Amuse-bouches: The latest restaurant news bites

In restaurant news this week: late-night venues express anger at their lack of government support, landlord Shaftesbury announces it has only collected 41% of rents in the first half of the year and Adam Handling introduces Chelsea to wagyu and wine Wednesdays.

Adam Handling’s wagyu beef

Anger as night-time economy businesses not included in Job Support Scheme: Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) has said there is “growing anger” among members of the industry after it was established that the government relief announced this week only applied to businesses that were viable, not those closed due to the new regulations. He told The Caterer: “We need absolute clarity for businesses that are unable to open. They are going to seriously be considering redundancy now. There is growing anger among the sector and if there isn’t a quick resolve to this there is going to be substantial backlash from the sector – businesses who have already spent thousands on making their businesses Covid-safe.”

Shaftesbury collects less than half usual rents in last six months: London pub and restaurant landlord Shaftesbury has revealed that it has only collected 41% of rents for the six months to 30 September 2020. Of the remaining 59%, 10% are subject to deferred payment arrangements, 23% have been waived and 26% remain outstanding. However, the West End real estate company said there were “firm foundations” for recovery in the longer term.

Wetherspoon to cut almost half airport workforce: Pub group J.D. Wetherspoon has warned that it could make up to 450 workers redundant across its airport pub division. Chief executive John Hutson has written to members of staff working at Gatwick, Heathrow, Stansted, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Glasgow airports, stating that the move was being considered as a result of a fall in trade and passenger numbers.

Sales fall after Eat Out to Help Out scheme: Hospitality sales have fallen after the Eat Out to Help Out scheme ended, CGA data has confirmed. The analyst’s volume pool of 7,000 managed outlets showed that food sales were down by 63% on Monday 7 September compared to the previous week. However, with some businesses continuing to offer discounts into September, the data revealed that sales were actually up by 27% on that day, compared to the same period last year. Sales were also up year-on-year on the following Tuesday and Wednesday (8-9 September).

Adam Handling introduces wagyu and wine Wednesdays: Chef Adam Handling’s Chelsea outpost has introduced a wagyu and wine deal on Wednesdays. For £55 per head, guests receive a 250g wagyu ribeye steak with a choice of sauce, served with chips and salad. A selection of wines, including an Oregon Pinot Noir and Château Pichon-Longueville 1995, are available by the glass.

Sabor temporarily closes due to Covid case: London-based Spanish restaurant Sabor has temporarily closed its doors after news of a positive Covid-19 case. The restaurant, which will reopen on 1 October, said on social media that it was rearranging bookings and had closed in order to comply with government guidelines.

Circolo Popolare owner launches pizza delivery brand: As reported by Hot Dinners, Circolo Popolare owner Big Mamma is to launch a pizza-focused delivery-only restaurant called Napoli Gang. Operating out a kitchen in Shoreditch, the eatery is expected to increase its delivery radius in the coming weeks. Pizzas include Truffle Squad (mozzarella, ricotta, black truffle cream, fresh truffle, mushrooms and thyme); E Burratajovski (tomato, olives, capers, basil pesto, burrata) and Hot Damn (mozarella, confit peppers, aubergines, courgettes, olives and vegan pesto).

LWC Drinks launches Drink+Dine service for hospitality sector: Manchester-based drinks wholesaler LWC Drinks has launched a Drink+Dine service, billed as a hospitality app and web solution which will help outlets offer table service, takeaway and delivery services. The technology will work with an existing website and will act as a sales platform where sites can upload their menus and products, as well as offer promotions.

Openings:

Silver Birch: The former head chef at Xu and Kym’s Kimberley Hernandez, who has also worked at St John and Dinner by Heston, is to open a new neighbourhood restaurant in London’s Chiswick. Along side Tim Price, Hernandez will offer a seasonal menu to west London diners.

Heddon Yokocho: Inspired by 1970s downtown Tokyo, ramen bar Heddon Yokocho is set to open in London’s Mayfair in October. Launched by food hall Japan Centre, the menu will include different ramens from across Japan.

Giggling Squid Cambridge: Big Hospitality reports that Thai chain Giggling Squid is set to open its largest site ever site in Cambridge next week. The group, which confirmed it would be opening a new outlet in Cambridge last year, said the eatery would be open for eat-in and delivery.

Bisushima: Another Japanese joint, this time in London’s Covent Garden, is set to open this year. Bisushima will be based on the sixth floor of the Page8 hotel and will have a total of 190 covers with two large roof terraces.

163 Upper Street: According to Hot Dinners, Islington is set to get a new wine bar, courtesy of the team behind The Wine Cellar in Highgate. Wines will be priced from £14 to over £100 with beers and cocktails also available. Bar snacks and small plates will include homemade Scotch eggs and burrata with black truffle.

Closures:

Koj: MasterChef finalist Andrew Kojima has announced the closure of his Japanese restaurant Koj in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire Live reports. Kojima said: “The recent rise in infections has prompted the government to impose further restrictions, which could last for at least six months. They are the final nail in the coffin for any hope and fight that I had left in me.”

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