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Fri 21st Apr 2017 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Derby Brewing Co nearly doubles equity offer in £500,000 crowdfunding campaign: Derby-based brewer and retailer Derby Brewing Co has nearly doubled its equity offer as it looks to raise £500,000 on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to support its expansion plans. The family-run company, founded by Trevor Harris in 2004, is now offering a 6.5% stake in the business instead of the original 3.86% in return for the investment. So far, 137 investors have pledged £120,810 with 27 days remaining. The funding would support the expansion of the brewery, the launch of a new craft range and the addition of a new venue to its four-strong estate. The company operates The Tap, a specialist beer and spirit house with more than 75 beers and ciders and more than 70 spirits, in Derby; The Queen’s Head gastro-pub in Little Eaton; smoked food and craft house concept The Greyhound in Derby; and The Kedleston Country House, a bar, restaurant, boutique hotel and wedding venue in Quarndon. Managing director Paul Harris said: “We have all agreed to increase the equity on offer from the outlined 3.86% to 6.5% of the business. As a result the business would subsequently be valued at £7,192,307.60 from the previous £12,459,364 valuation. We believe this offers potential investors even greater value for their investment and further strengthens the opportunity, as based on forecasts we will look to double the value of shareholders shares within three years, with all shareholders being eligible for dividends and rewards depending on their level of investment along the way.” The company expects to generate turnover of £3.6m in its current financial year with Ebitda of £257,000.
 

Industry News:

Host of operators sign up for US Restaurant Franchise Forum: A host of UK operators have signed up to attend the US Restaurant Franchise Forum, with attendance free courtesy of CPL Training, which has become headline sponsor of the event. Attendees include Boparan Restaurant Holdings, Star Pubs & Bars, Square Pie, Papa John’s, Hasty Tasty Foods, TGI Friday’s, Chozen, Fulham Shore, Beds and Bars, Yummy Collection, The MSG Group, SSP, Young’s, Pret A Manger, Distinct Group, Black Truffle, Burton Inns, HMS Partnership, Hungerdog, BRGR Co, Triangle Pub Company, and Black and White Hospitality. The half-day event, which takes place on Friday, 28 April at One Moorgate Place in London, will see leading US operators present to their UK counterparts about franchise opportunities in Britain. CPL Training chief executive Dan Davies said: “We are delighted to sponsor this important seminar to allow operators to attend for free.” The five high-profile US foodservice franchisors to present at the event have been confirmed as Panda Express, the largest Chinese quick-service restaurant (QSR) chain in the US, with 1,800 sites; Little Caesars, which is the third-largest pizza QSR restaurant chain in the US, with 4,250 sites; Wingstop, the fastest-growing US QSR chicken brand, with 1,000 sites; Wienerschnitzel, the largest hotdog QSR brand in the US, with 350 locations; and fast-emerging Indian QSR/fast-casual brand Chutney’s Indian GrillOperators can claim up to two free places by emailing anne.steele@propelinfo.com
 
Finance and Investment Conference open for bookings: The Propel Finance and Investment Conference is open for bookings. Speakers will include Stephen Owens, director and head of corporate licensed valuation services at Christie & Co, who will provide an overview of the pub, restaurant, foodservice and hotel sector mergers and acquisitions landscape, current valuations in the market and the do’s and don’ts when attempting to attract investment or sell a hospitality business. He will also give an insight into the range of investors currently seeking to invest in the sector. Propel managing director Paul Charity will talk to investor Luke Johnson about his views on investment opportunities in the sector, valuations, his current set of investments and his views on sector prospects in the post-Brexit age. Meanwhile, Loungers co-founder Alex Reilley will talk about the successful investment in the company by Piper Private Equity, the dynamics of the relationship and growth in estate size and value during the period of investment, developing a high-quality management team, and the recent investment in the company by private equity company Lion Capital. See here for the full programme. The full-day event takes place on Thursday, 11 May at One Moorgate Place, London EC2R 6EA. Tickets are £295 plus VAT for operators and £445 plus VAT for suppliers, while tickets for Propel Premium subscribers are £245 plus VAT. To book, email anne.steele@propelinfo.com or call 01444 817691.

