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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Mon 15th May 2023 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Ballie Ballerson strengthens leadership team as it readies for further growth: Ball-pit cocktail bar concept Ballie Ballerson has made a number of key appointments to its leadership team, including the appointment of ex-Hawthorn chief executive Mark Davies as its new chairman, as the business readies for further growth, Propel has learned. The business, which was founded in 2016, has brought in Davies – former chairman and chief executive of Hawthorn and founder, director and chief financial officer of NewRiver REIT plc – as its new non-executive chairman. The company has further strengthened its leadership team by appointing Robb Harris, formerly of Adventure Bar Group and The Upham Pub Company, as finance director and Travis Fish, co-founder of BabaBoom and ex-Nandos and Mitchells & Butlers senior operator, in a newly created role of group development director. At the same time, Propel has learned that the business, which said it continues to trade strongly, has secured a 7,000 square-foot venue in Cardiff’s Brewery Quarter, with the site scheduled to open in the third quarter of 2023. A further site opening is planned for the first half of 2024. The business, which is backed by Imbiba, currently operates venues in Edinburgh and its flagship 12,000 square-foot venue in the heart of London’s Shoreditch. Founder and chief executive Wenny Armstrong said: “Our mission is to host Britain’s best nights out by creating unique adult playgrounds with immaculate vibes. Ballie Ballerson is famous for ball pits and slides, but the core of what we do is deliver entertaining hospitality with our high-energy, world-champion flair bartenders, giving a festival-like feel. With our new leadership team onboard and our upcoming site openings, we can’t wait to bring the Ballie experience to these new cities.”

Industry News:

Latest Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage featuring 680 companies to be released on Friday: The latest Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage will be published for Premium subscribers on Friday (19 May). A total of 13 companies have been added to the database, which now features 680 companies. This month’s edition also includes 31 updated entries. The companies, listed in alphabetical order, will have their most recent results reported as well as broader information around Ebitda, plans and trading style available. The database merges Companies House information, interviews and other public information to provide an easy to reference and exhaustive guide to the sector. Premium subscribers also receive access to four other databases: the Propel Multi-Site Database, produced in association with Virgate; the New Openings Database; the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book; and the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £995 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £495 plus VAT for operators and £595 plus VAT for suppliers. Email to upgrade your subscription. Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before; regular video content and regular exclusive columns from Propel group editor Mark Wingett.

Hewitt among speakers at Propel Multi-Club Conference featuring all-female line-up of leaders: Debbie Hewitt, former chairwoman of The Restaurant Group, will be among the speakers at the second Propel Multi-Club Conference of 2023, which takes place on Thursday, 29 June, at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel in London’s Kensington. Hewitt, who talks about her career in business, was appointed chairwoman of the Football Association in June 2021 and is the first woman to hold the post. The all-day conference, which is organised in conjunction with Ann Elliott, will feature an all-female line-up of sector leaders on learning lessons from the pandemic and moving forward. Almost 400 people have already booked a place. Multi-site operators can book up to three free places each by emailing

Pesto CEO – interest rates increase ‘deeply concerning and misguided’: Pesto chief executive Neil Gatt has told the Bank of England (BoE) its decision to increase rates is “deeply concerning and misguided”. Gatt wrote to the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) following last week’s move to raise rates from 4.25% to 4.5%, their highest levels in almost 15 years. “Your decision to increase interest rates once again is deeply concerning and frankly misguided, in my opinion,” Gatt said in a letter to MPC committee members. “It is widely accepted that the principal drivers behind the current surge in inflation are food and energy price increases. The practice of increasing interest rates to deal with inflation is commonplace in the developed world, and the UK in particular, as we all know. The set of circumstances that are fuelling inflation at the moment are unique in modern times, yet the BoE is using the same blunt instrument to deal with the problem. The UK is and has been on the verge of recession for some time, the economy is not growing out of control, but energy and food prices are. People in this country need energy and they need to eat, these are not discretionary spends, they are essential. The BoE’s policy (according to the website) is to intentionally deter people from eating out, for example. As the owner of a restaurant business, this is deeply disturbing. My industry is already under huge pressure, we are experiencing significant food price increases and energy cost have tripled. The last thing we need is for people to eat out less.” He added: “I fail to understand how the BoE can pursue a policy that by its own admission will cause the economy to slow down. I am sure many businesses have put their prices up over recent months, my business has not. We have intentionally held our prices to ensure that we continue to offer our loyal customer base great value for money. In the face of tripling energy costs, many businesses have had little choice in order to avoid going out of business.”

