertainment programme in its late-night entertainment space, including cabaret acts, live jazz music, DJs, parties and West End performers.
Melitta Coffee makes price pledge amid market uncertainty: Coffee company Melitta has pledged to keep prices the same for 12 months amid market uncertainty. New market manager Laura Sherwood said: “In such a diverse market place, the need to be flexible is everything. Every business is different; understanding this is integral. The common thread is the need for great coffee, and we’re true believers that serving it shouldn’t come at a premium. That’s why we pledge to not only impress with our coffee but protect our new and existing customers from any increases by keeping the price of our beans the same for 12 months.”
Revolution Bars Group launches online store for vodka range: Revolution Bars Group has launched an online store selling its vodka range, Handcrafted Flavour. The site will initially sell 70cl bottles in three flavours within the 30-wide range – pear drop, bubblegum and cherry. The bottles will be available for standard delivery via Revolution’s website or through Deliveroo. Revolution said it intends to increase the range available on the site as demand grows. Revolution Bars Group commercial director Myles Doran said: “Since launching our Handcrafted Flavours range we have sold nearly three million bottles in-bar and this year has seen our most successful sales to date. We are confident this e-commerce platform will introduce our unique product to a wider audience and help drive additional revenue through online sales.” Revolution Bars Group currently trades from 68 sites, 54 under the Revolution format and 14 under its Revolución de Cuba brand. Last month, Stonegate Pub Company reached an agreement to buy Revolution Bars Group for £101.5m, although the deal is still subject to shareholder approval. The Deltic Group is also considering making an offer.
Scottish ice cream manufacturer Crolla’s opens High Wycombe gelateria for seventh site: Crolla’s Gelato, the gelateria arm of The Crolla Ice Cream Company, one of Scotland’s oldest ice cream manufacturers, has opened a site in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. The family-run company has opened the venue – its seventh to date – at Thames House in Castle Street. It serves gelato, sandwiches, Italian coffee and waffles, reports the Bucks Free Press. Crolla’s Gelato has outlets in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Llandudno, Manchester and Preston with sites “coming soon” in Dundee and Nottingham.
Escape Room UK eyes Sheffield for fifth site: Escape game company Escape Room UK, which operates sites in Manchester, Preston, Stoke-on-Trent and Barrow-in-Furness, is eyeing Sheffield for its fifth attraction. The company has submitted plans to convert a first-floor former BHS store in Castlegate House, Haymarket, into its latest franchise. The ground and lower-ground floors of the space are currently used by discount shop B&M Bargains, Insider Media reports. The 5,283 square foot space would be separated into different themed areas containing trials that customers attempt to complete in a set time. Challenges listed on the plans include Prison Break, Jungle, Sherlock Holmes and Secret Service Espionage. The proposed operating hours of the escape room would be 9am to 11pm, Monday to Saturday, and 10am to 11pm on Sundays. The company said it expected about 30 people to take part in events at any one time.
Historic Cornish hotel featured in The Witches film reports turnover and profit boost: The historic Headland Hotel in Cornwall, which featured in the film adaptation of Roald Dahl story The Witches, has reported a “significant” rise in profits that will be invested back into further upgrades. Headland Hotel Company saw turnover increase to £8,394,023 for the year ending 30 November 2016, compared with £7,138,293 the year before, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Pre-tax profit was up to £1,333,820, compared with £888,731 the previous year. The grade II-listed, 96-bedoom, four-star hotel opened in 1900 and was taken over by current owners the Armstrong family in March 1979. In 1987, The Witches, starring Anjelica Huston, was filmed at the venue, which overlooks Fistral Bay, near Newquay. The company stated: “The financial results continue to be excellent and reflect the spa facilities being fully operational. This has enabled the hotel to increase its occupancy throughout the year. The continual investment in the fabric of the building and the ongoing work by the team has enabled the company to maintain its reputation as the leading hotel in the region. The directors are confident their continued investment in both the building and in the team will maintain the position of the business as one of the top hotels in the region. In particular, the company continues to invest heavily in training its team members, with significant expense incurred annually.”
Las Iguanas to launch autumn menu next week: Las Iguanas, the South American-inspired restaurant brand owned by Casual Dining Group, will launch its autumn menu next Tuesday (26 September). The menu will feature 15 new additions, including Ipanema mussels cooked in a lightly spiced lime, coriander and coconut sauce and served with ciabatta; and the Seco de Cordero – Peruvian-style slow-cooked lamb shank in a golden ale, red wine and Amarillo chilli sauce, served with roasted sweet potato mash and crispy chilli and onions. Desserts will feature the Banana Empanada, a traditional pastry hand-filled with banana, sweet plantain and dulce de leche; and the Piña Colada Mess – Piña Colada ice cream served with caramelised pineapple salsa, crispy pineapple pieces and toasted coconut chips. Among the 14 new cocktails will be the Mezcal Watermelon Smash, a combination of Olmeca tequila, Bru-Xo mezcal, watermelon, mint, cucumber and lime while there is a new range of sharing drinks. Las Iguanas will only be giving out plastic straws on request for most drinks as it commits to reducing usage and environmental impact with its Straws Suck campaign.
Leasehold of former Marco Pierre White pub in East Sussex sold to new operator: The leasehold of a former Marco Pierre White pub in East Sussex has been sold. New operator Alison Atherton and her family have taken on the free-of-tie lease at The Rainbow Inn, which is on the A275 in the village of Cooksbridge, north of Lewes, through agent Fleurets. The pub is being refurbished ahead of reopening on Saturday, 30 September. The menu will rotate regularly to make the most of seasonal local produce while there will also be tea and coffee, cakes, sandwiches, bar nibbles and drinks from local producers. Pierre White sold the pub to the current owners in 2014.
The Alchemist scoops management team award: The Alchemist, which is backed by Palatine Private Equity, has been named north west regional winner of the growth management team category at The British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association’s (BVCA) Management Team Awards. The Alchemist won the award for “creating a strong and creative employee culture and an impressive growth plan” – with the company expected to go from 11 sites to 19 within two years. In its ninth year, the awards provide a platform for management teams to demonstrate their contribution to the UK economy. The Alchemist, which appeared on this year’s Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work for list, will now take part in the BVCA national awards final in London on Thursday, 30 November. Finance director Victoria Stewart said: “The phenomenal growth of the business has been made possible by the dedication, passion and talent of The Alchemist people.” The Alchemist will open its 12th venue – in Oxford – in November with a further four venues set to open before April 2018