Trio of south London operators sign for Elephant Park: Three south London-based operators have signed to open at the new Elephant Park development. Ethiopian restaurant Beza, founded by Beza Ethio, is evolving its existing concept to become a 100 % vegan eatery. It will serve a range of dishes, including the national food “teff injera” – 100% gluten-free sourdough flatbread – alongside coffee sourced from Ethiopia. Tasty Jerk, founded by Rayon and Linda Johnson, will offer classic Caribbean dishes such as jerk chicken, curry goat, and ackee and saltfish. Meanwhile, pan-Asian cuisine operator Pot & Rice will be serving rice pot selections, rice pastry (cheung fun) mochi, yuzu cheesecake, fruit tea, and milk tea. The trio will open in Sayer Street at Elephant Park, the £2.3bn regeneration project being delivered by Lendlease and Southwark Council. Beza and Tasty Jerk were previously tenants at Artworks Elephant, Lendlease’s pop-up retail park at Elephant Park. The signings follow the launch of the leasing of the next phase of Elephant Park, which comprises 16 food and beverage units totalling 37,000 square feet clustered in two distinct districts – Ash Avenue and New Kent Road, and Chatteris Quarter. Guy Thomas, head of retail at Lendlease, said: “These three brands – two of whom were part of our Artworks Elephant incubator pop-up and all are locally based – will be great additions to Elephant Park. They are also an ideal complement to our plans for the next phase of Elephant Park, where independent operators will sit alongside well-known London brands.” Earlier this summer, Japanese ramen noodle bar Koi Ramen; and The Tap In, a craft beer concept by the founders of Six Yard Box and Hop Art, agreed deals to open at the development. In addition, sustainable community food market operator Mercato Metropolitano will open MM Factory, 17,500 square feet of retail, dining and social space, later in the year. Nash Bond, CF Commercial and Shelley Sandzer represented Lendlease.
Dodo Pub Co to open debut Berkshire site next month: Oxford-based operator Dodo Pub Company will open its first site in Berkshire next month. The company, founded in 2009 by Leo Johnson and Chris Manners, will launch The Last Crumb in Caversham on Friday, 18 October. Propel revealed last month Dodo Pub Company had taken over the Prince of Wales in Prospect Street for the opening. The walls of the 200-cover restaurant will feature bold, colourful artwork with an open kitchen and a large bar with counter dining. In April, the company reopened The Somerset Arms in Marston Road, Oxford, as The Up in Arms. Earlier this year, Johnson said the company was seeking to open ten to 15 pubs across the Home Counties with rescuing rundown and unloved pubs at the heart of its plans. The company, which is chaired by Patrick Henchoz, who set up the Esporta rackets and gym chain, also operates The Rickety Press and The Rusty Bicycle in Oxford as well as The Bottle Of Sauce in Cheltenham.
Wells & Co to open tenth Pizza Pots and Pints site, in Coventry this month:Bedford-based brewer and retailer Wells & Co is to open its tenth Pizza Pots and Pints site, in Coventry this month. The company is to reopen The Cottage in the suburb of Earlsdon under the brand. The property in Warwick Street is currently being revamped ahead of the opening. A post on the pub’s Facebook page stated: “We shall be reopening our doors in September where we will be serving freshly made artisan pizzas, bubbling pots of comfort food, tasty beer and a selection of cocktails.” Earlier this year, The Cottage was granted a licence to open after concerns about noise on what is a quiet residential street were dropped when Wells & Co submitted a “dispersal policy”, reports Coventry Live. Coventry City Council agreed to grant a licence with opening hours of 9am until 11pm from Sunday to Thursday and 9am until midnight on Friday and Saturday. Pizza, Pots & Pints was launched in Cambridge in 2015 and Wells & Co plans to expand the brand to 25 sites in the next two to three years.
26 Grains team confirms Borough opening: 26 Grains, the cafe concept founded by Alex Hely-Hutchinson, has confirmed it is to open a second site in London, in Borough Market. Propel reported in July the business, which opened its first permanent site in 2015 in Neal’s Yard, Seven Dials, has lined up the former Rabot 1745 site in Stoney Street for an all-day offer. Now Hely-Hutchinson has revealed Stoney Street, named after the street it will call its home, will launch in October. The venue will focus on “simple seasonal dishes with a carefully considered, produce and provenance-led cooking style”. The wine list at Stoney Street will be short with a selection of five reds, five whites, one orange and one rosé along with a selection of cocktails. In the evening, bottled wine will be available to take away through a window hatch. Hely-Hutchinson said: “My team and I have had such an amazing journey since starting 26 Grains five years ago and have learned so much along the way. Stoney Street will be a big sister to 26 Grains – slightly more refined, a longer menu, a coming of age.” 26 Grains was started by Hely-Hutchinson to create the West End’s first grains-based cafe. Porridge is the primary focus but also sits alongside muesli, granola, risotto and salads on the menu. Following a successful run of pop-up venues, Seven Dials was the first permanent location for the brand.