Bereaved mothers tell health secretary to appoint allergy tsar: Two mothers whose teenage daughters died from severe allergic reactions have made a personal plea to the government to appoint an allergy tsar without delay. In an open letter to health secretary Steve Barclay, Tanya Ednan-Laperouse OBE and Emma Turay said there is now overwhelming support for the appointment of a national allergy lead, to act as a champion for the one in three people in the UK living with allergies. Natasha Ednan-Laperouse died aged 15 in 2016 following a severe allergic reaction to a baguette containing hidden sesame seeds. Shanté Turay-Thomas died aged 18 in 2018 from a severe reaction to hazelnut. Both deaths could have been prevented. Following a parliamentary petition organised by the two mothers and The Natasha Allergy Research Foundation, MPs will today (Monday, 15 May) debate the proposal to appointment an allergy tsar in Westminster Hall. “The UK is facing a growing allergy epidemic, yet for the last 20 years allergy has been a Cinderella service in the NHS and people with allergies have been forgotten about,” said the mothers in their letter to Barclay. “Appointing an allergy tsar who is responsible for joined up health care provision and making allergy services and treatments a priority within the NHS would lead to significant improvements in the lives of millions of people living with allergies in the UK and prevent avoidable deaths and ill health. Now is the time to act. Our daughters’ deaths from allergies were entirely preventable and we have come together for change so that our tragedies never happen again. An allergy tsar would be a significant step forward in preventing more families from having to go through the terrible loss that we have experienced.”

Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a small yet ambitious hospitality and leisure business that is growing in the UK and the US looking for a finance director. A COREcruitment spokesperson said: “You will work closely with the managing director as the company progresses its growth plans, both home and abroad. As it continues to open new sites across the UK, the team is growing and developing so this is as much a leadership role as it is a senior finance role. The position would suit a hands-on, motivated finance director who enjoys rolling their sleeves up and working very collaboratively.” The salary is up to £110,000 plus bonus and long-term incentive and the position is based in Greater Manchester. For more information, email 

Company News:

Punch reports current trading ‘relatively stable’, quarterly turnover of £158.1m with all three divisions delivering like-for-like growth: Punch Pubs & Co has reported current trading is “relatively stable”, with a “good” Coronation and bank holiday period, and is confident of a strong summer. It comes as the business saw revenue increase to £158.1m for the 28 weeks to 26 February 2023 compared with £142.6m the year before, with the conversion of pubs from leased and tenanted to its management partnerships estate contributing to the rise. Ebitda was £37.5m compared with £38.6m the previous year, which included the benefit of the temporary reduced rate in VAT and lower energy costs, with a combined impact of circa £3m over the 28-week period. All three divisions (leased and tenanted, management partnership and Laine) delivered like-for-like sales growth for the period when compared with the prior year, with the leased and tenanted division also delivering growth in like-for-like rental income. Underlying Ebitda for the 52 weeks to 26 February 2023 was £82.5m, which was up on the £76.0m the year to August 2019, the most recent financial year prior to the covid pandemic. In the 28-week period, it spent £16.7m on expansionary and maintenance capital, which included five investments in converting pubs from its leased and tenanted to management partnerships estate and acquiring a brewery to expand its beer production capacity at Laine. The company said having converted 71 pubs from leased and tenanted to management partnership since August 2021, the rate of pub conversions has slowed down “as we take time to select and build the next pipeline of pubs for transformational investment and conversion”. The business has spent circa £20m on the conversions so far and said it was looking at around another 55 in the next two years. It added: “The benefit of the Ebitda uplift from these recent conversions is still to be fully realised, and despite the significant increase in energy costs, we still expect to achieve a stabilised return on investment in excess of 20% on these investments.” Net proceeds from the sale of properties in the period was £2.0m (2022: £5.5m), at £0.3m above book value. There were no acquisitions in the period (2022: £4.3m). Property assets increased by £7.9m in the period to £903.4m (14 August 2022: £895.5m), with 93% of the portfolio owned on a freehold or long leasehold basis. The group generated a net cash inflow from operating activities for the period of £35.2m (2022: £23.7m). At 26 February 2023, the group had £47.7m of available liquidity (14 August 2022: £52.6m), represented by £12.7m of cash balances and £35.0m undrawn against the revolving credit facility. The business said it put up drink prices by between 15p and 20p, on average, in March, leaving the cost of a pint in one of its pubs at about £4.40. Punch features in the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book. Its turnover of £284,400,000 for the year ending 14 August 2022 is the 30th highest in the database. The Blue Book ranks companies by turnover, profit and profit conversion, listing directors’ earnings for the past five years. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £995 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £495 plus VAT for operators and £595 plus VAT for suppliers. Email to upgrade your subscription.

