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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Fri 22nd Oct 2021 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Alastair Scott – industry needs to resolve tips ‘puzzle’ to help staff properly understand their pay: Malvern Inns founder Alastair Scott is considering absorbing service charges into menu prices so staff can more easily work out their take-home pay. Scott, whose Malvern Inns portfolio includes The George at Bakewell, The Square & Compass in North Rigton and The Castle Inn at Spofforth, fears team members have left as they haven’t properly understood their earnings. With staff shortages leading to higher wages across the industry, Scott feels the tips “puzzle” needs resolving before pay packets are bumped up. “I am really puzzled by the challenge we seem to face in tips,” said Scott, writing exclusively in Propel’s Friday Opinion. “I don’t think our staff actually understand what they earn when they add base pay and tips together, and we have lost staff who think they are being paid more in other jobs when the opposite is true. We are seriously thinking about whether we can morph our service charge into price and remove tips from the equation, but it is another big step that may then prove to be wrong. Pay matters, and we need to help people understand the pay they already receive before piling more on the top.” Scott, a former Mitchells & Butlers operations director who also founded Catton Hospitality, also fears the innovations companies were showing during lockdown have been replaced by “firefighting” to just survive. “I think we had all hoped that life would return to normal post-pandemic, but it feels like the repercussions of the coronavirus are set to last far longer than the virus itself,” he added. “The lockdowns gave us the head space to plan and give real thought as to how we can improve our people, training and innovate our business. But all of this has now been completely overtaken by a cocktail of challenges, and the result is that firefighting has taken over and we are not spending enough time on innovation and growth.” Scott will share more of his thoughts in this week’s Friday Opinion, which will be published on Friday (22 October) at 11am.

Industry News:

67 multi-site companies set to join updated Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies: At least 67 new multi-site companies, operating 493 sites, have been added to the next edition of the Propel Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies, which will be released on Friday, 29 October, at midday. The updated Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, will feature a number of multi-site pub operators, including Wear Inns, which was founded in 2006 and has a portfolio of 25 pubs across the north east and Yorkshire; and Tiere Group, which is looking to build a ten-strong estate. The business recently acquired its second site with Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars, in Shirley, with a reopening planned for December. Also added this month is Advocate Group, which has recently secured The Country Park Inn, in Hessle, to its 30-strong estate. In addition, north west-based operators Jamie Whittaker and Kelly Vickers, who have taken on their second Star Pubs & Bars site, are planning to establish a portfolio of five “top quality family-friendly pubs” in the region in the next three years. Premium subscribers will also receive a 5,200-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 features more than 2,000 companies. Alongside this, Premium subscribers will also receive the fourth edition of the New Openings Database, which is produced in association with StarStock, on Wednesday, 3 November, at midday. It focuses on newly announced openings and upcoming launches in the sector and is updated every month. The fourth edition will include a 11,000-word report on the new additions to the database. Premium subscribers also receive access to another database – 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. 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 plus regular video content and regular exclusive columns from Propel insights editor Mark Wingett. In this week’s Premium Opinion, which will be sent to subscribers on Friday (22 October) at 5pm, he looks at how the sector is meeting the sustainability challenges and if, as the industry comes under increasing cost pressures, values are jettisoned for value. He also looks at possible new investment for Brasserie Bar Co. Meanwhile, John Barnes, non-executive director of Rockfish, writes about some of the findings from his new book Altering Course, which chronicles some amazing stories that came out of the crisis. 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. To subscribe, email
Propel Friday Wrap video series continues with Mowgli founder Nisha Katona: Propel continues its Friday Wrap video series on Friday (22 October) at 3pm. The 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 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 Nisha Katona, founder of Indian street food concept Mowgli, to discuss the brand’s imminent debut in London, the role her TV work plays, keeping the ethos of the business intact as it grows, what happens if it comes to seeking new investment, and her hopes and fears for the sector over the coming 12 months.
