Gladwin brothers to launch new brasserie and grill concept in Battersea: The Gladwin brothers, who own Chelsea “wild food” restaurant Rabbit and The Shed in Notting Hill, will launch all-day brasserie and grill concept Nutbourne in Battersea, south London, this autumn. Nutbourne takes its name from the Gladwins’ family farm and vineyard in West Sussex, and will offer the “spoils of the English countryside” with all-British ingredients. The 65-cover waterside restaurant at Ransomes Dock will feature seating with views across the water and a 40-cover outside space. Food from the farm in Nutbourne, near Pulborough, will be supplemented by seasonal produce from local suppliers or foraged in the wild. Meat, sourced from Nutbourne and butchered at the Gladwins’ Battersea-based warehouse, will be served on hot salt rocks, brought to the table and cooked in front of guests. A “butcher’s table” next to the open grill will seat up to 14 diners, while a hidden private room, The Cellar, will have its own entrance and accommodate up to 25 people. The Gladwin brothers said: “We wanted to create a community restaurant for Battersea locals. We both live in and love this area and hope we’ve created a space that caters for all tastes of people from here and the surrounding areas.”
Leon and John Lewis unveil new cookware collaboration: Natural fast food brand Leon and John Lewis are unveiling an exclusive cookware collaboration. The 40-piece cookware range will launch in all John Lewis stores on Monday, 5 September. The collection includes a cast iron griddle pan, coloured stock pots, a wooden tool set and terracotta tapas and lasagne dishes. There will also be a number of Leon textiles, including a kitchen apron, tea towel set and oven mitt. All the products have been developed with Leon co-founder John Vincent and designed by head of design Jo Ormiston in collaboration with John Lewis Cookshop buyer Nicola Hattersley. Vincent said: “This range is a result of everyone at Leon and my family sitting around a kitchen table, wondering what cookware we would most like to invent. One of my favourite items, the Leon carving board, is my Sunday night. It is what you need when you have a roast chicken in the oven and Strictly results night on the telly. It is a testament to the strength of the John Lewis brand how excited everyone in the family, even my kids, are about our creations going into the shops this summer.”
Belpassi Bros moves meatball operations to permanent south London site: Belpassi Bros, which specialises in hand-made meatballs and formerly operated from a vintage 1967 Fiat van in Old Spitalfields Market, has opened its first permanent site in Tooting, south London. The brainchild of twin brothers Livio and Lorenzo Belpassiare, the menu is built around classic beef and pork meatballs and homemade sauces, served in a sandwich or on a base of polenta or homemade pasta. The 40-cover restaurant also offers salads, sides such as Parmesan polenta chips, sautéed spinach and rosemary garlic fries, and desserts that include ice-cream sandwiches. Belpassi Bros also offers Italian wines at the restaurant in Tooting High Street, available by the glass and bottle, classic cocktails, spirits, bottled beer, and hot drinks.
Gaucho unveils new vision for Piccadilly restaurant: Gaucho has unveiled a new vision for its restaurant in Piccadilly, London. Creative director Patsy Godik has created a new interior for the ground floor of the group’s four-storey “townhouse” flagship restaurant in Swallow Street, taking her inspiration from “ombu”, giant trees that are a striking natural feature of the Argentinian landscape. Reconfiguring the space previously occupied by the Cavas de Gaucho (wine room) and large bar area, the new layout has created additional dining space for 99 covers. Godik said: “It’s a perfect contrast to the classic Gaucho style, with its homage to the home of Argentine beef that has been maintained across the first and second floors of the restaurant.” The new design is part of an overall refurbishment of the Piccadilly restaurant, which is already complete on the first and second floors, with transformation of the lower ground floor area to be finished by early 2017. The ground-floor restaurant area opens out through large glass doors along its entire length on to the covered pavement terrace, which has also been redesigned with banquette seating. A substantial new private dining room and Cavas de Gaucho have been carved into previously unused space on the first floor, making a total of four flexible-use spaces at the site. Gaucho’s venue in Broadgate, near Liverpool Street station, will be the next to receive the new-look interior, with completion set for early September. However, not all Gaucho restaurants will feature the new design. Godik added: “Our classic look is much-loved and is interpreted in different ways in each location. We pride ourselves on ensuring every Gaucho is distinctive, and many of our guests use more than one on a regular basis as they enjoy the different atmospheres.”
