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Fri 28th May 2021 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Review of former Soho House restaurant estate to lead to further closures: Yucaipa Group, now the owner of the former Soho House restaurant brands including Pizza East, Chicken Shop and Dirty Burger, is to make further closures. The operating company, which is called Soho Restaurants Holdco, operated 12 sites – two Pizza East, five Chicken Shop and three Dirty Burger, along with the Farmshop Bicester and Cafe Monico outlets, at the end of 2019. But over the past 16 months, the business has closed or disposed of half those sites, leaving it with one Chicken Shop in St John’s Wood, two Dirty Burger sites, in Vauxhall and Chicago; two Pizza East restaurants, in Shoreditch and Portobello; and Farmshop Bicester. Last August, the joint venture in which the restaurant business previously operated under ended, making Yucaipa Group, the US private equity firm led by Soho House majority shareholder Ronald Burkle, its ultimate controlling party. Accounts filed at Companies House stated: “Notwithstanding the impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the directors are committed to the development and long-term prospects of the group and the brands that it operates. We believe the brands remain fundamentally strong, appealing to the consumer and with a loyal customer base. However, the group has experienced challenges at some sites, owing principally to wider sector difficulties in certain locations. To ensure the longevity and profitability of the group, the directors are continuing this strategic review. This includes plans for significant refurbishments at a number of the group's profitable sites, which will help redefine the brand and regain market share. The directors also plan to further consolidate the group’s portfolio and focus on the more profitable sites, with further sites earmarked for closure or exit. To this end, discussions are under way with the respective landlords regarding further lease exits and are well progressed. To further improve profitability, the directors have also implemented wide-ranging cost reduction initiatives.” Turnover was £20.4m for the 52 weeks to 29 December 2019, down 13% from 2018, primarily due to fewer sites being operated, as well as continued challenging trading conditions across the casual dining sector. Adjusted Ebitda for the 52 weeks to 29 December 2019 resulted in a loss of £0.1m (31 December 2018 – a loss of £0.8m) with results impacted by “rising labour and property costs, along with investment to support future growth”. 

Industry News:

Sponsored message – Heineken shares three top tips to maximise opportunity of UEFA Euro 2020: As the tournament’s official beer partner and number one beer associated with sport, Heineken is helping operators attract customers, increase dwell time and boost sales. 1. Create the perfect set-up. Position screens in well-lit, open spaces, utilise order and pay apps to speed up service and ensure staff are fully trained ahead of time. Consider offering food and drink deals such as “burger and drink” promotions to help extend trading periods and increase spend per head. 2. Enhance the atmosphere. Dress your venue with flags and team colours to set the mood and create a carnival atmosphere. 3. Drive visibility. Promote your winning offering well in advance via your website and social channels, as well as on A-boards outside. Scheduling two or more social posts in the lead-up to match days reminds consumers of your venue as a sports destination. To further support operators, Heineken has provided pubs with more than £2m worth of investment through its UEFA Euro 2020 support packages, including a free MatchPint account, visibility kits and dedicated footfall-driving social media advertising. If you have information you would like to feature in a sponsored message, email

108 companies running more than 1,000 sites being added to updated database of multi-site businesses, available exclusively to Premium subscribers at midday today: A total of 108 companies, operating 1,161 sites, have been added to the updated database of multi-site companies, which will be released at midday today (Friday, 28 May) – but only to Premium subscribers. They will not only receive the database as a PDF and an Excel spreadsheet, they will also be sent a 14,000-word report on the businesses added during May. The go-to database 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. In a new feature this year, there is a synopsis of what the business does and significant news associated with it. 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 regular single subscription rate of £395 plus VAT for operators and £495 plus VAT for suppliers remains the same. Premium subscribers are also to receive access to a second exclusive monthly database, The Propel Blue Book. This database will provide an insight into UK operator turnover and profitability over five years, profit conversion and directors’ earnings. It will be available on Friday, 4 June, at midday. 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 insights editor Mark Wingett. In this week’s Premium Opinion column, Mark Wingett looks at whether it is time to rip up the playbook and, if so, how easy it is to do. Subscribers will receive Premium Opinion on Friday (28 May) at 5pm. Email to sign up.