Parogon Group appoints Mark McQuater as chairman: Staffordshire pub operator Parogon Group has appointed Mark McQuater, the former chief executive of Revolution Bars Group and Barracuda, as its new non-executive chairman, Propel has learned. McQuater, who was the first managing of JD Wetherspoon, founded and then led Barracuda to a £262m sale and was also chief executive of Revolution Bars Group. He is currently chairman of Roxy Leisure and all-day dining cafe and bar concept Deckhouse. The ten-strong Parogon said McQuater joins at an exciting time for the business as plans are being implemented to refine its Willow concept and open further venues under this banner, in addition to growing its core estate. Richard Colclough, managing director at Parogon Group, told Propel: “I’m delighted to welcome Mark to Parogon, who will bring tremendous sector knowledge and experience of growing companies successfully. We have strategic goals to achieve as part of our business plan, and this appointment forms a significant part of that and will enhance our ability to double the size of the business in the next few years. Mark’s appointment is a clear sign of our intent and ambition. Mark will bring a new, complimentary dimension to our approach, which will be very beneficial when tackling the challenges of delivering brand roll out and supporting the scaling up of the business.” McQuater said: “There is now a point of inflection in Parogon’s journey as all the foundations are in place to accelerate growth and capitalise on the past success. I’m looking forward to working with Richard and the executive team to deliver sustainable growth during what I’m sure will prove to be a very exciting period of development.” Last month, Parogon said it was aiming to grow its Willow concept to ten sites over the next three years, with the second opening this year, followed by two more in 2024. Propel revealed last year that the business, which has previously operated all its sites under separate, distinct brands, would now focus on rolling out multi-site concepts. The first to open a second site will be its Orange Tree concept, after which the focus will switch to its Mediterranean inspired all-day dining brand Willow, following the success of its initial site at Trentham.

Nando’s set to roll out kitchen heat recycling scheme: Nando’s will roll out an initiative that uses waste heat generated from its kitchens to warm up water and buildings across its estate if trials across 14 of its sites are successful. The success of a year-long trial at Nando’s Didsbury restaurant in Manchester has seen the initiative rolled out to 14 of the brand’s other sites. Propel understands that the company plans to eventually roll this out to its circa 475-strong UK estate. The system, created by Lancashire energy firm Dext Heat Recovery, uses a heat exchange – a box on the roof which collects heat produced by cooking. Instead of releasing it into the atmosphere, the heat is filtered and recycled. Sam McCarthy, head of sustainability for Nando’s UK & Ireland, told Propel: “For over a decade, we have been finding innovative ways to hone the way we operate to reduce our impact on the environment. We first teamed up with Dext in 2009, working on a heat exchanger that doubled as an easy-to-clean splashback for behind our restaurants’ high temperature cooking appliances. We’re now working with them on a trial to take all of the heat out of our kitchens and to re-use it to keep our restaurants warm and our water systems hot. Recovering heat in this way is a no-brainer – it’s good for the environment, it saves energy and it all happens in the background – we don’t need our customers or colleagues to do anything differently.” McCarthy said Nando’s has been carbon neutral since November 2021 and reduced the carbon footprint of its meals by 40% since 2015, as it works towards a net zero target of 2030. Its ‘No Chuckin’ Our Chicken’ initiative, where each restaurant partners with a local charity, has donated more than three million meals over the last ten years, and it is extending the partnership to recruit people who benefit from the charities.