CAMRA explores historic coaching inns of the Great North Road in latest title: The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) will release its latest title – Historic Coaching Inns of the Great North Road – on Monday (24 April). Known as “the Route 66 of Britain”, the Great North Road is part of British folklore, serving as the main route between London and Scotland for many centuries. The coaching inns along it are part of the nation’s living history, providing accommodation, stabling for horses and replacement mounts for many famous people, including Charles Dickens and JB Priestley. The guide takes readers on a journey from London to Edinburgh from the days of mail coaches and highwaymen right through to the modern age. It includes overview maps showing key roads for each section of the route, practical information including recommendations for local visits, and quirky anecdotes to convey the history and legends of the Great North Road. Author and beer writer Roger Protz said: “The Great North Road is part of British folklore, which is still alive today thanks to the survival of these magnificent coaching inns. Travellers can use this guide to retrace old routes and enjoy some of Britain’s most fascinating traditional pubs while learning about the history and culture that is draped along this iconic road.”
 
Tax fraud charges against restaurateur Frank Dowling are thrown out: Tax fraud charges against a high profile restaurant and bar owner have been thrown out of court by a judge. The accusations against Frank Dowling, who ran three venues in the O2 arena in London as part of a £20m-year turnover business, were dismissed at Southwark Crown Court. The 48-year-old, who opened his first bar in 2003, was acquitted when the Crown Prosecution Service offered no evidence after a four-year investigation into allegedly undeclared VAT and PAYE. US-born Dowling said he is now considering legal action against companies and organisations that have been proved of wrongdoing. He said: “I am delighted these charges have been thrown out by the judge. They were ill-founded, ill-conceived and just plain wrong.” The original accusations were made by individuals to forward their own commercial interests and accepted by authorities although they had proof to the contrary he claimed. Dowling added: “Me and my family have been through hell as they tried everything they could to ruin me. It has been devastating for my business interests as many third parties decided to treat me as guilty and sought illegal and immoral means to seek commercial advantage, but the truth is out there for everyone to see now. There’s a feeling of relief that it is over but also anger at what they have put me through and how much money has been wasted.” Dowling, who was brought up in New York, started his working life in construction then went on to London working on the property development project at Canary Wharf. His first bar was opened in Greenwich in 2003 and he became the first restaurateur to sign a lease for a venue at the O2 Arena and subsequently built up a portfolio of venues under the banner of the Inc Group, which grew to 23 restaurants, pubs and bars across the capital and Leeds, and Bristol.
 

Company News:

KFC hunts for more than 400 new sites across UK, offers delivery from 30 Greater London restaurants through Just Eat: KFC is looking to strengthen its pipeline and is on the look out for more than 400 new sites across the UK. The company is paying finders fees of £20,000 for recognised drive-thru introductions and £12,500 for food court and restaurant sites. Its key target is London, where it wants to open 124 sites, followed by the north (106) and the south east (59). It said it was looking for development opportunities in a variety of locations, including retail parks, shopping centres, train stations and high streets and will consider freehold, leasehold or long leasehold sites. It currently has 43 sites under contract, including in Chippenham, Hemel Hempstead, Stourport and Workington. The company said: “KFC UK currently trades from more than 850 locations, from Inverness to Penzance and Canterbury to Galway, and there is ample scope to develop a further 400 locations thanks to the strength of the brand and the differentiated consumer offer.” Meanwhile, KFC is now offering delivery via its app and website from 30 of its branches in Greater London through Just Eat with more being added over the next 12 months. Just Eat UK managing director Graham Corfield told the Metro: “We’re thrilled to welcome KFC to the Just Eat platform, offering our customers in London an even wider choice of food than ever before. We’re adding KFC restaurants every week, meaning more customers will be able to enjoy KFC’s world-famous chicken at the click of a button in their area very soon.”

Meatcure to open Hinckley site next week, closes Leamington Spa restaurant: East Midlands-based gourmet burger restaurant company Meatcure will open a site in Hinckley next week but has closed its Leamington Spa outlet. The company, which is led by Rob Martyniak and Paul Rigby, is opening the new venue on Friday, 28 April, at the £60m retail and leisure development The Crescent. Launched in Market Harborough in 2014, the company quickly expanded to Leicester, Leamington Spa and Bedford. However, the Leamington Spa restaurant has now closed with Meatcure announcing the “difficult” decision on the site’s Facebook page. It said: “It wasn’t an easy decision but with the odds stacked against us from the off we’ve decided that sometimes you’ve just got to cut your losses and move on. Meatcure continues to grow and we’ll be opening Hinckley at the end of the month, which is just a 35 minute drive from Leamington.” The Hinckley site will offer the company’s traditional menu of burgers, steaks, salads, sharing plates and desserts, alongside shakes and hard shakes. Martyniak told the Hinckley Times: “Our ambition was always to build restaurants we want to hang out in and make food we want to eat – and with the Hinckley Crescent’s high visitor numbers, we are confident we will be well equipped to provide another Midlands town with fantastic tasting, quality burgers made of locally sourced ingredients.” Last summer, Meatcure cancelled a £350,000 crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs, blaming uncertainty caused by Brexit in part. 