Propel Friday Wrap video series with Dan Davies, chairman of the Institute of Licensing and group chief executive officer of Rockpoint Leisure: Propel continues its new Friday Wrap video series on Friday (28 May) at 3pm. The new series, which is sponsored by innovative staffing solution provider Stint, sees Mark Stretton, former sector journalist and now head of sector PR firm Fleet Street Communications, and Propel’s insights editor Mark Wingett discussing this week’s key issues facing the UK’s hospitality sector, with a leading sector operator or expert. This week they are joined by Dan Davies, chairman of the Institute of Licensing and group chief executive officer of Rockpoint Leisure, to discuss what role hospitality can play in the recovery and regeneration of local communities, the lessons learned from the past 15 months and what the government must take on board about the importance of the hospitality industry.

BBPA – pubs set to lose out on £80m from pint sales over spring bank holiday: Pubs are set to lose out on £80m in revenue from pint sales over the spring back holiday weekend due to the ongoing coronavirus restrictions, the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has warned. The trade body said an estimated 42 million pints would be served over the spring bank holiday weekend – 21 million fewer pints than normal due to pubs only being able to operate table service-only and significantly reducing the number of customers they can host. It means pubs will see revenue from pint sales down 34% compared with a normal spring bank holiday weekend and the BBPA said removing all restrictions at pubs on 21 June is essential for the survival of the sector. At present, about 95% of the UK’s 47,000 pubs have reopened, but upwards of 2,000 pubs are still closed, unable to reopen under the current restrictions in place because they are too small to allow for social distancing or unable to offer table service-only. BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “As more and more people get their vaccine, and if reports continue to suggest the Indian variant is less prevalent than originally believed, all restrictions must be removed in pubs on 21 June as per the government’s own roadmap. Pubs only have a fighting chance of recovering from more than a year of lockdowns and restrictions if they can fully reopen as normal.”

#BeKindToHospitality campaign goes national: A campaign asking the public to be considerate and help restaurants, hotels and bars survive has gone national. The #BeKindToHospitality campaign was started by Radisson Red curator Graham Chalmers, in a bid to encourage members of the public to keep in mind that hospitality workers are faced by the same crippling anxieties and stresses as the customers they’re serving. The campaign asks guests to be kind, patient and understand staff members are doing their best, while following strict rules. The aim is to improve the experience of hospitality workers already working under very stressful conditions. There is widespread support for the campaign across the sector and, this week, the campaign spreads across the UK. Those putting their names to the cause include Sacha Lord, night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester and UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls. Chalmers said: “As the majority of the UK enjoys new-found freedom to varying degrees, please spare a thought for those of us still operating under crippling restrictions. For example, the sheer volume of no-shows at restaurants and bars across the UK is having a devastating impact on businesses – to the point some are wondering if they can continue to stay open. At Radisson Red Glasgow, we are lucky to have incredibly supportive owners but not all hospitality businesses are so fortunate or they are simply not in a position to weather the long storms.” Nicholls added: “The #BeKindToHospitality campaign serves as a wonderful reminder that our team members are just like any other person navigating this pandemic.”

Industry bodies urge sector to come together for Cask Ale Week: Industry bodies are calling for pubs, bars, pubcos and breweries for this year’s Cask Ale Week – 23 September to 3 October – to be part of their comeback strategy. Trade bodies UKHospitality, the British Beer & Pub Association, the Society of Independent Brewers and the Campaign for Real Ale have all voiced their support for the event to celebrate Britain’s “amazing pubs, breweries and beer”. Paul Nunny, Cask Marque director and instigator of Cask Ale Week, said: “It’s not enough for pubs to be the hot topic now as they reopen their doors. To survive, they – and breweries – need to stay right at the centre of the national conversation and right at the heart of their communities. Cask Ale Week has an important role to play in this endeavour.”

