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Tue 6th Jun 2017 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Cruise ship entertainment agency to launch first restaurant venture: Cruise ship entertainment agency Peel Entertainment Group is to launch its first restaurant venture. The company is investing £2.2m to open a bar and restaurant in Skipton, North Yorkshire, its home since 2002. It will launch Alexander’s Bar and Kitchen in High Street this summer, creating 37 jobs. Peel has a 23-year pedigree in providing entertainment on cruise ships and said it was now aiming to replicate that on land. It has acquired a grade II-listed building that was formerly occupied by The Russian Tea Rooms and Forage Restaurant. The 790 square metre site, housed over two floors, will offer a diverse selection of internationally inspired dishes with a selection of menus – “small plates”, “my plates”, and “our plates”. The bar will serve craft beer, cocktails and fine wine, while there will also be live music and entertainment. The decor will include hand-crafted tables and pewter bar tops, walnut flooring and statement tiles. There will also be a “secret garden” and heated terrace with canal views, as well as a private function room. Peel owner and managing director Susannah Daley said: “I am thrilled we have finally found the perfect venue to produce an amazing customer experience on land that mirrors the exceptional standard of work we have been producing at sea for years. This is a real boost for Skipton – a five-star quality experience but with a relaxed, informal and welcoming feel. Inspired by our global travels, we’ve worked hard to bring together the building’s original features with modern interior decor.”

Industry News:

Propel Multi-Club summer conference open for bookings, two free places for operators: The Propel Multi-Club summer conference and party is now open for bookings. The event, which takes place on Thursday, 6 July at the Oxford Belfry, which is just off the M40, will also involve the Propel summer party in the evening. Operators can claim two free places by emailing Jo Charity on The speaker line-up for the morning session is NPD Group UK foodservice director Cyril Lavenant, Morar Consulting chief executive Roger Perowne, David Bruce, co-founder of Firkin Pubs, The Capital Pub Company and The City Pub companies and currently chairman of The West Berkshire Brewery, and Ali Khan and Samrien Hussain, who operate escape rooms business Tick Tock Unlocked. Speaking after lunch are Marston’s Revere Pub Company managing director Colin Sadler, The Breakfast Club co-founder Jonathan Arana-Morton, and Black and White Hospitality chief executive Nick Taplin. The final session features Tahola commercial director Simon Blackbourne, Mowgli owner Nisha Katona, Amber Taverns managing director James Baer, and Rupert Clevely, managing director of Ei Group’s managed expert joint venture Hippo Inns.

ALMR continues to grow team with addition of chief operating officer: The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has hired Rupert Culme-Seymour as its chief operating officer. He joins the ALMR after 19 years at Heineken UK, most recently as regional sales director but with a background spanning operations and leadership capability. He will be responsible for the trade association’s commercial and membership growth, as well as overseeing its busy annual schedule of commercial, training and member-focused events. ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “I would like to welcome Rupert to the ALMR and I look forward to working closely with him to help support our members, drive growth, and to explore new channels through which we can further strengthen how we represent the UK’s fantastic eating and drinking out market. Rupert has a wealth of knowledge and a fantastic track record within the sector and will no doubt be a great addition to the ALMR’s talented office.” Rupert Culme-Seymour added: “I’m really delighted to be joining the ALMR as COO at a time when the sector is as vibrant and exciting as ever. The ALMR has such a key role – the voice representing the key interests of our members – and I’m looking forward to supporting Kate in keeping the ALMR at the forefront of an ever evolving industry.”

HIT Training launches Springboard Charity partnership: HIT Training, the national apprenticeship provider to the hospitality industry, has launched a three-year partnership with skills development body The Springboard Charity. The partnership, which will run until March 2020, sees HIT Training become a corporate patron and business partner of the charity – uniting both businesses to “focus on building the next generation of hospitality stars and help young adults carve out successful career paths”. HIT Training will be involved in the charity’s core career initiatives, including the Ambassador programme, which works to motivate and inspire potential recruits to the industry; CareerScope, which gives expert career advice; and the Kickstart Programme, which helps people learn the skills needed to enter the industry. The partnership will also see HIT Training support Springboard’s fundraising events and activities. HIT Training managing director Jill Whittaker said: “Supporting businesses within the hospitality sector so they can successfully implement apprenticeship programmes to train and upskill their staff is something we are passionate about. The industry is burgeoning and there are rewarding career opportunities for young adults from all walks of life and, together with The Springboard Charity, we want to get this message out there.” Anne Pierce, chief executive of The Springboard Charity, added: “Our partnership reflects our trust that real quality will be delivered.”

