Ichibuns team to launch high-end restaurant in White City next week: Endo Kazutoshi, director of ramen and burger concept Ichibuns and former executive sushi chef at Knightsbridge restaurant Zuma, is to launch a high-end restaurant in White City, west London, next week. Endo at Rotunda will open at the Television Centre development on Friday, 1 March. The venue will be in the rotunda at the BBC’s former home and, although offering only 15 covers, Kazutoshi told Hot Dinners he harbours ambitions to “obtain Michelin-starred status”. The third-generation sushi chef has 20 years’ experience, having worked at El Bulli in Spain and Zuma restaurants in London, New York and Miami. Kazutoshi is known for menu item the “umami bomb”, which features oysters, sushi rice, Parmesan and truffles. Kazutoshi is joining forces for the venture with his partners at Ichibuns – Benjamin Goldkorn and former Nobu head chef Robin Leigh. Kengo Kuma, who designed Alan Yau projects Sake No Hana and Cha Cha Moon, will be in charge of decor. Other operators at the £8bn Television Centre development include Indian small plates concept Soho House, better pizza brand Homeslice, D&D London’s Bluebird and better burger brand Patty & Bun.
Glendola Leisure expands into Belfast with plans for hotel and retail concepts:Glendola Leisure, led by Alex Salussolia, has acquired cocktail bar the Tipsy Bird in Ann Street, Belfast, and an adjoining development site with a view to build a “hotel and retail concepts”. Salussolia said: “We have been looking at Belfast for some time and see it as a city with a bright future for hotels and food and beverage outlets. We operate 21 bars and restaurants throughout the UK so the Tipsy Bird and adjoining site is the perfect fit for our long-term development plans and we are really looking forward to our expansion into Belfast.” Alfred Bree, managing director of Glendola Leisure’s hotel arm, Carlton Hotel Collection, added: “This is a really exciting opportunity for Carlton. We are building a hotel in Old Town Edinburgh, which will open in May. The Belfast development will be our next focus and we’re confident we will build a hotel the city can be proud of.” Glendola finance director Graeme Ramsay said: “The group has a long-term relationship with Barclays Bank and it has provided financing to support the initial acquisition. We have worked really hard on this particular deal and we’re delighted to invest in this wonderful city.” Glendola Leisure operates sites in London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester and the south coast, while Carlton Hotel Collection has ten properties in Scotland, Holland and Belgium.
Camerons to convert Leicester Head of Steam to second Sanctuary: Camerons Brewery is to convert its Head of Steam site in Leicester into a second venue for its Sanctuary concept. The company said the new format was being introduced after “listening to the market”. Camerons opened the Head of Steam site in April last year, when it replaced The Reynard pub in Market Street. However, it will close on Sunday (24 February) with Sanctuary opening on Friday, 1 March. Camerons head of managed estate David Scott told Leicester Live: “We have had a number of Head of Steam pubs open in 2018 and this brand is performing fantastically in Birmingham and Cardiff. We have some exciting plans in place to further expand the brand in 2019 but we have listened to the market in Leicester and have a superb brand in Sanctuary we rolled out last year in Scarborough. We feel this is more aligned with the sport and late-night economy and demographic in Leicester. It was always our intention to look for potential sites for Sanctuary after the success we’ve had in Scarborough. We are excited to see both the Sanctuary and The Head of Steam brands grow in 2019, and see this as the logical next step for Sanctuary.”
Paddy & Scott’s agrees Clip ’n Climb link-up: Independent Suffolk coffee shop operator and wholesaler Paddy & Scott’s has agreed a link-up with indoor climbing brand Clip ’n Climb. The deal will see Clip ’n Climb’s new Ipswich site incorporate a Paddy & Scott’s cafe when it opens in May. Paddy & Scott’s will be located within the 13,500 square foot venue at The Havens in Ransomes Europark. Clip ’n Climb Ipswich will feature 42 challenges and have the highest wall and drop-slide in Europe. The 106-cover Paddy & Scott’s cafe will be on a mezzanine overlooking the climbing area and serve the brand’s coffee, smoothies, tea, nitro cold brew and food, including hand-made pizza. Clip ’n Climb director Mark Patterson told Insider Media: “There is a tremendous amount of synergy between these two brands and the relationship will help cement our bespoke centre as the flagship Clip ’n Climb in the UK and one of the very best in the world.” Martin Westhorp, an equity partner in Paddy & Scott’s, added: “Clip ’n Climb is doing great things for the leisure industry so it’s a fantastic fit for our brand, which is all about fuelling ambition.”