Company News:

Qoot Restaurant Group announces closure of By Chloe UK operations: Qoot Restaurant Group, which was among a group of investors that agreed to acquire plant-based concept By Chloe out of bankruptcy in March, has announced the closure of the UK operations of the brand. Qoot director of people and talent Marco Galer-Reick told Propel: “Due to the bankruptcy of the brand parent company in the US and subsequent loss of name rights, we have made the difficult decision to close the UK operations of By Chloe. Recent developments have meant a complete reorganisation of the UK business is necessary and that near-term focus is directed on re-establishing a new brand in the US that has a viable long-term future.” He added that some jobs had been secured for By Chloe staff within its other businesses. By Chloe’s parent company, BC Hospitality Group, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December, citing the impact of the pandemic. The company has for the past several years also been involved in a legal tangle with one of the concept’s co-founders, celebrity vegan chef Chloe Coscarelli, who left the company in 2016 and has fought to prevent the use of her name with the concept.

Entrepreneur takes Cumbria pub portfolio to ten as he aims to help ‘young, innovative and ambitious people enter the industry and make their mark’: Entrepreneur Joshua Church has bought two more pubs in Cumbria to take his portfolio in the county to ten as he aims to help “young, innovative and ambitious people to enter the industry and make their mark”. The 30-year-old Cambridge University student has just bought his ninth and tenth pubs in Cumbria with the purchase of The Highland Drove Inn, in Great Salkeld, Penrith, and The Cross Keys Inn, in Carleton Village – and he has not ruled out adding to his portfolio. Church’s family, who live in Cumbria, became property investors in the 1980s and added their first pub – The Cock & Bull, in Cockermouth – five years ago after identifying a gap in the market. Church, who also owns pubs in the Wirral, Liverpool and south Wales, told The Cumberland & West Moreland Herald: “Our model is simple. We find a pub that is discounted and then we find the person who is best able to run it. The person may not have a penny to their name but if they are the right person then we are delighted to make it happen for them. The tenant will go in at no cost or premium and then enjoy an initial rent-free period, normally three months, and the rent then steps up over time to a sustainable level that both sides are happy with. Our tenants typically sign a 15-year lease. Unlike many breweries and pubcos that insist on seeing the occupier’s turnover and profits, we go the opposite way, we make it very clear we do not want to know what our tenants make.”
Former Gordon Ramsay operations director to open debut pub: Simon King, former operations director of Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant group, is to open his debut pub. King has launched Igniting Hospitality, which will open The Victoria in the Surrey village of Oxshott. King has brought in Matt Larcombe, former head chef and general manager at Heston Blummenthal’s The Crown in Bray, as chef director to lead the kitchen of the High Street pub, which will open this summer. Larcombe has added a series of creative takes on simple dishes with mains to include brill, cooked with St Austell bay mussels, parsley and garlic accompanied by salt-baked baby potatoes; and free-range heritage pork chop, smoked hispi cabbage, mash potato with roast pork sauce. There will also be a charcoal grill that will be used to cook a range of meat and fish while drinks will feature wine and cocktails. As well as the open bar area, there will be three large spaces for dining. The pub will also have two private dining rooms, accommodate six or eight people round a large central table, and an outside area. Before joining Gordon Ramsay, King was general manager at The Modern – the two Michelin-starred restaurant in new York owned by Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group – and, prior to that, was operations manager at The Fat Duck Group, where he first met Larcombe.

Salon team to open fourth restaurant, in Somerset: The team behind Salon in London’s Brixton is to open its fourth restaurant, in Somerset. Nicholas Balfe, Mark Gurney and Matt Bushnell are launching Holm in the village of South Petherton in the autumn. Balfe grew up in the area and is moving back to oversee the restaurant while Gurney and Bushnell will stay in London to look after their other restaurants – Salon, Larry’s and Levan. Holm will take over the village’s old bank, which has also been turned into a co-working space. There will be an outside space with a grill and dining terrace, as well as a kitchen garden. Inside, the dining room will seat 30 people and the old vault is being transformed into a wine cellar, which will be packed with biodynamic wine. Dishes will include coal-roasted celeriac with garden brassicas and seaweed bernaise; and Somerset ex-dairy tartare with pickled mushrooms and cured egg yolk. Alongside the wine, there will be cider and perry from local producers along with cocktails and homemade soft drinks using herbs and botanicals picked from the garden. Balfe said: “I get to live every chef’s dream – working directly with farmers, growers and artisan makers, while bringing the energy and passion of our London restaurants to a new community.”
