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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Tue 16th May 2023 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Exclusive – Jeremy King joins Jamie Oliver Group as a non-exec director: Jeremy King, co-founder of Corbin & King and arguably the best-known figure in London’s upmarket dining scene, has joined the Jamie Oliver Group as a non-executive director, Propel has learned. It is thought that King, who opened some of the most iconic and successful restaurants in London such as The Wolseley and The Delaunay, joined the Jamie Oliver Group earlier this spring. Propel understands he is a non-executive member of the company’s main board and has a wide range of duties, including, but not specifically, helping oversee its restaurants division. He left Corbin & King last April after Minor International acquired 100% of the business when it was placed into administration, having held a 74% share since 2017. The acquisition saw King leave the business, which changed its name to The Wolseley Hospitality Group last summer. King joins the Jamie Oliver Group as the business gears up to return to London’s restaurant scene, with the opening of a new “landmark” site later this year, in Covent Garden. Oliver, who currently operates more than 70 restaurants across 23 countries, closed his UK restaurant business, which included the Jamie’s Italian chain, after its collapse in 2019. The new restaurant, situated in Drury Lane’s Theatre Royal, will come with a higher price point than the chef’s former Jamie’s Italian brand, and the business hasn’t ruled out opening more sites under the new concept, although it is focused for now on “just concentrating on getting this one right”. The restaurant will also champion emerging talent who bring a “fresh perspective to high quality, sustainable food and drink with real provenance”. The new site is yet to be named. Propel understands Oliver recently trademarked the name Clover Yard for restaurant use, but that his name could still end up being over the door. Oliver said: “Losing my UK restaurants was without doubt one of the hardest times of my life. We learnt lessons as we grew the international restaurants – there are now more than 70 across the world – so I’m very excited to open this restaurant in London and with an exceptional team, once again, serve the public. This opportunity truly means the world to me.” The business is targeting 20 new franchise openings this year across the Middle East/India/Europe and Australia. The international growth is across a number of our different formats, including Jamie’s Pizzeria, Jamie Oliver Kitchen and Jamie’s Italian. Its longer-term goal is to have more than 200 international sites by 2027.

Industry News:

Propel launches North American ski trip: Propel is launching a ski trip to North America in 2024, which is open for bookings. The trip – overseen by Myles Doran, managing director of Hospitality Inc, and former commercial director of Revolution Bars Group – takes place from 5-9 February and includes four days’ skiing in the Whistler and Blackcomb mountains and four nights’ accommodation at the Hilton Whistler Resort & Spa. There will also be three hosted dinners. The single occupancy price is £3,750 and twin occupancy is £3,250. The price also includes flights, ski passes, breakfast each day and luxury transfers. Propel manager director Paul Charity said: “This is the chance to ski in one of the most breath-taking landscapes in the world while experiencing top-class hospitality.” For more information or to book, email or call 07710 783485.
Latest Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage to feature more than 178,000 words of content: The latest Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage will feature more than 178,000 words of content when it is released to Premium subscribers on Friday (19 May). The database now features 680 companies and this month’s edition includes 13 new additions and 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.
Chief executive panel discussing what it takes to lead successfully in a rapidly changing world to feature at Propel Multi-Club Conference, featuring all-female line-up of leaders: A chief executive panel discussing what it takes to lead successfully in a rapidly changing world will feature 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. 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. The panel will feature Alison Wright, chief executive of Fitzbillies; Sarah Weir, managing director of Albion & East; and Emma Banks, vice-president food and beverage strategy and development EMEA at Hilton. Almost 400 people have already booked a place. Multi-site operators can book up to three free places each by emailing
Desi pubs are ‘under-celebrated and unrecognised success stories’ turning failing pubs into successful businesses: Desi pubs are “under-celebrated and unrecognised success stories” that are turning failing pubs into successful businesses. That is according to David Jesudason, an author who has travelled the UK visiting desi pubs – commonly used to described venues run by people of Indian origin offering food as well as beer – to write a book on their history released this week. “We don’t often talk about the success stories of multiculturalism, and I think that’s what desi pubs really are,” Jesudason told the BBC. “They’re totally under-celebrated and unrecognised. It’s not just an Asian story, it’s the story of white people who saw their pubs change and become the vanguard of multiculturalism. When they first started, they were a resistance to racism, a safe place for people of Asian extraction who maybe worked in the foundries of the West Midlands, and then it became a thing where everybody was welcome.” Jesudason said desi landlords often take over failing pubs and turn them into successful food and drink businesses. “In Gateshead, the Soho Tavern has opened up one under landlord Johnny Singh, and the previous pub, on a typical day, would have about ten people in,” he said. “When I went there on just a quiet weekday evening, it was full.” Another success story is the Red Lion in West Bromwich, where landlord Satnam Purewal’s father Jeet often faced hostility from racist groups when he first took it over in 1997. “He had to win them over and did so deftly, proving once again that British-Indians were well-suited to running pubs,” Jesudason said. “Pubs create social cohesion, and that’s the best thing about them.” Also in West Bromwich, Suresh Patel has been running The Vine since 1978, although the Wheatsheaf in Coventry, which dates to the 1960s, has a “strong claim” to being the UK’s first desi pub.