London-based nitrogen ice cream parlour concept Chin Chin to start expanding by opening second site, in Soho: London-based nitrogen ice cream parlour concept Chin Chin is to start expanding by opening its second site, in Soho. The company, which was launched in Camden Lock, is opening Chin Chin Club Soho in Greek Street next month. Customers are able to watch their ice cream created from scratch with the flavours changing every month, reports Hot Dinners. The Soho site will have an expanded menu, which will include the ice cream Choux-bun – hand-made choux buns covered in candied Iranian pistachios, filled with pistachio and olive oil ice cream; and deluxe sundaes consisting of two scoops of ice cream, house whipped cream and a choice of hand-made toppings such as salty liquorice, babka cake cubes, Mochi or smoked caramel sauce. Chin Chin also operates a dessert bar on Fridays and Saturdays at Street Feast’s Hawker House events space in Canada Water.
 
Whitbread-owned Beefeater launches new daytime saver menu: Whitbread-owned Beefeater has launched a new daytime saver menu. The menu, which is available from Monday to Saturday between noon and 6.30pm except on bank holidays, includes five dishes at £5 – the open chicken sandwich, beer-battered fish and chips, roasted vegetable linguine, a quarter-pound beef steak burger and a six-ounce chargrilled gammon steak. Beefeater is also offering its best value steak and chips for £6. Customers can also choose from a selection of starters and desserts from £2.79 each.
 
Rosa’s Thai Cafe relaunches Westfield site with focus on fast service: Rosa’s Thai Cafe, the London Thai restaurant brand, has relaunched its site in Westfield Stratford as Rosa’s Thai Market Kitchen, a new concept focusing on customisable, market-style dining. The relaunched site will place an emphasis on fast service. Responding to customer feedback asking for more bespoke food options, the counter-dining system will now allow customers to order from a range of customisable dishes, including old Tom Yum soup, Massaman curry and Pad Thai noodles. Fresh and healthy salads are now served in a “build-your-own” fashion, with diners able to choose between chargrilled mixed vegetables, crunchy papaya salad or lemongrass salad, topped with satay chicken, grilled prawns or boiled eggs and finished with a choice of salad sauces, including spicy mint, creamy roasted chilli, and spicy tamarind. The new concept was created in partnership with Rebel Agency, which consulted on all aspects on the project, from rebrand to site layout. The relaunch follows the opening of the eighth branch of Rosa’s Thai Cafe in Brixton last month, with further openings scheduled for West Hampstead, Seven Dials and One Tower Bridge. Co-founders Saiphin and Alex Moore have also opened Saiphin’s Thai Kitchen in London Fields, a new Thai food concept positioned as a complementary rather than competing brand to Rosa’s, providing the local area with a delivery and takeaway-focused service.

Blind Tiger takes 12th pub, 11th with Star Pubs & Bars: North west-based multiple operator Blind Tiger Inns has taken the lease on The Talbot in Euxton, Chorley, with Star Pubs & Bars and is investing in a joint £320,000 refurbishment of the pub that is due to reopen in late May. The move takes Blind Tiger Inns’ estate to 12 pubs. All are leases and 11 are with Star Pubs & Bars. The investment in The Talbot will build on its past as a popular community pub creating a “quality local” with an upgraded sports offer, new menu and extended events calendar. Inside, the 1970s pub will be completely upgraded in a contemporary style to make it attractive to the whole community. The kitchen will be replaced and a new menu introduced featuring pizzas and burgers as well as traditional British pub grub. A barista quality coffee machine is being installed and the pub’s opening hours extended to 11am to enable it to serve morning coffee. The large lounge will be revamped with booth and high-level seating to cater for different groups of customers. The sports bar will be extended and 12 new screens installed. Lawson Mountstevens, managing director for Star Pubs & Bars, said: “Blind Tiger Inns is a highly experienced operator in the community pub sector and has a great local knowledge of the Chorley area and the opportunities it presents. The investment in The Talbot will enable it to adapt to the community’s changing needs and expectations and to thrive for the long term.” Blind Tiger Inns’ estate is made up of well-invested high street and estate community pubs with value offers and a sports and entertainment focus. Looking to the future, the company is committed to leased pubs. Managing director Chris Tulloch said: “The model is a good one – it enables us to expand without tying up significant capital and has proved profitable and cash generative for us. If the right opportunity presents itself, we’re interested in expanding further and have the capacity to grow to 20 sites with our existing infrastructure. We’ll consider sites with and without capital expenditure planned where we can add value within a two-hour drive of Chorley.”
 
