Welcome to our weekly round-up of all that’s happening in London’s food and drink scene.
Inside this week: Jamie Oliver, butchers, apps and new openings
Jamie Oliver Closures
Jamie might seem to have the golden touch, but his ‘flatbread pizza’ concept Union Jacks hasn’t been the success he’d have hoped. It’s been announced that three out of four of the existing Union Jacks sites will close after a poor year of trading, with Holborn and Chiswick among them. Once the closures take place, only the Covent Garden Piazza branch will remain.
Gastropub group Drake & Morgan, whose sites include The Refinery in Southwark and The Folly by Monument, will launch an app next week which allows customers to avoid queuing at the bar by browsing the menu, ordering and paying via their phones. They will then receive an alert when the order is ready and can either collect it from a ‘fast lane’ or have it delivered to the table. Called Q App, it will initially be trialled at The Drift in Heron Tower near Liverpool Street, but the aim is to roll it out across all Drake & Morgan venues.
A new spot on Broadway Market is to open in March, operating as a butcher’s shop by day and a restaurant in the evening. Hill & Szrok will sell homemade bacon, gammon and salami alongside other meats up until 6pm, while customers can choose their cuts of meat and have it prepared for them to eat on site come 7pm. It will be the second one thing by day, another by night venue on the street, along with this pie and mash shop turned gin palace.
Madrid-based chef David Muñoz has announced plans to open in Mayfair this year.You may not have heard of him, but he’s a big deal in Spain holding three Michelin stars (that’s the same number as Heston Blumenthal at The Fat Duck) at his restaurant DiverXo. He’s also got another, more casual street food-inspired tapas restaurant called StreetXo in Madrid, and it’s a second branch of this which is due to open on Old Burlington Street in June. Points of interest are set to include a trolley which will circulate the room serving one-off special dishes which aren’t on the menu.
StreetXo isn’t the only foreign restaurant seeking a London home in the near future. The second branch of Rome-original fish restaurant Assunta Madre is due to open in Mayfair in mid-February, while much-loved Japanese ramen chain Ippudo is to open its first European branch somewhere in central London this summer.
In terms of more local expansions, the team behind Soho’s hip seasonally-led restaurant 10 Greek Street are to open another one out east, this time called 8 Hoxton Square. It’s due towards the end of February and we’ll leave you to guess the address. Elsewhere, the guys who brought Bonnie Gull Seafood Shack to Fitzrovia have announced that they’ll open Bonnie Gull Seafood Café in Exmouth Market in April. On a larger scale, Vietnamese chain Pho have just secured their tenth site (their eighth in London), opening shortly on Chiswick High Road.
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