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with hotel group with multiple sites nationwide that is seeking a director of hotel development. A COREcruitment spokesperson said: “You will help expand the number of hotels across the brand, lead all hotel services, drive conversion and deliver future growth plans. The business is looking for an entrepreneurial and creative individual who is commercial astute and a natural leader with proven results in strategic growth and development. The ideal applicant will have experience in either brand development, acquisition or sales as well as large team management and extensive operations experience within a hotel company. Excellent financial knowledge is desired and you will need to commute regularly and nationally. Degree level education in business, marketing or finance would be ideal.” The salary is up to £150,000. For more information, email 

Company News:

Haché heads in new direction as it sells Shoreditch site to focus on brasserie concept, relaunches Holborn outlet: Haché, the boutique burger brand owned by Jamie Barber and Ed Standring of The Hush Collection, is heading in a new direction as it focuses on its brasserie concept. The company has sold its Shoreditch site, allowing the business to concentrate on its “Haché Brasserie” concept, following on from the sale of the group’s Haché Burgers site in Clapham, to Tonkotsu. The first Haché Brasserie was launched at the group’s flagship riverside location in Kingston in April and features a wider “brasserie style” menu, responding to increasing consumer demand for more choice and flexibility. It has now been launched at the group’s Holborn site. While the brasserie menu retains at its core a tight selection of the “award-wining steak burgers that made the original brand famous, it expands above and beyond this”. The company said the Kingston launch was so well received the group is now looking to shift its focus towards larger sites, of which Holborn is one, which better accommodate the all-day menu offering and a more ambient dining and drinking experience. It said: “The Shoreditch site was too small to accommodate the necessary changes, particularly in an area that has grown increasingly wet led, and the company sees its sale as a positive step towards growth and expansion.” Standring said: “We have been thrilled with the success of Haché Brasserie in Kingston and excited to move ahead with Holborn, where we think it will have great appeal to our regulars. Jamie and I both have a wealth of experience in brasserie concepts. We are excited about the new direction we are pushing the brand in, and the possibilities that the future holds.” Hush Brasseries reported turnover of £11,478,717 for the year ending 26 December 2021, exceeding pre-pandemic levels of revenue, and a pre-tax profit of £279,438, its first profit since filing full accounts in 2013. Hush Brasseries features in the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book. Its turnover of £11,478,717 is the 416th 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.

Hook Norton Brewery – financial support provided to tenants during lockdown paying dividends: Oxfordshire’s Hook Norton Brewery, which operates circa 35 tenanted pubs in the region, has said the financial support it provided to it tenants during lockdown is now “paying dividends”. Director James Clarke, in his statement accompanying the company’s accounts for the year ending 30 September 2022, said: “The financial support we provided to our tenanted businesses during periods of lockdown was a prudent step and is now paying dividends in the fact we have a fully let estate. It really underlines the positive and sustainable relationship the traditional tenancy brings, with us being able to take decisions for the longer term.” Clarke said the current cost pressures are “every bit as testing as the coronavirus period” and have made for “the toughest financial climate for a long time”, but that “we are confident we will get through this and emerge stronger”. He said reduced levels of spend make it “ever more important we ensure all our pubs offer the highest levels of hospitality”, and as a small family business, it is “ideally situated to maximise” the “appetite for people to socialise in the pub environment” with a “sensibly priced offer and a real experience”. It comes as the company reported turnover of £8,666,028 for the period, up from £5,946,689 in 2021 and £7,209,109 in the last full year before covid, ending 30 September 2019. Pre-tax profits grew from £27,677 in 2021 to £278,675 (2019: £189,400). Dividends of £729 were paid (2021: £581). During the year, £914,070 in debt was paid down. Brewery tours, the restaurant and events have “grown significantly”, and while online sales have dropped post-lockdown, they remain at much higher levels than pre-covid. With retail now responsible for around 20% of turnover, the company is working to convert the brewery’s old grain store into more retail space, potentially featuring a bakery and coffee roastery. Its free trade business has also shown strong growth, aided by new festival business during the year.