Caprice Holdings to open Ivy brasserie in Marlow next month: Caprice Holdings, owned by Richard Caring, will open an Ivy brasserie in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, next month. The company will open the site in an empty unit in High Street on Wednesday, 31 May having previously agreed a 25-year lease. The unit is undergoing extension works to allow for a 100-cover restaurant and garden with outdoor seating for all-day dining. It will feature an onyx bar, pendant lighting, marble floor tiles and polished parquet panel flooring as well as leather dining chairs and bar stools, reports the Bucks Free Press. Caprice Holdings is continuing its expansion of the Ivy concept having opened a cafe this week in Richmond, south west London, while it has applied to open a site in York.
 
Greene King expands food service support in tenanted division: Greene King’s tenanted division Pub Partners has expanded the range of its food service to tenanted and leased pubs within its estate. Since its launch last year the service has been taken up by about 150 sites and now a set of new menus have been launched including a premium option for the first time. Leveraging expertise and buying scale from the pub retailer and brewer’s managed retail estate, Greene King Pub Partners launched Pub Partners Food and Supplies service in the spring of 2016 in partnership with logistics company Kuehne + Nagel. The service provides licensees with a ready-to-go food offer and is designed for operators whose business could benefit from the addition of food. Operators using the service receive an easy to execute menu, free delivery of the necessary products, crockery, all allergen information and marketing support including menus. Greene King tenants could already opt for either a “value” or “mainstream” package, both with a range of price points and now a “premium” selection of dishes has been added to the mix. The menus are refreshed in terms of both design and content every six months with the latest version of the “mainstream” offer including a healthy choice section as well as a “chef recommends” area. Licensees also save money on waste disposal, as Kuehne + Nagel takes away food waste and other recyclables at no cost to the operator, while there is also training and marketing support available. Clive Chesser, managing director of Greene King Pub Partners, said: “The response from our pubs to the food supply service has been phenomenal with the numbers taking it up increasing all the time. Using the skills from our retail development kitchen, we have specifically designed the products and menu to be quick and easy to deliver. Many of our licensees using the scheme have already seen a significant margin increase. We have made the service as flexible as possible so that licensee can opt for select dishes to create their own bespoke menu if they wish or just go with our wholesale supply option. For pubs serving food, we look to take away as much of the hard work as possible. The new option is an exciting development that provides even more choice and reflects the fact customers are increasingly looking for a more premium experience.”
 
Loungers opens site in Kidderminster, closes in on 100-site milestone: Cafe bar brand Loungers, which is backed by Lion Capital, has opened a site in Kidderminster as it closes in on its 100-site milestone. The company has launched Tappeto Lounge in the Riverside Walk development following a £500,000 investment, creating 25 jobs. The restaurant has opened on the site that once housed Brintons Carpets headquarters and Loungers has acknowledged that heritage in the name of the venue – Tappeto means carpet in Italian. The decor features vintage sofas and old school benches, eclectic artwork, quirky curios, Pop-Art-inspired table tops and statement lighting. A huge mixed media mural depicting the creation of the Penny Black has been commissioned for the back bar, reports the Kidderminster Shuttle. Loungers, which also operates the Cosy Club brand, intends to open a minimum of 20 sites in 2017 and will reach the milestone of 100 sites next month. The company was founded in 2002 in Bristol by friends David Reid, Alex Reilley and Jake Bishop.
 