Tom Kerridge to open fish and chip restaurant in Harrods: Chef Tom Kerridge is to open a fish and chip restaurant in Harrods. Kerridge will launch Kerridge’s Fish & Chips in the grade II-listed Dining Hall on Friday, 11 June. The 24-cover restaurant will have a premium seafood menu with freshly caught turbot, lobster, rock oysters, Cornish squid and Dublin Bay prawns. They will all be available with chips, which will be triple cooked and can be topped with an option of Matson curry sauce, lobster thermidor, Morcambe Bay shrimps or caviar. Kerridge said: “I am proud to bring my take on the best seafood dishes to the most iconic department store in the world. I really believe British talent and produce are at the forefront of great cuisine and that is reflected in our team and the food we serve at Kerridge’s Fish & Chips in Harrods. The dishes champion the highest quality ingredients including incredible lobster, oysters and freshly caught fish from some of the best suppliers in Britain and beyond.”
Norwich restaurateur to launch two plant-based takeaway concepts in London: Daniel Farrow, owner of vegan bar and restaurant The Gatherers in Norwich, is to open two takeaway concepts – Garden Club and Italiano Vegano – in London in July. Both were intended to start as bricks and mortar sites but are launching in Nine Elms with a 3km delivery-only radius, due to the pandemic. Garden Club, which was originally destined as an indoor/outdoor garden bar and restaurant, will serve plant-based burgers, hot dogs, loaded fries and shakes. Italiano Vegano will offer plant-based authentic Italian cuisine. Farrow is often in Italy, thanks to his residence in Abruzzo, so has taken authentic recipes from his travels and made them his own. Farrow opened The Gatherers in July 2020. During the alfresco dining period, the large beer garden was refreshed and served an exclusive plant-based barbecue menu. Most recently, an indoor dining menu focused on sustainability and locality has launched.

Two Magpies to open fifth bakery cafe: Suffolk-based Two Magpies is to open its fifth bakery cafe, in the Norfolk village of Blakeney. The new site, which will open on Monday (31 May), is on the quay and housed in the historic St Nicholas Church rooms. The bakery cafe will be open daily, serving Allpress coffee, sourdough bread, cakes and a range of hand-laminated pastries, both sweet and savoury. There will also be a menu of breakfast and lunch options. The company has also launched a 2,000 square foot bakery unit in Halesworth to enable the team to increase production of its long-fermented sourdough bread and savoury pastries for the bakeries, cafes and wholesale customers. Cakes and patisserie will continue to be made with a dedicated pastry team at the bakery in Darsham. “We’ve spent the past year making plans on when and how we’ll continue to expand the bakery business, and this is the next stage,” said Steve Magnall, who co-owns the business with wife and founder Rebecca Bishop. “Our teams work incredibly hard but with demand for our product growing it’s hard when conditions get cramped so gaining a dedicated baking space made sense for everyone.” The funding for the openings has been helped by a loan from Lloyds Bank and grant support from the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership grant scheme.