Bierschenke secures second City site: London-based authentic German beer hall Bierschenke is to double up in the City by opening a site close to Tower Hill. Founder Gerry Hanratty has told Propel the site will open in Crutched Friars at a site previously occupied by Bavarian Beerhouse. The 6,000 square foot site traded as a Bavarian bar and restaurant for about 14 years but ceased trading in October. Hanratty said Bierschenke had acquired a new lease and the site was currently undergoing a major refurbishment. He said: “We will spend approximately £750,000 to bring it up to the standard of our current site, close to Liverpool Street station, and we plan to open in early May. We will also continue to look for other suitable sites in the capital.” Hanratty previously told Propel he had funding in place for “another three venues”. Last month, the company reported like-for-like sales up 15% during the festive period. The debut Bierschenke site launched in London Wall in 2014.
Ei Group invests £1.4m to turn Wakefield bank into Craft Union pub featuring group-wide support hub: Ei Group is investing £1.4m to transform a Wakefield bank branch into a pub under its Craft Union banner featuring a group-wide support hub. The Wakefield & Barnsley Union Bank branch in Westgate will reopen in May as The Union Bank. The pub will also host Craft Union Pub Company’s support team and a suite of training and meeting facilities for use by the whole Ei Group. The Pub Support Hub scheme will create 20 jobs. Ei Group chief executive Simon Townsend said: “The Union Bank is a magnificent building we’re looking forward to revitalising. Our people are the most important part of our business and this new space allows us to give them a base for the support and training they need to continually deliver exceptional customer experiences, share best practice and enhance their personal development.” The Union Bank will be Craft Union’s third pub in Wakefield. Craft Union, part of Ei Managed Operations, has rapidly grown to 285 pubs since launching in May 2015. The Craft Union support team is currently based in Preston.
Venning brothers launch Highbury wine bar and bistro for fourth London site:Max and Noel Venning, the brothers who operate London cocktail bars Three Sheets, Bar Three and Little Mercies, have launched a wine bar and bistro in Highbury for their fourth site in the capital. Top Cuvée has opened in Blackstock at a space formerly occupied by Greek kitchen, bar and restaurant Exodus. Top Cuvée takes inspiration from the “cosy, wine-led bistros” of Paris. The 45-seater bar offers a mix of counter seating, tables and a large communal area for walk-ins. It also offers small plates created by former Harwood Arms and Naughty Piglets chef Dan Miller alongside charcuterie and cheese, while the natural wine list changes daily with bottles available to take away as the bar doubles as a “high-end off-licence”. Using the Vennings’ renowned mixologist skills, there is also a range of cocktails and craft beer, Time Out reports. Three Sheets and Bar Three are both in Dalton, while the Vennings launched Little Mercies in Crouch End in September in partnership with Alan Sherwood, formerly of Scout and Peg + Patriot.
Arnaud Stevens acquires Buckinghamshire village restaurant and hotel for second site: Chef Arnaud Stevens has acquired the George & Dragon restaurant and hotel in the Buckinghamshire village of West Wycombe for his second venue. Stevens, who owns British restaurant concept Plate, in Shoreditch, will reopen the George & Dragon near the end of March following a refurbishment. Comprising ten bedrooms, an a la carte restaurant and adjoining bar, the George & Dragon is housed in a former coaching inn dating to the 1700s. The menu will include whole slow-roasted guinea fowl and cod loin with south Devon mussels with homemade sourdough bread. Arnaud, who has worked for Pierre Koffmann and Gordon Ramsay, said: “With the success of Plate, my team and I are excited to start the next chapter. It’s an exciting time and the opportunity to fully utilise the location and produce the beautiful village of West Wycombe has to offer is one we look forward to.”
Peak District-based operators secure multimillion-pound refinancing deal to relaunch Grafene at country house hotel: Paul and Kathryn Roden have secured a multimillion-pound refinancing deal to secure the future of Losehill House Hotel & Spa in the Peak District. The debt advisory team at Duff & Phelps secured funding from Allied Irish Bank to allow the Rodens to bring their Grafene dining concept to the hotel. The venue’s Orangery restaurant will be renamed Grafene At Losehill House Hotel. Last month, the Rodens announced they would close Grafene restaurant in Manchester to focus on the hotel, which was recently named country house hotel of the year by the Sunday Times. Paul Roden said: “We have a lot to be proud of and some exciting plans as we move to bring Grafene’s refined take on British eating to the hotel. The deal backs our ongoing investment strategy.” Duff & Phelps debt advisory managing director Paul Smith added: “We are delighted to have supported the management team at Losehill Hotel through the refinance process and delivered another successful outcome to a business in the hotel sector.” The Rodens have owned the 22-bedroom Derbyshire hotel since 2007.