Giraudi Group founder – debut UK site ‘doing better than expected’, would like to open bigger London location: Ricardo Giraudi, founder of Monaco-based hospitality group Giraudi, has told Propel its debut UK site is “doing better than expected” and he would like to open a second, bigger London location. Giraudi will later this year open a second UK location for his fledgling Le Petit Beefbar concept, within the InterContinental Edinburgh The George in Edinburgh’s George Street. It follows the group, which has 22 restaurants worldwide, making its UK debut in November 2021, when it opened a Le Petit Beefbar in Cale Street, Chelsea. “The Le Petit Beefbar site in Chelsea is actually doing great,” Giraudi told Propel. “Of course, being a residential area, when there are major holidays or long weekends arrive, it gets a little slower. But in general, we have done much better than expected. I want to do more restaurants in London for sure, I’ve actually just opened Cantinetta Antinori in Knightsbridge (in partnership with the historic Italian winemaking Antinori family, as previously reported). But I would love to open a larger Beefbar, hopefully in Mayfair or Marylebone. We will most likely open for the summer in Edinburgh – the location is stunning and the design superb. I do not know Edinburgh well, but it is clearly a good market, and the Petit Beefbar brand I think is a perfect fit for the George Hotel. The brand seems to be strong enough to trade on a decent level and the UK is an important market. The next openings are African Queen in the south of France in June and Beefbar Santorini in Greece in June, then Beefbar New York in the autumn. I believe strongly in America, although only New York is planned, but Asia is also very interesting for us.”
Parsons Bakery set to roll out pizza home delivery format, repays loan ahead of schedule: Parsons Bakery, which operates 48 stores across the south west and Wales, has said it will roll out its pizza home delivery format following the successful launch of its first site. Director Nicholas Parsons, in the company’s accounts for the year ending 31 December 2022, said: “The company also opened our first pizza home delivery site that has proved to be a great success and we anticipate more sites to follow in the next 12 months.” It comes as the company reported a slight increase in turnover for the year, up from £14,139,212 in 2021 to £14,352,619. Pre-tax profit fell from £1,700,944 to £1,024,657 while Ebitda dropped from £2,212,373 to £1,376,953, “reflecting increasing energy and staff costs and the withdrawal of government grants received”. The company had received £24,078 in government grants in 2021, but none in 2022. Parsons added: “We faced strong headwinds during the year, including inflationary pressures in our ingredient costs and our energy costs, as well the gloomy national economic outlook. However, I am pleased to report that our people rose to the challenge. Results for the first quarter of 2023 have matched forecasts and the directors are confident of a successful year.” The company also approved the repayment of its term loan ahead of schedule during the year, and the business “continues to be cash generative with healthy cash reserves as a result”.
Wing Shack Co lines up Manchester opening: Wings-based concept Wing Shack Co is lining up its first opening in the north, in Manchester. Propel understands the business, which was founded by Joshua Jarvis and business partner Nurudeen Shiro in 2018, has earmarked the former Barburrito site in the city’s Deansgate area for its debut site in the region. The business currently operates four dine-in sites under its eponymous brand – in Brixton, Loughton, Bromley and Soho. It also operates a Wing Shack Co delivery and collection site in Notting Hill and a Vegan Wing Shack Co unit at Boxpark, Shoreditch.
Center Parcs put up for sale: Center Parcs has been put up for sale by its owner, Brookfield. The Canadian private equity group is seeking between £4bn and £5bn for Center Parcs after examining an exit from the investment in recent months, reports the Financial Times. Brookfield, which acquired Center Parcs from Blackstone for about £2.4bn in 2015, has appointed investment bankers who have been sounding out potential buyers in the past week. Center Parcs operates six holiday villages in the UK and Ireland, offering attractions such as water parks and forest playgrounds. Center Parcs’ five UK sites were independently valued at £4.1bn in April, based on the value of the real estate alone. Brookfield has invested in Center Parcs since its acquisition, spending £100m on technology upgrades alone. The company hosts more than two million guests a year, with 98% occupancy, according to Brookfield. Center Parcs reported sales of £503.4m in the year ended 21 April 2022 (2021: £122.2m). It made a profit after tax of £22.3m (2021: loss of £122.22m). Adjusted Ebitda was £245.6m (2021: loss of £11.9m).
