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It's been impossible to ignore the headlines in the papers over the past few weeks about the demise of the high-street restaurant chain. While I'd never wish a business to fail, I cannot help but feel that in some cases it's been a case of larger groups remaining somewhat oblivious to independent competitors and failing to understand the change in consumer behaviour.

There's been a paradigm shift in how people eat out. The new generation of diners have a far better knowledge of food and drink, they want an experience and they want to chase trends. As a result, they're drawn to the independents and shy away from the cookie-cutter spaces. It will be very interesting to see what 2018 holds for the national restaurant groups – the sensible ones should be on a major fact-finding mission around London’s buzzing indie scene – but I think we're at the beginning of the end of large chains.

Have a good week.



The much-anticipated next opening for JKS restaurants is taking shape. Brigadiers will open in the Bloomberg Arcade in May, and will feature everything from chotta chatpata (fiery small plates) to whole suckling lamb biryani on the menu, which focuses on Indian barbecue. However this ‘tavern’ will be as much about socialising as food, with sport on screens, pool table, shoe shine and more. Bespoke beers and quirky cocktails feature too – across the eight separate areas.


Billing your latest street-food venue as a ‘stadium’ is bold, but then Street Feast is always one for a strong statement. Public, which takes over an 86-year-old site in Woolwich, promises the same party atmosphere as the operator’s other spaces (although a trampoline cage and a secret tunnel are firsts) – and there will be eight interesting-sounding food options when it opens this weekend, including new names Salt Shed, HENhaus, Lava Bar (from the team behind You Doughnut) and Rust Bucket Pizza Co.

Fare Bar and Canteen

7am on a Sunday is an interesting time to announce big news, but Michael Sager had clearly had his coffee yesterday when he took to Instagram to tell us about Fare Bar and Canteen, his new venture in Clerkenwell. The Sager and Wilde founder is working with drinks expert Marcis Dzelzainis and Assembly Coffee on an all-day sourdough pizza joint, with other healthy dishes, ‘mindblowing’ coffee, plus cocktails. We expect a drip-drip-drip of further details before a promised June opening.

Ladies of Restaurants

CODE has much respect for the Ladies of Restaurants initiative, allowing women to share their stories and experiences at supportive and highly entertaining events. Now LOR is launching a training programme for women in hospitality to learn more about other aspects of the industry. First up, a wine education with expert Sandia Chang on 6 March. The £20 tickets include tasting, Marksman snacks and (we anticipate) lots of fun. Details here.

Yard Sale Pizza

Talking of pizza, the Yard Sale team are opening their fourth site, in Leystonstone, on 12 March. The winners of last year’s OFM Cheap Eats award are sharing the love with locals at launch with prizes hidden in their takeaway boxes (“dough” that can be used for food and drinks). Sounds like a shrewd marketing move for a concept that has loyal local followings elsewhere.


St James Market gets a major boost on Thursday when Ramael Scully’s eponymous restaurant opens. The eye-popping array of pickles, preserves and ferments is in place and diners can sit at communal tables or a long counter to watch the open-kitchen action. As you expect from a former head chef at the Ottolenghi empire’s restaurant Nopi, vibrant flavour combinations are on the menu, for which Scully is sourcing great British produce.

Agnieszka Josko

Flemings Mayfair has promoted Agnieszka Josko from restaurant manager to food and beverage operations manager. She has been with the hotel for two years, working with chef Shaun Rankin on the Ormer Mayfair restaurant and will continue to do so, but adds strategic planning, marketing and overall running of all food and drink for the property to her responsibilities. Josko had previously worked at Claridge’s, The Connaught, The Greenhouse and with Shaun Rankin at his Jersey restaurant.

Holly Chaves

Tottenham-bred Holly Chaves has come home, metaphorically, to open her Wine & Rind cheese shop and toastie stall at the recently revamped Holcombe Market. Well-known for
her exuberant approach to – and expertise in – interesting cheesemakers, Chaves will be selling a variety of local and far flung produce, plus natural wines and local beers. CODE is lodging an early interest in trying Chaves’ Breville-toastie creation, a bread-based
cacio e pepe.


General Manager & Head Chef, Monocle Cafe

We are seeking an ambitious and energetic, hands-on General Manager and talented Head Chef to join our growing team as we expand the Monocle Café into London’s West End and beyond.

Candidates should be familiar with the Monocle brand and have relevant experience in the industry. We can offer you the chance to be a part of this exciting and innovative business with excellent career growth opportunities

Click here to read more and apply

Chefs & Front of House staff of all levels, Lahpet

                                              Lahpet is one of London’s only restaurants to specialise in authentic Burmese cooking. After receiving critical acclaim in its London Field’s warehouse during 2017 it is now moving to a larger site in Shoreditch. 

Lahpet is looking to make multiple hires over the coming weeks but with emphasis on CDP & Sous level chefs. This is an exciting opportunity to join a growing team as well as a restaurant that is bringing a new cuisine to the market.

Click here to read more and apply


Jay Rayner reviews The Greyhound Café, Fitzrovia

David Sexton reviews The Garden Café, Lambeth

The casual dining crunch: why are Jamie’s Italian, Strada, Byron (and the rest) all struggling?

Death of the big chain? Household names open pop-ups in order to claw back young diners with a taste for food trends

Mon 26 Feb

Tues 27 Feb

Weds 28 Feb

Thurs 1 March

Sat 3 March

It was all go at the annual Scotch Egg Challenge at the Canonbury Tavern on Wednesday evening. 23 entrants competed for the much sought-after title with the eventual winner being Smoking Goat for their Tamworth pork and fermented crab scotch egg. Judges included our very own Lisa Markwell, who is happy not see another scotch egg for a while.

The Dumbwaiter ended his week with dinner at the Colony Grill Room on Friday night. He was in good company at the Corbin and King restaurant. Gary Barlow, Paul Smith and David Mitchell were all in the dining room at the Mayfair hotel.

From Soho to Stockwell. Click here to read The Dumbwaiter's best bites of the week.

Cafe Boheme

Sunday | 25% off total bill

The Coral Room

Sunday - Friday | 30% off total bill

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