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Mon 22nd Aug 2022 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Reilley – if we had to enter into a hedge on energy today it would cost an extra £17m: Alex Reilley, executive chairman of cafe bar operator Loungers, has said if the circa 200-strong business had to enter into a hedge on its energy costs today it would cost an extra £17m. Reilley warned the “obscene, uncapped utility price increases that our sector is having to face is nothing short of an extinction event”. He said: “We hedged our energy contract in May 2021 (pure luck as that’s when our contract ended) until 2024. If we had to enter into a hedge today it would cost an extra £17m! Hospitality has already been absolutely battered by the pandemic, chronic labour shortages, and spiralling food and drink costs but, the obscene, uncapped utility price increases that our sector (and any business on a commercial supply) is having to face is nothing short of an extinction event. Independent cafes/restaurants/shops, tenanted pubs, small groups and even some big businesses don’t stand a chance. So instead of bleating on about pointless, irrelevant stuff that only the Tory membership cares about, the next prime minister needs to realise that without immediate, surgical intervention the soul and heartbeat of our high streets and communities is dead and all of the money that was invested helping businesses to survive the pandemic will be for nothing. So Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss you need to step outside your hustings bubble, stop trying to sell yourself to a tiny minority of the country you want to govern and realise all this talk about ‘growth’ is absolute soundbite nonsense. For most businesses this is about survival and without major government intervention and ‘real’ leadership with crisis management policies, most, very sadly, won’t.” Reilley’s comments come as The Sunday Times reported chancellor Nadhim Zahawi is looking at options for bailing out businesses this winter. Government sources said Zahawi believed the package of proposals being drawn up by the Treasury for the next prime minister should include the option of repurposing covid schemes to help businesses ride out the energy crisis. Officials are said to be looking at funding mechanisms that have already been proven to work at scale including grants to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as VAT and business rates holidays to reduce their overall bills. However, another source said any support for SMEs would probably cost billions and be conditional on the new prime minister’s appetite for more borrowing.

Industry News: 

Number of Italian restaurant operators set to join updated Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies: A number of Italian restaurant operators are among the 47 new multi-site companies being added to the next edition of the Propel Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies, which will be released on Friday (26 August), at midday. The updated Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, features Bash Redford and Michael Lavery, who operate south London Italian restaurant Forza Win and sister brand Forza Wine. Also added this month is Ayrshire operator Maria Timis, who operates Italian eatery Allegria in Gallowgate Street, in Largs, and is now launching her second site in the town, called the Riviera Largs. In addition, Monmouthshire operator Andreas Christou, an award-winning restaurateur who operates Italian restaurants La Piccola in Monmouth and Casa Bianca in Abergavenny, and is set to open his latest branch of Casa Bianca, in Merthyr Tydfil, will be featured. Premium subscribers will also receive a 3,200-word report on the new additions to the database. The comprehensive database is updated monthly and provides company names, the people in charge, how many sites each firm operates, its trading name and its registered name at Companies House if different. The database currently features 2,572 companies. Premium subscribers will also receive the next edition of the New Openings Database, which is produced in association with StarStock, on Friday, 2 September, at midday. It focuses on newly announced openings and upcoming launches in the sector and is updated every month. The next edition also includes a 12,000-word report on the new additions to the database. Premium subscribers also receive access to the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group. The Blue Book, which is also updated monthly, provides an insight into UK operator turnover and profitability over five years, profit conversion and directors’ earnings. Premium subscribers have also been given exclusive access to the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database, which is an exhaustive guide to the companies offering a food and beverage franchise in the UK and is updated every two months. The third edition features 140 companies and almost 60,000 words of content, providing insight on the offer, locations, cost and other key details. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £445 plus VAT for operators and £545 plus VAT for suppliers. Email to upgrade your subscription. Subscribers also receive access to Propel’s library of lockdown videos and Friday Wrap interviews and now also have access to a curated video library of the sector’s finest leaders and entrepreneurs, offering their insights on running outstanding businesses in the sector. Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before our 6am send-out; regular video content and regular exclusive columns from Propel group editor Mark Wingett.

NTIA – rail strike action will lead to ‘irreparable’ damage to sector without government intervention: Long-term rail strike action will lead to “irreparable” damage for the hospitality industry without government intervention, the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) has warned. Many operators have reported an estimated loss of up to 40% in trade from previous walk-outs and unions have warned that strikes could go on “indefinitely” as rail staff across the network continue their dispute over pay. NTIA chief executive Michael Kill said: “Long-term strike action would be catastrophic. Sporadic weekly or daily planned strike action is eating into consumer confidence. The hospitality and late-night sector workforce who aren't able to work from home are struggling to find safe alternative transport at night at additional cost, as well as having a direct impact on the transient mobility of tourists across the country. The current operating climate will lead to irreparable damage without government intervention, leading to loss of businesses and jobs, slowing recovery.”

