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All Posts By Cristina Diaconu

Brewhouse & Kitchen Is Welcomed in Milton Keynes

The British pub and microbrewery Brewhouse & Kitchen will open its doors to the public in Milton Keynes on Monday, the 23rd of April.

“We are really excited to be bringing our biggest pub and microbrewery to Milton Keynes, whilst also being part of the re-launch of 12th Street. We’re absolutely crazy about everything to do with brewing and showcasing quality beers and drinks, we brew on-site in full view of our customers, why not pop in and watch? The team and I are really looking forward to sharing that passion with the local community, whilst creating a destination experience for all to enjoy,” said Simon Bunn, Managing Director at Brewhouse & Kitchen.

The pub spans a massive 6,300 sq ft and it will showcase 250 fining covers internally, together with an additional 80 external seats available during the warmer months. The pub will also offer a private function room ideal for parties, meeting and events. To make sure customers enjoy the views over the rebranded 12th Street square, a stunning balcony was created.

The beers at Brewhouse & Kitchen will be brewed on-site up to four times a week, with many of them receiving names from key figures of Milton Keynes such as ‘Webber’s Vision’ who was credited with the inspiration for ‘new town’ Milton Keynes and ‘Leaping Man’, in tribute to athletic hero, Greg Rutherford, MBE and the world and Olympian champion long jumper. In addition, customers can also expect a wide range of gins, wines, cocktails, soft drinks and an impressive list of over 50 craft beers and ciders.

Food will be served from Monday to Sunday from 12 until 10pm and guests can enjoy starts such as Sticky BBQ or Hot Buffalo Chicken Wings, Soft Shell Tacos and Crispy Salt & Pepper Calamari with Garlic Mayo. There will also be a wide range of burgers and dogs, vegetarian options, together with mains featuring A whole rack of sticky BBQ Wings, Confit Duck Leg, their famous Beer Can Chicken, plus a wide selection of salads, sides and desserts.

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Britvic Launches Flavoured Sparkling Waters

Britvic Soft Drinks will be launching a new range of sparkling waters infused with fruity flavours. The Aqua Libra range is available in a premium 330ml can format in Raspberry & Apple, Tangerine, and Grapefruit & Pineapple, all with no added sugar, sweeteners or artificial flavourings.

This product is the perfect solution for a refreshing uplift for health-conscious consumers, as it has less than three calories per can. The contemporary pack design reinforces its ‘feel-good’ positioning and this, combined with its convenient, on-the-go, can format offers strong chiller standout and gives cues of refreshment, sophistication and simplicity.

“Across many categories in food and drink, we now often see smaller entrants re-setting category rules with products that are both tasty and healthy. Aqua Libra has purposely been designed by a small entrepreneurial team within Britvic and there is a lot of excitement surrounding this launch’s potential, particularly considering the recent introduction of the Sugar Levy. In Soft Drinks, Aqua Libra is the perfect choice for those who often prioritise health, but want bubbles with taste without the sugary sweetness of other soft drinks,” said Russell Goldman, Commercial Director, Foodservice & Licensed at Britvic.

Aqua Libra was initially launched in October 2017 exclusively into Boots and has been on sale in 550 of its stores. Now it is being rolled out more widely to selected retail partners.

“With huge growth opportunities expected for the booming water plus category, which is currently worth £279 million, as health remains high on the agenda for so many consumers now and in years to come, stocking a range of innovative waters such as Aqua Libra presents operators with a great way to tap into the health trend and drive sales,” further added Russell.

Britvic is one of the leading branded soft drinks businesses in Europe and South America, operating in and exporting to over 50 countries. It is also the largest supplier of branded still soft drinks in Great Britain and the second supplier of branded carbonated soft drinks.

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Billecart-Salmon Celebrates 200 Years

Billecart-Salmon Champagne House is celebrating this year 200 years since Elisabeth Salmon and Nicolas Francois Billecart founded it. To mark this milestone, the company is organising a gastronomic world tour that will cover countries such as Singapore, Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles and London.

The gastronomic events are being organised by three-star Michelin Chef Alain Passard and Billecart-Salmon, in partnership with acclaimed chefs and restaurants from the chosen locations. A special menu crafted to match the exquisite champagnes was created as well. In London, Chef Anne-Sophie Pic of La Dame de Pic at the Four Seasons Hotel, together with Chef Passard, has designed a sublime menu for the event on the 24th of May with perfectly harmonious food and champagne pairings.