Pizza Pilgrims to open West India Quay restaurant next month, sixth London site: Pizza Pilgrims, co-founded by Thom and James Elliot, will open its sixth London site, in West India Quay, next month. Besides the brothers’ award-winning Neapolitan pizzas, the venue in Hertsmere Road, which opens on Monday, 8 May, will offer a “pizza playground”, with a Nintendo linked to a large television, a huge table football catering for 22 players, an outdoor bowls court and an al fresco dining spot for 70 people. Signature pizzas such as Portobello mushroom and truffle will be joined by the Friggitoria, which has so far only been available in Pizza Pilgrims’ Carnaby site. Last month, the company opened its fifth London site and first bring-your-own-beer venue – in Shoreditch High Street. Pizza Pilgrims also has an opening lined up in Waterloo, while its other sites are in Covent Garden, Soho, and Exmouth Market. It also has a residency at crazy golf concept Swingers in the City. All restaurants offer a takeaway service, while Pizza Pilgrims also operates a Piaggio Ape van called Conchetta at outdoor events.
 
Cote gets go-ahead to open site in Bournemouth: French brasserie Cote has been given the go-ahead to open a site in Bournemouth, Dorset. The company has had its application approved by Bournemouth Borough Council to open a restaurant in Westover Road on the site of the former Austin Reed shop. The site has been empty since the store closed last year, when the company collapsed into administration, reports the Daily Echo. It will be Cote’s second site in Dorset, with one already in Dorchester. Cote, which is owned by private equity firm BC Partners, has more than 80 sites in the UK.
 
Roosters Piri Piri opens third Southampton site: Roosters Piri Piri has opened its third Southampton site as it continues to expand its estate in the south of England. The company has opened the venue in High Street on the site of the former Olive Garden restaurant, reports the Daily Echo. Roosters Piri Piri, founded by Khalid Mirza in 2003, serves halal fried chicken and specialises in “healthy street food from around the world”. It currently has 36 outlets, including its two others in Southampton – in Shirley Road and London Road. It is also set to open its first site overseas next year, in Oman.
 
BrewDog makes Estonia debut as it continues European expansion: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has opened its 16th international bar, this time in Estonia. The new venue has opened in the capital, Tallinn, in the heart of the city between the old town and the 10th century harbour. The site, which is one of the first dedicated craft beer bars in the country, has been built inside a restored Estonian grain elevator, previously used for storing grains in the 1900s. The interior has four preserved grain hoppers that hang from the ceiling. BrewDog Tallinn offers beer from 13 taps, alongside a range of global craft beer, cider and spirits. Tallinn marks the next stage in BrewDog’s European expansion, starting with a flagship Paris location. Following Tallinn, BrewDog will be opening a second site in Edinburgh as well as a third site in Glasgow within the coming months. Plans are also in place to establish a separate distribution network in Germany to grow its presence and promote craft beer across the continent. BrewDog now exports to more than 60 countries globally. Earlier this month, BrewDog sold a 22% stake to US private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners for £213m, giving BrewDog an enterprise value of £1bn. Co-founder James Watt said: “We nearly doubled our UK sales last year, which gives us a solid platform to expand our international reach even further. We’ve been building our presence on the continent since day one and by adding Tallinn to our list of European bars we’re reaching even more craft beer fans in the Baltic states.”
 
Brothers behind Alderley Edge Chinese restaurant Yu to open new bao bar concept in Manchester, plan national roll-out: The brothers behind Chinese restaurant Yu in Alderley Edge are to open a new bao bar concept in Manchester with plans for a national roll-out. Victor and Vinny Yu are launching Taberu – meaning eat in Japanese – this summer inside the former Lloyds Bank building in King Street, fusing flavours and ingredients from the Far East. The brothers said they plan to open two Taberu more sites in Manchester, with aspirations to roll it out nationally. It will specialise in bao – Chinese steamed buns – filled with a choice of meat, vegetables and sauces for diners to mix and match from. Pan-Asian noodle dishes, fresh salads, snacks and drinks including smoothies and Chinese teas will also be available, primarily to takeaway, although there will be a small number of tables for diners to eat in. Victor Yu told the Manchester Evening News: “Yu in Alderley Edge has been open for more than a year now and we felt the time was right to explore a different concept, which will focus mainly on lunchtime trade.”
 
