Celebrated London chef will depart debut restaurant
Merlin Labron-Johnson will depart Michelin-starred restaurant Portland after almost four years. The chef, who has recently worked on the opening of The Conduit in Mayfair, at Massimo Bottura’s Refettorio Felix, and with Help Refugees U.K. in Greece, will pursue a new restaurant in 2019. Portland gained a Michelin star in September 2015 after nine months open, while Johnson was only 24; its sister restaurant, Clipstone, opened in Fitzrovia August 2016.
Acclaimed udon noodle specialists sell out Hackney pop-up
Koya — the Soho, Bloomberg Arcade, and soon-to-be Victoria Market Halls udon noodle bar — has sold out its one-off izakaya dinner at Lily O’Brien’s celebrated jam shop and café, London Borough of Jam. For cancellation hunters, the dinner will take place 15 November.
Speciality coffee chain partners with corporate catering juggernaut
Taylor Street Baristas, one of London’s established speciality coffee shops, is partnering with Sodexo to roll out two franchised offers; Chapter and Verse, and a Taylor Street “partner” shop in Sodexo locations. The duo plan to start in London before reaching 400 locations worldwide.
High street business rate relief criticised by hospitality body
The trade body which represents the restaurant and bar industry, U.K. Hospitality has criticised chancellor Philip Hammond’s proposed £900 million business rate relief package, comparing the policy to “rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic.” The impact of business rates on restaurant insolvencies has been widely documented; U.K. Hospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said, “these measures ignore the fact that the current system doesn’t properly assess small businesses. This is the flaw in the whole system — rateable value does not reflect profitability.”