Company News:

Operator sought for Papworth micro-brewery project: An operator is being sought for a proposed micro-brewery project in Papworth, Cambridgeshire. The former Papworth Printworks has been earmarked for a micro-brewery and pizzeria/bakery as part of a section 106 agreement for new housing in the village. Following research commissioned by Cambridge-based social enterprise Allia, residents expressed the need for an evening food offering and a social and community space. That has led to the printworks being earmarked for the micro-brewery project. Developer Flagship Group, which is building 66 homes on derelict land between Church Lane and Ermine Road South, will refurbish the shell of the building before transferring the freehold to Allia. Fit-out is not included so Allia is now looking for an operator to work with under some kind of joint venture or conditional disposal. Allia deputy chairman Tim Jones told Propel: “Having looked at both the business case and residents’ feedback, we think the micro-brewery would be an ideal project. The space will be about 500 square metres in total and we think there’s a great opportunity for an operator to either work with us in partnership or who we can lease the site to.” Anyone interested in finding out more can email

Marston’s buys Godstone pub from Whitbread: Marston’s has bought The White Hart pub in Godstone, Surrey, from Whitbread. The High Street site currently operates as a Beefeater and the contract for it to change hands is due to be finalised by the end of the month. Marston’s has yet to release any details regarding renovating the pub and is remaining tight-lipped on what The White Hart would offer to customers under the new ownership. Colin Sadler, managing director of Marston’s Revere Pub Company, told the Surrey Mirror: “We are currently assessing our options to invest in The White Hart. Any plans will require the usual statutory approvals.” A Whitbread spokesman added: “We’ve exchanged contracts on the sale of The White Hart and we will provide full details of the purchaser once the sale has been completed towards the end of June.”

Gin brand owner scraps Birmingham bar plans: Charter Brands, the owner of Langley’s No 8 Gin, has scrapped plans to launch a gin bar in Birmingham, blaming escalating costs. The company was due to open The Charter Rooms in Great Western Arcade this summer in partnership with Langley’s Retail but pulled the plug on what would have been its first UK venture. In a statement, the companies said: “There were delays in the opening of the bar, which certainly isn’t uncommon when converting space in a listed building, and we pushed back our planned opening date. However, we have now reached a stumbling block that we’re unable to overcome with finance. The actual costs we were faced with to fit it out to a standard worthy of Great Western Arcade and the great city and people of Birmingham, versus the initial budgets we were shown and had worked to, were a long way apart. As a result, we could not raise the funds to open the bar to the standard we would want within the time-frame.” Charter Brands had agreed a lease on units 32 and 33, totalling 1,700 square feet. The company is looking for a new business to take on the lease. Langley’s No 8 Gin is distilled in Oldbury, near West Bromwich.

Covent Garden freehold sells for more than £9.3m: The freehold of the building housing Library Members Club in London’s Covent Garden has been acquired by a privately-owned overseas investment company for more than £9.3m. The sale price for the site at 112 St Martins Lane reflected a net initial yield of circa 2.5%, with competitive bidding leading to its guide price of £8m being substantially exceeded. The freehold of the building was sold by property advisors AG&G on behalf of a privately-owned investment company. James Grimes, director of AG&G, said: “We worked with our client for the past couple of years to ensure the new lease was set up in a saleable, investor-friendly format. Although the project took such a long time, the end result made it worthwhile.” Grimes added that the transaction illustrated the “unprecedented demand for prime freehold leisure property opportunities within the central London market.” The purchaser was represented by agent Michael Elliott.

Yo! Hot pop-up takes over Manchester Red Hot World Buffet site: A new all-you-can-eat restaurant, Yo! Hot, has taken over the former Red Hot World Buffet site in Manchester’s Deansgate after the company went into administration last year. Yo! Hot offers a choice of 160 dishes from around the world. The pop-up buffet has added to Red Hot’s offering by increasing its range of food to include Malaysian, Vietnamese and a wider choice of Chinese dishes. There is also an extensive Japanese section, with a range of freshly-made sushi and a teppanyaki grill. The 25,000 square foot restaurant will also feature “food theatres” where dishes are cooked to order, a wide range of cocktails, and bottomless soft drinks. Yo! Hot will be open until the end of the month, when it will close for a refit before opening a new restaurant later this year. Spokeswoman Sarah Newton said: “The Manchester branch was one of the most successful restaurants in the Red Hot group and we plan to retain all the very best things its diners enjoyed and add even more delicious dishes, all for one set price. It is a wonderful location in a city that has become famous as an eating-out destination. Our slogan is ‘if you liked Red Hot you’ll love Yo! Hot’ and we are looking forward to showing city diners exactly why.”