D&D London appoints 20 Stories head chef following Aiden Byrne departure:Restaurant operator D&D London has appointed Brian Hughson as head chef of its 20 Stories restaurant and bar in Manchester. Hughson has taken over from Aiden Byrne, who left the Spinningfields venue in November. Hughson has been a chef for more than 25 years and has worked with Gordon Ramsay at The Savoy Grill, Marco Pierre White at The Belvedere, Henry Brosi at The Grill At The Dorchester, and Gary Rhodes at Rhodes W1. Hughson told the Manchester Evening News: “20 Stories is an iconic restaurant at the heart of a city where the food scene has blossomed over the past few years. Manchester has become a destination for diners with high standards and the city has responded with a number of fantastic restaurants.” Byrne was appointed head chef for the restaurant’s launch before leaving eight months later to snap up his old Manchester House site – now trading as Restaurant MCR – after it was put into administration by Living Ventures. Meanwhile, all-avocado concept The Avocado Show is to make its UK debut with a two-week pop-up at D&D London’s Bluebird restaurant in Chelsea. The transformed King’s Road site will serve five of The Avocado Show’s dishes from Monday, 11 March to Sunday, 24 March, including The Bun Burger, a wagyu beef patty with bacon and toppings served between two avocado halves; and The Avo Garden, a salad on top of an avocado. Born in Amsterdam, the concept is the brainchild of chef Jamie van Heije.
Schnatter amends Papa John’s lawsuit in wake of Starboard investment: Former chief executive John Schnatter has amended his lawsuit against Papa John’s in response to the recent $200m investment by hedge fund Starboard Value. Parties said the amended litigation asks for a reversal of a recent company policy that requires new investors to vote in favour of Papa John’s preferred directors and prevents shareholders from holding “any substantive discussion” about Papa John’s. Schnatter remains on Papa John’s board of directors and is the company’s largest shareholder, with about 29% of stock. However, despite Papa John’s rejection of Schnatter’s offer of investment in favour of a similar offer from Starboard, Schnatter said he “welcomed” the outside aid that could boost the company’s reputation. Schnatter’s attorney, Garland Kelley, told Nation’s Restaurant News: “Mr Schnatter welcomes the comments that have come from (Starboard chief executive Jeffrey Smith) and the company in the past few days. Indeed, the amended lawsuit reflects support for Mr Smith and his plans to invigorate the company for the benefit of all shareholders.” Schnatter’s dispute with Papa John’s started last July when he resigned as chairman following reports he made a racial slur in a meeting.
Casual noodle and dumpling concept Modern Shanghai launches in Chinatown London: Casual noodle and dumpling concept Modern Shanghai has launched in Chinatown London. The restaurant has opened at Central Cross, a 48,000 square foot mixed-use development at Chinatown’s eastern gateway. The 4,000 square foot restaurant features interiors inspired by Shanghai such as wood panelling, marble tables and gold finishes. Chefs prepare fresh dumplings and noodles at the front of the venue, including roast duck noodles and grilled Chinese tapas. Julia Wilkinson, head of group restaurant strategy at Chinatown London landlords Shaftesbury, branded Modern Shanghai a creative concept that “perfectly reflects our strategy to introduce new flavours to Chinatown London”.
Historic north London pub and theatre brought to market: The Old Red Lion, a pub and theatre in Angel, north London, has been brought to market at a £575,000 premium for the leasehold. The four-storey venue dates to 1415 and retains many original features. It comprises an 80-cover ground-floor bar, a partially covered terrace with seating for 20 and a 60-capacity theatre, which has been operating since 1979. The venue also features a commercial kitchen, a self-contained two-bedroom flat and two bedsits with a shared bathroom. Current tenant Damien Devine, who has operated the pub with his family for the past 20 years, is looking to retire. He said: “We leave behind a fantastic business with huge possibilities.” James Laskowski, business agent at Christie & Co, who is handling the sale, added: “The Old Red Lion provides a rare and exciting opportunity to run an established and renowned pub with a theatre, allowing an operator to benefit from multiple income streams and an apartment and bedsits for staff.”
