Published 25 October 2021
Catch up on the latest industry news stories of the week from the CODE Bulletin
Exclusive: Stuart and Cecilia Gillies will launch a new restaurant and bar in Sevenoaks, Kent, in January next year. The husband and wife duo say Number Eight will be a family run business that looks to “champion the community”, sourcing food locally in a town full of independent suppliers. Gillies said his menu will focus on “luxury” and “comfort”, with dishes like whipped cod’s roe with hazelnuts, green beans and focaccia; truffled artichoke salad; buttermilk chicken with BBQ sauce and blue cheese; and fettucine of Dorset crab with chilli, spring onions, and garlic. The chef said: “Cecilia and I are so excited to bring Number Eight to Sevenoaks. The opening of Bank House in Chislehurst in 2019 has given us the perfect launchpad from which to integrate ourselves further into the local community. Sevenoaks is such a vibrant town full of incredible independent operators. We can’t wait to be part of it all.”
Soho’s Italian institution Vasco & Piero’s is back in business having closed in April this year. Owner Paul Matteucci told CODE he reopened at his new site on D’Arblay Street on Wednesday and regulars were quick through the door. Social media might have been slower due to the lack of a sign, which was a little late to be delivered and only went up yesterday. There was much dismay when the restaurant on Poland Street shut. Matteucci said the landlord wouldn’t budge on rent, despite it being lockdown, but said if anything the new site is better, with a fresh lick of paint on the walls and room for 60 covers. Fans will be pleased to learn the Umbrian menu is exactly the same as before. Its return is a win for London hospitality.
Bob Bob Cité has reopened as Bob Bob Ricard City, dropping the accent after a multi-million redesign. Owner Leonid Shutov wanted to bring the City site “more in line” with his Soho original and has brought in the former Star at Harome chef Ben Hobson to take charge of a new Franco-Russian menu. On it are dishes such as escargots en persillade, rabbit à la moutarde, and mussels en champagne. Old favourites – oysters ‘Rasputin’, beef Wellington and others – remain.
Wander in Stoke Newington has been forced to close while Australian chef-owner Alexis Noble appeals a Home Office decision to deny her a visa extension. “It has been a very heartbreaking and stressful time, and it has taken a few days to consult with lawyers, figure out next steps and try to get over the shock of it all,” she said. “…after finally reopening and feeling like we were just getting back to normal, it’s very painful to close again.”
The Angelina team will transform its former Golden Gai bar into a second restaurant called Dai Chi. According to Hot Dinners, the space will be all about bringing Osaka’s kushikatsu – deep-fried skewers – dining to Soho, with omakase-style menus that begin with crudo before moving onto dishes like scallops with bergamot ponzu and Exmouth caviar, lobster tail and hokkaido brioche, A5 wagyu with white truffle, and oysters with blackberry and yuzu.
Niall Keating will oversee a new restaurant called Lunar at the World of Wedgwood visitor attraction in Barlaston in Stoke-on-Trent. Keating has partnered with the events firm Great British Experience Company for the project, which will open on 25 November. The 120-cover restaurant has been inspired by the Lunar Society, an 18th century supper club for the Midlands enlightenment movement which hosted leading poets, scientists, inventors and entrepreneurs.
Shoryu Ramen will begin a large-scale expansion across the UK and overseas after teaming up with the Ford Consultancy Group. Japan Centre CEO Tak Tokumine founded the brand in 2021 and there are now 13 sites in London, Oxford and Manchester. The pandemic put franchising plans on hold but Tokumine said they are back underway: “We are ready to bring Shoryu Ramen to a wider audience…I look forward to seeing new customers enjoy my hometown ramen.”
Jessica Tapfar has joined The Ned as hotel manager. Tapfar graduated from Cornell University’s school of hotel administration in 2012 and went on to work at the Waldorf Astoria in New York where she completed its management development programme. After a number of senior positions in NYC, she moved to the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam in 2017, where she was director of operations. Her new role at The Ned will focus on guest experience and developing new concepts for the hotel. She said: “While the building and operation itself is so big, we have the ability to make each guest feel special with our interactions.”
Benjy Leibowitz has joined JKS as its director of strategic projects. He will be working closely with the senior team on strategy and development for the company’s brands, with a focus on identifying new areas of growth, including international expansion. Leibowitz has just moved back to London after spending ten years in New York, where he was the founder and CEO of inHouse, a global hospitality membership programme working with leading restaurant teams across New York, San Francisco, and London. Prior to that he was the director of guest relations for the NoMad/Eleven Madison Park Group.