Hot concepts—the back catalogue 5
3 May, 2012
Peach Report’s guide to the casual concepts most worth a visit at the moment—including a host of burger joints and new takes on the pub format
The first stop on a spring-time casual dining tour of London should be the new concourse development at King’s Cross station, where usual suspects including Pret a Manger, Starbucks and Upper Crust are part of the action. There are more interesting developments from the likes of Giraffe, Benito’s Hat, Fuller’s and Leon—for all of whom this is a first station venture. It is the fourth launch for hot Mexican concept Benito’s Hat, while Giraffe’s venture is in its new Stop format—both are open from early to late.
See the Benito’s Hat and Giraffe websites.
Fuller’s King's Cross launch at Kings Cross is The Parcel Yard pub, now the biggest station pub in the country. Another interesting new station development is The Merchant of Bishopsgate at Liverpool Street—the latest in the ‘Beer House’ concept from SSP, with the focus on craft beers and traditional food. There’s another site at Charing Cross and one planned for Paddington. SSP says the £1.2m pub is a blueprint for its future modern pubs.
See the Fuller’s and SSP websites.
Among the big new restaurant launches of recent months is Ceviche, a Peruvian restaurant on Frith Street in Soho. Reviews have been good, and its fresh, zingy flavours and marinated fish should be popular among both south American and sushi fans. The restaurant also follows many in Soho lately of going after the informal, homely, shabby chic vibe. Another Peruvian restaurant, Lima, will open in Rathbone Place in June.
See the Ceviche website.
Sticks n Sushi is another cosmopolitan opening, blending design and operational nous from Denmark with sushi and yakitori from Japan close to Wimbledon Broadway. The company has nine branches in Cophenhagen but this is its first in the UK, and it has its sights set on more. The emphasis is on sharing plates and very flexible dining.
See the Sticks n Sushi website—and check out the latest issue of Peach Report for a more in-depth profile and photos.
Also highlighted in the new issue of Peach Report, the ‘proper’ burger joint is one of the hottest concepts around at the moment. Honest Burgers in Brixton is among the most interesting new arrivals on the scene, turning out superb burgers and chips from a tiny market unit, and getting queues round the block.
See the Honest Burgers website.
Honest won’t stay this small for long, and could well follow the path of fellow independent Meat Liquor, which has just opened Meat Market, a new venture inside Jubilee Market Hall in Covent Garden. Queues are likely to be on the scale of its original incarnation—though the emphasis on the new place is speed and a quick in-and-out. It might well preface a wider roll-out for the Meat Liquor concept.
See the Meat Liquor website.
Now almost the veteran of the burger revolution, Byron is consistently interesting in its innovation and refusal to either compromise its burger production or to follow the template approach to roll-out. This chain strikes the balance between quality and casual better than most. It has also just launched its own beer—the Byron Pale Ale in association with the Camden Brewery.
See the Byron website.
Pub-wise, one of the big London launches in recent weeks is The Jugged Hare, the tenth venue from Ed and Tom Martin’s ETM Group. The 4,000 square feet site on the corner of Chiswell Street and Silk Street near the Barbican has a long range of classic British dishes with the emphasis on game. This too now has its own bottled pale ale, brewed with Sambrook’s Brewery.
See The Jugged Hare website.
Yet another operator brewing its own beer is Mitchells & Butlers’ Nicholson’s brand, which has devised a special recipe with the St Austell Brewery for the launch of its new Covent Garden pub, The White Swan. One of Nicholson’s most ambitious and food-focused venues to date, it opens on 9 May and will be well worth checking out.
See The White Swan website.
Real ale is very much the focus at The Draft House, which opens its latest venue on Lordship Lane in East Dulwich on 8 May. It’ll be worth a pint or two if you haven’t yet visited a Draft House.
See The Draft House website.
One of the most intriguing pub concepts of recent times is The Thirsty Bear (pictured), billed as the capital’s first ‘pull your own pint’ pub. It features pumps with self-service dispensers to avoid the need to queue, plus built-in table iPads from which to order food, connecting straight to the kitchen. The Thirsty Bear is in Blackfriars and is acting as a showcase for the technology from the Robot Pub Group, which could be rolled out to other operators. Is this the pub of the future?
See The Thirsty Bear website.