Paul Chase – covid passports for nightclubs but not bars make no sense: Industry commentator Paul Chase has questioned the logic behind demanding covid passports in nightclubs but not bars. While England has so far resisted covid passes, they have already been introduced in Scotland and Wales for nightclubs and large-scale events. But Chase has cast doubt on the usefulness of such passes and feels nightclubs are being unfairly targeted. “Why pick on nightclubs, and what useful purpose will be served if the government does so?” asked Chase, writing exclusively in Propel’s Friday Opinion. “I think this is more about nudging young people to get the jab than it is about the risk of nightclubs being vectors of transmission. The requirement to prove your vaccination status to gain entry to a nightclub, but not a city centre bar that doesn’t have a dedicated dance floor, simply ensures any transmission risk that might emanate from the unvaccinated will be displaced from clubs to bars.” Chase also blasted the government for waving through an extension to emergency coronavirus legislation without a Commons debate. “We have witnessed the appalling murder of Sir David Amess MP, and politicians across the political spectrum rightly condemning this as an attack on democracy,” he added. “But then, last Tuesday, the UK parliament had the opportunity to vote on whether or not to renew emergency coronavirus legislation for a further six months. The deputy speaker laughingly waved through the renewal, saying there was no appetite in the House for a vote. Apparently, no one in parliament sees the bitter irony of self-righteously denouncing an attack on democracy from outside parliament, and then declining the need for a democratic vote in parliament on the renewal of some of the most draconian powers that this country has ever seen in peacetime.” 
Mark Hix – hospitality industry cannot sustain a ‘high wage and high skill’ economy: Chef and restaurateur Mark Hix has questioned the government’s stance over staff shortages in the hospitality industry, saying higher costs for customers are an inevitable consequence. Downing Street seems determined not to relax immigration laws to ease the labour shortages, despite one in six hospitality jobs currently being vacant. Ministers have ruled out extra visas for bar and restaurant workers, saying operators should increase wages to attract staff instead. “And then there is the continuing shortage of staff in hospitality,” wrote Hix in The Telegraph. “I am not exactly comforted to hear government ministers saying this is a pain we have to bear for a while as the economy readjusts. After all my industry has been through in the past 18 months, something more proactive from our leaders would be more welcome. All this talk of a high-wage, high-skill economy seems to beg the question of how I can make a profit without passing on higher staff costs to customers and risking driving them away.” Hix also revealed the effect the recent petrol crisis had on one site in particular, The Fox in rural Dorset – his debut pub which opened last December. He said: “Things were very slow there for a few days, with people nervous of wasting precious petrol in their tanks to drive several miles for a drink or dinner when they had more urgent uses for it, such as getting to work the next day.” The Fox was one of several new openings for Hix since his Hix Restaurants business, which he launched in 2007 after leaving his chef director role with Caprice Holdings, went into administration in April 2020. He has also since opened The Oyster & Fish House in Lyme Regis, at the site of one of his former restaurants, and the Hix Oyster & Fish Truck in Morcombelake.
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a luxury, modern lifestyle, leisure and hospitality business as it looks to launch in the UK and further afield in Europe. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “We are ideally looking for individuals with fine dining, high volume venue, lifestyle or members’ club-style experience at managing director level. The role would also suit a hands-on, creative and ambitious personality who would like to be a part of the company’s international expansion. They will have the opportunity to shape the product offering; work collaboratively with the brand, marketing and programming team; and work in partnership with the finance team to drive financial growth before planning new developments. A salary between £100,000 and £150,000 will be considered.” Anyone interested can email

Company News:

7Bone Burger Co lines up four new openings: 7Bone Burger Co, which is backed by Kings Park Capital, has lined up four new openings, including its first London-based site, Propel has learned. The Matt Mollicone-led business is currently on site at the former Café Rouge in Maidstone, with a target to open at the back end of next month. It has also started work on the ex-PizzaExpress in Clarence Road, Staines, with an opening scheduled for early next year. Propel also understands the 11-strong business is set to open a site at the Charter Quay scheme in Kingston, next year, which would be its first move into the capital. It is also set to take a site in Station Road, Solihull, for an opening next year, and is thought to be close to securing further sites for its 2022 openings pipeline. Earlier this year the business opened in Coventry and more recently at the ex-Byron site in Canterbury. Mollicone told Propel this summer: “Where we’ve seen rental markets soften (and stayed militant around rent levels in our model, it’s enabled us to maintain a rent to revenue ratio of under 5%), we’ve been able to pick up sites in target towns where previously we wouldn’t have been able to afford to. Trade through the pandemic has been solid and given real confidence to the next phase of growth, as we’ve been able to maintain sales, on average, of more than 60% of pre-covid levels while solely operating as takeaway/delivery, which has meant the business has remained profitable throughout.” 7Bone opened its first restaurant in Southampton in 2013 with Kings Park Capital taking an equity stake in the business in August 2016. 7Bone’s other sites are in Bournemouth, Camberley, Eastbourne, Hove, Newbury, Northampton, Portsmouth and Reading.
