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Last week I spent 36 hours in Florence with La Marzocco – the makers of premium hand crafted coffee machines. While enjoying the last of the Tuscan summer sunshine over plates of pasta and bistecca alla Fiorentina, learning about the history of the Florentine headquartered company and seeing the ethos behind the business was inspirational.

Employees on the factory floor get espresso breaks every two hours and every year, they’re asked to provide ideas that will improve their workplace - the winning one gets implemented by management and the individual gets rewarded for it. I always think we should look to other industries for inspiration as to how we can make hospitality a better one.

I’ll leave you with this quote from the entrance to the La Marzocco HQ. “The frontier is a zone typically touched on by artisans. Difficult and dangerous, invisible to the naked eye, and practically inscrutable to market research, the frontier can at best be sensed by using qualities that are rarely accepted by present day industrial culture: intuition, sensitivity and a desire to accept managed risk as an essential part of our work.”

Have a good week.



A Japanese/Mediterranean restaurant with sportsmen and a singer as backers…? Anything’s possible. Zela is coming to the capital mid-month as a sister to its Ibiza flagship and will be sited within the ME London hotel on the Strand. Rafael Nadal, Cristiano Ronaldo and Enrique Iglesias are the VIP names attached and the menu involves European produce using Asian techniques and flavours.

Little Mercies

It promises to bring a slice of east London to Crouch End, so new bar Little Mercies obviously has big ideas. It’s the work of Alan Sherwood (Scout) and Max and Noel Venning of Three Sheets and Bar Three and is planned to launch later this month on Broadway Parade with dishes like panko-fried chicken and brown butter bennies, but the focus is on cocktails, as you’d expect.

Kalifornia Kitchen

No, it’s nothing to do with the Kardashians… Kalifornia Kitchen is the name of a soon-to-open London restaurant from the people behind Erpingham House, a vegetarian and vegan spot in Norwich. Its spin-off in the capital will be on Percy Street in Fitzrovia and the plant-based menu will feature hearty dishes and speciality, very veggie-centric coffees.

The Switch

Applications are now open for restaurants to join in with this year’s Switch, which starts on 15 October. It offers those front-of-house staff who take part the opportunity to do a ‘stage’ at another restaurant, with the idea of seeing different ways of working and expand their network. It’s the brainchild of Emma Underwood, who is GM at Stem. Click here for more info.


When Neil Gill closed Gilly’s Fry Bar, the many fans of the delicious crispy things it offered were disappointed, but are waiting patiently for the mooted move to the west end. In the meantime, he’s just opened Goods Office in Crouch Hill, as an all-day casual restaurant with coffee, sharing plates and snacks.

...and re-opening

Bounce, the ping pong bar in Farringdon, has just starting serving again; Lorne in Victoria is back after its flooding woes on 11 September, and on the same date Scout starts up again after its relocation to Hackney. From 12 September, Winemakers Deptford reopens as a wine bar serving cheese and charcuterie.

Yann Bouvignies

Yann Bouvignies has been promoted to head bartender at Scarfes Bar in the Rosewood hotel. French-born Bouvignies, who has been with the hotel for two years, with previous experience at The Connaught and Purl – will, after working with his predecessor Greg Almeida on cocktail menus, launch his own creations next year.

Yotam Ottolenghi

Yotam Ottolenghi is celebrating the publication of his new book, Simple, with a series of podcasts. Simple Pleasures has seven episodes and features the restaurateur in conversation with such noted guests as Nigella Lawson, Michael Palin and Lin Manuel Miranda. You can listen to them through the usual podcast apps.

Restaurant Manager, Bonnie Gull Fitzrovia

Looking for an experienced restaurant manager to work in our flagship neighbourhood restaurant serving up day boat, sustainable British fish & seafood at our restaurants in Fitzrovia.

We’re a friendly team, working with lots of regular customers of all age-groups and backgrounds. Our style is ‘casual excellence’ - think Michelin starred knowledge and professionalism served up in a casual, seafood shack environment. The right candidates will be energetic, customer focused and passionate about food & wine.

Click here to read more

Assistant Manager, The Zetter Hotel

The Zetter Hotel and Restaurant are part of The Zetter Group, known for value driven, boutique properties, rich with character, distinct personality, wit & style. It is this attention to detail, narrative and the guest experience that sets their properties apart from the competition.

Throughout the day, our Head Chef Ben and his team also offer delicious menus for dinner, lunch, brunch and breakfast. We are looking for an Assistant Manager to provide the greatest experience possible for both guests and members.

Click here to read more

The Dumbwaiter noticed that Jason Atherton was also in Florence last week. The chef was spotted dining at Gucci Osteria, Massimo Bottura’s restaurant on Piazza della Signoria.

Meanwhile at Meatopia this weekend, the late summer sunshine caught a few chefs unawares – ROVI's Neil Campbell had to cover his burnt neck with a teatowel and St Leonards' Andrew Clarke nearly melted in his metal abbatoir apron.

Congratulations to Jimi Famurewa on his appointment as the ES Magazine’s new restaurant critic. Those infamous kitchen posters of all the mugshots need updating... again.

Coca-Cola is buying Costa for £3.9bn. Looks like someone woke up and smelled the coffee.

From Kingham to Covent Garden. Click here for The Dumbwaiter’s best bites of the week.

restaurant of the week
bar of the week
Humble Grape Liverpool Street

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