Turning Japanese… Chinese…. Thai…. Malaysian; Asian food is set to dominate the restaurant scene in the near future. Keep your tastebuds peeled for specialist ramen houses, UAE’s Noodle house making its UK debut, the expansion of the Vietnamese Pho chain, Brazil-Japanese fusion (hmmmm… the jury’s out on that one), and ‘stick specialists’ such as yakitori places.
Yo No! Yo! Sushi’s status as the UK’s only branded sushi retailer is about to be challenged by noodle mammoth Wagamama, who has launched a trial menu and takeaway service in London and is set to roll out the concept nationally. And there’s rumours of other smaller sushi chains about to hit the ground running: look out for Feng Sushi and Tsuru.
You may not have heard of Tim Bacon, the boss of Living Ventures, but Mancunians now have a reason to start shouting his name from the rooftops. For behold the man who says he will bring the Michelin Man to Manchester. His aim is for the new venture — based in Manchester House in the Spinningfields area along with two of his other restaurants, The Oast House and The Alchemist — to gain a star within the next two years. Aiden Byrne, the youngest UK chef to ever win a Michelin star,is set to be the chef, so let’s see if they’ve enough to tempt those southern-loving Michelin inspectors north.
We do keep on about this, but suddenly there may be a little low-energy lightbulb going on above some execs’ heads. Finally there are adult-friendly soft drinks creeping – and we do means snail’s pace here – onto the market. Halewood International are launching Faith, combining either Chardonnay, Merlot or Sauvignon Blanc grapes with fruit flavours, pitched at the female market; Zeo is pitched as a straight drink or mixer, comprising a blend of wild berries, tree and flower extracts with herbs and spices. Don’t ask, don’t get, folks.
(Not a) pizza cake after all, hey Jamie. The golden one’s new chain Union Jacks is being given ‘time to breathe’, as they say, rather than pushing ahead with opening 40 gazillion sites within the next 5 days. It may or may not be something to do with the fact that the concept, wood-fired flatbreads, may or may not be too similar to pizzas, also to be found in myriad other destinations around the country. The fact that they’ve renamed them ‘wood-fired pizzas’ has nothing to do with it either.
In case anyone was watching – and tough luck, Gregg, it seems they weren’t – Masterchef sidekick Gregg Wallace’s ‘70s-inspired venture in Bermondsey has belly-flopped spectacularly. A roasting from the critics didn’t help, but it seems we just weren’t as ready to roll back the years to crab paste sandwiches and Spam as Gregg was. Honestly, what were we thinking?