Michelin-starred chef Sally Abé to open second of four new concepts at Conrad London St James: Michelin-starred chef Sally Abé is to open the second of four new concepts at Conrad Hotels & Resorts’ Conrad London St James property. Abé, who joined the hotel as consultant chef after leaving the Harwood Arms in Fulham, will launch The Pem on Thursday, 1 July. The restaurant name is inspired by suffragette Emily Wilding Davison, whose family used the pet name “Pem” for her, and celebrates generations of pioneering women leading from the front. Abé said she will be building on the foundations of historic British cuisine and celebrating flavours and ingredients that are familiar and much-loved but interpreting them in her own way. Dishes will include poached native lobster, shellfish cream, heritage tomatoes and sweet olive; and roasted John Dory with brassicas, lemon and sauce choron. Abé said: “I have the freedom to serve the food I’ve always wanted to cook. It’s me on a plate. I’m taking classic combinations and really making them my own. I want to bring a sense of familiarity and transfer those flavours to high-end restaurant dining.” The Pem will have a main dining room seating 70, and a separate private dining room for up to 24 guests. Last month, Abé launched the Blue Boar Pub at the property while July will also see the addition of the hotel’s first cocktail bar, The Hedgerow.
Flight Club to open new Leeds site next month: Flight Club, the darts concept owned by Red Engine, will open its new Leeds site next month. Located in South Parade in the city centre, the venue will house 13 oches and will have a total capacity of 400. The site will launch on Thursday, 24 June, and will be the third venue outside of London for the company. Chief executive Steve Moore said: “We are delighted to finally announce the upcoming opening of Flight Club Leeds as the next step in our quest to get as many people stepping up to the throw line as possible. Our venues have brought unexpected and ridiculous joy to three different UK cities so far and we are confident the vibrant energy in Leeds makes it the perfect next chapter in the Flight Club story.” Flight Club’s version of the traditional game involves a series of multiplayer games using unique patented dart tracking technology. The brand is set to open sites in Bristol, Dublin and Perth in Australia along with a third US site, in Las Vegas, with its licensed partner State of Play Hospitality.
Wireless Social launches football ‘Predictor’ game to extend customers’ dwell time at hospitality sites: A football ‘Predictor’ game has been launched with the intention of extending customers’ dwell time and spending in hospitality venues. Wi-Fi solutions provider Wireless Social has teamed up with Budweiser to offer the in-venue gamification programme across London sites, including Piano Works. Wireless Social’s data revealed there was a 110% increase in Wi-Fi log-ins among men aged 25 to 35 when England played Croatia in the World Cup semi-final in 2018, compared to the week prior, and, with footfall data recovering to 28% of 2019 levels in April, confidence is returning to the sector. Predictor allows guests to guess the outcome of specific football matches when they log in to a venue’s Wireless Social Wi-Fi network. If guests get the score correct, they can win drinks vouchers to claim at the bar, at a time of the venue’s choosing. Wireless Social chief executive and founder Julian Ross said: “We fully anticipate that this year’s summer of sport will be a big footfall driver, if not bigger than previous years, especially as England will play the Czech Republic on 22 June at Wembley, the day after social distancing restrictions are set to be removed.”
Wireless Social is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member

Truman’s reopens UK’s largest beer hall: East London-based brewer Truman’s has reopened Truman’s Social Club – the UK’s largest beer hall. The venue in Blackhorse Lane will launch its new kitchen in June, offering dishes through the day, including whole rotisserie chicken, burgers and Neapolitan pizzas. The site has room for more than 900 people, with social distancing, and a choice of up to 20 beers from Truman’s and guest breweries. Truman’s Social Club also has a line-up of events planned over the summer, including sports and film screenings in its new events space.
New Korean street food concept launches in London: A new Korean street food concept has opened in London. Bunsik, which has launched in Charing Cross Road offers corn dogs, cupbap (rice in a pot with toppings) and ddukbokki (fried rice cakes). There are six hotdog/corndog options – original, octo legs, potato, potato mozzarella, cheese and beef. For the cupbap, customers can choose between bulgogi, spicy pork, chicken mayo, and sweet and spicy chicken. Ddukbokki comes with toppings such as hotdog, chicken mandu, kimmari and a deep-fried egg. There is also a short range of sides, including kimbap (Korean sushi), dumplings along with kimmari – deep-fried seaweed spring rolls, reports Hot Dinners.