PizzaExpress and Mowgli listed among best employers in Britain: PizzaExpress and Mowgli have both been named in the Best Places to Work in the UK for 2023 list. The nationwide workplace survey, from The Sunday Times and powered by WorkL, honours Britain’s top employers and acknowledges the best workplaces for women, the LGBTQIA+ community, disabled employees, ethnic minorities, younger and older workers and wellbeing. PizzaExpress was named among the top ten best employers in the “very big organisation” category (2,000-plus employees), while Mowgli was named among the top ten best employers in the “big organisation” category (250-1,999 employees). Mowgli was also highly commended in the Best Places to Work for ethnic minority employees category. This year’s survey also found that some new workplace practices have emerged, including allowing employees to bring their pets into the office, while working a four-day week also proved popular.
Activist Coltrane seeks change at Wagamama owner TRG: A New York-based activist investor has called for change at Wagamama owner The Restaurant Group after taking a 3% stake. The Times writes that in an intervention which piles extra pressure on chief executive Andy Hornby, Coltrane Asset Management called on TRG to be “open to all strategic options”. Coltrane said it supported proposals by another activist investor, Oasis, which has built a 12% holding in TRG in recent months. The Hong Kong-based Oasis wants the London-listed hospitality chain to sell off its Brunning & Price pubs and airport concessions business. Coltrane said: “We have followed The Restaurant Group closely since 2016, with a lot of discussions with management along the way, and have been building our position since last year. We think there is significant value to be unlocked in the company, and that the board and management need to be open to all strategic options.” Founded by Mandeep Manku, who grew up in north west England, Coltrane is best known in Britain for pushing outsourcing firm Interserve into a pre-pack administration in 2019. A row is building ahead of next Tuesday’s annual meeting, with TRG facing an investor revolt over pay deals for Hornby and other executives. Oasis and another activist, Irenic, thought to own 2.5%, will vote against the deals. Proxy voting agencies Glass Lewis and ISS are recommending the same course of action to investors. Hornby received £792,000 last year, and on Friday was awarded 1.4 million shares (worth about £700,000) under a controversial scheme introduced during covid. The share price is 51p, up 50% this year but down 7% on a year ago. TRG’s largest investor with 19%, Columbia Threadneedle, last week endorsed the board. Its backing came as the company issued an unscheduled trading statement showing upbeat sales, with a 9% lift at Wagamama. TRG said: “We will continue to let our numbers do the talking.”
Laura Mills promoted to MD of The Ivy Collection: Laura Mills has been promoted from chief operating officer to managing director of The Ivy Collection, the Richard Caring-backed restaurant chain. Mills joined the now circa 40-strong Ivy Collection in 2017. From 2019 to the start of 2022, she was its operations director, before being promoted to chief operating officer last May. Before joining The Ivy Collection, she was operations director at Living Ventures. Last December, it was reported that Caring had sold a further 25% of his restaurant business, which includes Bill’s and the Ivy Collection, to Sheikh Hamad Bin-Jassim Bin-Jaber Al Thani, the former prime minister of Qatar, making them 50/50 partners. Thani, known as HBJ, first bought a quarter of the group, which also includes Caprice Holdings, for £200m in 2019, valuing the businesses at £800m, as part of a deal that gave him the option to become a joint owner.