Just Eat appoints new MD for UK and Ireland: Just Eat has appointed Claire Pointon as managing director for the UK and Ireland. Pointon takes over from Andrew Kenny, who joined Just Eat Takeaway’s management board as chief commercial officer last year. Pointon has more than 20 years of commercial experience in customer strategy, brand innovation and marketing, most recently at John Lewis, where she led the customer function, both digitally and in store. She has also previously held executive level and senior positions at a number of multinational companies, including Dixons Carphone, where she was responsible for Carphone Warehouse trading; Kerry Foods and Deutsche Telekom. Pointon said: “Online food delivery is increasingly becoming a part of our daily lives, with more customers than ever looking for convenience and choice online. The passion from the team for leading the industry, our customers and partners is clear to see and I’m looking forward to leading the UK and Ireland’s next phase of the journey.”
Loungers adds three further sites to openings pipeline: Cafe bar operator Loungers has further strengthened its openings pipeline, with the addition of three sites for its Lounge concept. The Nick Collins-led business has secured the former Top Shop in the centre of Carlisle; a site in Pioneer Place, Burnley; and the former Barclays site in Nantwich. The company is building its opening pipeline in the north and last month secured its first site in the north east when it signed on the former Argos site in Hexham, Northumberland, which will reopen as the Muro Lounge. Last week, the company opened Ormo Lounge in Llandudno, its 188th Lounge and 224th overall site, and its 20th site in Wales. Last month, Collins told Propel the property market was working “more and more in our favour”. The company has a pipeline of around 35 sites for FY24. James Property Consulting acted for Loungers on the Hexham, Burnley, Nantwich and Carlisle sites.
Social Pantry appoints James Spragg as new non-executive chairman: Social Pantry, the London operator and events caterer backed by Edition Capital, has appointed James Spragg, the former chief executive of the Casual Dining Group (CDG), as its new non-executive chairman. Spragg has more than 25 years of experience working with public and private equity companies across the hospitality sector. He spent six years at CDG, including three as chief executive, where he oversaw 250 restaurants under the Bella Italia, Café Rouge and Las Iguanas brands. In 2018, he joined premium pub-restaurant group, Cambscuisine, where he has been non-executive chairman since 2021. Spragg will work closely with Social Pantry’s chief executive and founder Alex Head to accelerate the growth of the business, while maintaining its core values across sustainability and ex-offender hiring. Last month, the company launched a new partnership with food waste app Olio, to redistribute surplus food from workplace catering to local communities and introduced a fleet of electric vehicles to support a reduction in its carbon footprint. Spragg said: “Social Pantry is at an exciting point in its growth journey, with plans to achieve its B-Corp accreditation and a partnership with Olio now under its belt. I look forward to working together to deliver on its next phase of development.” Head said: “With a background growing some of the UK’s leading restaurants and hospitality brands, James is uniquely placed to take Social Pantry to the next level. I could not be happier to begin working with him and look forward to unleashing exciting growth across our event and workplace catering.”
Somerset holiday park operator reports turnover exceeds pre-pandemic levels: Holiday park operator Unity Farm has reported turnover of £28,313,914 for the year ending 31 October 2022 (17 months to 31 October 2021: £36,530,078). In the year before the pandemic, ending 31 October 2019, the business turned over £20,559,348. The company, which operates the Unity Farm resort near Burnham-on-Sea in Somerset, saw a pre-tax profit of £7,163,318 (17 months to 31 October 2021: £12,706,570). For the year ending 31 October 2019, pre-tax profit was £1,501,648. The business received government grants of £18,000 (18 months to 31 October 2021: £868,199). A dividend of £570,000 was paid (17 months to 31 October 2021: £800,000). At the end of the period, the company had net assets of £26,024,020 (17 months to 31 October: £20,574,593).
