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Team CODE took a day out of London last week to have lunch at the Fordwich Arms in Kent. While we respect the decision by fellow train travellers to move away from nine food nerds discussing sharing-plate angst and hype-version, it was a literal and metaphorical breath of fresh air to arrive in Canterbury and zip a few miles along to the pub-restaurant.

The food, drinks and service were all exemplary, in line with the glowing reviews the Fordwich Arms has received, but what CODE particularly loved was the way chef Daniel Smith and GM Guy Palmer-Brown – both ex-Clove Club – and pastry chef Natasha Norton Smith have drawn together the team from the area and everyone feels invested in the success of the new incarnation of the historic site. Even better, seeing many local residents pop in for a drink and a bite showed that with care, it’s possible to have a broad fan-base that lasts beyond the initial opening excitement.

Have a good week


Essex Road is the location for a new bar from drinks experts Aaron Wall and Ciarán Smith. Homebody sees the pair, who have worked everywhere from the Waldorf Astoria in New York to Shoreditch favourite Callooh Callay, create a cosy, Ireland-inspired ‘living room’, with drinks to match (think Guinness, whisky and Irish beers). The food will be as cosy as the décor, with comfort food like Irish stew and poutine on offer when it opens later this month.

The Crown

After an initial announcement when it was to be known as The Harlot, Henry Harris and Harcourt Inns have decided to call their next venture, a pub in Chiswick, The Crown. It’ll have a slightly different menu to the other pubs in the group (The Hero of Maida, Three Cranes, The Coach), with a more Mediterranean focus, thanks to Sicilian-born head chef Daniele Zaffora. The seventeeth century building will have 120-covers and opens in January.

William IV

Another pub getting a makeover is the William IV (or Wiv as the locals used to call it). Located on the busy Harrow Road north of Ladbroke Grove, the pub has been taken over, with a new chef – Sebastien Lambot – and a spruced up décor. However the original features are intact and Sunday roasts and hearty dishes are sure to be popular with the west London crowd when it opens on 15 December. Those travelling from further afield will be able to stay in one of 15 bedrooms from next month.

Competition news

Hot on the heels of CODE’s 30 under 30 list, more great news about rising stars in hospitality. The finalists for the Gold Service Scholarship 2019 have been announced and the eight selected front-of-house talents range from Scotland to Oxford, London to Wiltshire. We wish them enormous luck for the finals on 21 January and look forward to hearing the results on 4 February.


The Harlot changed its name (see above) but Eggslut – a big hit in the US – will be sticking with its moniker when it launches in the UK early next year. The egg-focused chain has been operating since 2011 and has five locations in America, plus one in Beirut. It’s definitely not the first of its kind in London, but we can expect a big PR drive when it announces its first site.

The Halal Guys

Another US import is The Halal Guys, a street-food concept started in New York that focuses on hot sandwiches or plates with meat or falafel and toppings, slathered in spicy or mild sauce – simple, but obviously very popular. Since 2015, the operators have gone from one to 450 sites. In March they open their first London branch, in Leicester Square, and have have plans for 20 across the UK by 2023.


CODE is happy to hear that both Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and Bar Boulud are now open again, after the Mandarin Oriental fire… Leisure-activity based names are all the rage, like Dabbers and Swingers, but new arrival in St Anne’s Court, Bowls, is more about the receptacle than the sport… After parting company with Gizzi Erskine, Mare Street Market has pushed on with opening its main restaurant - The Dining Room has just launched… Rohit Ghai, straight off the back of opening Kutir, is launching a street-food venture, KoolCha, at the brand-new Boxpark in Wembley.

... and closing

A Michelin star and a stellar reputation haven’t been able to prevent the closure of the restaurant within the Bonhams auction house. Chefs Jackson Boxer and Merlin Labron-Johnson ate there last week in support of chef Theo Clench ahead of the 19 December closure. Meanwhile Stevie Parle announced on Friday that he is closing Rotorino to concentrate on his other restaurants, which include Pastaio and Craft. The five-year-old Haggerston site will serve its last pasta on 22 December.

Peter Boizot

CODE was sorry to hear of the death of PizzaExpress founder Peter Boizot. He created the first restaurant in 1965, and the pioneering chain went from strength to strength. Boizot sold PizzaExpress in 1993 (it is now owned by a Chinese private equity firm), but not before the jazz fan made live music an integral part of the identity. There are now more than 470 branches of PizzaExpress worldwide.

Claire Ashman

Claire Ashman has been appointed sales and marketing director of Home House, ahead of the launch of its new sister club Home Grown. Ashman joins from Hakkasan and will oversee all branding and communications, after working in a consultancy role for the last three months. Applications for founding members of the new club, which is focused on the business community, are now open.

Dave Strauss

He’s very well known on the hospitality scene for running the Goodman and Burger & Lobster restaurants but after ten years in charge, Dave Strauss is stepping down to take a break from restaurants. He described not working in hospitality at Christmas for the first time in 30 years as feeling “like a released pit pony”. We look forward to hearing what he does next.

Jason Atherton

Somewhat under the radar, Jason Atherton announced in an interview with industry title Square Meal that he is opening a tiny restaurant next door to his flagship Pollen Street Social. To be titled H.O.M.E., it will contain just 16 seats and will exist as a “purely creative outlet”, the chef-patron said. Last week on Instagram stories we saw Atherton dancing at the opening of King’s Social House in St Moritz.

The award-winning Chiltern Firehouse restaurant is a dining destination in London headed by Michelin-starred Chef Nuno Mendes. Our fine wine list is described as eclectic, our supplier list is well curated including niche and up-and-coming suppliers and our guests very knowledgeable.

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A well-established Vietnamese restaurant group with venues across London. Awarded the best pho in London by Time Out Magazine, our sites specialise in both authentic Vietnamese cooking as well as Saigon Street food which is served up by our delis across the capital.

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It's been one of the most anticipated restaurant openings in London and finally Din Tai Fung served its first dumplings in the capital last week. And when you're opening your first restaurant in the UK who do you invite to the launch? Stephen Fry and Boris Johnson, apparently. 

The Dumbwaiter has enjoyed the two-part BBC documentary on the Corinthia hotel. He wonders whether the show's star, GM Thomas Kochs will get his own show one day? Or, as one wag on Twitter suggested, play the next Bond villain?
Lee Tiernan of Black Axe Mangal has written for CODE about his love of loud music. He has specific taste but was gracious enough to allow the Dumbwaiter a few choruses of Queen’s greatest hits the other night (luckily it was closing time).

West is best: official. After three years of The Ledbury taking top spot in the OpenTable Top 100 restaurants, it’s been knocked back to number two by… its neighbour Core.

From Pop Brixton to Paris. Click here to read The Dumbwaiter's best bites of the week.

restaurant of the week
Patty & Bun Borough High Street

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