Wagamama expands work to support prisoners into employment in hospitality upon release: Wagamama, The Restaurant Group-owned brand, has expanded its work to support prisoners who are looking for employment in hospitality upon release. The company has commitment to running six prison masterclasses each year in both female and male prisons. The latest masterclass, in partnership with the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), saw a team of Wagamama chefs visit HMP Swansea, where 15 inmates cooked some of the brand’s dishes. Since the launch of the scheme, Wagamama has been able to offer full-time employment to 15 individuals, one of whom has taken on an apprenticeship after their first month. All of those hired had faced homelessness and unemployment upon release. The visit forms part of the MoJ’s wider commitment to boost the number of inmates gaining jobs once out of the prison gates. A recent MoJ survey showed nine out of ten businesses that hire ex-offenders agree they are motivated, good attenders and trustworthy.

Middle Eastern restaurant group Nothing But Love confirms Meat The Fish opening in Chelsea: Middle Eastern restaurant group Nothing But Love, which made its UK debut late last year, has confirmed it will open a second site at the end of this month. Nothing But Love, which has already launched Mayha in London’s Marylebone, is bringing its Meat the Fish brand to Chelsea. As revealed by Propel in March, Meat The Fish will open in Cadogan Gardens. Established in 2011 as “a response to private client demand”, Meat the Fish began as a premium meat and fish home delivery service. As an extension of the brand, its first retail shop and restaurant opened to the public in 2014, in Beirut, and there are now three restaurants in the city. The lunch and dinner menu is split into the sections of “raw”, “salads”, “sandwiches”, “bowls”, “mains”, and “to share”. There is also a breakfast offer, while the drinks menu includes coffee, juice and cocktails. Founded 20 years ago, Nothing But Love, which originated in Lebanon, operates ten brands in the Middle East including Meat the Fish, Maryool, Skirt and The Backburner. Propel previously revealed Nothing But Love is also planning to open Maryool in Mayfair.

South coast operator acquires Worthing site for new pizza concept: South coast operator Alex Coombes has taken on the former Bayside Social site in Worthing to debut a new pizza concept. Former MasterChef champion Kenny Tutt’s fine dining spot on Worthing beach was recently forced to close due to rising costs and the impact of covid. Coombes has now taken on the site for his expanding Perch portfolio, and is set to launch Perch Pizza there next month. Following the success of a “pizza on the beach” theme at Perch’s Lancing venue, Coombes has developed a standalone pizza restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. “We can’t wait to enhance the already warm, family-friendly vibe and delectable food and drink selection at Worthing’s East Beach,” Coombes said. “A massive shoutout to Kenny for his invaluable support.” Founded in 2015, Perch first launched its Lancing venue before opening in Eastbourne’s Prince’s Park in 2020, and last year completed a full renovation of the Southern Pavilion building on Worthing Pier. Earlier this year, Coombes unveiled a scheme to offer aspiring restaurateurs the opportunity to run the restored restaurant on the pier before helping them find a permanent home in the West Sussex town.

Nutritics launches Knowledge Labs: Nutritics has launched a sustainability consultancy arm, Knowledge Labs from Nutritics, with Elbha Purcell promoted to the newly created role as its director. Knowledge Labs will provide hospitality and food service operators with expert advice and support across a range of topics central to their environmental, social and governance strategy, including food related sustainability, nutrition, employee wellbeing and compliance. Nutritics has also opened a new UK headquarters and client showcase hub, in London’s Liverpool Street. Stephen Nolan, chief executive at Nutritics, said: “Our mission is to continue to be a trusted partner to our customers by working collaboratively with them to develop food-related sustainability, compliance and wellbeing strategies. Knowledge Labs is an important part of that, providing operators with access to the same experts who have helped create our award-winning software solutions.”