Former Zuma executive chef to lead kitchen at new Italian restaurant at revamped Knightsbridge hotel: Marco Calenzo, former executive chef at Japanese restaurant Zuma in London, is to lead the kitchen at the new flagship restaurant at the revamped The Carlton Tower Jumeirah in Knightsbridge. Al Mare will take guests on a journey through Italy and features a large bar and lounge area, theatre kitchen, private dining room and alfresco tables overlooking Cadogan Gardens. Dishes will be a light, modern take on Italian classics, alongside more innovative creations from Calenzo and his team. They will include Crudo di Branzino – marinated sea bass, confit datterino tomatoes and citrus vinaigrette – as well as traditional pasta specialities and seafood dishes. Drinks will feature cocktails and Italian spirits alongside wine and an extensive list of non-alcoholic options. The restaurant will open on Tuesday, 1 June, following the hotel’s 18-month-long transformation. The five-star property originally opened in 1961 as London’s first tower hotel and was celebrated for being the tallest in London at the time. 
High-end Italian restaurant and bar opens at Birmingham’s Mailbox: High-end Italian restaurant and bar Lucarelli has opened a site at the Mailbox in Birmingham. The restaurant opened in the premises formerly occupied by Red Peppers restaurant after agreeing a 15-year lease with landlord M7 Real Estate. Lucarelli is open for outdoor dining, with a 24-cover terrace and a 16-cover outdoor dining area. Once lockdown restrictions are fully lifted, the restaurant and terrace area will seat up to 150 guests. Legal advice on the new venture was provided by Thursfields Solicitors.
Coastal five-star Lancashire aparthotel secures £1.7m funding as it looks to capitalise on staycation boom: A five-star Lancashire aparthotel that has been providing NHS and key workers with accommodation through the pandemic has secured £1.7m funding. The capital from OakNorth Bank will help HY Hotel in Lytham St Annes with its plan to capitalise on the return of tourists to hotels. Launched in December 2019, the 35-bedroom HY Hotel was previously The Ashton Park Hotel, which closed in 2018. Rather than having rooms remain empty and unused, the team, led by co-founder Dan Yates, decided to provide heavily discounted rates on apartments to all NHS staff and key workers. Last summer, it opened to the general public with 100% residency during the peak holiday season and is now ready to benefit from the expected boost in staycations. Yates said: “The occupancy we saw during the summer months has only strengthened our determination to stay open and ensure we not only survive through this crisis but thrive through it.”
Gloucester Brewery to open new self-service bar and taproom as part of dockside expansion: Gloucester Brewery is to open a new self-service bar and taproom at Gloucester Docks as it expands its operations into a 2,500 square foot dockside warehouse. The business has leased Warehouse Four from the Canal and River Trust, as an addition to its existing site at Fox’s Kiln, which adjoins the new building. Plans have been drawn up to create a new self-service bar and taproom, large brewery shop and extra brewing space, which is expected to triple its current beer production to 1.5 million pints per year. Despite the pandemic, the brewery has enjoyed “18 months of strong growth” – as well as creating the Fox’s Kiln Distillery spirits line in 2020, with more than 5,000 bottles of gin sold and a new vodka range released in April 2021. Managing director Jared Brown told So Glos: “This new site will enable us not only to increase our brewing capacity but also create a fantastic new visitor attraction for the city.” The new taproom and shop are due to open this summer as part of the first phase of the brewery’s ambitious plans. A crowdfunding campaign will also be launched later this year to help fund the next stage of its development.
East London distillery closes crowdfunding target for global expansion after raising more than £920,000: Gin, vodka and whisky distillery East London Liquor Company (ELLC) has closed its campaign on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube after raising more than £920,000 to realise global expansion. ELLC was founded by ex-bartender Alex Wolpert in 2014 and successfully raised £1.5m with a similar campaign in 2018. The company was originally looking to raise £750,000 and was offering 2.8% equity in the business, giving a pre-money valuation of £26m. It has now closed the campaign with 811 investors pledging £921,686. The pitch stated: “Our ambition is big: to become a distillery that crosses the ‘craft’ divide by producing the best drinks we can, priced so they don’t break the bank and delivered to our friends from our east London home. To achieve that, we need to grow our off-trade channels further, both in the UK and abroad, expand our direct-to-consumer output, update our brand home to welcome more people through our on-site bar, restaurant, bottle shop and on distillery tours, and increase our whisky production to meet demand.” 
