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Last Monday I travelled to Birmingham for the day to speak at C.H.E.F – the catering hospitality education forum. It had been a number of years since I'd been to the city and things have changed. Birmingham New Street station’s transformation is complete (and makes Euston look just as awful as it actually is) and the city’s hospitality industry is taking great strides in diversity and energy.

Not only are the local operators I spoke to doing interesting things but, unlike some other regional cities in the UK, they want to embrace London operators looking to come here. For some reason Birmingham (historically England’s second city after London) seems to get overlooked by some restaurants that have opened up in the likes of Manchester and Edinburgh. It's most definitely worth a visit.

Top of my list of recommendations – Smultronstalle, a truly unique bar with a killer menu of drinks, using ingredients that other bars discard, and Digbeth Dining Club, a street-food arena with real verve.

Have a good week.


Cecconi's Pizza Bar

Style meets substance on Old Compton Street with the news that what used to be the Soho Kitchen & Bar is becoming a Cecconi’s. It joins the other Cecconi’s restaurants in LA, Istanbul, Berlin and other cities, but it’s the first of a variation of the brand – it will be a bar serving cicchetti and pizza. The existing restaurants in The Ned and on Burlington Gardens remain as they are. We’ll have to wait till later in spring to find out more details about the new bar and its carby pleasures.


There’s a new bakery on the block and it comes with an extremely impressive pedigree. Fortitude Bakehouse, which opens on 1 March in Bloomsbury, is the creation of Jorge Fernandez and Dee Rettali, who worked together most recently at Fernandez & Wells. The new place, open from 8am to 4pm, will focus on slow-ferment craft baking, both sweet and savoury. Expect sourdough cakes, fermented barabrith and lots more – plus there will be classes and workshops.

Quality Chop House

Can’t get enough of the Quality Chop House experience? Us neither. So it’s three cheers for the news that they are expanding the retail space into the wine shop next door. And there will be a café too, so you can sit with an Allpress coffee and an excellent bacon sandwich, or buy a cookbook and some meat, or a pie to go. The new extended Quality Chop House opens in early March.


CODE has discussed the lack of good food options in north west London with many hospitality figures. Now a new restaurant in West Hampstead offers some hope. Ham (old English for home, apparently, not a pork product) has Australian chef Matt Osborne heading the kitchen, and he’s worked at The Ledbury, Terroirs, Salon and ToastED. It will serve brunch and dinner, showcasing seasonal British produce.

Zoe's Ghana Kitchen

Zoe Adjonyoh is bringing her popular Ghana Kitchen to a new location from 7 March. The residency will be at the Institute of Light in London Fields and will feature the west African menu she’s made famous (like that peanut butter stew) but also promises ‘lots of new and exciting dishes. She also plans to have collaborations throughout the year’s opening.


Why restrict yourself to one Latin American cuisine, when you can feature them all? A new restaurant in Waterloo, Paladar, will feature food and drinks inspired by Cuba, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru and beyond – with cocktails, art and music in the mix too. The menu, devised by chef Jose Rubio-Guevara, will also be entirely gluten-free.

Emmanuel Guinard

Emmanuel Guinard has just joined The Beaumont as food and beverage operations manager, after spending two years as general manager at La Petite Maison. Guinard previously worked for Alain Ducasse in Paris and London for seven years - originally moving to London as assistant manager at Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester before spending time at Rivea at The Bulgari Hotel and as restaurant director of The Grill Room in the Dorchester.

Tom Sellers

At the end of March, Tom Sellers will close Restaurant Story for a major renovation, five years after the Bermondsey restaurant launched. But fans of Sellers’ highly individual style need not worry, the chef is setting up an immersive pop-up nearby, with guest chefs, called Merry Men. Tickets go on sale today for the events, which run from 4-22 April. Click here for more info.


Head Chef, Farmacy

Farmacy is a one-of-a-kind plant-based restaurant and bar located on Westbourne Grove in Notting Hill.

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.

Click here to read more and apply

Head of Sales & Events, Dirty Bones

A rare opportunity has arisen to join the Dirty Bones Head Office team as Head of Sales & Events. The superstar we’re looking for will be a proactive, upbeat individual and demonstrate a real passion for driving sales and developing our private hire and reservations strategy. We’re in an exciting period of growth and looking for an ambitious, sparky individual to help push the business forward. Competitive salary, generous quarterly bonus scheme plus other perks available for the right person.

Click here to read more and apply


Nicky Haslam reviews Roganic in Marylebone

Tom Parker Bowles reviews The Fordwich Arms in Canterbury

Why it matters if you don't show up for a restaurant you've booked

What to do when laptops and silence take over your café?

Mon 19 Feb

Tues 20 Feb

Weds 21 Feb

Thurs 22 Feb

Fri 23 Feb

Sat 24 Feb

Sun 25 Feb

Where would you go to eat after making an important speech about Brexit? Well Boris Johnson decided to go to an exceedingly British restaurant. The Foreign Secretary was spotted having a Valentine's Day lunch at Rules in Covent Garden last Wednesday.

If you happened to be on the slopes in Courchevel last week, you might have seen David Walliams and Jack Whitehall at the French ski resort. However, The Dumbwaiter noticed that the two comedians were joined by Fortnum and Mason CEO, Ewan Venters.

The Dumbwaiter read a lovely article about Fergus and Margot Henderson in the Sunday Times. Margot recalls when they first properly met at the Eagle in Clerkenwell. "We talked about food, especially coriander, which I now realise was his way of schmoozing me. He hates coriander."

From Noho to Neal's Yard. Click here to read The Dumbwaiter's best bites of the week.


Monday – Wednesday | 20% off food

68 and Boston

Tuesday - Thursday | 15% - 20% off drinks

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