Birmingham brothers launch new pub venture in Worcestershire, plan nationwide chain: Three entrepreneurial Birmingham brothers have branched out from a successful rigging business they launched eight years ago to breathe new life into a landmark Worcestershire pub. Andy, Robin and Chris Conway, directors of communications business ARCC, have reopened The Crown in Martley, near Worcester, as a new hub for artisan food and drink, with a bespoke smokery as one of its main features. The new business – The Crown by ARCC – is the blueprint for a number of pub restaurants across the Midlands and, ultimately, nationwide. The brothers have invested a six-figure sum into the village pub, introducing a new dining experience that focuses on classic English-style food with locally sourced, premium-quality meat, ale and wine. Managing director Robin Conway told The Business Desk: “It has been an ambition to launch a pub restaurant for five years as we all love good food and great hospitality, so it was fortunate to find an opportunity on our doorstep. We want to establish The Crown by ARCC as a pub of distinction and a new hub for artisan food and drink. The pub has undergone a major renovation but we were determined from the outset that we were not simply going to reopen one of the area’s much-loved pubs.” The pub opening, which has created 15 jobs, is the brothers’ first pub venture and their aim is to bring a touch of the latest London food trend in smoked dining to Worcestershire. Robin Conway said: “We hope The Crown by ARCC will be a blueprint for a brand we can roll-out regionally and, ultimately, nationally and we are already considering other sites.”
Leicester-based Stonebaked Pizza Co opens second site, in Nottingham: Leicester-based Stonebaked Pizza Co has started expansion by opening its second site, in Nottingham. The company has opened the restaurant in the new Clocktower dining area at the Intu Victoria Centre, creating 25 jobs. It joins The Restaurant Group brands Joe’s Kitchen and Coast to Coast, Ed’s Easy Diner, Thai Leisure Group’s Thaikhun, Tortilla, and Handmade Burger Co in the new dining area, which opened in October last year as part of a £40m refurbishment of the centre. Stonebaked Pizza Co managing director Ian Morgan told The Business Desk: “We are driven to providing premium-quality, custom-built artisan pizza at an affordable price served with a ‘say yes’ philosophy and a big smile in cool, casual surroundings – the people of Nottingham are going to love it.” Stonebaked Pizza Co’s debut restaurant is at the Highcross Shopping Centre in Leicester.
New European-style cafe and cake house concept launches in Liverpool: A new European-style cafe and cake house concept has launched in Liverpool. George Dadoudis has opened Wake & Cate in Tarleton Street, just off Williamson Square. He has invested £400,000 in the 4,000 square foot cafe, which is modelled on upmarket continental delicatessens. It offers a variety of sweet treats, including French and Italian-style gateaux, Anatolian tray bakes and homemade macaroons. The venue also stocks a selection of hot savoury filo pastries, as well as deli sandwiches and paninis. Dadoudis told Your Move: “We spent a couple of years researching different locations, including London, Birmingham and Manchester. However, Liverpool really struck us. We were impressed by its favourable commercial conditions, friendly people and its track record in welcoming new food concepts.” Sean Collins-Jones, of Hitchcock Wright & Partners, which secured the site on behalf of Wake & Cake, added: “Wake & Cate’s new European cafe and cake house is an exciting addition to the city’s thriving food and drink offering. With the revamp of St John’s close by, the eatery will certainly add to the regeneration and commercial attraction of the area.”
Christie & Co – pub sales ramping up dramatically following period of pent-up demand: Pub sales are “ramping up dramatically” compared with the same period a year ago, following a period of “pent-up demand” that had “stalled the market”, according to agent Christie & Co. John Grace, associate director in Christie & Co’s Ipswich office, was speaking after conducting the sale of the White Horse in Whepstead, Suffolk, which was bought off an asking price of £350,000 by experienced operators Lee and Hanna Saunders. Grace said: “We’re delighted to have helped Lee and Hanna buy this valued and popular pub. We’ve seen business ramping up dramatically, particularly since last summer, with the first quarter of 2016 being far busier than its counterpart last year. It feels like there has been an extreme build-up of demand for quality pub businesses in recent years and, during a period when businesses were only sold when they were distressed or had to be sold due to the owner’s circumstances, this pent-up demand stalled the market. Lee and Hanna are experienced operators, and we’re sure they will enable the White Horse to thrive.”