Merlin to end six-year spell as public company as shareholders approve £6bn acquisition: Shareholders of Merlin Entertainments have approved the company’s £6bn acquisition by private equity firm Blackstone, Canadian pension firm CPPIB and Kirkbi, a company operated by the Danish family that controls Lego and already has a 29.58% stake in the business. A total of 83% of shareholders voted in favour of the deal at the court meeting while 90% approved the special resolution to implement the court-sanctioned scheme of arrangement. The deal values Merlin shares at 455p each, paid in cash, and its equity at £4.77bn for a £5.91bn implied enterprise value. The deal is expected to complete before the end of the year and will end Merlin’s six-year spell as a public listed company.
Tap & Tandoor launches new restaurant concept for second site, in Peterborough: Indian gastro-pub operator Tap & Tandoor has launched a new restaurant concept for its second site, in Peterborough. The company has opened the venue at the Queensgate shopping centre, which is owned by Invesco Real Estate and managed by Lendlease. The new 4,329 square foot restaurant located in Cumbergate serves a selection of small plates, mixed grills and home-style curries. The 80-cover venue features a hand-painted beer mural, vintage mirrors and doors from India, alongside a quintessential pub fireplace and stag’s head. Tap & Tandoor Queensgate is the team’s second restaurant concept to launch after Solihull last year. A Tap & Tandoor spokesman said: “Having grown our brand from the concept stage to owning two sites within two major UK cities, we are proud of what we have achieved and we are delighted to have officially opened our latest restaurant concept.” Guy Thomas, head of retail at Lendlease, added: “Tap & Tandoor is the perfect example of an independent brand making waves in the food and beverage market and creating concepts to work specifically with destinations.” CBRE and Time Retail Partners represented Queensgate while Tap & Tandoor dealt direct.
Axe-throwing restaurant to open in York: A new axe-throwing restaurant is to open in York. Alex Cronin and Josh Goodwin have agreed a ten-year lease with developer S Harrison on the recently renovated 3,600 square foot open plan ground-floor space within the 18th century Hunter House building in Goodramgate. The Hilt, which will sell American food with a Nordic twist, will open next month. The restaurant will seat 60 diners, with six axe-throwing bays at the rear. Cronin told Insider Media: “Axe throwing is popular in America and Canada and it’s now growing in the UK, with venues in Leeds and Manchester. We wanted to create something unique in York and my successful background running and managing bars and restaurants in the city meant we were able to attract investment. We won’t have an alcohol licence.” Hunter House was previously home to department store Hunter and Smallpage. S Harrison completed a refurbishment of the building last year.
Ghost Group launches first site in new wave of London-based casual dining concepts: London-based hospitality operator Ghost Group has launched the first of a number of casual dining concepts. Terra Terra, an all-day restaurant and cafe with open bakery, has launched in Finchley Road, north London. The venue seats 110 diners across its two floors, while at night Terra Terra turns into an intimate cocktail spot offering Italian-inspired dishes, including its in-house pizzette and pasta creations. Ghost Group focuses on developing and operating restaurants, bars, hotels and members’ clubs in the UK, Europe and the US.
Deliveroo now working with more than 25,000 UK restaurants as it adds new partners: Deliveroo has bolstered its restaurant partners and is now working with more than 25,000 restaurants and takeaways across the UK. The company has added Nobu; Wahlburgers; The Halal Guys; and Lewis Hamilton-backed, plant based concept Neat Burgers to its selection of partners. In 2019 alone Deliveroo, which was launched in 2013, has added more than 10,000 UK restaurants and takeaways to its app with notable recent sign-ups also including Denmark-based smoothie and juice chain Joe & The Juice, US chicken brand Wingstop and London-based better pizza brand Homeslice. Justin Lansdberger, commercial global director at Deliveroo, said: “Since our very first order we’ve aimed to work with the very best restaurants and traditional takeaways in the UK.”
