Amuse-bouches: The latest restaurant news bites

As the restaurant industry struggles under the threat of coronavirus, this week’s news bites include a new opening from Taiwanese chain Bao and the re-launch of chef Theo Randall’s successful wine-matching dinners.


Michel Roux: Celebrated French-born chef Michel Roux Snr., who founded Le Gavroche and The Waterside Inn along with his brother Albert, has died at the age of 78. Roux passed away on Wednesday evening surrounded by his family at his home in Bray, Berkshire. It is believed he was suffering from a chronic lung condition.

Coronavirus: Pub, bar and hotel bookings in the UK have plummeted due to the public fear of coronavirus, according to trade body UKHospitality. Hotel occupancy has fallen 15% while eating and drinking out has declined by 7%. The trade body also warned that forward bookings across hotels, restaurants, pubs and bars for the next two to three months has fallen by around 50% compared with the same period the year before.

Sichuan Impression: A Chinese restaurant chain in California is checking temperatures at the door before allowing diners into the premises in order to control the Covid-19 outbreak. Sichuan Impression, which has three restaurants in California, has employed the measure since late January. The restaurant uses an infrared thermometer to check each customer that comes through its door. If a diner is suffering from a fever, the restaurant said it would help the individual seek medical attention. It said any person failing to comply with the measures would be denied a meal.


Cafe Bao: As reported by the Evening Standard, London-based Taiwanese chain Bao is to open an all-day bakery in King’s Cross. Called Cafe Bao, the restaurant is said to be inspired by Taiwan’s oldest restaurant, Bolero. It will be open for breakfast with dishes include bao loaf with syrup and butter, ham hock congee pie; and bacon, egg and cheese spring onion pancake. Also on offer with be Pump Street chocolate Bao cookies.

The Good Wine Shop: London wine shop, The Good Wine Shop, is set to open its fourth site, a shop and wine bar in Teddington later this month. The new shop, which is on the site of former indie merchant, Famous Wines, will stock around 750 wines, including fine and rare wines from small and family-owned producers, craft beers and artisan spirits, and will offer a rotating by-the-glass wine list of three whites, three reds and sparkling wine each month, along with bar snacks.

The Hut: The Hut in Colwell Bay on the Isle of Wight has opened its doors this week. In the summer, new head chef Gavin Gordon will join the team, serving a menu which includes grilled octopus and seaweed salt; Singapore cock crab; and pork belly with prawn sesame toast, bok choi, carrot and ginger purée and crispy seaweed. The restaurant will also provide a surf and turf plates and whole lobster and oysters caught daily by local fishermen.


Theo Randall wine dinners: Chef Theo Randall is bringing back his successful wine dinners showcasing a selection of Italy’s finest drops. Hosted by Randall and head sommelier Umberto Luberto, the five-course menu will pair wines from northern Italy right the way down to Puglia in the south. Starting at 6:30pm each dinner will be held at Theo Randall at the InterContinental and will be priced at £95 per head.

Ekstedt x Native: On 2 April, Niklas Ekstedt of Michelin-starred Ekstedt in Stockholm will join forces with wild food pioneer Ivan Tisdall-Downes of London’s Native for a one-off dinner. Due to take place at Native’s London Bridge home, the pair will serve their collaborative menu to 50 guests. Dishes will include Cornish native oysters cooked with flaming beef fat and garnished with smoked apple and beurre blanc; baked leeks with charcoal infused cream, vendance roe and dried reindeer; freshly baked focaccia with confit garlic oil; pork loin, smoked carrot, sweet vernal-grass cream flavoured with seeds from the ‘fat hen’ weed cooked over old grape vines; spruce ice-cream and cloudberries; and bone marrow and white chocolate caramel, served in the bone with a bruléed top. A matching wine pairing option will be available on the night.

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