The world tour includes: Odette restaurant with Chef Julien Royer in Singapore, Les Saisons restaurant with Chef Thierry Voisin in Tokyo, Jean-Georges restaurant with Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten in New York, Jean-Georges Beverly Hills restaurant with Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and La Dame De Pic London restaurant with Chef Anne-Sophie Pic in London.

The last celebration will be in June at the family estate in Mareuil-sur-Ay, where the story began back in 1818. There, the family will host the people who have championed their values and their wines and contributed to the success of the House throughout the years.

Billecart-Salmon has also produced an exclusive specially blended Bicentenary Cuvee to mark this occasion. In addition, 1818 magnums of the limited-edition Bicentenary Cuvee will be available to collectors around the world at independent wine shops.

As the 7th generation is about to take the helm, Billecart-Salmon will rename the Blanc de Blancs cuvee as Cuvee Louis, named after Elisabeth’s winemaker brother, marking his role in the history of the House. This joins the Nicolas Francois and Elisabeth vintage cuvees to honour the three founding members of Billecart-Salmon.

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UKHospitality Unveils Its Logo for the Summer Conference

As part of UKHospitality’s announcement of its inaugural event for the industry, it has revealed its new logo, which is a symbol of the modernity and dynamism of the newly merged association. This year’s Summer Conference will see leading hospitality industry figures gather to officially welcome UKHospitality on Monday, the 9th of July, at the Grand Connaught Rooms in London.

“We are very excited to be unveiling our new logo and announcing an event to formally bring our diverse membership together for the first time under the UKHospitality umbrella. Shaping the Future is the perfect platform for us to detail our plans on how we will champion the UK’s hospitality businesses, which operate across the UK – from FTSE 100 enterprises to multi-site and independent single-site operators,” said UKHospitality Chief Executive, Kate Nicholls.

‘Shaping the Future: Summer Conference’ is a yearly conference for the entire industry, where business leaders get together to discuss opportunities, exchange idea and explore the potential for collaboration with the government to further unlock growth. This will be the inaugural event for UKHospitality and will provide delegates with the vision of what the industry’s biggest trade body intends to deliver on behalf of the 200,000 businesses it represents.

“Shaping the Future will provide us with the chance for us to work together to redouble our influence on the Government in order to make hospitality a policy priority. The day will be a brilliant amalgamation of industry expertise and will give us an opportunity to share what we have planned for the future. Businesses both large and small are facing similar challenges and the conference will bring everyone together to discuss how we can ensure a prosperous future for our industry,” added Kate.

Representing more than 700 companies in a sector that employs 2.9 million people, UKHospitality speaks for a sector that represents 10% of UK employment, 6% of businesses and 5% of GDP. UKHospitality seeks to unlock the industry’s full potential as one of the biggest engines for growth in the economy and to ensure that the industry’s needs are effectively represented by engaging with government, the media, employees and customers.

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Babel House to Open in Mayfair

Babel House, a new restaurant located in the heart of Mayfair, will bring the vibrant sounds and delicate salty air from the multicultural port town of the Black Sea to London in early May.

Babel House combines the residential London feel with the elegant historic Odessan references. Designed by award winning firm AvroKO, the restaurant pays homage to the flow of ideas between the East and the West. With nods to modernism and Odessan Art Deco homes, the touches of white and green marble are complemented by accents of satin brass, dark wood and patterned tiles, whilst natural light pours from the cypress tree-lined outdoor seating area into the foyer and glass atrium.

Its menu will serve the Black Sea’s finest seafood, with fresh produce being delivered from the infamous Odessa Privoz. Traditional recipes will be served in generous portions on communal dishes and complemented with classic Eastern European liqueurs to recreate a gastronomically enhanced Black Sea food ceremony.

Appetisers consist of super-soft pike caviar with Borodinsky toast (all of their breads are made in house), traditional Salad Olivier with salmon and seared scallops, the house salt pickled vegetables (honey roast pepper, watermelon, cucumber and tomatoes), along with traditional lamb soup with Georgian spices and red borscht with sour cream and garlic. The main dishes include an array of seafood from the region such as pan-fried Black Sea Turbot, Blue Fish which is prepared in the in-house smoker and Goby, as well as traditional dishes such as slow cooked lamb shoulder, Beef Stroganoff, Odessan honey marinated duck, and many more.

The cocktail menu is inspired by Isaac Babel’s famed 1931 short stories called The Odessa Tales and its protagonist.