Surging chicken costs hitting restaurants hard: Surging chicken costs are hitting restaurants hard. Scott Collins-led concept MeatLiquor is joining forces with other restaurants including The Real Greek to enhance its buying power after the price paid for chicken leapt 20% in six months. Neil Piper, interim general manager of KFC UK & Ireland, told The Sunday Times the business is “walking the tightrope of unprecedented levels of inflation” and the need to “remain affordable” as it puts up prices in the wake of escalating costs. At Nando’s, the price of ten chicken wings with two sides has risen from £14.95 this time last year to £16.25 today – an increase of 8.7%. A whole chicken last August was £13.95, and it’s £14.95 now – an increase of 7.2%. Meanwhile, four boneless chicken thighs are up 6.9%. Producers are being forced to pass on the cost of rearing the world’s most popular meat, with fast-food chains complaining of suppliers levying price increases of up to 60%.The Office for National Statistics said last week the price tag for chicken in shops had jumped by 14.9% on average over the past year. The Producer Price Index, which measures the cost of goods for factories, showed imported chicken and red meat from the EU had shot up 69%. Feed prices for livestock were up 61%, and fresh red meat and poultry was 21% higher. Poultry farmers have also warned prices will have to rise further next year as they face an escalating crisis of high energy bills and feed costs. While prices are rising in almost every food product, the historically low cost of chicken has contributed to it now accounting for more than half of the meat consumed in Britain. Richard Griffiths, chief executive of the British Poultry Council, said the “unresolved effects of Brexit”, along with covid and the war in Ukraine, had put pressure on all areas of poultry production. Avara Foods is a chicken rearer and processor that supplies supermarkets and restaurants. It said the cost of production will have risen by a third over two years by next summer. Industry sources said the price increases at chains such as Nando’s do not show the full picture, as businesses have slashed costs to spare customers from feeling the full impact. 

Nisha Katona – there is a sunny future in hospitality but it’s up to employers to show it: Nisha Katona, founder and chief executive of Mowgli, the Indian street food concept, has said there is a sunny future in hospitality – but it’s up to employers to show it. Writing in The Times, the former barrister said: “Our people charge around with a happy swagger, feeding on the joy radiating from our guests, so managers may think they can ease their foot off the contentment pedal. They risk treating them just a little bit more shabbily than they would want their own children treated by an employer. We could fall into the trap of thinking we are offering workers such a fun job that surely the removal of just a few benefits won’t be noticed because their own self-propagating enthusiasm will compensate. We who build restaurants must then remember that in hospitality the joy the day-to-day provides can be more transient. Our servers, in their grace, graft in the borrowed sunshine of the shift but at a rainy midnight bus stop, they analyse the comedown. They can feel empty and so begin to look for that ‘proper job’. This is why restaurants have that gap year reputation and not one as a place for a good career. For me, this is particularly devastating. I gave up a most fulfilling profession as a family law barrister to open a restaurant and have never looked back. I never created a single job as a barrister but through service have created 800. Hospitality is an employer that can and must build jobs that create a people overflowing in an abundance of fulfilment. The sun only shines through the shift and then darkness falls — and to whom do they then turn for that sense of purpose? It is to us, their employers, whose aims happen to coincide with their own, if we would just look: that they should stay and not want to leave; that they should progress and climb the ranks and help to build new restaurants, create jobs and create more workplaces that make the people walk taller and stride happier; that we keep the lights on in smiling high streets and do nothing less than make the world a happier workplace.”

Former Starbucks stores in Russia begin to reopen under new name: The first of 130 former Starbucks stories in Russia has reopened under a new name. Starbucks announced in May it was exiting the Russian market after almost 15 years, joining the scores of major western brands to have left the country following its invasion of Ukraine. The rights to the chain in Russia have since been acquired by restaurateur Anton Pinskiy and pro-Putin rapper Timati, real name Timur Yunusov, who have rebranded it Stars Coffee. The first Stars Coffee – which features a similar logo to the Starbucks one but with a woman in a traditional Russian headdress rather than a siren – opened in central Moscow on Thursday (18 August). It is the second-high profile rebranding of a western food chain after former McDonald’s restaurants restarted their operations under the new name Vkusno i tochka, which translates as ‘tasty and that’s it’, but with a completely different logo. Offering a menu of mainly rebranded McDonald’s items, Vkusno i tochka has since been hindered by western sanctions and struggled to preserve its old menu, forcing the firm to temporarily stop serving its signature fries and potato wedges. It is not yet clear what kind of menu Star Coffee will offer.

Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a four-star hotel and aparthotel group that is looking for a cluster sales manager. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “The business is looking for a well organised, energetic individual who will be responsible for maximising the hotels’ sales by developing programmes that make profitable use of the meetings and events areas along with the accommodation facilities. You will be responsible for two sites located in Glasgow and Edinburgh. The cluster sales manager will also manage relationships with agencies and partners, overseeing budgets for advertising, marketing, and promotions.” The salary is up to £46,000 and based in Glasgow. For more information, email

Company News:

Humera Afzal appointed group CFO of Richard Caring-backed restaurant businesses: Humera Afzal has been appointed group chief financial officer of the Richard Caring-backed The Ivy Collection, Caprice Holdings, Birley Clubs and Bill's Restaurants. Afzal was previously chief financial officer of Membership Collective Group (MCG), the New York-listed vehicle behind the Soho House chain of members’ clubs. She departed MCG in June having previously announced she was leaving “due to factors outside the company”. Afzal had joined MCG in December 2020 where she oversaw the company’s initial public offering on the New York stock exchange. She has also previously held roles at London-based community-driven venture capital fund, Backed, as well as at PwC and BNP Paribas. 

Cineworld shares slump 60% amid bankruptcy fears: Cineworld saw its share price slump on Friday (19 August) amid fears that it was preparing to file for bankruptcy and only days after warning it was planning a restructuring deal to tackle its $4.8bn of debts. Shares dropped by 80% to below 2p on the London stock market at one point after The Wall Street Journal reported Cineworld was expected to file a chapter 11 petition in the United States and was considering insolvency proceedings in Britain. A later, weak recovery meant Cineworld’s shares closed down 5¾p, or 58.3%, at about 4p, valuing the company at only £55m. Cineworld warned last Wednesday (17 August) a shortage of big-budget film releases was deterring cinemagoers and the problem was likely to persist until at least November. New releases such as Avatar 2 are scheduled for December. The company said alongside taking steps to manage costs and boost liquidity, it was evaluating options to potentially restructure its balance sheet through “a comprehensive deleveraging transaction”. Analysts at Peel Hunt had warned after Wednesday’s update that “it is not clear whether Cineworld will be able to raise fresh debt or issue fresh equity”. Advisers working on the restructuring include AlixPartners, Kirkland & Ellis, PJT Partners and Slaughter and May. Cineworld’s biggest shareholders are Global City Holdings, the family investment business of Mooky Greidinger, Cineworld’s chief executive, with 20.1%; Jangho Group, the Chinese building materials company, with 13.8%; and Polaris Capital Management with 7.8%, according to Refinitiv data. The company’s main bank creditors are understood to include HSBC and Barclays, and it is said to be negotiating with its lenders to fund the costs of the bankruptcy process. Sources told The Sunday Times chapter 11 bankruptcy was one option and was likely to lead to dozens of cinema closures in the US. Cineworld became the world’s second biggest cinema operator via debt-fuelled expansion, especially the $3.6bn acquisition of Regal Cinemas in the US in 2017. It operates almost 9,200 screens at 751 sites in ten countries, including 102 in Britain, where it runs the Picturehouse chain.

Crepeaffaire partners with Primark to bring Crepe & Roll format to Kingston store: Crepe concept Crepeaffaire has partnered with Primark to bring its Crepe & Roll format to the department store’s site in Kingston, south west London. Crepe & Roll, which will be located on the ground floor, will open today (Monday, 22 August). The concept features a range of hand rolled crêpes, filled with sweet or savoury fillings alongside barista coffee, thick shakes and soft serve ice cream. Crepeaffaire founder Daniel Spinath said: “The partnership with Primark, one of the UK’s best loved brands, is a natural fit for us and we are delighted to bring Crepe & Roll to Primark’s unique shopping experience.” Primark’s director of new business development, Tim Kelly, added: “We want to give our customers incredible in-store experiences and collaborating with new and disruptive brands is very important to this. We are delighted to partner with Crepeaffaire and look forward to having its Crepe & Roll concept in our Kingston store.” Crepeaffaire, which currently has circa 25 sites in four countries, including 13 in the UK, announced plans in October 2021 to triple its estate by opening up to 50 new franchised stores over the next two to three years.