Korean-inspired fast casual brand backed by Salt Yard Group co-founder hits £200,000 crowdfunding target: Scotland-based, Korean-inspired fast casual brand CombiniCo, which is backed by Salt Yard Group co-founder Sanja Moll, has hit its £200,000 target on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. Founded last year by former University of St Andrews students Alex Longson and Juno Lee, CombiniCo operates two sites – one of which is a concession – in the Scottish town. Now it is looking to raise funds to open a flagship site in Edinburgh and develop a range of organic bottled tea. CombiniCo is offering 9.09% equity for the investment, giving the company a pre-money valuation of £2m. So far, 208 investors have pledged £206,050 with seven days remaining. The pitch states: “During its first year the store generated more than £500,000 sales and £76,000 profit from what is a 20 square metre space with six seats. We have sold more than 70,000 of our signature BiniBowls.”
Wellington Club to open restaurant led by former Gaucho executive chef this month: The Wellington Club is to open its new restaurant this month, which is led by former Gaucho executive chef Brett Duarte. The Wellington Restaurant will launch at the central London members’ club in Jermyn Street, St James’s, on Thursday, 19 September. Duarte’s modern European menu will include dishes such as hand-dived Orkney scallops, and butter roast monkfish with crispy bacon and sautéed spinach. Split across ground floor and basement, the restaurant includes private dining rooms for a total of 130 covers while interiors are inspired by rock ‘n’ roll and modern art including hand-painted graffiti by Damien Hirst and neon works by Chris Bracey. Wellington Club is the brainchild of former City professional Nic Brooks and Jake Panayiotou, owner of the original Wellington Club in Knightsbridge. It relocated to Jermyn Street earlier this year.
Sydney-based chef opens central London restaurant: Sydney-based chef Damian Monley has opened a restaurant in central London. Monley, the former owner of the Flat White Cafe in Sydney and Madame Char Char in Surry Hills, has launched Liv in Belgravia. The all-day venue has opened in Holbein Place in the premises previously occupied by Como Lario. Lunch dishes include 17-hour Wagyu beef brisket with Japanese slaw; and crispy salt and pepper chicken in a soft roll with kimchi slaw and sweet soy mayo. Liv plans to open for dinner later in the year. Coffee is a key part of the drinks menu overseen by an in-house Italian coffee expert, and regular guest roasts from brands such as Alchemy and Dark Arts Coffee. Downstairs, fresh, cold-pressed juices are served at a bar along with cocktails and wine. Monley said: “After many months of hard work, recipe testing, market research and meeting our wonderful neighbours, it’s now time to bring Liv to life.”
Family attraction looks to move to bigger site: A year-round family attraction, zoo and nature centre is looking to move from Worcestershire to a bigger site in neighbouring Warwickshire. All Things Wild, which features a range of animals, a dinosaur experience and indoor and outdoor soft play areas, has been based in Honeybourne, near Evesham, for seven years. The centre has lodged plans with Stratford-upon-Avon District Council to move its operations and expand its facilities to Willicote Farm & Equestrian Centre in Campden Road, Clifford Chambers, at a site owned by Warwick-based property development and investment company AC Lloyd Strategic Land. The application seeks a change the use from farming/equestrian to leisure. All Things Wild director Nigel Ford told Insider Media: “We have been searching for a suitable new home for the past four years because in order for the business to survive, we need to expand and attract more visitors. This is not an option at our current base due to surrounding land uses. We are currently situated on a 28-acre site and if we receive planning permission, we will be leasing an 80-acre site.” Des Wynne, managing director at AC Lloyd Strategic Land, said: “All Things Wild is a rural enterprise that is seeking planning permission to move five miles from Worcestershire to Warwickshire to meet the growing needs of its business. We have entered into an option agreement for All Things Wild to initially lease the land in Clifford Chambers with an option to buy in the future.”
Sidcup-based micro-pub operator submits plans for second south east London site: The team behind micro-pub The Hangar in Sidcup has moved to open a second site in south east London. A plan has been put forward to transform a shop in Bellegrove Road, Welling, to join the growing list of micro-pubs in the Bexley borough including The Door Hinge in Welling – the first of its kind in the capital. The application states: “My current micro-pub has created a community hub and I hope to replicate that. I will sell real ale, cider, wine and snacks in an upmarket setting. The emphasis will be on providing quality and locally and nationally sourced ale in an environment that encourages conversation. There will be no TV or gaming machines, mobile phones will be discouraged and smoking will not be permitted.”