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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Tue 5th Feb 2013 - Breaking News - M&B launches new premium brand segment
Mitchells & Butlers launches new premium brand segment with £55 menu item: Managed operator Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) has launched a new brand segment, called Premium Castle, that is arguably the company’s most upmarket food and beer offer ever, Propel Morning Briefing has learnt. The company has reported that its premium brands has performed well in the current challenging economic environment with its value brands suffer intense competition. The first three sites within the Castle Premium brand segment are all within London – they are The White Horse in Parsons Green, The Engineer in Primrose Hill, a franchise pub converted to managed last year, and The Spaniards Inn on Hampstead Heath. The Premium Castle pubs serve only food prepared fresh on the premises and make their own ice cream – prices range up to £55 on the dining menu for a main meal with extras such as skin on chips, priced at £4 each. The Spaniards Inn on Spaniards Road, Hamsptead, one of the oldest pubs in London, is the latest addition to the Premium Castle segment, opening a fortnight ago after major refurbishment. It offers beer and food matching events and two separate dining rooms offering full table service. It has 18 speciality beers, real ales and ciders on tap including British cask ales, lagers, pale ales and stout sitting alongside beers from around the world. These are offered alongside quality ciders and spirits from some of the 'finest artisan distilleries in the world', including the nearby Sacred Distillery. Main dishes and puddings provide a suggested beer pairing with each item. A sample menu and prices show: Beef shin and kidney pie, kale and mashed potato £15.00 (Meantime London Stout (pint) £4.95); pork belly confit, shallot puree, heritage carrots £18.00 (Meantime Pale Ale (pint) £4.80); seabass, chickpeas, chorizo and cuttlefish £18.00 (Karmeliet Triple (33cl) £5.30); ribeye, chuck and bone marrow burger, Celtic Promise, bacon jam, chips and house relish £18.00 (Bernard Dark Lager (pint) £4.95); gnocchi with quinoa, chestnut mushrooms and truffled cream £12.00 (Schiehallion Scottish Lager (pint) £4.85); 28 day dry-aged rib eye steak, béarnaise, bone marrow and chips £24.00 (Leffe Blonde (33cl) £4.45); chicken hotpot with bacon, ale and pickled onions £14.00 (Aspall Harry Sparrow Cyder (pint) £4.35); 28-day dry aged wing rib of beef to share, with béarnaise and chips £55.00 (a Chimay Red (33cl) £5.60 and an Innis & Gunn (33cl) £4.80). A separate pub menu also includes popular pub classics such as fish and chips, Gloucester Old Spot sausages and mash and seasonal pies, alongside dishes such as: Seabass, chickpeas, chorizo and squid and pork belly confit with shallot puree and heritage carrots. M&B’s 90-strong Castle division in an eclectic mix of classic, often iconic pubs, in urban settings.

Propel Opinion by Paul Charity: With the value end of the market most severely challenged in the current climate, M&B is enjoying better performance from its premium brands such as Miller & Carter and Premium Country Dining Group. The company has also stated its London-focused brands such as Nicholson’s have also been delivering a strong performance, helped by their south east location. No surprise then that M&B has decided to drive harder along the premuimisation route with the launch of Premium Castle. Each site so far has been based within the wealthier enclaves of London, delivering top-end food quality but staying true to their pub roots with an extensive beer offer. Who would have thought they would ever see a £55 item on a Mitchells & Butlers menu? 

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