Published 20 December 2021
Catch up on the latest industry news stories of the week from the CODE Bulletin
The chef Mauro Colagreco will open three London restaurants next year as part of a new collaboration with Raffles Hotels. At Raffles will be two “unique” concepts – a more casual brasserie and a fine dining space – and an “avant-garde” chef’s table, all of which will open late in 2022. The hotel said Colagreco’s food “defies categorisation” in an announcement, and claimed the London launches will help “shift the culinary compass of the capital’s dining scene”. We’re not sure what that means, but we are well aware of Colagreco’s pedigree. Most will know the Argentinean from Mirazur on the French Riviera, where he has been lauded heavily by the tyre company thanks to his bold and ambitious cooking. He was also this year inaugurated into the “Best of the best” category in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards. Said Colagreco: “The incredible location, combined with the professionalism of the Raffles London team, convinced me that this was the ideal time and place to launch for the first time in London with concepts that will be tailor-made for Raffles.” Raffles CEO Stephen Alden added: “Chef Mauro is undoubtedly one of the world’s most recognised chefs and our partnership reaffirms London as a preeminent global dining destination. Mauro has a phenomenal reputation and we’re excited to see him bring his experience to Raffles London with concepts that are tailor-made for our well-travelled guests”.
Zaw Mahesh and Dan Anton will open their second Lahpet in February. The first site in Shoreditch helped bring rich and eclectic Myanmar cookery, from regional specialities to city-inspired street food, to a more mainstream audience, and the second, by way of 100 covers in Covent Garden, should continue the cause. The menu at Lahpet West End has been developed by Burmese-born Mahesh, and will combine signature dishes – the tea leaf salad, a national delicacy, included – with new ones. On the way is roast pork belly with bamboo shoots, fish noodle soup from the coastal state of Rakhine, and a fish and rice classic from Shan state, which borders Laos, Thailand, and Yunnan province in China. Mahesh said: “We’re thrilled to be opening our second restaurant in the heart of the West End, it’s a fantastic site with huge potential. We can’t wait to get the doors open and to have the opportunity to introduce more of the varied and vibrant food of Myanmar to London.”
A new branch of Vinoteca will open in Borough Yards in January (restrictions depending, of course). It will be a two-storey, mezzanine-clad site with views toward Southwark Cathedral, with a mix of “cosy red banquettes” and relaxed high top tables. Vinoteca emphasized its “unpretentious approach”, and on the way is a global list of wines, more than 25 of which will be available by the glass. A short, changing menu, with ingredients sourced from Borough Market, has been created to bolster proceedings. Co-founder Charlie Young said: “Every single one of our 200 wines at Vinoteca Borough Yards has been carefully sourced and is a bottle we are proud of. Our attitude to finding the best small suppliers extends to everything we do, which is why we are so excited to be opening within such a fantastic community.”
Yolk, the higher-end fast food concept native to Broadgate and New Street Square, is launching in Covent Garden in January. Yolk co-founder Nick Philpot said the brand was “born out of frustration”. London is full of fine restaurants, but a good quick takeaway lunch is harder to find in the centre of town, most notably in business districts. At Yolk, meat might arrive from Smithfield, coffee from a Hackney roastery. Milk is sourced from local farms in Sussex and sandwiches come laden with roast chicken and ‘nduja mayonnaise and pulled ham hock with homemade hollandaise. Bacon from Tom Hixson in focaccia will likely prove a welcome addition to Covent Garden. Philpot and co-founder Alkesh Tandon said they suspect Soho will “be the first of a number of launches for Yolk across the city in the next year.”
We’re putting this in the UK section because we’re sure Honest Burgers will open outside London soon. Were we not having to deal with this monstrous pandemic, it would probably already have happened. Anyway, next on the agenda is V Honest, which is an inevitable and wise play. Adding to the existing plant-based burger made with a Beyond Meat pattie will be a host of new versions. One, the “Teriyaki”, will be made with pulled shiitake mushrooms, teriyaki sauce, Applewood vegan cheese, grilled peppers, umami mayo, and lettuce.
TripAdvisor, ever a blight on the restaurant industry in our opinion, has been dealt a blow by a restaurateur in Lancashire. Steve Hoddy, the owner of Bispham Kitchen in Blackpool and a Cambridge law grad, managed to track down the writer of a series of fake, business-damning reviews and successfully sue him. The culprit, Martin Stewart Potts, wrote ten false posts about the restaurant in question, including one about the fish and chips being made out of catfish. At Manchester County Court Potts was ordered to pay £7,455 to the owner, who had spent three years building his case.
The renowned pastry chef Cedric Grolet, known for his fruit shapes and flower-inspired collections, has picked London for his first patisserie outside France. He’ll open at The Berkeley next year, confirming rumours that had been circulating for some time. The hotel described Grolet’s work as a sort of “pastry theatre”, explaining the chef and his team will “create his masterpieces for all to see”. It will launch alongside the new 60-seat Berkeley Café, which will serve Grolet’s breakfast, pastries, and an afternoon tea. After posting, “London, I’m coming” from Hyde Park Corner tube station on his Instagram stories, Grolet gave fans a little more by way of a firm statement: “[London] is such a special city and its energy completely inspires me… I can’t wait to open early next year.”
Niall Keating is to leave Wiltshire hotel Whatley Manor after five years as executive chef. He is off to pursue other business ventures, including the opening of his new restaurant Lunar in Staffordshire. The hotel said in a statement: “During his time at the Wiltshire hotel, Niall led the team to regain The Dining Room’s stars, rosettes and several other coveted industry accolades, building on its strong reputation as one of the best restaurants in the UK. His additional contributions to Whatley Manor – including Grey’s Brasserie and supporting the drive for sustainability across the business – have helped cement the hotel’s place among top luxury retreats in the country. Niall will now concentrate his time developing his new restaurant, Lunar in Staffordshire, as well as other business ventures.” The hotel’s head chef Ricki Weston will be left in charge.