Living Ventures’ £1.7m The Alchemist in Salford Quays will become an ‘iconic building’: Work has begun at Living Ventures’ new £1.7m venue for The Alchemist at MediaCityUK in Salford Quays, with the company saying bespoke features will make it a “truly iconic building”. The plot is known as The Bund and sits on the bridge linking MediaCityUK to The Lowry art gallery. The Reid Architects-designed restaurant will feature a gold-clad roof and walls, while a terrace will cantilever over the canal, creating an al fresco, waterside drinking and dining space. The Alchemist managing director Simon Potts told Place North West: “We are delighted The Alchemist will be opening in MediaCityUK and hugely excited now that work is under way. It promises to be a popular addition to a vibrant area for both work and play. The building itself will definitely make a statement, with some remarkable bespoke features. We believe it will become a truly iconic building.” The new cocktail bar and restaurant with be the third Alchemist in Greater Manchester when it opens in spring 2017, joining venues in Spinningfields and New York Street in Manchester city centre. The stand-alone business under Living Ventures’ umbrella operates six UK sites following the recent launch of its Liverpool venue, with two in Leeds, and one in London. Further sites are planned for Birmingham and Newcastle, while work has also started on its first “suburban” site in Alderley Edge, Cheshire.
D&D London to launch ‘Viva Portugal!’ wine campaign: D&D London will host “Viva Portugal!” in partnership with Wines of Portugal next month. Introducing guests to Portuguese wines, beyond port, the month-long campaign will run across 20 restaurants and bars to demonstrate the food-pairing capability of Portugal’s blends. Viva Portugal! will comprise a series of special tastings, wine dinners and experiential events hosted by respected wine experts Sarah Ahmed, Jane Parkinson and Charles Metcalfe. Throughout the month, diners can expect dedicated Portuguese wine lists and exclusive wines available by the glass at restaurants, bars and shops across the D&D London group. Le Pont de la Tour and Royal Exchange are just two of the venues presenting wine flights with Portuguese-inspired food pairings. Other highlights include a pop-up Portuguese barbecue on Blueprint Cafe’s new riverside terrace and a weekend market stall serving Portuguese delicacies at Almeida. D&D London group category manager Michael Patterson said: “With sales of Portuguese wines up 4% year-on-year and consumer interest in the country showing no signs of slowing, there has never been a better time to celebrate Portugal and the exceptional wines it has to offer.” Nuno Vale, marketing director for Wines of Portugal, added: “We’re delighted to be partnering with such a highly regarded restaurant group as D&D London and look forward to showcasing the wines of Portugal to diners all over London.”
One Leisure Group takes on Star Pubs & Bars site in Glasgow: Glasgow-based multi-site operator One Leisure Group has taken on a Star Pubs & Bars site in the city after acquiring the lease of Bannisters in Argyle Street, its fifth pub in Glasgow. The venue is undergoing a £500,000 refurbishment to reopen in November as Strip Joint, named after the Finnieston “Strip” – a section of Argyle Street connecting the city centre to the West End. The site is the last undeveloped licensed premises in Finnieston and close to the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC). With no new licences currently being issued in Finnieston, competition to secure the lease was intense. One Leisure Group was selected for its track record in building popular venues in Glasgow and, given the site’s proximity to the SECC, its reputation for creating venues renowned for music. The revamp is part of a wider £2m investment planned by Star Pubs & Bars in its Scottish pub estate this year, with £1m of that spend earmarked for Glasgow. Managing director Lawson Mountstevens said: “The pub is in one of the best positions in Glasgow and has real untapped potential.” One Leisure Group director Mark Lappin added: “With our love of music, we’re excited to be next to the second-busiest music venue in the world and we’ll aim to combine good music and a lot of fun with outstanding drinks, food and service.”
Belfast-based Boojum founder eyes expansion of slow-cooked, barbecued meat concept Bubbacue: John Blisard, founder of burrito brand Boojum, is eyeing expansion of his new venture, Bubbacue, which specialises in slow-cooked, barbecued meats. Blisard, who sold Boojum to brothers David and Andrew Maxwell last year, launched Bubbacue in Callender Street, Belfast, in 2012. He now hopes to open a second venue in the city and is also eyeing regional towns in Northern Ireland and possibly expansion into the Republic of Ireland. Blisard told the Belfast Telegraph: “We have identified a unit in the city centre and hope to open this side of Christmas, depending on how long it takes to agree the lease. It has become difficult to find the right unit at the right price. Belfast is quite saturated with restaurants and people are competing for space. The population of the city centre has not really increased that much so I’m really encouraged when I hear about more apartments and student housing being built in central Belfast. That will really help to drive business and create a vibrant city centre.” Blisard, who moved to Northern Ireland from Philadelphia in 2007, added: “I’m also working on an idea for a new business based on a different type of American food but I’m keeping it under wraps for now.” In July, Boojum opened its third and largest restaurant in Belfast, its seventh Irish site.