Rishim Sachdeva to open permanent London restaurant for ‘mostly vegan’ concept this summer: Vegan chef Rishim Sachdeva will open a permanent London restaurant for his “mostly vegan” concept, Tendril, this summer. The site, at 5 Princes Street in Mayfair, is part of The Crown Estate’s London portfolio, where Sachdeva has hosted a successful pop-up restaurant since June 2022. It follows a successful £250,000 fundraise last year on crowdfunding platform Seedrs, as previously reported. Called Tendril (mostly) Vegan Kitchen & Bar, the restaurant will offer 42 covers, including eight for counter dining at the bar, plus the option of a 30-cover semi-private dining room to the rear. The menu is still in development, but guests can expect plant-first dishes such as summer squash, white polenta, basil puree and crispy samphire; and smoked peas, pickled wild garlic, mint tabbouleh and rye crumbs. The (mostly) vegan wine list will be sourced from European producers with a focus on low-intervention bottles, alongside a small cocktail list developed using some of the ingredients used in the Tendril kitchen. There are also plans to launch a merchandise and retail channel later in the year. Sachdeva, formerly of Chiltern Firehouse, The Fat Duck and The Dairy, said: “It’s no secret we’ve been searching for a permanent home for Tendril for some time now. We’ve received some fantastic feedback from our wonderful customers who’ve visited us time and again over the last nine months of the pop-up, and we’re especially touched by the immense trust and support of our investors who believed in us and supported us through our crowdfunding bid.”

Berry Bros & Rudd appoints two new board members: Wine and spirits merchants, Berry Bros & Rudd, has strengthened its board with two new appointments. Anne Pitcher brings a wealth of experience from her 20-year strong tenure working with Selfridges, most recently as chief executive for 11 years. Simon Hunt, meanwhile, has spent nearly 30 years in the drinks industry, including five years as chief executive of William Grant & Sons, and is currently chief executive of Catalyst Spirits. The board will work alongside a majority female-led senior leadership team including Lizzy Rudd as chair, Emma Fox as chief executive and recent arrival Emily Rae as chief financial officer. Rudd said: “These two new appointments embody the future direction of the business and support our ambition to be the best and most trusted fine wine and spirits merchant in the world. As we celebrate our 325th year in business this year, it is crucial that we continue to adapt and look to the future. We believe the complementary experience of both Anne and Simon will help us to innovate and grow successfully while creating a positive social and environmental impact for future generations to come.” It comes after Berry Bros & Rudd last month acquired a minority stake in The Cotswolds Distillery, a producer of “super-premium” spirits based in Stourton, Warwickshire.

Jam Jar Cinema to open second site with Blyth launch: Cinema company Jam Jar Cinema is to open its second site, in Blyth. The company, which operates a site in Whitley Bay, has been chosen to run the Blyth venue, which is part of the town’s Culture Hub and Market Place project. The venue will house a three-screen cinema, creative and developmental play offer, cafe and spaces for events such as live music, comedy, drama, dance and celebrations. Jam Jar Cinema founder Dan Ellis said: “We have operated our award-winning cinema in Whitley Bay for more than a decade and we’re pleased to be able to take the opportunity to bring our ethos to Blyth. We’ve seen the difference a full-time independent cinema can make to a town and this will be the next step on our journey. Blyth is exactly the kind of place we want to be and know people will love an affordable cinema at the heart of the community that is accessible to all.”

Hot Stone team opens modern Nepalese restaurant: The team behind Hot Stone, the steak and sushi bar in London’s Islington, has opened modern Nepalese restaurant The Gurkhas in Great Portland Street. The restaurant is the brainchild of Nepal-born Shrabaneswor Rai, who is also director and co-founder of Hot Stone, and from a Gurkha family, as previously reported. Nepal has more than 100 different castes and ethnicities, each with its own food history, and The Gurkhas offers a range of recipes that originate from different parts of the country. Head chef Joe Allen appeared on BBC’s My Million Pound Menu, attracting investment from restaurateur Jamie Barber to set up Kitycow, a three-month pop-up at Hush Mayfair with his then business partner. Allen, who has a Nepalese wife and has travelled extensively in the country, has created a menu divided into snacks, sharing dishes and large plates. The snacks include Dungri Bhatmas Sadeko (Nepali finger crisps with soybean, onion and tomato) and Aloo Nimki (spiced potato curry served with a pastry parcel), while among the large plates are chargrilled Monkfish Choila and Pork Chop with Sisnu (nettle), as well as Allen’s signature Makai ko Risotto – a corn-based risotto dish with butternut squash and churpi. In the coming months, The Gurkhas will introduce a six-course tasting menu for £75.

