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At an industry drinks party the other night conversation turned to service. In between mouthfuls of British wagyu steak sandwiches and sips of Lanson Champagne, one guest mentioned that good service and hospitality in this country is now so rare. Although I wouldn’t fully agree with this – I do understand what the person meant.

Over dinner the following evening at the Petersham in Covent Garden, I mentioned this to a friend who has worked as a front of house in the industry both in London and the US – discussing whether service in America is better because of the tipping culture. It will be interesting to see whether this will be the case in the future, with a number of high-profile restaurants trying to phase out tipping in the States.

Of course the other thing it comes down to is training and experience. Restaurants are being opened and managed by younger people these days which means staff are being trained in different ways – the knowledge and wisdom from the more seasoned operators are no longer getting passed down in the same way.

Have a good week.


Little Kolkata

For fans of the Little Kolkata supper clubs, news that the team is opening a permanent site in Covent Garden is a winner. The Shelton Street site, due to launch in June, will feature Bengali cuisine, thanks to the Calcuttan and Bangladeshi roots of its founders Prabir Choattopadhyay and Biswajit Deb Das. So expect sharing plates of truffle paratha, Calcuttan mustard cod and cardamom brownies with rose ice cream. 

St John at Hackney Brewery

On 16 June a new craft brewery, bar and restaurant opens in the newly renovated Hackney Central arches, and it’s got a good ethos. The beers and food at St John at Hackney Brewery (no relation to the Clerkenwell institution) will be priced so that the whole local community can get involved – and there will be roving kitchen concepts, with a Cypriot theme to kick things off.


The bread at Chiswick hotspot Hedone is spoken of in hushed tones of respect, so the news that Mikael Jonsson has launched a standalone bakery for wholesale in Vauxhall is great news. Even better for those who only want one or two loaves – or some of the spectacular patisserie – you can buy them on Saturday mornings from Dynamic Vines at Spa Terminus. 


Meanwhile in another part of west London, the bread may be gold plated… Notting Hill Persia has worked with CDG Leisure to secure a site on Notting Hill Gate to open a luxury dining experience called Beluga – complete with Versace utensils and Roberto Cavalli wallpaper. It will have a Persian theme, like the company’s other side, Madhi in Hammersmith, but richer, in every sense.


Winner of this week’s most-photographed opening is probably Neptune, the restaurant inside the new Principal hotel in Bloomsbury - partly thanks to its cool logo and a good pedigree - Brett Redman and Margaret Crow, formerly of The Richmond in Hackney. Meanwhile snaps of another new hotel site, the Leopard Bar in the the Rubens at The Palace, have been spotted too.

...and closing

Hospitality people around the UK felt for Paul Rawlinson when he blogged about the difficulties faced in making his Scandinavian restaurant Norse work, so it was very sad to hear at the end of last week that the Harrogate site has now closed. We wish him well for his next venture. At another end of the scale, online delivery company Hungryhouse has just shut up shop too - after its sale to Just Eat, it was a matter of time.

Aquiles Chavez

The acclaimed Mexican chef Aquiles Chavez will be a guest at Santo Remedio next month, for three days of special menus – including his mother’s mole verde recipe, and rabbit, Tulancingo-style. Chavez is a big name in Mexico, not least for his restaurants across the country and TV shows. His first night, 13 June, will be a collaboration menu with Santo Remedio's Edison Diaz-Fuentes.

Adam Handling

Adam Handling has been announced as the executive chef at the Belmond Cadogan Hotel when it re-opens later this year in Chelsea. The hotel has undergone a four-year refurbishment and when Handling joins, he will oversee all the food and beverage operations – as well as continuing with this two restaurants and zero-waste cafe.

Harts Group

Will crowdfunding become a standard method for opening restaurants in the future? It looks more likely with the news that Harts Group, who are already well established with Barrafina, Quo Vadis and El Pastor, have launched a CrowdCube campaign to raise £750,000 for a new, large Barrafina in the Coal Drops Yard development in King's Cross. The pedigree, location and concept are certainly strong.

Niall Keating

The acclaimed young chef at Whatley Manor is getting involved in Social Sunday, the initiative launched by Jason Atherton a few years ago to support Hospitality Action. Keating will cook a very special four-courses-each dinner with his mentor Sat Bains at the hotel on 1 July, tickets can be bought here. And there will be other events coming up, which CODE will feature.


Junior Sous Chef, KILN Soho

We are looking for a talented and creative chef with a few years experience as a chef in a fast paced restaurant. A back ground in Thai food is absolutely not necessary… we’ll teach you that!

We have developed numerous wait team into management levels, KPs into commis chefs and GMs into partners and are looking to continue this policy

Click here to read more and apply

Brand Marketing Manager, Hawksmoor

We’re looking for a Brand and Content Marketing Manager to join Hawksmoor Executing the brand marketing strategy and overseeing local marketing activity. 

Careers with Hawksmoor Group are among the best – generous pay and benefits, award-winning restaurants, unrivalled career opportunities. 

Click here to read more and apply

PR Account Executive, Sauce Communications

Founded in 2001, Sauce is an award-winning lifestyle PR & communications agency specialising in food & drink, travel, restaurants, bars & wellness brands.

Our growing marketing & digital department is on the hunt for a PR Account Executive to join the team. Previous experience within a PR role preferred, strong writing skills, great attention to detail, and a can-do attitude.

Click here to read more and apply


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Tues 29 May

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You can trust Kylie Minogue to throw a good bash. The singer celebrated her 50th birthday over the bank holiday weekend at Chiltern Firehouse.

To the newly launched Leopard Bar in Victoria last Wednesday evening for Sauce Communications' 17th birthday party. Guests at the bash included Bloomberg’s Richard Vines and William Sitwell, who took to the floor to make a speech and congratulate Sauce founders Nicky and Jo.

The Dumbwaiter has noticed that Giles Coren’s Instagrams have improved over the past couple of weeks – turns out he's had some lessons from Clerkenwell Boy. @KentishTownBoy is still available, Giles.

From Spinningfields to Sawbridgeworth. Click here for the Dumbwaiter’s best bites of the week.

Laurent at Café Royal

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