Koh Thai founder to launch new brand Nusara: Andy Lennox, the founder of the Koh Thai brand, is to re-enter the Thai food market with a new high-end concept called Nusara. Lennox said the new concept will combine the “age-old tradition of fire grilling alongside time-honoured recipes with a balanced Thai menu of meat, fish and plant” to deliver “an innovative healthy, fresh menu for Thai lovers everywhere to explore”. The first Nusara will open next month, on the former Koh Thai site in Christchurch, Bournemouth. The launch will see Lennox who founded the Koh Thai brand in 2009, then sold and exited the business in 2018, going on to found Zim Braai, re-enter the Thai market after two years. He will be joined in the new venture by chef Thammanoon Thurasan and Zim Braai operations director Sophie Cox, who will also take up the position of group operations director. Lennox said: “What’s in a name? Nusara is a labour of love, born to create something truly special, a safe home, and a mecca for Thai Lovers everywhere. Nusara is about family, about exploring Thai food to its next level and delivering a truly exceptional dining experience.” Lennox currently operates two Zim Braai sites. The concept was launched in Ashley Cross, Dorset, in December 2018, with a second site opening in the Poole Hill area of Bournemouth, earlier this summer.
Chaiiwala targets five times growth in site numbers: Street food cafe franchise Chaiiwala has announced plans to open 156 sites by 2023 and create 3,600 jobs. Leicester-based Chaiiwala currently operates 32 venues across the UK – including its newest site in Greenford, west London, which opened on Monday (19 October) – and said it will unveil 40 more stores globally before the end of 2020. Finance director Nil Naik told Insider Media: “As a south Asian street food provider with western fusion, our food and drink offering resonates well with desi and ethnic demographic customers, and our expansion plans centre around our aim to reach a wider audience. By opening bigger stores in new locations, we are confident the brand will achieve a bigger reach and help more customers discover what we think is the best chaii in the UK. Since the pandemic, we have increased our delivery options across all third-party platforms such as Deliveroo, Uber Eats and Just Eat, and this has increased our takeaway sales by 10% – with takeout now accounting for more than 80% of our sales. We could not have achieved this success without our franchise growth partners who live and breathe the brand.” He added the first branches in Canada will open early next year with other locations in South Africa, Europe and the Gulf targeted. Naik added: “We have sold 189 locations in total and will open 52 stores per year over the next three years, employing an additional 1,200 people per year until 2023.” Typical food at Chaiiwala includes the Bombay sandwich, butter chiocken roti, chilli paneer and mogo chips. Drinks available include karak chaii, falooda and garam chocolate.
US chef Jody Williams to make UK debut with Buvette brand in Notting Hill: US chef-restaurateur Jody Williams is to make her UK debut with the launch of her Buvette restaurant brand in London’s Notting Hill, Propel has learned. Williams is understood to have secured 9 Blenheim Crescent for her first UK opening. Williams currently operates restaurants under the Buvette name in New York, Paris and Tokyo, with a launch in Mexico City also in the pipeline. Buvette is described as “part restaurant, part bar, part cafe”, which combines the “elegance of an old-world cafe with the casual nature of a neighbourhood eatery”. Williams is also the co-owner of the Italian restaurant, Via Carato, in New York. George Collison at Colliers International acted on behalf of the landlord Warrior Capital in the Blenheim Crescent deal.
Sugoi JPN and Arepita Sliders to launch fourth dark kitchen in London, plans 50 across capital: Japanese and Latin American fusion concept Sugoi JPN, with its sister brand Arepita Sliders, will launch its fourth dark kitchen in association with The Chelsea Lodge. The Chelsea Lodge will continue to run its Italian dining and bar restaurant on King’s Road while Sugoi JPN and Arepita Sliders operates takeaway and delivery services from the kitchen. The creators of Sugoi JPN previously launched its “Under One Kitchen” project, which aims to help and support fellow hospitality brands during the global pandemic. By opening multiple “dark kitchens” across London, Sugoi JPN enables both start-ups and established brands to work alongside each other, but as distinct businesses, to maximise their offer while cutting costs. The brand has ambitious plans to launch 50 dark kitchens across the capital. Sugoi JPN owner Felipe Preece said: “We must not see this pandemic as a crisis, but an opportunity. Covid-19 has left the restaurant industry in flux and we must all do what we can to support our industry colleagues, and we are excited to be working with The Chelsea Lodge to reinforce that message.” Available for delivery or takeaway from Wednesday through to Sunday, customers can choose from three different menu concepts; Japanese-Latin fusion street food from Sugoi JPN, authentic Italian cuisine from The Chelsea Lodge, and Venezuelan-inspired “FYI – fill it yourself” arepas – pan-fried corn buns that originated in the area of South America that is now Venezuela and Columbia – from Arepita Sliders. The Chelsea Lodge will be accepting walk-ins for those who wish to enjoy their takeaway, but in the comfort of the restaurant. Delivery is available within a 2.5-mile radius of the south west London-based site.