Loungers to launch Cosy Club in Chester: Cafe bar brand Loungers, which is backed by Lion Capital, has signed to open a Cosy Club in the first phase of the £300m Chester Northgate development. The 180-cover restaurant will open in Hunter’s Walk, an arcade being formed from a former library to link Town Hall Square with a new public space in front of the relocated market and Picturehouse cinema. Cosy Club’s 5,500 square foot unit on ground and first-floor levels will face on to Town Hall Square close to the newly opened £37m Storyhouse cultural centre, which has paved the way for Chester Northgate. Cosy Club has taken the unit on a 15-year lease and is expected to open in 2018. David Lewis, executive director of Rivington Land, the council’s development manager, said: “Securing Cosy Club is another great example of how Chester Northgate will attract many new brands to the city centre and enhance its vitality and long-term sustainability.” JLL is the leasing agent acting for Chester Northgate. Last month, Loungers reached the milestone of 100 sites, which currently includes 18 Cosy Clubs with others due to open in Lincoln and Worcester. The company was founded in 2002 in Bristol by friends David Reid, Alex Reilley and Jake Bishop.

Manchester-based bar operator to open third site, in Southport: Manchester-based bar operator Expansive Horizons is to open its third site, this time in Southport, Merseyside, as it begins expansion of its country garden-themed Allotment bar concept. The company, owned by James Kennedy and Gavin Williams, has converted the former HSBC bank in Birkdale into the new venue, which will open next Friday (16 June). It will feature more than 100 gins as well as an extensive choice of wine and beer, while the food on offer will include “quintessential British dishes” served in a tapas, small plate style. Meanwhile, the bank vault will be used as a private dining area, reports the Southport Visiter. As well as the Allotment bar in Manchester, Expansive Horizons also operates The Old Packet House in Burscough, Lancashire, which it acquired last May.

Hop Stuff Brewery adds four team members: Hop Stuff Brewery has added four new members to its team. New sales director, Matthew McAloone, joins Hop Stuff with more than a decade of experience in the beer industry and a CV including roles at Charles Wells Brewery, Meantime and West Brewing Company. Making a comeback to the vibrant UK beer scene after 25 years in Australia is newly appointed off-trade sales manager Dom Hollinshead. Taking on his first UK role after three and a half years working for Lion Breweries in New Zealand is brand and marketing manager Doug Gilbert, who joined in March 2017. Rounding off the team is Hop Stuff’s new head brewer Andrew Dickson. His experience in the industry includes a degree in brewing and distilling and previous roles in six different breweries, including Carling and Meantime. Hop Stuff’s plans for future expansion and a refreshing attitude to its market approach inspired him to join the team. James Yeomans, founder of Hop Stuff Brewery, said of his newly formed team: “I am delighted to see the Hop Stuff family expand to include four new members, who have already proven to be awesome additions to the team. Andrew, Doug, Dom and Matthew will play a key role in the company’s expansion and will no doubt breathe new life into our brand, adding to the already ambitious nature of our business and ensuring an exciting future for us all.”

US create-your-own burger brand launches in UK with Glasgow site, plans roll-out starting with fast-casual version in London: US create-your-own burger brand Counter Customer Burgers has launched into the UK by opening a site in Glasgow. The franchise-operated chain has opened at The Quay in West Paisley Road and is now planning roll-out, starting with a leaner, fast-casual version called Built, which will launch in Ilford, east London, later this summer. West Midlands-based company Daniel Johns, which has acquired the brand’s franchise rights in the UK, said the Ilford venue would focus on a faster dining experience, giving diners an opportunity to create their own build-as-you-go burger. Launched in Los Angeles 14 years ago, the brand features a checklist system that offers more than a million combinations of burger. It operates more than 40 restaurants in the US and in international cities including Dublin and Riyadh. The Counter founder and co-chief executive Jeff Weinstein told Glasgowist: “We know in the UK market there is an appetite for gourmet burgers and, with our custom-built burgers, we feel we can bring a unique offering.” Daniel Johns director Khalid Iqbal said the Glasgow and Ilford venues were just the start of a planned UK-wide push for the brand. He added: “We were attracted to The Counter and Built because of its commitment to delivering the very best experiences in taste and service and attracting an enthusiastic clientele of burger lovers – a phenomenon we aim to replicate.”