Hungarian restaurant concept Turul Project opens permanent site in north London: Hungarian restaurant concept Turul Project, which previously operated as a pop-up and series of supper clubs in 2018, has opened a permanent site in Turnpike Parade in Green Lanes, north London. Founded by István Ruska, the venue is split into several parts. The deli, cafe and wine bar are now open with the restaurant launching on 9 June, which will be led by 29-year-old head chef Levente Koppány from Budapest. Koppany will combine authentic Hungarian produce with skill and flair. Diners can expect goose liver, “Tokaji Aszù”, brioche, granny smith and cabbage; monkfish “Paprikas”, pasta, curd cheese and sour cream; and hare, bread dumpling “Vadas” style and carrots; and walnut dumpling, vanilla and caramel ice cream. The wine bar serves an array of Hungarian wine alongside bar snacks, charcuterie and cheese boards.
The Celtic Collection to operate new Cardiff hotel: The Celtic Collection, which operates a number of hotels, including Celtic Manor, is to open a hotel in Cardiff in autumn 2021. Operated on behalf of the Welsh Rugby Union, The Parkgate is located just a drop kick from Principality Stadium and will launch in time for the autumn clashes with New Zealand, South Africa, Fiji and Australia. Based in the former post office and county court properties in Westgate Street, the hotel will have 170 bedrooms and suites, a signature restaurant and bar, tea lounge and a rooftop spa overlooking the skyline of the Welsh capital. The Parkgate Hotel is a collaboration between the Welsh Rugby Union, property developer Rightacres and The Celtic Collection. Ian Edwards, chief executive of The Celtic Collection, said: “The Parkgate is going to be a fantastic, year-round addition to Cardiff’s hotel landscape and it will be an extra special place to be on the big match days that create such an amazing atmosphere in the city.”
Hill & Szrok partner and actress wife to launch wine bar in east London next month: Two of the team behind London-based butcher and cookshop Hill & Szrok are set to open a wine bar in east London. Hector’s is set to open in June in Ardleigh Road, De Beauvoir Town, and will be operated by former Hill & Szrok partner Jimmy Stephenson and his actress wife Anna Shaffer, who featured in a Harry Potter film; they will also be joined by Luca Mathiszig-Lee, owner of Hill & Szrok. From Tuesday through to Sunday, Hector’s will be a coffee shop by day serving Climpson’s espressos, pastries and bocadillos, according to Hot Dinners. While on Thursday to Saturday, the space becomes a wine bar with a small plates menu inspired by the husband and wife team’s European travels. Guest chefs will be invited for takeover weekends and events. Stephenson said: “[I’m] so excited to be bringing a slice of Europe to De Beauvoir. I want to create a spot I would want to buy my wine from but also a place I would feel able to pull up a chair and settle down for an evening. I hope people will feel at home here.”
Kew Green Hotels to introduce new F&B offer at Shepperton hotel as part of major refurbishment: Holiday Inn London Shepperton, managed by Kew Green Hotels, is undergoing a major refurbishment, including a new restaurant and bar and reimagined event space with a nod to the nearby film studios. In the Wings, which is the name of the new hotel restaurant, bar and terrace, will offer “creative dining experiences”, working with local suppliers within a 50-mile radius to reflect in-season produce. The new event space –Storyboard at Shepperton – will have a dedicated entrance. Taking centre stage, The Set, caters for up to 250 guests with the flexibility to divide into three rooms. A further two event studios, Green Room and Fourth Wall, will accommodate up to 12 and 16 guests respectively. There will also be a private outside terrace event area and an exclusive bar. Four new spa treatment rooms are being added while the leisure fitness club is also being updated. The revamped hotel is set to reopen in July.