Burhill Group reports increase in profits and turnover, assisted by acquisition of two Ninja Warrior sites: Burhill Group, owner and operator of 22 golf courses across ten UK golf clubs as well as 14 Adventure Leisure facilities, has reported an increase in profits and turnover for the year ending 31 December 2021, assisted by the acquisition of two Ninja Warrior sites, in Sheffield and Southampton. Total turnover increased from £25,868,743 in 2020 to £39,329,398. Of this, golf and leisure turnover was up from £25,297,663 to £38,683,796, while property rental turnover increased from £553,100 to £645,602. Pre-tax profits rose from £461,722 in 2020 to £7,142,445. “The increase in profit before taxation mainly reflects increased customer activity following the reopening of the business in season, the acquisition of the two new Ninja Warrior locations and the positive impact of pandemic related government policies,” the group said. “The increase in group revenue reflects the recovery from covid-19 related disruption affecting the group in 2020, following the reopening of the golf business in April 2021 and the leisure business in May 2021. This reflects returning consumers desire and confidence to participate in golf and leisure activities.” It received £2,429,198 in government grants compared with £2,961,685 in 2020. In April 2021, the group agreed a new four-year £10m revolving credit facility, plus an additional on call accordion facility of £5m, with HSBC, “thereby securing access to sufficient free cash holdings to manage through any remaining impact of the covid-19 crisis”. The group added: “The golf and leisure market in the UK remains very competitive in these times of economic uncertainty. However, the board believes continuing investment, high quality operations and excellent customer service will continue to ensure customer retention and yield good results.” It will look to keep growing its customer base through product innovation in both its golf and Ninja Warrior businesses, and will “take advantage of opportunities for growth”.

Tom Aikens to open debut Japanese venture: Chef Tom Aikens is to open his debut venture in Japan. Aikens will open The Jade Room + Garden Terrace at The Tokyo Edition Toranomon hotel in Tokyo in October. Set on the 31st floor adjacent to the lobby, The Jade Room + Garden Terrace will be the hotel’s signature restaurant, with the menu being a fusion of contemporary Japanese and western influenced dishes prepared using diverse yet refined cooking techniques. Aikens said: “I am thrilled to be opening my first venture in Japan this October, a country whose cuisine and traditions I greatly admire. I have designed two different menus for the indoor Jade Room and outdoor Garden Terrace that centre on seasonality, inspired by mother nature. The result is a cohesive fusion of Japanese and western dishes that I can’t wait to share with the city.” The indoor Jade Room, which will have two private dining rooms, will offer seasonally changing plates including squid consommé with yuzu, chicken and confit lemon; and piglet belly, squid, pineapple and vanilla. The food will be accompanied by a menu of cocktails and wine. The Garden Terrace will offer a menu of cocktails, alongside sharing small plates that include lobster roll, sudachi spiced mayo, nori, and fried cabbage; and hand-chopped beef tartare, maple egg yolk and onion crumble.

Glasgow Italian restaurant chain set to open sixth site, eyes further expansion: Glasgow Italian restaurant chain La Vita is set to open its sixth site, in the city’s east end, and is eyeing further expansion. Brothers Mario and Marco Arcari, who founded the chain in 1999, plans to open the new site, at 175-77 Baillieston Road, in October. It will include a bakery producing a range of Italian bread and cakes that will be available in all six restaurants. The siblings already operate La Vita restaurants in George Square and Bishopbriggs, La Vita Spuntini restaurants in Gordon Street and Byres Road, and a La Vita Piccolino Vino in Newton Mearns. “We are really proud of our business and how our reputation has grown over the years,” Mario told Glasgow Live. “What started as one family-run restaurant in 1999 is now set to be a six-site business with a really strong customer base from all across Glasgow. Despite the disruption of the pandemic, our business has really bounced back. When we reopened, our bookings and orders surged, so we knew that now was a great time to build on the positive momentum and expand further into the east end.” The brothers acquired funding through the Bank of Scotland’s Clean Growth Financing Initiative for the new opening, and the new site will include sustainable features like heat retaining insulation, water recycling units and eco-friendly electric boilers. They hope to facilitate their next phase of expansion in a similar manner. La Vita currently employs 160 people across its five sites and intends to hire a further 25 once the new site opens.