With a causal lunch service running from midday and dinner served until midnight, Babel House seats 110 covers and unites a personal service with a home away from home feel in the lavish Mayfair neighbourhood.

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Japanese Cakes at Yutaka

Yutaka, the Japanese food specialist, is launching its first ever sweet Japanese cakes with a range of mochi cakes knows as daifuku. These cakes are perfect for spring and are Japanese favourites at blossom picnics accompanied by Yutaka green tea.

The mochi cake is a traditional Japanese rice cake made from mochigome, which is a short-grain glutinous rice. It gets pounded in an age-old ritual until it can be shaped into small round cakes. Its centre is filled with a sweet, red bean paste to provide a tasty treat, as well as bringing those who eat it luck.

The original cakes used to be much larger and they were flavoured with salt instead of sugar, as the sugar was considered a luxury. Back in the 18th century, an entrepreneurial woman started selling sweet mochi cakes in her bakery and that’s when they became a phenomenon.

Yutaka’s range will include three varieties: Pink Mochi, White Mochi, and Yomogi Mochi, green in colour and flavoured with the Japanese Mugwart herb. These frozen cakes will be available from the end of April in single packs of 95g, priced at £1.50 – £2.00 each. Into the trade, they will be sold in boxes of 24 single-colour units with the boxes bundled as four.

Introduced to the UK market in 1995, the Yutaka range of authentic Japanese food products includes ingredients for sushi, sauces, soups, rice, noodles and easy to use meal kits. As it was the first brand in the market, it continues to be the leading authentic Japanese range in 16 countries across Europe and the Middle East.

The name behind the Yutaka brand, Tazaki Foods, was the pioneer of Japanese food in the UK when the company opened the first Japanese restaurant in the country. Since then, the company has been the leading supplier to the Japanese restaurants, hospitality industries and food manufacturers in the country.

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The Collective Launches Kefir Range

The Collective is launching at the end of this month a range of cultured milk drinks packed with billions of live cultures, called kefir. They will be available in 500ml bottles and in three delicious flavours: Natural, Mango ‘n’ Turmeric and Coconut ‘n’ Honey.

“We’re so excited to launch our kefir range in the UK as we’re big believers in the holistic health benefits of fermented food and are ready to take dairy to the next level with our kefir. We take pride in creating great tasting products, and kefir is no different. Our team has carefully selected innovative and delicious ingredients and a diverse blend of 13 culture strains to develop three great tasting and nutritious products,” said Amelia Harvey, co-founder of The Collective.

The Natural kefir is a creamy tasting drink with some slightly tart notes similar to the traditional natural yogurt and a gentle effervescence that makes it refreshing and moreish. For the Mango ‘n’ Turmeric product, the team has used the finest Alphonso mango and has added a pinch of turmeric that pair perfectly with the juiciness of the tropical fruit. The creamiest kefir is the Coconut ‘n’ Honey one, made with coconut milk, blossom honey and vanilla.

Enjoyed around the world for over two thousand years, kefir has been linked for centuries with positive health and well-being. The drink is made by fermenting milk with live cultures, much like a traditional yogurt, with the difference that kefir contains a diverse blend and sheer number of live cultures. Live cultures are widely known for improving lactose digestion in people who have difficulty digesting lactose.

The Collective branded kefir 500ml range will be available all around the UK starting with the end of April in Sainsbury’s and other retailers soon after, priced at £2.50 per bottle.

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GCA Completes ResDiary Transaction

The latest hospitality technology transaction led by GCA, the global investment bank, involved advising ResDiary, a provider of online restaurant reservation software, on its sale to French-listed hospitality group AccorHotels. This transaction follows a number of high profile tech deals for GCA with international strategic acquirers, such as Google, Verizon, ADP, and Amazon.

ResDiary is a leading software as a service (SaaS) platform for restaurant reservation and table management, used by over 8,600 venues across 60 countries and seating more than 160 million diners a year. Founded in 2004, the Glasgow-based company provides hospitality venues with a high-end table management solution that optimises food and beverage revenues, while controlling operational costs. The software is used globally and the company’s customers include TGI Fridays, Loungers, Sapporo Teppanyaki and over 35 Michelin-starred restaurants.