Chew and Andre to open Arome Bakery site in Covent Garden: Singaporean restaurateur Ellen Chew and Alix Andre are to launch a site under their Arome Bakery brand, in London’s Covent Garden. Launched last year in Soho, Arome Bakery has now secured a site at 9 Mercer Street. Last year, it opened its debut site on the former Gourmet Burger Kitchen premises in Frith Street. Earlier this summer, Chew – who is behind Rasa Sayang in Chinatown and Lobos Tapas in London Bridge and Soho – secured the former Herman Ze German site plus a unit next door in Birmingham’s Grand Central to launch Mrs Chew’s Chinese Kitchen. George Collison at Colliers International acted on the Covent Garden deal.
Salon de Thé cafe reopens with second London site launching, four more venues in pipeline: French pastry chef Philippe Conticini has reopened his Camden boutique patisserie Salon de Thé, which only launched a few days before lock-down in March. He also plans to open a second cafe in Buck Street Market in November – with a third site in the pipeline for spring 2021 that will be joined by three more openings in France. Continici said: “It has been a lifelong ambition to own my own patisserie in London. Londoners have always fascinated me, how they eat, how they enjoy their food. They welcome creativity and I am excited to introduce them to my unique approach to pastry. It will be a challenge, but I believe if you can be a success in London, you can be a success anywhere. Camden Market is one of the UK’s most iconic markets, a melting pot of creativity, international cuisine and culture and Buck Street Market is a new and exciting concept in sustainable consumerism. With global travel on pause for many, we’re providing an opportunity for Londoners to indulge in the finest French patisseries that we hope will transport them, if just for a second, to the romance of Paris, without leaving the capital.” The 60-cover Camden reopening is a tearoom that features a boulangerie and all-day dining with an afternoon tea also available. The second site, scheduled to open in November, is the 40-seater Conticini Cafe, which will cover two floors and offer a more casual grab-and-go element. The third site planned to open in spring will also debut at about the same time three more sites will be unveiled in France. Conticini currently has an open site in London, two in Paris and one in Tokyo.
Newcastle-based Greek street food business opens second site within a couple of months: Newcastle-based Greek street food business Acropolis has opened its second site within a couple of months. The company has launched within Danieli Holdings’ Stack shipping container development in Seaburn. Its opening on Wearside comes only weeks after it launched at Danieli Holdings’ Stack development in Newcastle, adding to its existing flagship outlet in the city’s Grainger Market. Acropolis was established by brothers Viktor and Filip Tachan with their friend Yusef Yenil in 2016. An Acropolis spokesman said: “We have grown beyond our expectations since we first set up as a pop-up operator and have established a really strong and loyal customer base across the region, which is growing all the time. We are really ambitious and always keen to look at the next opportunity, so we are already looking at what comes next.” Newcastle-based Sintons acted on the Stack Seaburn deal.
Graffiti Spirits Group shakes up food market line-up with seafood and fish kitchen operator: Graffiti Spirits Group has added a new vendor to its Duke Street Food and Drink Market line-up in Liverpool. Seafood and fish kitchen Kelp replaces open-fire cooking concept Cinder and joins Bone & Block, Indigo Greens, Cucina Di Vincenzo, Cahita and Ginger. Kelp will serve dishes including two types of Colchester oysters, mussels with ciabatta, gambas pil pil, crispy fried fish, fish and chips, grilled hake and whole Dover sole. Graffiti Spirits Group co-founder Matt Farrell told Insider Media: “Refreshing this kitchen and bringing in Kelp has created excitement and intrigue for fish fans and we’re really proud to have the team on board.” Graffiti Spirits Group opened Duke Street Food and Drink Market in June last year.
Nole Pizza takes second site: Nole Pizza has taken a former York Roast site to open its second premises in Salisbury. Nole Pizza, which has a site within The Pembroke Arms in Wilton, has agreed to take on the city centre site in Butcher Row on a ten-year lease. Nole Pizza’s Ethan Davids told the Salisbury Journal: “When we opened our first little shop in Wilton, we weren’t quite ready for the number pizzas we ended up cooking. The opportunity came about quite quickly in the market square, and we’re now looking to build on a strong start to life and offer the same great food in Salisbury. Obviously opening a restaurant with the ever-looming threat of lock-down presents its challenges, but we’re all confident that our concept works and the city centre will come back fighting once this all blows over, whenever that may be. To say we’re excited to open our doors is an understatement.” The pizza parlour is expected to open in mid November.
Waterworld’s 36-hole mini golf attraction opens: Waterworld Leisure Group has opened two 18-hole mini golf courses, along with a tiki bar, children’s party room and a three-storey M Club gym. The Adventure Mini Golf complex, which is located on the top floor of a new 70,000 square foot extension, in Stoke-on-Trent, has a jungle theme. It is the latest attraction to open at the Festival Park site, which has included the addition of new rides and wave-making machines. Visitors get the chance to choose between the Jungle Falls Challenge and the Temple Ruins Trail courses. The tiki bar sells food, cocktails and other refreshments, and the area can be used for parties and corporate events. A separate children’s party room comes with jungle decoration and climbing frames. Waterworld owner Mo Chaudry said: “It’s really nice to finally be able to bring this dream to life. At the moment, you have to go to neighbouring cities to get an experience like this, but not anymore.” The M Club gym features three fitness studios; a dedicated ladies-only gym; 50-metre sprint track; free-weights area; functional training zone; and a swimming pool and spa with hydrotherapy and plunge pools, steam, sauna and heated loungers.