Chef Alex Bond set to open ‘upmarket fried chicken restaurant’ in Nottingham’: Alex Bond, chef patron of Michelin-starred restaurant Alchemilla in Nottingham, is set to open an “upmarket fried chicken restaurant” in the city. Mollis is set to open in a former Chinese restaurant called One More in Derby Road, with refurbishment works currently underway. It is hoped Mollis will be open by November, serving ice cream, cocktails, craft beer and natural wine as well as high-end fried chicken.

Epic Hospitality Group to open food and drink market in Ormskirk: Epic Hospitality Group, led by Simon and Fiona Beer, is behind a new food and drink market destined for Ormskirk town centre, as part of a six-figure investment. The site, the former indoor market in Moorgate, is expected to open this autumn and create around 80 jobs. Plans include a home for a new food hall, as well as six kitchens, an immersive games loft, bar area, private hire space, several retail outlets and live music space. Spanning across two floors, the 10,000 square-foot site will showcase vendors from the local area. Simon said: “We’ve been dreaming about doing this for many years. We want to reimagine this historic space with a modern concept that can thrive while emulating the success of similar sites in other UK market towns.” Fiona added: “Venues like ours will open new avenues for people on our doorstep to explore. This is also a real opportunity to showcase what the area has to offer.” Established in 2012, Epic operates a portfolio of properties offering a mix of apartments, aparthotels and the Seel Street Hotel by Epic.

Blackrose opens Newcastle site: Blackrose, the circa 40-strong pub company backed by real estate investment company Aprirose, has opened the Newcastle pub it acquired in June. Propel revealed last month the company had taken on The Lochside, located in the district of Benton, which would remain closed while it underwent a full refurbishment. It has now reopened, offering a new menu, including Food Truck Fridays, in partnership with local vendors, and has introduced a new cocktail menu alongside cask ale from local brewers. Blackrose business development manager, Jon Raw, said “It’s exciting to welcome The Lochside into Blackrose. The pub has been transformed into a real gem for the local community. There’s been a full refurbishment throughout, including a development of the pub’s beer garden.” A new sports area will show live sport, including all Newcastle United games, along with a darts zone and pool table. The Lochside is the first of many acquisitions Blackrose is planning. Managing director Daren Knipe added: “It’s brilliant news to be able to welcome The Lochside into Blackrose. It’s a real local pub at the heart of the community, and we think we have shown with our refurbishment that it really is something special.”

Spanish Restaurant Group opens tenth Tapas Revolution site, in Basingstoke: Spanish Restaurant Group (SRG), the team behind Tapas Revolution, has opened its tenth site under the brand, in Basingstoke. Propel revealed in May the James Picton-led group would replace the Pizza Hut site in the town’s Festival Place scheme. Founded in 2019 by Spanish celebrity chef Omar Allibhoy, Tapas Revolution’s new site in now open, serving tapas favourites, paella and a range of larger sharing plates and main courses, including 12-hour slow-roasted Iberian pork shank served with piquillo peppers and green beans. There are also vegan options, a bottomless brunch at weekends and cocktail offers from 3-6pm Sunday to Friday. Picton said: “We are proud and excited to continue to grow Tapas Revolution with the launch of our Basingstoke bar and restaurant. To be part of the exciting food offering here in Festival Place gives us an extra buzz.” Propel also revealed in May that SRG is understood to be in legals on two further sites for Tapas Revolution, including on a site in the north east, and it expects both sites to come online by the start of next year.

Craft Union Pub Company marks seventh anniversary with six-figure investment in first site: Craft Union Pub Company, part of Stonegate Group’s managed division, has marked its seventh anniversary with the investment and reopening of its very first pub. Formed in 2015, The Market Tavern in Hanley, Stoke, was Craft Union’s original site. Within the first year the format had grown to an estate of 23 pubs and today Craft Union operates in excess of 440 pubs across the country. The business model gives individual operators the freedom to run their pub as their own business with the support and backing of the company. The format has a retention rate at 86% with operator turnover currently at an all-time low. Nick Andrews, managing director at Stonegate Group, said: “Community is at the heart of everything we do in Craft Union and the success of the past seven years is down to our operators, our local heroes, who serve their individual communities tirelessly and with such incredible dedication. We have exciting years ahead of us, with ambitious and opportunistic plans to ensure our business partners see continuous success.” The anniversary of Craft Union is being marked by the six-figure investment of The Market Tavern, which is run by Simon Calvert and Natalie Bamford. The pub reopened on Friday (19 August) with a 1990s-themed weekend, with live music and DJs.