“ResDiary is a real UK SaaS success story. ResDiary has a differentiated proposition which resonates with its customer base, reflected in the Company’s rapid global growth and outstanding SaaS metrics. It has been a pleasure working with the ResDiary team and in AccorHotels they have the ideal partner for future growth,” said Adrian Reed, Managing Director at GCA Altium.

As a world-leading travel & lifestyle group and digital innovator, AccorHotels offers unique experiences in more than 4,300 hotels, resorts and residences, as well as in over 10,000 of the finest private homes around the world. The company provides innovative end-to-end services across the entire traveller experience with an unmatched collection of brands and rich history spanning close to five decades.

“We have had a very successful relationship with AccorHotels in Asia Pacific, and all the ResDiary team is thrilled to join the Group. We are looking forward to expanding our service on a more global level with AccorHotels,” said Mike Conyers, ResDiary Co-founder and CEO.

The ResDiary transaction was led by GCA Altium’s Adrian Reed and Sam Fuller, with support from Jon Stead and Durgesh Panchani, while a Brodies team led by Will McIntosh provided the shareholders with legal advice.

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Iceland Bans Palm Oil from Its Brand Products

Iceland has officially announced that it will be removing palm oil from all of its own brand products and a response from Greenpeace UK appeared without delay.

“Iceland has concluded that removing palm oil is the only way it can offer its customers a guarantee that its products do not contain palm oil from forest destruction. This decision is a direct response to the palm oil industry’s failure to clean up its act,” said John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK.

“As global temperatures rise from burning forests, and populations of endangered species continue to dwindle, companies using agricultural commodities like palm oil will come under increasing pressure to clean up their supply chains. Many of the biggest consumer companies in the world have promised to end their role in deforestation by 2020. Time is running out not just for these household brands but for the wildlife, the climate and everyone who depends on healthy forests for their survival,” he further explained.

Figures from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF) show that around 24 million hectares of Indonesia’s rainforest was destroyed between 1990 and 2015 – an area almost the size of the UK. The Indonesian Ministry of Forestry indicates 2.7 million hectares of deforestation between 2012 and 2015, which is 1 football pitch every 25 seconds.

To tackle this problem, Greenpeace challenged 16 leading members of the CGF to demonstrate progress by disclosing the mills that produced their palm oil, and the names of the producer groups that controlled those mills.

Under pressure from Greenpeace and other NGOs, eleven brands have made steps towards transparency: General Mills, Mars, Mondelēz, Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser, Unilever, Colgate-Palmolive, Ferrero, PepsiCo and PZ Cussons. The other five brands involved, Hershey, Kellogg’s, Kraft Heinz, Johnson & Johnson, and Smucker’s, have failed so far to take even this step.

Greenpeace recommends that the next step would be for brands to remove suppliers, producers and traders known to be destroying rainforest from their supply chains, and then to take responsibility for investigating the remaining producer groups to identify any that are clearing rainforests or peatlands, or exploiting workers or local communities. Ultimately, brands and traders must exclude any producer that refuses to reform, even if the palm oil it is supplying to them comes from different concessions to those it is clearing.

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Royal Lancaster London Celebrates Its Staff

Royal Lancaster London celebrated in March its 31 colleagues that were nominated for the ‘Long Service Awards’. The 31 members of staff had a combined length of service at the hotel of 355 years. Many other colleagues who worked at the hotel for five and ten years were also recognised, as well as two people who have been there for 34 and 40 years respectively.

“It is an enormous achievement for both our colleagues and for us as a hotel to be able to celebrate their 35 and 40-year careers at Royal Lancaster London. The hotel has gone through so many changes in the past 50 years since it opened, and to have retained our staff through the years and in today’s fluid employer market is just fantastic,” said Sally Beck, General Manager at Royal Lancaster London.

Located on the boundary of Hyde Park, Royal Lancaster London had recently completed its £80 million refurbishment, which included the lobby, all 411 guestrooms and suites, the brand new Hyde Lobby Bar and reception lobby for the Nine Kings banqueting space.

Moreover, the hotel was recently announced as one of the Sunday Times Top 100 Companies to Work for, retaining its spot in the ranking for the third consecutive year. Royal Lancaster London sits alongside businesses that display the highest standards of team engagement, proving that its colleagues are truly some of the happiest in hospitality.

Royal Lancaster London opened its doors for the first time in 1967 and now it is a contemporary, stylish hotel that offers rooms and suites over 18 floors, with panoramic views across London’s Hyde Park. Two restaurants, a gym and a central London location make it the preferred choice for leisure and business in London.

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