LPM Restaurant & Bar set to open in Las Vegas for biggest site yet: LPM Restaurant & Bar – which opened its first site in London in 2007 before adding restaurants in Hong Kong, Abu Dhabi, Miami, Riyadh, Dubai, Limasson and Doha – is set to open in Las Vegas later this year. The new location, within The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas hotel and casino, will be the brand’s second US site when it opens in the autumn and biggest yet. The 250-cover restaurant will offer French and Italian-influenced dishes. “Joie de vivre is at the core of every intricate detail at LPM, making Las Vegas a natural fit for us,” said Nicolas Budzynski, who was promoted to chief executive last month.
Team behind Luca and trio from Secret Cinema set to open London Thai-influenced pop-up: The team behind Clerkenwell Italian restaurant Luca and a trio from Secret Cinema, the cinematic immersive experience company, are set to open a Thai-influenced pop-up restaurant in London. Secret Cinema’s Tom Allott, Andrea Moccia and Sabrina Goreeba have partnered with Luca founders Johnny Smith and Daniel Willis for Outcrop, a restaurant and arts space that will open at “creative hub” 180 The Strand in June. Its restaurant will be run by AngloThai’s John Chantarasak, with a focus on seasonal British vegetables and traditional rural Thai cooking practices. Dishes will include Wye Valley asparagus and sunflower seed satay; coconut smoked turbot bone broth; and skate wing jungle curry. Bar manager Rob Simpson, formerly of The Clove Club and Gymkhana, has curated a drinks list using hedgerow fruits, spirits and botanicals, while Desiree Chantarasak, of AngloThai, has produced a list of low-intervention European wine. Outcrop will also play host to an arts and music programme. Initially launching for a three-month residency, it will have covers for up to 30 guests.
Popeyes opens first UK drive-thru restaurant: Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, the US fried chicken quick-service brand, has opened its first UK drive-thru restaurant, at Parkgate Shopping Park in Rotherham. The site is offering Popeye’s new breakfast menu, which launched last month, including a big breakfast roll, Cajun hash browns and Nutella-topped buttermilk biscuits. Neil Williamson, chief operating officer at Popeyes UK, said: “We’ve seen some great excitement for the Rotherham launch, with fans queuing up from 4am. We will also be launching the breakfast menu at the Rotherham drive-thru, as it becomes a staple at more of our restaurants across the UK.” As well as a dual-ordering lane “to reduce expected vehicle queues”, the Rotherham restaurant offers 104 covers both inside and out. The company is set to announce further drive-thru locations as part of its plans to open 20 new sites this year, and is believed to have applied to open drive-thru sites in Tyneside, Bere Regis, Glenrothes, Glasgow, Northampton and Nottingham.
BHL Global refinances as turnover increases and losses narrow: Hospitality group BHL Global has revealed it refinanced as it reported an increase in turnover and a narrowing of losses in the year ending 31 December 2021. Turnover rose to £14,056,000 compared with £7,847,000 the year before but lagged behind the £23,618,000 reported in the year to 31 December 2019, the last full year before covid. Pre-tax losses narrowed from £10,349,000 to £6,658,000 (2019: loss of £4,867,000). No dividends were paid (2020: nil). Government grants of £1,080,000 were received compared with £4,042,000 in 2020. Hotel occupancy was up from 22% in 2020 to 32%, while average room rate grew from £364 to £368 and revpar increased from £78 to £117. “The directors have accepted a new loan offer to replace the current borrowings due to expire in May 2023,” the company said. “The trading outlook and terms of the new loan will ensure sufficient funds are available to be able to meet all liabilities as they fall due.”
Dawkins to close brewery but pubs to remain open: Bristol brewery Dawkins Ales is ceasing production amid “spiralling” costs. In a statement posted on social media, the independent brewer’s owner Glen Dawkins said the company’s pubs would remain open, but it was unable to carry on making beer. He wrote: “It is with a heavy heart that I have to announce the closure of the Dawkins Ales brewery. Despite the amazing efforts of the brilliant team, we could not continue against the overwhelming headwinds of spiralling costs alongside post covid recovery.” Dawkins Taverns was founded in 2002, with the group now running five pubs in the city, including The Miner’s Arms in St Werburghs, as well as its own taproom at its brewery in Easton. Dawkins and business partners Tony Arnese and Jane Dutson acquired Matthews Brewing Co and its production site in the Somerset village of Timsbury, near Bath, in 2010. Four years later the group established its brewery business as a separate arm of the company, supplying its own pubs and other venues in the area, and in 2015 it relocated to Bristol.