The Gym Group opens ninth Birmingham site: The Gym Group, the operator of 216 gyms across the UK, has opened its ninth Birmingham site. The company has opened the 15,000 square-foot gym in the Selly Oak area, next to the University of Birmingham. Oliver Tester, property acquisition director, said: “Access to affordable fitness is even more important in the face of a cost-of-living crisis and we are pleased to continue to expand our network of gyms nationally.” The company aims to have a 300-strong estate by 2025.

New indoor karting venue to open at Leeds’ Merrion Centre: A new indoor karting venue is set to open at the Merrion Centre in Leeds. Drift Stop has agreed a deal with landlord Town Centre Securities (TCS) for the 7,308 square-foot space at 16-18 Merrion Centre. The brainchild of owner and director Andreas Aristotelous, who built bespoke drift cars for his two young sons to enjoy during the covid lockdown, the venue differs from regular go karts as the vehicles drift on an indoor, purpose-built e-drift track. The track will be on the ground floor with a workshop and repair station on the first floor. Aristotelous said: “I am thrilled the Drift Stop vision to deliver a fun and affordable, fully immersive, audio, visual, sports and gaming entertainment venue in the heart of Leeds is now becoming a reality. We are confident the unique karting experience, combined with nostalgic tech and gameplay, will prove popular with all ages and be a fantastic addition to the city's Arena Quarter.” Charles Newman, associate director at TCS, added: “It promises to be a fun, adrenaline pumping experience for the whole family to enjoy and it's great to support a young business with ambitions to open more tracks across the UK.”

Brighton chefs set to launch debut restaurant: A pair of Brighton chefs will this month launch a restaurant with “old world Europe and Asia” and “new world America” influences. Kanthi Kiran Thamma, from Hyderabad in south India, and Diego Ricaurte, from Ecuador, met while working at Brighton’s Chilli Pickle. Between them, they have also worked at Curry Leaf Cafe and Easy Tiger in the city. The pair will cook mainly over charcoal in an open kitchen at Palmito, a 20-seater former snack bar in Western Road. “Our dishes will not be traditional interpretations, they will be creative and eclectic,” Thamma told Hardens. “The history of spices has always fascinated us: how they started in India, came to Spain and Portugal and then went on to Latin America. We are also interested in the return journey, Indian cuisine has been influenced by European cuisine in dishes such as vindaloo.”

The Alchemist to take over Singapore bar for one night: Bar and restaurant group The Alchemist will be serving a dash of theatre internationally with a trip to Singapore in collaboration with Mo Bar. Mo Bar at Mandarin Oriental will be hosting The Alchemist as part of its Nomadic Foragers programme’ in which notable cocktail bars worldwide will take over its venue. The evening on Friday (26 August) will consist of a one-night only shift by Elliot Oxley, head of bar operations for The Alchemist. During the evening, Oxley will host a masterclass in molecular mixology and will showcase four of The Alchemist’s theatrical cocktail concoctions such as its menu-staple The Colour Changing One, which consists of Grey Goose vodka, apple liqueur, soda, citrus and “magic”; and Dead Red Zombie with Bacardi Carta Blanca rum, Wray & Nephew, Grand Marnier, lime, pineapple, cranberry, zombie mix and smoke.

Sheffield cafe operator expands to Manchester with New Zealand-focused restaurant and bakery: Jonathan Perry, co-founder of Tamper Coffee, which operates three cafes in Sheffield, has expanded to Manchester by opening a New-Zealand-focused restaurant and bakery. New Zealander Perry has opened the 120-seater Tahi, meaning “one” or “together” in Māori, an all-day restaurant and bakery that showcases speciality coffee, pastries, brunch plates and wine from his native country. It is located in Manchester’s £750m Circle Square redevelopment, off Oxford Street. The kitchen will be run by Andrew Tranter, a former head chef at Pescatore in New Zealand, who has also worked at London restaurants Trinity and Story. “When this exciting opportunity was presented to me, I saw the potential to create Tahi as the epitome of the Kiwi concept of a social space that New Zealand is known for,” Perry told Hardens. “I have always dreamed of delivering this offering, and we are excited to share a little piece of our home to Manchester. The space is a homage to the art, culture and design of New Zealand, designed around elements of the country’s landscape and diversity.” Among the dishes will be Tahi mince on toast, an “elevated version of an iconic Kiwi dish” with braised beef cheek, mushrooms, spinach and poached eggs. Perry operates Tamper Coffee sites in the Sellers Wheel, Westfield Terrace and Kommune districts of Sheffield.

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