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It's a familiar scene in most restaurants these days. Diners of all ages taking a discreet snap of their meal with a smartphone – whether it's for social media or an aide-memoire. We've become used to it and I think for the most part, it's a harmless way of 21st century life.

The recent rise of some chefs and restaurants creating 'Instagrammable dishes' on the one hand seems ludicrous, but on the other, we cannot underestimate the power of social media in this day and age as both a marketing and sales tool. But are we starting to see a backlash?

The Sunday Times reports of a private members' club in London that gives members a sticker to put over their camera phone – and diners at Eleven Madison Park in New York are now being asked to put their phones in a box during their meal. Is social media in restaurants the new smoking? See you on the terrace.

Have a good week.


Big Mamma

Victor Lugger and Tigrane Seydoux, the people behind the vast La Felicitá and Big Mamma group of restaurants in Paris, who specialise in Italian-style concepts, are to open in London. The as-yet-unnamed restaurant, scheduled for ‘early 2019’, will be on Great Eastern Street and will seat 160 in a modern design.

Pucci Mayfair

The chef Tilly Turbett (ex-Noma and Gordon Ramsay) is to open a new iteration of a familiar name. Pucci Mayfair will open mid-November on Maddox Street and will in part be inspired by the famous Pucci Pizza on the King's Road – although there will be other Mediterranean dishes beyond Italian on the menu.


And talking of Italian, there’s a new one opening on Portobello Road this week. Artisan is from the same team as UKAI in Notting Hill and the chef Roberto Vezzani has made a few global twists on the classic Italian dishes (think yuzu mustard roast chicken and spaghetti with clams and bonito flakes).


Is there a WhatsApp group for ex-Noma chefs? It would be huge. Another alumnus is opening a restaurant in London; Hot Dinners reports that Leonardo Pereira will cook Iranian food at Nutshell, which will launch on St Martins Lane in January. Until then, Pereira is previewing dishes, pop-up style, at Hopscotch on Brick Lane.


Vermuteria, Anthony Demetre’s latest, is now open in Coal Drops Yard – along with the Hart Group’s cluster of restaurants, already a smash hit on social media. Late-night joint Ichibar is open in Chinatown, while across town in West Hampstead, Heads + Tails is now serving and in Elephant and Castle, cool new bar Diogenes the Dog kicks off in early November. 

... and fundraising

Fans have until Friday to help Peckham favourite The Begging Bowl with its crowdfunder to expand – it’s on Kickstarter, while Sourced Market has a campaign with Crowdcube to raise £750k and has launched a coffee cart as a new revenue stream. No details, but Magpie co-owner James Ramsden has sent out email mooting another ‘prime location’ that diners might want to invest in…

Merlin Labron-Johnson

Merlin Labron-Johnson has announced that he has stepped down from Clipstone and Portland to focus on his role as consultant chef at the restaurant within new members’ club The Conduit and plan his own place next year. His socially conscious work includes contributing to Refettorio Felix, and he’s currently cooking in refugee camps in Greece.

Laurence Isaacson


CODE was very sorry to hear of the death of legendary restaurateur Laurence Isaacson. He co-founded Home House and made Chez Gérard an early chain smash hit, while gaining a reputation for his theatrical personality. From flipping burgers in his youth to co-chairman of the reinvented Soho classic L’Escargot, Isaacson was a true giant of hospitality. Our condolences to his many friends and family.

Pascal Wiedemann

The chef Pascal Wiedemann, of the popular Six Portland Road, and who had previously worked at Racine and Terroirs, has shared details of his plans in Oxford. Pompette, opening next month in the Summertown area and which he will run with wife Laura, will be a restaurant and wine bar focusing on modern European dishes.

Angelo Sato

It was a shame that his bento-box site in Old Street closed, so CODE is pleased to see that chef Angelo Sato, of Trinity and Restaurant Story, has launched a shokuji restaurant in Bermondsey. The grab-and-go or custom-made chirashi rice bowls at Omoide are high quality and aimed at the busy office workers in the area.

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Street & Co is a small, specialist food, drink and lifestyle and destination PR agency representing a varied selection of clients including Tate, Chinatown, Camden Market, Where the Pancakes are and The Dingle Distillery.

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Farmacy is a one-of-a-kind plant-based restaurant and bar located on Westbourne Grove in Notting Hill. We have our own private plot of land in Kent where we grow biodynamic vegetables for the restaurant.

We are committed to serving delicious, nourishing plant-based food and drinks that support health and well-being, as well as being respectful of our planet. We are looking for an experienced, enthusiastic and talented Head Chef to lead and inspire the team

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To the Connaught last Monday evening to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Connaught bar. Master mixologist Agostino Perrone was on hand to mix a martini or two and welcome guests including Fay Maschler and Mark Wogan. 

It’s not often The Dumbwaiter rocks up to a restaurant on the same day it opens its doors but to celebrate Lazy Susan’s birthday, he decided to have lunch at Berenjak in Soho. The Iranian restaurant was heaving – just as well Giles Coren, who was finishing lunch, kindly offered up his table. 

Coal Drops Yard is officially open and the latest development in King’s Cross is home to a number of new restaurants. The Dumbwaiter ventured down on Thursday evening to check out the Hart Bros’ enclave of establishments, where he spotted Jeremy Lee and Simon Hopkinson enjoying dinner at The Drop wine bar.

From Bicester Village to Bloomberg Arcade. Click here to read The Dumbwaiter’s best bites of the week.

restaurant of the week
Brother Marcus
bar of the week
Mr Fogg's Society of Exploration

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