Dundee-based group Macmerry 300 secures debut London site: Dundee-based group Macmerry 300, which operates a number of concepts in Scotland, has secured a debut London site for its Abandon Ship Bar brand, Propel has learned. Macmerry 300, which is led by Phil Donaldson, a former professional footballer with Dundee FC, has secured the former Pix Bar site in Neal Street, Covent Garden. The business opened the second site under the Abandon Ship brand, which launched in Dundee, in Glasgow’s Mitchell Street this summer. The company plans to open up to ten sites under the concept, which takes inspiration from a clothing brand set up more than a decade ago, across the UK over the next ten years. It is understood to be looking at openings in Leeds, Manchester, Brighton and Edinburgh. Pre-pandemic the business had looked at launching a site in Camden. The company said: “Almost 18 months after covid stopped our first toe dip into London it is great to finally be moving ahead in the city. Covent Garden, however, will be a more stripped-down version of what we do. Good drinks and good vibes.” The Macmerry 300 group also includes Dundee venues Fly South, Bird & Bear, Draffens, The King of Islington, Still not Dead and pasta bar Frank. It recently launched another nightspot in the city – the 120-cover Nola. It has also made inroads into Glasgow over the past year, opening Mexican eatery The Luchador, cocktail lounge Mr Lincoln and bar/restaurant The Bull. CDG Leisure acted for landlord Pearl & Coutts on the Neal Street deal. 
Steak and lobster restaurant concept Bourgee set for Lakeside: Steak and lobster restaurant concept Bourgee is to return to the expansion trail with a further opening in Essex. Propel understands Bourgee has secured the former Cafe Rouge at Lakeside for a new site. Bourgee, which was founded in Essex in 2014, was forced to close three of its locations – in Southend, Chelmsford and Bury St Edmunds – after going into administration in 2018. On announcing the closure of the sites, co-founders James Welling and Mark Baumann said the company was able to retain its Luxe Lounge in Southend airport and would soon open new venues. Bourgee also operates a site in Chelmsford’s High Chelmer restaurant quarter. Jake Bernstone, of Stonebrook London, acted on the Lakeside deal. 
Nusa Kitchen looking to the future after undergoing CVA: Nusa Kitchen, the south east Asian takeaway concept, has reopened the majority of its six-strong, central London-based estate after undergoing a company voluntary arrangement (CVA), Propel has learned. The Hubert Zanier-led business has managed to hold on to all of its sites and its central production unit. It is thought the CVA allowed the business to overcome its rent arrears and to move to a turnover-based rent. It has reopened five of its six sites, with its site in Queen Victoria Street set to reopen in the next few weeks. The business currently also has sites open in Moorgate, Plough Place, Old Street, Adams Court and Cannon Street. 
Fledgling north east coffee shop targets up to ten outlets following six-figure funding deal: The company behind a new Stokesley coffee shop is targeting up to ten more north east locations inside the next three years, supported by six-figure funding. The first Milk & Grind has been launched after an investment in the region of £200,000 by Future Investments to convert a former High Street bookmaker's shop. Its cakes, bread and savoury snacks are prepared at the Village Bakery in Billingham. Plans are well-advanced for a second coffee shop in Yarm. Middlesbrough is also high on the list of target locations as are two towns in Northumberland. Future Investments was advised by Richard Wilson, a senior associate with commercial property company Dodds Brown. He said: “If Stokesley's anything to go, Milk & Grind has found a winning formula: from the distinctive look, the friendliness of the staff and – of course – the quality of the coffee.”