KFC offers free, fried chicken-scented sunscreen: KFC is offering free bottles of fried chicken-scented sunscreen online. Extra Crispy Sunscreen works like any other SPF 30 sun lotion, with the company employing bronzed actor George Hamilton to play the Colonel for the promotion. KFC’s goal is to draw attention to the fact it offers two fried chicken recipes – Original Recipe and Extra Crispy, Nation’s Restaurant News reports. The sunscreen is the latest in a series of promotional stunts by parent company Yum! Brands. Earlier this year, KFC launched edible nail polish in Asia, dubbed “Finger Lickin’ Good”. Kevin Hochman, KFC chief marketing officer for the US, said: “While I’d love to tell you our customers have been asking for this, they haven’t. In fact, I’m pretty confident nobody ever asked for this. It’s just some crazy idea we dreamed up.”
Rank Group to close Leeds and Glasgow sites: A large Rank Group casino in Leeds city centre is to close next month after the property’s landlord decided not to renew the lease. Rank has confirmed the Grosvenor Casino in Merrion Way will shut in September, with some staff set to be redeployed to other venues in the company. The group is also closing a casino in Glasgow. However, Rank said it planned to refurbish its Grosvenor Westgate site in Leeds, which was acquired from Gala Coral in 2013. The total cost of this work, alongside the revamp of a site in Nottingham, will total £6.2m. Meanwhile, Henry Birch, chief executive of Rank, reported a “solid set of results” with revenue and profit growth days after the gambling company dropped a joint bid to buy bookmaker William Hill. The business reported pre-tax profit of £85.5m for the 12 months to 30 June 2016, an increase of 15% from £74.5m a year earlier. Revenue edged up by 1%, rising to £708.5m from £700.7m.
Shaun Rankin’s Ormer opens at Flemings Mayfair hotel: Michelin-starred chef Shaun Rankin has opened a restaurant at the Flemings Mayfair hotel. Shaun Rankin’s Ormer is part of a £14m refurbishment of the hotel, which has been privately owned by the same family for more than 40 years. Rankin continues to run his Ormer restaurant in Jersey and the Flemings Mayfair menu focuses on his Jersey heritage, offering a modern British menu. The dining room at the hotel in Half Moon Street seats 80 diners, with a substantial 40-seat bar, along with a chef’s table and two private dining rooms. New general manager Henrik Muehle has overseen the refurbishment of the hotel, part of the SLH (Small Luxury Hotels of the World) consortium, with 129 bedrooms, suites and apartments also undergoing renovation.
Tesco launches ‘Project Reset’ to restructure store layouts, private labels given prominence: Tesco is set to make major changes to the layout of its 900 Extra, Superstore and Metro sites by placing more prominence on private labels and grouping products according to how shoppers buy them. “Project Reset” will include up to 14% more private label products on shelves, with fewer brands stocked. Tesco will also realign its in-store products to focus on meal occasions rather than traditional categorisation to make the shopping process smoother, Research Farm reports. For example, a “savoury scratch” section will stock canned tomatoes, pulses, herbs and spices that are used to make stews, casseroles and sauces, while a convenience area will group pasta, rice and pasta sauces. Another section will put baking products and eggs together to form a baking zone. Project Reset will also result in more healthy products being stocked, such as brown rice, quinoa and lentils, as well as a much wider range of products free from additives and lower in salt and sugar.
Turtle Bay opens Exeter restaurant, first Devon site: Caribbean restaurant chain Turtle Bay, which is backed by Piper Private Equity, has opened a restaurant in Exeter. The company’s first Devon site is at the new £12m Queen Street dining quarter at the redeveloped Guildhall Shopping Centre. Turtle Bay has invested £800,000 in the 215-cover venue, which spans more than 4,000 square feet and features an open kitchen and island bar, repurposed shipping containers, oil drum lampshades, and reclaimed wood. A company spokesman told the Exeter Express & Echo: “The restaurant is designed to create the perfect atmosphere for enjoying bold, spicy food and drink, and its ‘look’ is as vibrant and lively as you might expect, with each restaurant designed bespoke for its location.” Other restaurant brands set to open in the dining quarter include The Stable, the artisan pizza and cider brand in which Fuller’s has a 76% stake, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, barbecue restaurant Grillstock, and Faucet Inn’s Scandinavian-inspired restaurant and cafe concept Kupp. Turtle Bay, which was formed by Las Iguanas co-founder Ajith Jaya-Wickrema in 2010, has more than 30 sites across the UK.
