Published 8 November 2021
Catch up on the latest industry news stories of the week from the CODE Bulletin
Soho’s Chinese gem Y Ming will close after 35 years. The restaurant opened in 1986 as ‘Ming’ before being taken on solely by owner Christine Yau a year later. It was she who turned the place into a much-loved institution, bringing regional Chinese food to Greek Street and thus guiding British palates toward dishes other than sweet and sour pork and beef in black bean sauce. Yau told CODE the “decision was made by the resignation of my chef”, who has left to take care of a relative. She also said 35 years “is a long time” and it is, perhaps, time to hand over the site to somebody else. Yau added: “It has been very emotional for me and my team, especially William (the maître d’), who knew everyone by name and treated everyone as a family member. All our customers became friends and part of the family. I shall never forget them!”. A new Chinese restaurant will open at the site next month.
The former Giorgio Locatelli protégé Louis Korovilas will open Noci in Islington early next year. The chef, who since leaving Bancone has opened Tavalino near Tower Bridge, said the Noci menu will be full of “regional specialities” and will comprise a “short, seasonal” selection of dishes, with an emphasis on pasta and Italian street food. Notable are the fritti, with parcels of leek, taleggio, gorgonzola and walnut, and squid and mussels with bagna cauda; the homemade focaccia with datterini tomatoes, now a London classic; and a “poor man’s” ragu, where onions are used plentifully alongside veal and pork. This will be Korovilas’ flagship restaurant.
Stevie Parle and Tom Dixon will bring their brilliant dining concept JOY to Sotheby’s New Bond Street next month for a “special five-day dining experience”. Between 18-22 November, Parle will cook “giant sea bass” from Margate; mushrooms from the woods in his garden; Scottish langoustines; and, he said, “the most perfect risotto with a deep delicious chicken broth finished with yellow Kentish butter and three-year-old parmesan, and covered with white truffles brought directly from the nose of Felipe – the Lagotto Romangolo truffle dog in Umbria”. All this alongside a collection of art by such names as Henry Moore, Howard Hodgkin, and Bridget Riley. Dixon said: “Modern British is something both me and Stevie can buy into. It exists in contemporary design and food culture right now, so there’s a hook that’s fairly obvious.”
The Vineyard hotel, found just outside Newbury in Berkshire, has launched The Vine Bar, a new lunch time spot showcasing the venue’s 30,000-bottle wine cellar. Romain Bourger, the current Taittinger UK Sommelier of the Year, has selected 50 wines to be available by the glass (starting at just £8), and these will feature alongside a short small plates menu devised by executive chef Tom Scade. Trout ceviche and pheasant schnitzel are both well under £20 and sound instinctively promising. GM Paul Shanahan said: “This encapsulates what The Vineyard is all about – great food with excellent wine. The dishes and paired wines combine both Tom and Romain’s expertise, and we are thrilled to make such a diverse and carefully-chosen selection of wine accessible to our guests.”
Cop26 is ongoing and environmental demise is on the mind. It is pertinent then to see Gaucho announce a new “carbon-free steak restaurant” in Glasgow, which will open next year. The 120-cover venue will serve Argentine beef, and Gaucho said “animal husbandry and welfare were paramount and regenerative farming techniques used to reduce methane and greenhouse gasses at source”. A statement added the meat’s carbon emissions have been calculated from field to fork before being offset through a reforestation programme in the Amazon with charity partner Not For Sale. CEO Martin Williams said: “Glasgow is the perfect location for our first new Gaucho restaurant since 2016 for many reasons, none less than it being the home city of Cop26. All our future new openings will serve only carbon-neutral beef and, as of January 2022, all our 20 restaurants will boast a carbon-neutral steak and wine offering, which sits alongside our zero food waste and green energy policies.” Hawksmoor is doing similar – more on that this week.
Travel east to Edinburgh and you’ll find Duck & Waffle is working on its first Scottish restaurant. The all-day restaurant, scheduled to launch in 2022, will occupy an 8,400 sq ft site at the St James’ Quarter development. As in London, the fixture will serve the brand’s “playful take” on British cuisine, with dishes designed for sharing. Shimon Bokovza, founder of Samba Brands Management, which is also behind the Sushisamba restaurant group, said: “Duck & Waffle was born in London and we’re proud to spread our wings to Edinburgh’s as we expand globally. We’re eager to participate in the city’s love for culture and the arts through our own contribution of culinary creativity and the epicurean community.”
Max Halley has opened his long-awaited West Country pub, the Five Bells in Salisbury. Alongside good beers and wines will be locally made pies, including curried lamb, chicken and leek, steak and ale, and a daily vegetarian option. Halley told CODE the pies will come with “buttery mash” and “exceptional gravy”, and said the idea is to keep the menu simple, with only Scotch eggs, sausage rolls, and pickled eggs joining them. He said: “I’m so excited. I want this to be the best pub in the world. People can come, have a pint and a pie, maybe while sitting in the speedboat outside, and just chill out. I’ll be dividing my time between London and Salisbury from now on so it’s not just about sandwiches any more, although they are still extremely important.”
The 2016 Roux Scholar Harry Guy is opening an eponymous restaurant at Wildes Chester in the summer of next year. X by Harry Guy will “take guests on a gastronomic journey that will entice the senses”, an announcement read, with produce sourced by farmers and suppliers in the Cheshire countryside. Guy, who has worked at the Savoy Grill, L’Enclume, and Roganic, completed his three-star Roux stage at Saison in San Francisco under the tutelage of Joshua Skenes. X will be his first solo venture. He said: “I am absolutely buzzing that we can finally make this announcement as I have been hounded for months by people wanting to know what my plan was. X has been a long time in the making and is something that dreams are made of for a chef like me.”