Rudy’s Vegan Butcher shop to open on World Vegan Day: Rudy’s has announced it will open a vegan butcher’s shop in north London. Rudy’s Vegan Butcher is the second brand in the business’s line-up, which includes Rudy’s Vegan Diner in Camden. Founded by Matthew Foster and Ruth Mumma, the butcher’s shop will open on Sunday, 1 November, which is also World Vegan Day. The Islington store will be a place for customers to stock up on dirty burger patties, cheeze sauce and chilli-non-carne, rack of jack ribs, lobstah salad, meatballs, chick’n lover paté, shredded BBQ pulled porc and roast turk’y – all non-meat products. And there’s a charcuterie section offering vegan smoked ham, salami de provence, pepperoni and homemade pastrami. Rudy’s will also give away 100lbs of baycon, which is the equivalent of 5,000 slices, with every customer getting 25 slices free on opening day or until stocks run out. Customers can also order online with a free pack of baycon being included with every order. The outlet is located on the corner of Islington Park Street and Upper Street, at the site that was previously Burger Lux.
Michelin-starred chef Tommy Banks to launch Christmas delivery service:Michelin-starred chef Tommy Banks, who is behind The Black Swan in Oldstead and Roots in York, is launching a nationwide Christmas delivery service. Having launched delivery service Made in Oldstead during lock-down, the third arm to the Banks’ family business has continued to deliver premium food boxes to customers across the country since April. Now, the team is preparing a collection of festive menus, gift boxes and products for December. Available to pre-order online now, the boxes and menus make use of the produce from the Banks’ farm and kitchen garden in Oldstead. They feature a provisions box; a Christmas Dinner Box; New Year’s Eve Celebration Box; and an Oldstead Gift Box. Customers can also choose to add a selection of The Black Swan’s pre-bottled 500ml restaurant cocktails.
Former Caravan head chef to lead kitchen of new Shoreditch restaurant and bar: Niko Kontogiannatos, who was previously head chef at London-based restaurant and coffee-roasting concept Caravan’s Fitzrovia site, is to lead the new kitchen at bar and restaurant in Shoreditch. Joan’s will open on Monday, 2 November, in Bethnal Green Road and will offer an all-day modern Mediterranean menu that draws inspiration from Kontogiannatos’ native Greece as well as his time at Caravan. The menu will include slow-cooked lamb shoulder served on a bed of sourdough flatbread, sweet pepper sauce and finished with goats’ cheese; and pan-fried fillet of cod with n’duja cannellini beans stew and lemon gremolata. A short menu of local beer, cocktails and wine from European producers will be available.
Two Brighton hotels to be converted into boutique site: Two Brighton hotels have been sold to a London developer who plans to turn them into a boutique hotel and restaurant. The interconnecting Granville Hotel and Cecil House Hotel that overlook the sea and the British Airways i360 tower have been sold through Flude Property Consultants to a cash buyer based in London for an undisclosed sum. Flude’s Will Thomas said: “This is a significant transaction post-lock-down. I have known the owners for a number of years now and am delighted to have been able to assist them with this sale at what has been an interesting time to say the least. This represents our third significant transaction in the past year. It seems there is still strong demand in the city for hotel opportunities and that Brighton seems to have benefited from the trend for staycations”. The combined hotels have 36 bedrooms and also a two-bedroom owner’s flat and restaurant and bar.
Oblix at The Shard reopens both its restaurants: Oblix at The Shard has reopened both its restaurants on the 32nd floor of the iconic building – Oblix East and Oblix West – under tier two covid-19 restrictions. Both restaurants, owned by Azumi, have new menus designed by chef-restaurateur Rainer Becker and executive chef Marcus Eaves, while general manager Carlos Torres oversees the London Bridge restaurants. New starters include giant crab cakes with watercress and wasabi mayo; beef carpaccio, mustard, parmesan and herbs; and zucchini fries with garlic and cucumber yogurt. Mains include line-caught sea bass with lemon hollandaise and a wide array of steaks. Deserts such as pecan nut and chocolate bar and New York cheesecake with blackberries and hazelnut have remained on the menu. There is also a new “Chef’s Surprise Tasting” menu, which will change quarterly. Weekend brunches will remain as they were, running from noon until 3.30pm. A cocktail menu is overseen by James Shearer (global beverage director at Zuma and Roka), which offers serves such as Rambling Rose (Tanqueray London dry gin, rose, sparkling wine) and King of New York (Bulleit bourbon whiskey, sweet vermouth, hibiscus, chocolate bitters). Oblix was the first restaurant to open in The Shard in spring 2013.