Restaurant meal kit platform Plateaway launches £500,000 fundraise to expand operations: Restaurant meal kit platform Plateaway, which works with 70 restaurant brands, has launched a £500,000 fundraise on crowdfunding platform Seedrs to expand its operations. The company, founded by Harry and Lewis Slagel, is offering 11.11% equity for the investment, giving a pre-money valuation of £4m. Since being founded last year the business has achieved £700,000 of sales, sold 22,500 meal kits and has in excess of 14,000 customers. The pitch states: “Our meal kits are specially curated, hand-picked ingredients from some of the best restaurants including our exclusive partners Shake Shack, Hard Rock Cafe and Homeslice. We bring the restaurant dining experience to your home. With the UK meal kit industry estimated to be worth £1bn a year, and 89% of customers wanting their favourite restaurant brands to continue delivering after restrictions end, Plateaway is in a great position to capitalise and become the market leader in this new and exciting space. Plateaway charges a 10% to 25% commission to our restaurant partners. Commission rates are dependent on a restaurant tier. We have three tiers – gold, silver and bronze. These are mainly based on exclusivity to Plateaway. We plan to evolve these tiers and offer different services, perks and incentives to our partners in the future. The main focus of this round of investment will go towards growing our team, evolving our platform and implementing a very exciting marketing strategy to let everyone in the UK know about Plateaway.”
London-based pizza restaurant Crust Bros to open third site: London-based pizza restaurant Crust Bros will open its third site, in Hildreth Street in Balham, early next year. Managing director Joe Moore opened Crust Bros’ first bricks-and-mortar site in Waterloo in 2017, followed by the second at Sambrook’s Brewery Tap in Wandsworth in July of this year. The new 35-cover restaurant will also feature a 16-seater heated outdoor terrace. Moore said: “Balham is somewhere we’ve wanted to come to for ages. Hildreth Street feels like a real hidden gem, right in the centre of vibrant Balham. We love the community vibe here and we can’t wait to open!” 
Angelina team to launch deep fried skewers restaurant concept: Joshua Owens-Baigler and Amar Takhar, who are behind Japanese-Italian restaurant Angelina in Dalston, are launching a concept focused on deep fried skewers. Dai Chi will open in Soho following the conversion of the D'Arblay Street space the pair previously operated as Golden Gai, which is being transformed ahead of reopening in mid-November. Dai Chi will offer panko-breadcrumbed deep-fried skewers of meat, fish and vegetables. They include scallop, bergamot ponzu and Exmouth caviar; and lamb neck with ginger, rosemary and soy, finished with harissa and mustard garnish. The skewers will be accompanied by an international wine and sake list, created by the team’s sake and wine sommelier Haruka Hisata. Guests can be seated in the 28-cover restaurant or at the six-seater counter. Dai Chi will also offer a private dining room seating 12.
London restaurant forced to close after owner refused visa extension: Contemporary Australian restaurant Wander, in Stoke Newington, has been forced to close again after owner Alexis Noble was denied a visa extension. Noble, who is originally from Australia, has been told to leave the country, and her restaurant will remain closed while she appeals the decision. Wander had only reopened in July following its closure during the pandemic. Noble is using the time while closed to produce a cookbook based on the Wander At Home meal kits her restaurant produced during the lockdown, and is currently trying to raise £5,000 through pre-orders on Crowdfunder. “I will use the money raised for that to pay my staff and Wander’s fixed costs in the time that we are unable to welcome guests,” Noble wrote on Instagram. “It is extremely heart-breaking to be forced to close again after all the months of forced closures due to covid, but rather than give up, we are going to try to use this time to create something. I’m hoping Wander will only have to be closed for not too much longer than a month (which may be slightly naïve). Wander at Home was always about adapting, pivoting and surviving.”
Manchester pub let to Stonegate sold for £1.25m: Property company Amsprop has acquired the freehold investment of the Turning Tap pub in Manchester, for £1.25m. The property is let to Stonegate Pub Company. The price reflected a net initial yield of 5.45%. The site in Oxford Street is arranged over ground, basement, first and second floors totalling circa 6,500 square feet. Coffer Corporate acted on behalf of the vendor, a private client. AG&G acted on behalf of the purchaser.