Starbucks opens at Gretna designer outlet village: Starbucks has opened a new outlet at Caledonia Park designer outlet village in Gretna, Scotland. The 2,000 square-foot unit has created 20 jobs in the region. Gordon Campbell, operations director at Starbucks, said: “Our new location is well suited to represent our heritage as a brand offering a new community our signature food and drinks.” Johnstone Property Consultants and Time Retail Partners acted for Caledonia Park, while Starbucks dealt direct.
Mikhail Hotel & Leisure Group set to open Top Gun-inspired American-style bar in Southport: Merseyside operator Mikhail Hotel & Leisure Group is set to open a Top Gun-inspired American-style bar in Southport. Located in the former PizzaExpress site on the corner of Lord Street and Leicester Street in the town’s Northern Quarter, Maverick’s has been designed to mimic a typical American “dive bar”. As well as US cuisine, it will feature vintage neon signs, a Statue of Liberty and an original Wurlitzer juke box. It will be the group’s sixth venue in Southport, alongside The Bold Hotel, Lord Street Hotel & Sports Bar, Punch Tarmey’s, The Grand and the bar at Southport Market. “We developed the idea of an ‘American style’ bar that focuses on the social aspect of enjoying the company of friends and strangers, bringing something different to Southport,” group chairman Andrew Mikhail told The Business Desk. “Top Gun is my favourite film of all time, and so the bar just had to have a nod to the iconic Tom Cruise film. There’s one thing that holds true for all American dive bars – if you visit one, you’re always going to have a story to tell later, and that is what we want to achieve with Maverick’s. This bar is so different to any of our other venues, and we are excited to bring a new concept to The Northern Quarter.” The group also operates the Eccleston Arms in St Helens, Doctor Duncan’s in Liverpool and The Cains Brewery Village, which includes The Brewery Tap and games arcade/cafe ArCains.
Long-standing New Delhi Chinese restaurant set to open in London: Long-standing New Delhi Chinese restaurant House of Ming is set to open in London. The restaurant, which has operated within the Indian capital’s Taj Hotel since 1978, will open in London’s own Taj Hotel, at St James’ Court in Buckingham Gate, on Thursday, 25 May. With a focus on Sichuan and Cantonese cuisine, among the dishes will be a flaming duck that is flamed at the table and delivered with a gong. Couples wishing to dine in private can also request a table with “privacy curtains” drawn around them, reports Hot Dinners.
Bristol better burger concept opens second site: Bristol better burger concept Theory Burger has opened a second site in the city. The concept, from “creative burger chef” Rory Perriment, has opened in the former Om Burger unit – which was operated by the same team – at 54 Stokes Croft. Offering classic burgers as well as craft beer and cocktails, it has 54 covers inside and space for 20 outdoors, reports Bristol 24/7. “It’s been great hearing your feedback and support as we transitioned from Om Burger to Burger Theory 2.0 in Stokes Croft,” the company said. “We’re family, vegetarian and vegan-friendly, so everyone is welcome to enjoy our easy going and relaxed new restaurant. If you’re missing our Om Burger restaurant, we will still be serving up our delicious vegetarian burgers via UberEats and have kept a few mainstays to our Stokes Croft location. So, although we’re sad to see her go, we’re doing our best to keep her alive!” Perriment founded Burger Theory in 2012 and operated at festivals and pop-up kitchens before opening his first restaurant, in St Stephen’s Street, in 2017.
Pip Lacey opens permanent sister site to Hicce Hart: Pip Lacey, former head chef of Michelin-starred restaurant Murano and previous winner of television series Great British Menu, has opened a permanent sister site to Hicce Hart, the pub venture she launched last year in London’s Islington with business partner Gordy McIntyre. Lacey, who opened Hicce Hart on the former Day & Night site in Penton Street in November 2022, trialled a pizza offshoot with a pop-up at nearby Goodness Brewery. This new concept has now got its first permanent site, with Little Pizza Hice opening at 99 Chapel Market, just over the road from Hicce Hart. Pizza toppings include Italian fennel sausage, tomato, mozzarella fior di latte and curdito “cult jar” ferment; and egg, tomato, fior di latte, radicchio, pine nuts, black garlic and Parmesan. There are also ice cream cones and wine, with takeaways also available, reports Hot Dinners.

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