Manchester-based operators launch gourmet hotdog and waffle bar concept Sugar Rays: The team behind Manchester’s Mexican cantina El Capo has launched gourmet hotdog and waffle bar concept Sugar Rays in the city’s Northern Quarter. The venue has opened in Newton Street at a basement site formerly housing Q Cavern Caribbean cafe bar, the Manchester Evening News reports. Sugar Rays features a New York-style lounge bar with moody lighting, dark wood-panelled walls and leather banquettes. It offers seasonally changing cocktails alongside beer and “boilermakers” – beers served with spirits – such as the Schoolboy Q, a schooner of Guinness with Amarula. The food menu, served until late, features eight kinds of hotdog, including the Nikka Nori Dog, which is served in a brioche bun glazed with Japanese whiskey and topped with sliced nori seaweed, wasabi mayonnaise and Asian slaw. There are also four kinds of waffles, including the Fairground Ride (chocolate and vanilla ice cream, bubblegum sauce, marshmallows, popcorn, whipped cream and candy floss).

Marco Pierre White to open Steakhouse Bar & Grill near Solihull: Marco Pierre White’s franchised company Black and White Hospitality is to open a Steakhouse Bar & Grill restaurant near Solihull in the West Midlands. The venue will open at the Best Western Plus Manor Hotel in the village of Meriden later this month. It will seat 120 diners and also have a private dining room. Black and White Hospitality chief executive Nick Taplin told The Business Desk: “The Manor Hotel is a popular destination for business travellers and local guests. It’s the perfect destination to be opening our latest Marco Pierre White Steakhouse, which will bring a whole new dining offer to the area.” Pierre White’s franchised restaurant estate, which comprises Wheeler’s of St James’s; Steakhouse Bar & Grill; Mr White’s English Chophouse; Marco’s New York Italian; and Bardolino Pizzeria, Bellini & Espresso Bar; is set to hit 40 sites this year, including his first Welsh site – in Cardiff – opening in July.

BrewDog launches general election poll with free beer offer: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has launched its own general election poll while inviting anyone who votes on Thursday (8 June) to claim a free pint of Punk IPA. The “BrewGov” poll involves staff handing out cans of Punk IPA near the company’s UK bars to anyone who tells them which party they intend to vote for. The data will be collated on Wednesday (7 June), with BrewDog intending to “call” its election results before the polling stations open the next day. Voters will also be able to claim a free pint of Punk IPA on Election Day in a bid to “encourage voter turnout”. Beer fans will have to take a picture of themselves outside their polling station and show it to bar staff at any BrewDog bar to claim their free pint, with the offer extended to 9 June.

Shrewsbury-based cocktail bar The Libertine to open third site, in Cardiff: Shrewsbury-based cocktail bar The Libertine is to open its third site, in Cardiff. Owner Sam Taylor has agreed a deal to open the bar in High Street within the city’s Castle Quarter after securing a site through agents EJ Hales. The Libertine has taken a lease that sees a stepped rental leading up to £68,500 per annum. Work has started on a refurbishment of the 2,500 square foot ground-floor property, which has additional basement space, with the venue due to open in August. Director Huw Jones told Business News Wales: “We have been monitoring the Castle Quarter area for some time and seen the emerging brands and recent openings that are creating the ideal environment for our quality type of operation.” Phil Morris, partner at EJ Hales, who acted on behalf of the vendor, added: “This part of Cardiff is improving rapidly, with a really exciting mix of new tenants creating a vibrant, independent bar and restaurant culture.” The Libertine has sites in Shrewsbury and Aberystwyth, while Taylor also operates House of the Rising Sun and co-owns American-style diner Biggies in Shrewsbury.