PizzaExpress opens restaurant at McArthurGlen's Designer Outlet West Midlands: PizzaExpress has opened a new restaurant at the McArthurGlen's Designer Outlet West Midlands at Cannock. The 130-seat restaurant, which also has an outdoor dining area, joins existing restaurants at the shopping centre including better burger brand Five Guys and The Restaurant Group-owned Wagamama. Centre manager Mike Thomas said: “We are thrilled to have PizzaExpress join us and know just how much our guests will love this addition to our growing mix of restaurant brands.” The Cannock opening is part of a three-year programme by PizzaExpress to open 50 new restaurants. Earlier this month David Campbell stepped down as group chief executive for personal reasons.
New East London pizza restaurant to launch next month: Sleazy Pizza, a new “back to basics” pizza restaurant opening in Dray Walk, just off Brick Lane, will launch on Friday, 12 November. Founder Luca Pilato said: “During the last lockdown an opportunity arose to open a pizza shop at Truman Brewery, and given my Italian heritage I couldn't say no. My father Piero ran an Italian restaurant as I was growing up, so I've grown up in Sicilian kitchens with fresh ingredients I understood the importance of quality food but we didn't just want a traditional pizzeria like most others. After looking around for what else is on offer we found a lot of brands lack any identity, and we wanted an exciting and memorable pizza place that can have a bit fun with itself.”
MasterChef finalist opens central London restaurant: Sven-Hanson Britt, a finalist in MasterChef: The Professionals, has opened a restaurant and bar in central London. Britt has launched farm-to-table concept Oxeye at Embassy Gardens. The venue combines a fine-dining restaurant, bar, shop, private dining room and gallery that showcases artwork from up-and-coming London artists. The fine-dining restaurant at Oxeye hosts six sittings – three lunches and three dinners – a week, serving a full tasting menu created by Britt and his partner Kae Shibata and their team of chefs. Adjacent to Oxeye sits Bar Rex, an informal bar and shop space. At the top of the building is Oxeye’s private event space and art gallery, complete with outdoor terrace area. Mains include Hen of the Woods mushrooms glazed in jus gras with wild onion; and braised wild Cornish turbot, sea kale and “sauce Tillington”. Bar Rex operates as a wine bar and shop, with sharing plates. The bar features an extensive selection of more than 300 British wines chosen by Britt to complement dishes on offer. Britt was a finalist in MasterChef: The Professionals in 2014.
New wine bar and restaurant at luxury Thameside hotel to open next month: A opening date of Monday, 1 November has been announced for Hithe + Seek, the wine bar at the new five-star Westin London City hotel. The bar is one of two eating and drinking spots at the new 222-bedroom luxury hotel, based on the north bank’s Queenhithe. The other is the Mosaic restaurant, which will offer a global menu based around sustainable and healthier eating choices. Overseeing both will be executive chef Jorge Colazo, who has been brought over from Aquavit in St James, where he was head chef. In charge of the wine list is sommelier Erin Summers, formerly of The Westbury in Mayfair, who is also planning a wine club and tasting events. The WestIn London City is the first in the UK for Marriott International’s Westin brand. It boasts more than 220 hotels and resorts around the world, mainly based in North America.
Dalata secures Liverpool hotel scheme on 35-year lease following £37.5m investment, 2023 opening planned: Irish hotel group Dalata is planning to open a new four-star venue in Liverpool’s One Park Lane following a multimillion-pound cash injection from Aviva Investors and Valorem Investment Partners. The new partnership has thrashed out a development funding agreement and given the green light to the project, which will begin construction in early 2022 with a planned opening date of autumn 2023. The 260-bedroom scheme has been pre-let to Dalata on a 35-year lease, with inflation linked rent uplifts through the term. It will trade as a Dalata Maldron hotel, the group’s luxury lifestyle brand. Aviva, advised by Kimmre, is forward funding the £37.5m development on behalf of the Aviva Linked Property Fund. Valorem, meanwhile, was advised by BNP Paribas Real Estate. Martin Claisse, head of development at Valorem, said: “This will be the most significant addition to the hotel offer in Liverpool in recent years. To be bringing this site forward so shortly after such a difficult period with covid is a testament to our team.” John Osborn, fund manager of Aviva Investors, added: “The attractiveness of this investment is underpinned by the strength of the city centre location and the long-indexed income stream.” Last month Dalata announced it was planning 11 new UK hotels as it looked to expand its estate of 45 hotel across Britain and Ireland.