Portsmouth-based Red Lounge Group starts expansion of Indian tapas concept by opening second site, sixth venue in total: Portsmouth-based Red Lounge Group has started expansion of its Indian tapas concept Kassia with a second site, in Southsea. The company has launched the venue in Osborne Road on the site of the former Snookies cafe. The restaurant serves Indian tapas and cocktails, wines, spirits and mixers and it is the company’s sixth venue to date. As well as Kassia in Drayton, the group owns Red Lounge in Drayton and Cowplain, Pasha in Cowplain, and Purple Mango in Southsea. Business development manager George Purnell told About My Area: “It’s basically an evolution of our Drayton Kassia which is renowned for its great food and drink and we will deliver more of the same in Southsea.”
 
Plans for restaurant quarter revealed as part of Newbury shopping centre redevelopment: Plans for a restaurant quarter have been revealed as part of plans to redevelop the Kennet Centre in Newbury, Berkshire. The proposal is for five or six new restaurants to be located along the Cheap Street side of the shopping centre, which will mean a number of other businesses, including Prohibition and Chenz, vacating their units. Centre manager Mag Williams told the Newbury Weekly News those units are currently too small to accommodate new restaurants, so will have to be “reconfigured to make them a decent size”. A planning application is set to be lodged shortly and the restaurant units are being marketed.
 
Dorset-based pub operator acquires second site, looking to add to portfolio: Dorset-based pub operator Max Lacy has acquired his second site and is looking to expand his portfolio further. Lacy, who runs The Black Horse in Wimborne, has bought The Horse & Groom in Wareham off a guide price of £295,000 through agent Christie & Co. The grade II-listed building has been closed for several months and the pub will be refurbished before the search begins for a publican to take on a new lease. Richard Wood, business agent in Christie & Co’s Winchester office, said, “It is always good to be involved in a sale through which a pub reopens, especially when it’s going to be in the hands of a well known and successful pub landlord such as Max Lacy.” Lacy acquired The Black Horse through Christie & Co and Propel understands he is looking to add further sites to his portfolio.
 
Two Warwickshire-based restaurant companies appoint administrators: Two Warwickshire-based restaurant companies have appointed administrators, putting about 65 jobs at risk. Andrew Turpin and Matt Hardy of Poppleton & Appleby have been named as administrators for two companies – Coppola Ristorante and Parssa. Coppola Ristorante launched in May 2008 and operates three sites in Leamington Spa – La Coppola Ristorante and Corleone Caffe, both in Regent Street, and Bar Angeli, which is in the Regent Court Shopping Centre in Livery Street. Parssa owns Micatto in Market Place, Warwick, which opened in October 2012. A spokesman for Poppleton & Appleby told The Business Desk: “The companies have accumulated considerable liabilities and we are currently considering all options available. We have appointed agents to market all outlets involved. No redundancies have been made, and the joint administrators have made arrangements to ensure all the outlets are continuing to trade as normal.”

Fever-Tree becomes UK’s most valuable soft drinks firm: Tonic maker Fever-Tree has overtaken Britvic as the UK’s most valuable soft drinks firm after a very strong stock market run. Supportive remarks from analysts at Berenberg helped the 12-year-old company’s shares flow 1.7% higher to 1,594p, valuing it at more than £1.8bn, despite profits of just £34m last year. It floated in 2014 at 134p a share. Britvic, maker of Robinsons squash and Tango fizzy drinks and whose annual profits top £150m, is worth £1.75bn after a small share price fall. Rivals, Irn-Bru maker AG Barr and Vimto owner Nichols are valued at just over £700m.
 
Essex-based Turkish restaurant concept Bogaz starts expansion by opening second site, in Chelmsford: Essex-based Turkish restaurant concept Bogaz has started expansion by opening its second site, in Chelmsford. Owners Murat and Sabiha Gelman, who launched the concept in Rayleigh, have opened the new site in Moulsham Street and it is the first purely Turkish restaurant in the city. The venue has space for 160 diners over two floors. There is a bar on each level and downstairs diners can watch their food being cooked on the huge grill in the open plan kitchen. The decor and furniture includes light-coloured stone for the walls and dark wood for the floors. The chairs, tables, lighting and bathroom fittings all have a traditional Turkish feel and there are large, original mosaics on the walls depicting the famous Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul. The menu is made up of authentic Turkish dishes that are all cooked from scratch including a selection of kebabs served with rice and bread, as well as lamb moussaka and chicken casserole. There is also wine from Turkey, Spain, Chile, Australia and Italy, alongside Efes beer, which is brewed in Turkey. Two more traditional drinks feature – ayran (a cold yogurt drink mixed with salt) and salgam (spiced, fermented juice made from red carrot pickles), reports Essex Live.

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