London’s first grab-and-go cevicheria confirms May opening for fourth site: London’s first grab-and-go cevicheria has confirmed its fourth site will open later this month. Crudo Cevicheria’s new restaurant, at 36 Monmouth Street, in Seven Dials, will open on Friday, 26 May. The 362 square-foot space, spanning two floors, will have seating for 22 diners and an upstairs bar, as previously reported. The concept opened its first site, in Fitzrovia, in 2019, followed by further restaurants in Old Street and Hackney. It will feature a more expansive menu than the other sites, with new additions exclusive to the site including Beef Empanadas with red peppers and red onion; and Scallop Aguachile topped with jalapeño, lime, coriander and tomatoes. A to-go lunch menu will feature the likes of Clásico Sea bass with leche de tigre, quinoa, avocado, sweet potato, cancha corn and plantain chips; and Nikkei Salmon, Ponzu leche de tigre, sushi rice, wakame, edamame, crispy onion and nori seaweed. In the evening, the menu will expand to include small plates, focused on a range of tiraditos and ceviches with cured, raw fish and Crudo’s signature marinade, and South American style cocktails. Maria Yanez and Carlos Socorro, who founded Crudo in 2019, said: “We are thrilled to bring our take on fresh ceviche to Seven Dials with this new site. The offering will blend our much-loved lunch bowl options and the evening menu at Mare Street to create a really well-rounded site.”

Parlour and Six Portland Road chef-owner opens third London site: Jesse Dunford Wood, chef-owner at gastropubs Parlour in Kensal Green and Six Portland Road in Holland Park, has opened a third London site. Harvest has launched at the former site of curry house Bawarchi, in Chamberlayne Road, Kensal Rise, as an all-day restaurant. There is an emphasis on contemporary vegetarian dishes, which complement British coastal fish and direct-from-farm meat, while the drinks offering is wine-led, with refined cocktails and a strong non-alcoholic offering. The restaurant has 35 covers inside and a secret heated covered garden in the back for 35, as well as a front terrace. Dunford Wood made a name for himself initially having trained with the likes of Rowley Leigh and Michael Caines before opening the National Dining Rooms with Oliver Peyton, and then relaunching The Mall Tavern prior to the arrival of Parlour in 2012.

Kudu Collective confirms June opening for South African tapas-style restaurant: South African restaurant operator Kudu Collective – owned by husband-and-wife duo, Amy Corbin and Patrick Williams – has confirmed a June opening for its new South African tapas-style restaurant. Little Kudo will take over the space that was home to the group’s cocktail bar, Smokey Kudu, which closed in April before heading to a new home in Chelsea’s Kings Road, as previously reported. Little Kudu will now open on Wednesday, 21 June, joining the group’s two other restaurants, Kudu and Kudu Grill.

Pepe’s Piri Piri plans Colchester site: Flame-grilled piri piri chicken brand Pepe’s Piri Piri is planning to open a new restaurant in Colchester, Essex. The company, which operates circa 160 outlets in the UK, Pakistan and the UAE, has applied to open an outlet in the former La Dolce Vita site, on the town’s St Botolphs Street. The proposal, submitted by applicant Mohamed Youssef, could create 20 new jobs, reports Essex Live. Opening times would be Monday to Sunday from 11am to 11.30pm. A decision on the opening is set to be made on 9 June.

Cookies & Cones closes two sites: Essex American-style dessert company Cookies & Cones has closed two of its sites. The company, which opened its first store in Leigh-on-Sea in 2018, rapidly grew to ten locations but has now closed its sites in Eastgate Shopping Centre, Basildon, and Berrys Arcade, Rayleigh. It now has eight locations, according to its website. including one in the Wood Green Primark store, following a deal struck with the clothing retailer last year. Cookies & Cones, which was awarded the Best Takeaway in the South East award at the Just Eat Restaurant Awards in February, revealed plans that same month to move into wholesale following the opening of £250,000 production facility, in Leigh-on-Sea.

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