Great British Menu finalist to open second Brighton restaurant: Michael Bremner, who is a finalist in the BBC’s current series of Great British Menu, is to open his second restaurant in Brighton. Bremner, who runs acclaimed 64 Degrees in Meeting House Lane, will launch new venture Murmur on the city’s seafront. Bremner told The Argus: “The food will be healthy and honest. I have two girls and there are only a handful of restaurants on Brighton beach where I would eat so I like creating something I can take my kids to. It will be very chilled and relaxed. I don’t want the same sort of pressures and expectations of 64 Degrees.” The restaurant will also offer breakfast and brunch, with the name inspired by the murmurations of starlings that fly around the nearby West Pier. It is the second year Bremner has competed in the hit television competition, making the finals both times.

Ainsty Inns reopens Yorkshire country pub for sixth site following £1.5m refurbishment: Yorkshire-based pub group Ainsty Inns has reopened a North Yorkshire country inn following a £1.5m refurbishment. The Plum & Partridge in Husthwaite, near Easingwold, now features nine guest rooms and a restaurant. Ainsty Inns has taken a ten-year lease on the site, which had been vacant since 2014, for the sixth pub in its estate. Owner Antony Pratt told BDaily: “The pub needed a clear direction and some TLC and following the refurbishment we believe we have created a destination inn that oozes traditional country inn charm but with a modern twist, which will appeal to diners, drinkers and also those looking to stay the night in one of our warm and stylish rooms.” Ainsty Inns operates five other pubs – The Beehive in Thorner, The Chequers Inn in Bilton-in-Ainsty, The Swan & Talbot in Wetherby, The Duke of York Inn at Gate Helmsley, and The White Swan at Wighill. The company, founded by Pratt in 2012, employs 110 staff with turnover expected to reach £2.84m in its current financial year.

Michelin-starred management team opens food-led Oxfordshire pub: David Holliday and Alex Sergeant, who have both managed London’s only Michelin-starred pub The Harwood Arms, have reopened The Bottle & Glass Inn in Oxfordshire under a free-of-tie lease. The grade II-listed pub in Binfield Heath, near Henley-on-Thames, has undergone an 18-month restoration by owners The Phillimore Estate. Sergeant oversees the drinks menu, championing local beers, including Loddon beer brewed on the estate, plus a carefully curated selection of wine and champagne. The food menu focuses on seasonal wild game and locally sourced produce. The Bottle & Glass Inn features a separate “locals bar”, a wood-burning stove, and an outdoor dining terrace. Holliday was also head chef of Berkshire gastro-pub Pot Kiln and co-founded David Oliver Fine Foods and Natural Blender, the UK’s first subscription-based smoothie business. Holliday and Sergeant said: “We are both extremely excited and truly believe this will be a great addition to the Oxfordshire pub and dining scene.”

ETM Group to open brewpub, distillery and urban farm in Shoreditch: Tom and Ed Martin, of ETM Group, will open the Long Arm Pub & Brewery in east London’s Worship Street this month. The pub and brewery is unique to the UK market, the Martins said, free from packaging and boasting an on-site micro-brewery and micro-distillery alongside an urban farm. The Long Arm beers will be served fresh from tank to glass, cutting out the keg, cask and bottling process. Additive and chemical-free, Long Arm’s unfiltered, unpasteurised “Tank Fresh” brews will be dispensed from six 1,000-litre tanks, ensuring optimal quality and taste. The man in charge of the regularly rotating six-strong range, which will always include a lager, pale ale, IPA, stout and a low-strength brew as well as a guest beer, is third-generation brewer Guillermo Alvarez Schulenburg. Working with The Craft Distilling Business, Long Arm will also distil its own small batch gin from a 50-litre copper and steel still, also creating natural extracts that will be used in cooking and brewing. Fresh food will complement the fresh beer offering, with a menu featuring craft burgers along with bar snacks such as fish tacos, chilli salt squid, croquettes and Mexican sopes – a thick tortilla topped with meat and vegetables. The 85-cover, 2,500 square foot interior will be industrial yet contemporary, with exposed concrete and brickwork, parquet flooring and Victorian tiling. A timber bar will take centre stage, while graffiti of the brewing process will be sprayed on the walls. Ed Martin said: “Our Long Arm Brewery in Ealing has been producing exceptional beers and our latest opening will combine my passion for brewing with my love of hospitality. Guillermo’s knowledge of the brewing process is second to none and I am confident the increasingly quality-driven beer drinker will be excited by our dynamic selection of brews.” 