Meadow Brown Restaurants secures contract to run Lincoln Cathedral Cafe: Independent, family-owned operator Meadow Brown Restaurants has secured the contract to run Lincoln Cathedral Cafe. The cafe, which is due to open this summer, will be located in the Old Deanery Visitor Centre, which has been at the heart of a £16m restoration project over the past five years. Meadow Brown operates several cafes and restaurants at locations including Nene Park in Peterborough and Nottingham Castle. Raj Regmi, managing director of Meadow Brown, said: “The historical building alongside the recent investment makes Lincoln Cathedral an attractive destination where, we believe, we can provide customers with a memorable experience when they visit. Our menu will feature popular local items cooked to order by our skilled team of chefs.” Lincoln Cathedral Cafe and Lincoln Cathedral Shop will be the first parts of the Old Deanery Visitor Centre to open, with further spaces and exhibits following later in the year.
Former Royals chef to operate F&B outlets at Cambridge Country Club: Chef Steven Saunders, who has cooked for the Royals and appeared on the BBC show Ready Steady Cook, has signed a lease deal to operate all the food and beverage outlets at the multimillion-pound leisure complex, Cambridge Country Club, in Cambridge. Saunders, who previously operated Sheene Mill in Cambridgeshire, owned and ran the Little Geranium restaurants in Spain. He has now returned to the UK to launch the award-winning Geranium brand at Cambridge Country Club. The redevelopment of the former Bourn Golf & Country Club complex will also feature a spa, gym, and conference and function rooms. 
Countrywide Hotels acquires Warwick property: Hospitality firm Countrywide Hotels has expanded its portfolio with the acquisition of a hotel in Warwick. The Hilton Warwick Hotel is now under new ownership as the M40 J15 Warwick Hotel. Following a rebrand, the 181-bedroom hotel will become the Delta Warwick Marriott Hotel later this year. Countrywide Hotels managing director Darren Patt said: “We are delighted with the acquisition of the M40 J15 Warwick Hotel, and the multimillion-pound investment that will go into the refurbishment, development and repositioning of the hotel to a Delta by Marriott hotel. The first stages of refurbishment will start in June with the reception, lobby, restaurant and bar, along with the first phase of bedrooms, ready for both leisure and business guests to use as the reopening of hospitality continues throughout the next two months.” All employees have been retained by the new owner.
Digbeth Dining Club agrees move to new space: Digbeth Dining Club will be a permanent fixture in Longbridge, Birmingham, after a deal was agreed for it to run a new community space in the town centre and operate all year round. Building on the pop-up Longbridge Dining Club events over six years, property developer St Modwen and Digbeth Dining Club have developed a partnership for a flexible events venue in the heart of Longbridge town centre. Digbeth Dining Club will operate Herbert’s Yard, a new events space with seating for up to 200 people. The new multi-purpose site will be built by St Modwen and will host Digbeth Dining Club-style events while offering indoor and outdoor space for a range of corporate and community uses. A cafe and deli will be open between 11am and 2pm daily, while a selection of independent food traders will operate from Thursday to Sunday. Work on Herbert’s Yard will start shortly with construction work due to last through the summer and the first events being opened to guests later this year.

Manorview reopens Giffnock hotel following multimillion-pound refurbishment with new family-friendly F&B offer: Scottish-based boutique hotel and leisure group Manorview has reopened its Redhurst Hotel in Giffnock following a multimillion-pound refurbishment, featuring a more family-friendly dining offer. The new-look hotel has 17 bedrooms, an all-day restaurant and bar with outdoor terrace, a private dining room, function rooms and a ballroom that can accommodate up to 250 people. The revamp has created an additional 30 jobs. As part of the revamp, the new Bird & Bell restaurant offers all-day dining as well as an extensive kids’ menu. The bar has an extensive drinks menu with hot, soft and alcoholic drinks and cocktails. Food has been available while the space has been fitted out with TV screens and a projector. Manorview founder Steve Graham said: “When we first bought the Redhurst back in 2013, we had a vision to completely transform the hotel – and that vision has become a reality.” Manorview, which was formed in 2007, comprises eight hotels, two nightclubs, two pubs, a fitness and leisure centre and a luxury spa. 

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