Leicester-based operators to shut city cafe and deli due to ‘poor economic climate’: Leicester-based operators Andy and John Husain are to shut their cafe and deli in the city next month. The brothers said the venue in Queens Road would close on Saturday, 2 March because of the “poor economic climate”. Salvador Deli, which serves sandwiches and salads as well as cheese, olives, Spanish ham and other Mediterranean fare, opened in 2009. The Husains’ other businesses – restaurant Barceloneta and Bar Dos Hermanos – will remain open. John Husain told Leicestershire Live: “Unfortunately after four years of subsidising the business in the hope the economic climate would improve, this has proved not to be the case. Our turnover has declined and all our costs have increased substantially.”
Administrators seek buyer for historic Windermere hotel: A hotel on the banks of Lake Windermere has entered administration after a large-scale renovation project led to cash flow issues. The Hydro Hotel comprises 78 en-suite rooms, conference and meeting areas, a restaurant and bar, and a 150-capacity ballroom. It was founded in 1895. The venue reopened in early 2017 after a multimillion-pound refurbishment but following cash flow issues Phil Pierce and Paul Whitwam, partners at FRP Advisory, have been appointed joint administrators. They are now in advanced talks with potential buyers and hope to conclude a sale of the site in the near future. Until then, the hotel will continue to trade and bookings will be honoured. All 32 employees have also been retained. Pierce told Insider Media: “The Hydro Hotel is a beautiful building situated in one of the most stunning locations in Britain. The business has huge potential and our focus is on working with directors to secure a sale of the hotel and ensure the best possible outcome for everyone involved.”
Beannchor Group gets go-ahead for £4m Lisburn hotel: Northern Ireland hospitality company Beannchor Group has had its plans to build a £4m hotel in the centre of Lisburn approved. The company, which owns pubs, hotels and restaurants across the country including eight Little Wing Pizzerias, has earmarked a former Argos store at Lisburn Square for the venture. It would take up about 30,000 square feet and include 52 bedrooms and a ground-floor bar and restaurant, creating 75 jobs. Beannchor Group managing director Bill Wolsey told Insider Media: “We already have a presence in Lisburn Square through our Little Wing Pizzeria and have been working alongside the square’s owners for the past six months to create the vision for a hotel the people of Lisburn can be proud of.” The hotel is scheduled to open in the summer. Nicky McCollum, development director at Lisburn Square, added: “The Merchant and Bullitt Hotels created in Belfast by the Beannchor team have been instant successes and are at the cutting edge of the hospitality industry in Northern Ireland. It is our intention to attract other quality food and beverage operators to the square and continue to create a family friendly environment within the piazza as well as stimulate the night-time economy.”
Goodbody – Dalata full-year results should provide ‘another positive update’:Goodbody leisure analyst Gavin Kelleher has said Irish hotel operator Dalata’s full-year results should provide “another positive update”. Issuing a ‘Buy’ note on the shares with a target price of €7.75 (£6.74) ahead of the announcement on Tuesday (26 February), Kelleher said: “We forecast FY18 revenue growth of 12% year-on-year to €389m. On 18 December, the group-guided Ebitda would be in line with market estimates (circa €115m). We expect a total dividend per share of 10.2 cents for FY18. Despite its UK roll-out plans, Dublin remains the main driver of profit growth over the forecast horizon (circa 65% of group Ebitda). We forecast Dublin revpar growth of 7.4% (STR: 7.2%) in 2018. Outside Dublin, we forecast regional revpar growth of 5.1% (STR: 9.7%) and UK revpar growth of 2.1% (STR: 2.5%). We wouldn’t be surprised if Dalata slightly outperformed in Dublin given it flagged up at its pre-close update that in the year to November it was running at 8.8% growth (versus market growth of 7.4%) and its history of outperforming market revpar growth in Dublin. We expect a good set of results next week and continue to like the Dalata investment case. This is due to the highly attractive supply and demand dynamics in its key Irish markets; its growth profile over the medium term; and its attractive free cash flow dynamics. We believe the valuation remains very undemanding, at circa ten times FY19 EV/Ebitda and a circa 8% free cash flow yield for FY20. We reiterate our ‘Buy’ recommendation.”