Greene King opens flagship £3.5m Farmhouse Inn close to Humber Bridge: Brewer and retailer Greene King has opened its £3.5m new-build Farmhouse Inn close to the Humber Bridge. The Wingfield Farm pub has been built on derelict land in Hessle following three years of planning and a 28-week construction schedule. The pub can cater for 340 people and features an area specifically for over-12s as well as a children’s play area. There is also a farmyard-style play area for under-fives and a separate space with games consoles to keep older children amused while they wait for their food. The pub will be run by Sheila and Tim Smith, the third Farmhouse Inn the married couple have managed. Sheila Smith told the Hull Daily Mail: “I am amazed at how quickly it has come on. The finish on it is lovely and I think it’s our best one yet. The people around here are excited about tucking into the carvery. We’ve employed 105 staff and most of them have come from Hessle Jobcentre.” Tim Smith added: “There is something for everybody here and we really do offer the wow factor with the portion sizes, cakes, ice creams and carvery.

Handmade Burger Co applies for York site licence: Handmade Burger Co has applied for a licence to open a site in York. The company has lodged an application with the city council as it looks to open a restaurant on the site of the former outdoor and ski-wear store Trespass on the corner of Finkle Street and St Sampson’s Square. It wants to open a restaurant from 9am to 12.30am daily and serve alcohol from 9am until midnight, reports York Mix. Last year, Handmade Burger Co co-founder Chris Sargeant said the company planned to add 15 sites to its 29-strong portfolio during the next three years. Sargeant launched his first restaurant with brother Richard in Birmingham in 2006 and now operates venues across the East and West Midlands, Yorkshire, the north east and Scotland, as well as sites in Manchester, London, Reading and Southampton.

Leeds-based operator bids to open sky bar for second city centre site: Leeds-based businessman Mazhar Mahmood, who operates Norman Bar in the city centre, plans to transform a nearby empty restaurant into a sky bar. Mahmood, who also owns telephony solutions company Core Telecom, plans to extend a building in Merrion Street to add two storeys and create a third-floor sky bar with outside seating and dining area, as well as a ground-floor bar and restaurant and two floors of office space. The design and access statement said the development would have a regenerative effect “not just for the building itself but also potentially for the surrounding area”, Insider Media reports. The aim is also to give the building a “new identity while keeping some of the original character”. Construction work would create stair and lift cores to serve the offices and penthouse, and two new entrances.

Everyman Cinemas to anchor new Liverpool dining development: Everyman Cinemas is to anchor the redevelopment of Liverpool’s Metquarter shopping centre as it is transformed into a new premium dining and retail complex. The boutique cinema operator is the first completion since asset manager Queensberry bought Metquarter in January 2016. The new signing forms a central part of the multimillion-pound redevelopment strategy, which involves bringing a cluster of high-quality leisure and restaurant brands to the Victoria Street end of the centre. The four-screen cinema is scheduled to open in autumn 2018. Everyman Cinemas chief executive Crispin Lilly told Place North West: “We’re extremely excited to be launching in Liverpool. It’s such a vibrant city with an incredible cultural legacy, and we’re proud to become a part of that. The Everyman Cinema offer is all about delivering a great night out, with a broad range of quality films and events combined with our discerning bar and social spaces, which will complement the Metquarter scheme perfectly.” Queensberry commercial director and co-founder Stuart Harris added: “Everyman Cinemas is exactly the kind of quality operator we want for the Metquarter. It will provide an additional customer draw to the centre when it opens in autumn 2018 and is an important step in moving towards our vision of revitalising and repositioning Metquarter as the premium leisure, restaurant and shopping offer in Liverpool city centre.”

Nobu appoints Roche Communications for PR role: Nobu has appointed Roche Communications as PR agency for its London restaurants as well as events and private dining dates at both restaurants. The agency will work alongside Nobu to bring the brand’s “history, people and dishes to the forefront of London’s ever-competitive dining scene as it celebrates its 20th year in London”. Chef Nobu Matsuhisa and Hollywood actor Robert De Niro launched Nobu London in Old Park Lane with business partners in 1997. The venue went on to win a Michelin star for its new-style Japanese cuisine influenced by Peruvian ingredients, with dishes such as black cod miso. Sister restaurant Nobu Berkeley ST has hosted some of the capital’s “most exclusive parties”. Last month, Nobu announced it would open its third London restaurant within its first European hotel, in Shoreditch. The 240-cover restaurant will open in July spanning almost the entire footprint of the hotel in Willow Street. Nobu has more than 30 restaurants worldwide.

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