Loungers opens Cosy Club in new Ipswich shopping centre, 15th UK site: Loungers has opened its 15th Cosy Club, this time in the new Buttermarket Shopping Centre in Ipswich. The site features an outdoor terrace, where customers are welcomed before ascending a glass staircase to the venue that features chandeliers and a hand-carved wooden wall. Earlier this week, Prezzo became the first restaurant brand to open at the new-look Buttermarket Centre, with Wagamama, Byron, and The Restaurant Group-owned Coast to Coast set to launch this month. The Buttermarket’s former food court is being converted into a Pure Gym and work is under way to fit-out a 12-screen Empire Cinema. In June, Loungers co-founder Jake Bishop was appointed managing director of the group’s Cosy Club brand, a new role created ahead of a number of Cosy Club openings set for the next 18 months.
Nottingham nightclub closes after eight years: A nightclub that has been operating in Nottingham for the past eight years has closed. The Forum operated from the Cornerhouse in Burton Street and hosted club nights, live gigs and comedy club nights. It announced its closure via its Facebook page, with a statement saying it had “decided to call it a night”. “We’d like to thank all our friends and regulars for some unforgettable moments, we’ve won both best and worst club awards over the years so we would like to think at some point we’ve made everyone happy,” the statement added. “Love it or hate it, the Forum has been part of Nottingham’s nightlife history and for that we say thank you and goodnight.”
Giggling Squid to open first Norfolk restaurant, in Norwich next month: Thai restaurant business Giggling Squid will open its first site in Norfolk, in Norwich next month. The 200-cover, 4,000 square foot restaurant will open in Tombland at a former Casual Dining Group-owned La Tasca venue on Friday, September 9. Earlier this month, Giggling Squid revealed plans to add ten further sites to its estate in the next 12 months. On the back of its recent £6.4m investment from the Business Growth Fund and the granting of a new £8m bank facility with Barclays, Giggling Squid said it would step up its growth plans. In addition to the Norwich restaurant, its 16th site, other venues in Berkhamsted, Warwick and Farnham are already in “fit out”. Giggling Squid co-founder Pranee Laurillard told the Eastern Daily Press: “We’ve had our eye on Norwich for a while. It’s clear there’s a vibrant, buzzing food scene and we think our fresh take on Thai cuisine will go down really well. We’ve just been waiting for the right location to come up. Now it has, we can’t wait to open!”
London-based pop-up ramen concept Monohon to launch permanent site in Old Street: London-based pop-up ramen concept Monohon is set to launch a permanent site in Old Street, London, later this year. Monohon, which translates as “the real thing”, is the brainchild of Ian Wheatley, who developed a passion for Japanese food and culture after living and working in the country for many years. The menu at the 30-cover, 1,400 square foot restaurant will feature authentic ramen dishes, including Abura Soba, which was Monohon’s most popular dish during its run of sold-out, pop-up events during the past year. Wheatley said: “There is a strong lunch and dinner crowd in the area that we look forward to engaging with. Old Street has changed so much in the past 20 years but still has a good energy, and I think the Clerkenwell side of the roundabout is about to develop rapidly and match the Shoreditch side. It is very exciting to be part of that.” Tony Levine, of agents Shelley Sandzer, which acted on behalf of the assignor, said: “We identified Monohon as an ideal operator for this location, adjacent to the popular and vibrant Whitecross Street, where there is very high footfall during the day due to the surrounding offices. Ian has tremendous passion for ramen and we are sure he will be extremely successful here.” Shelley Sandzer also acted on behalf of the previous tenants in the deal.
BaxerStorey achieves highest Hospitality Assured score to date: Contract catering company BaxterStorey has achieved its highest Hospitality Assured score to date – 81.6%. Hospitality Assured is the quality standard created by the Institute of Hospitality. It assesses nine areas of business, from customer research and business planning to service delivery and customer satisfaction improvement. In addition to observing working practices, service and team interaction, assessors interviewed a number of staff at random. BaxterStorey programmes, such as the Chef Academy, Barista Academy and Advanced Management Project, were just some of the initiatives identified as equipping teams with the skills and knowledge required to provide an exceptional level of service. BaxterStorey chairman Alastair Storey said: “We continually strive for service excellence and are delighted that our teams’ efforts have been recognised with our best ever score. We strongly believe in the importance of nurturing talent and it is particularly rewarding to see our training programmes receiving praise. After all, it is our dedicated people who enable us to deliver the very best levels of service.” Max Lawrence, director of finance and administration at Hospitality Assured, added: “BaxterStorey has taken part in the Hospitality Assured assessment for more than a decade. Its year-on-year progress demonstrates the importance and commitment the organisation places on quality and ongoing improvement.”