Taco Bell set to launch first West Midlands site in former Burger King unit: Mexican restaurant brand Taco Bell is set to open its first restaurant in the West Midlands. The business, which has taken over the former Burger King unit in the Parade in Sutton Coldfield, is currently awaiting the result of a licensing application submitted to Birmingham City Council. It has applied to sell alcohol between 10am and midnight throughout the week, and “late-night refreshments” between 11pm and 4am daily. A decision and an opening date will follow soon after. The Burger King outlet closed in 2017. Taco Bell currently operates 67 sites across the UK, with its most recent opening in Hounslow earlier this month through franchisee Adil Group.
Tim Hortons opens at former Pizza Hut site in Wolverhampton, plans ‘lots more’ in region: Canadian quick service restaurant brand Tim Hortons has opened its latest branch, in Wolverhampton, and is planning more openings in the region. Based at a former Pizza Hut site in Bentley Bridge, Wednesfield, it is the first Tim Hortons in the Black Country and its first drive-thru in the West Midlands. It is one of a trio of former Pizza Hut sites that SK Group, which is leading the rollout of Tim Hortons in the UK, took on over the summer. The others are at Lakeside in Essex and Boldon in Tyne & Wear. Kevin Hydes, chief commercial officer of the Tim Hortons franchise in the UK, told Black Country Live: “We are planning to open a lot more sites in this region.”Tim Horton is also set to make its Northamptonshire debut and open a new site in Ipswich as part of its wider plan to bring a restaurant to every major UK town and city by 2022.

Mildreds team announces November opening for new restaurant in Borough Market: Vegetarian restaurant group Mildreds will open its new plant-based concept, Mallow, in Borough Market on Monday, 8 November. The restaurant will sit across two floors, with the ground floor featuring a roots room and open kitchen, while the first floor will house a dining room and bar. Claiming to be the first fully plant-based restaurant operating in the market’s 265-year history, Mallow is aiming to produce minimal waste and source its ingredients from small, sustainable businesses, including those in the market. Development chef Sarah Wasserman has 26 years’ experience developing plant-based food and has been an instrumental part of the team at Mildreds, having also co-authored both the group’s cookbooks. Managing director Sam Anstey said: “After first coming up with the new concept, we have been working hard to create a unique offering for the Borough Market location. Working with the local community and suppliers has been a big focus for us, which we hope to expand month on month. We hope Mallow will showcase the joys of plant-based cooking and become a much-loved destination within the iconic Borough Market food scene.” Earlier this month Propel revealed Mildreds is also planning a Covent Garden opening, at the former Steak & Co site in St Martin’s Lane, in February next year. Having opened its original site in Soho in 1988, the group also runs restaurants in Dalston, Camden and King’s Cross.

Japanese robatayaki restaurant Yatay to make debut in Chinatown next month: Japanese robatayaki grill restaurant Yatay will open its debut site in London’s Wardour Street next month. The Chinatown London location – which launches on Monday, 15 November – will span 3,900 square foot across three levels. The ground floor, which will seat 35, will be centred around Yatay’s charcoal-powered robatayaki grill, offering street food inspired Japanese dishes, including more than 20 different preparations of chicken yakitori, and sharing cocktails. The first floor will seat up to 50 guests in a more traditional dining setting, dubbed the “Izakaya Sake Shop”. Customers will be offered a range of sharing plates, including Japanese delicacies from a traditional robata charcoal grill. The menu will include fried gyoza, tempura vegetables, Asian salads, pickles, and more, to be paired with sake or Japanese sangria. Later this year Yatay will launch a late-night underground bar, Zoku, beneath the restaurant. Andy Cook, co-founder and head of culinary at Yatay, said: “Inspired by the streets and the underground culture of Japan, we are delighted to be bringing this offering to London for the first time.” Camilla Topham and Disrtkt represented Chinatown London. DCL acted for Yatay.

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