Friday five: the week's top restaurant stories

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Friday five: the week's top restaurant stories

Related tags Restaurant

This week's top news stories include The Gentlemen Baristas calling in administrators, SMOKESTAK founder David Carter's next venture, and research revealing the cheapest and most expensive countries for Michelin-starred dining.

- London coffee shop operator and roaster The Gentlemen Baristas has called in administrators​. According to an update on Companies House, Farheen Qureshi of Parker Getty was appointed administrator to the business, which operates four coffee houses across the capital and a roastery in Stratford, on 5 January. Restaurant​ has contacted Parker Getty for comment.

- SMOKESTAK and Manteca founder David Carter will open a Greek islands-inspired restaurant in London’s Borough Market this spring​. Rumoured to be in the works for the past year or so, OMA takes its name from the Greek word for raw and will feature both a crudo bar and an open plan, live fire kitchen. Chefs Nick Molyviatis and Jorge Paredes, formerly head chef of Kiln and executive chef of Sabor respectively, will lead the kitchen alongside Carter, creating ‘novel interpretations of the humble techniques and generous flavours of nostalgic Greek dishes bolstered by the bold, confident flavours of the Levant’.

- New research has found the countries where it is the cheapest and the most expensive to have a Michelin-starred meal​. Hong Kong has the lowest average Michelin dining cost, according to the data, making it the cheapest location for Michelin starred dining. It was followed by Japan, which has a total of 344 Michelin-starred restaurants, with virtually all of them located in three of the country's cities, Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. China has the third lowest average Michelin dining cost score. Shanghai has the highest number of Michelin-starred restaurants in the country, followed by the capital Beijing. The UK was ranked at number nine in the list, also behind Malta, Singapore, Macau, Belgium, and Taiwan. The study also looked at the countries with the most expensive Michelin-starred restaurants, with Canada topping the list, followed in second place by Hungary.

- Steakhouse group Flat Iron has announced it will launch two further London restaurants this year, alongside its first site in Manchester, after reporting ‘record sales’​. In its latest accounts for the year ended 27 August 2023, the group saw sales rise to £35.9m, up £12.4m (52.9%) on the previous year. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) was £3.8m (2022: £3.5m). According to the group, a significant proportion of growth was driven by existing restaurants and supported by three successful new openings during the financial year in Westfield London, Kensington and the first restaurant out of London in Cambridge, all three of which have traded ‘well ahead’ of expectations. Since the year end, a further restaurant was opened in Leeds, which is also trading ‘very strongly’ and takes the total estate to 14. In December, the brand achieved a landmark £1m in weekly sales

Wonderland, the Soho-based casual dining restaurant that positions itself as being for both vegans and meat eaters, has closed its doors indefinitely​ little more than six months since its launch. Founders Alexander Stanton and Oliver Santoro posted a statement on Instagram yesterday (16 January) announcing that the Old Compton Street restaurant would be ‘temporarily closed until further notice’ due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’. In a subsequent email to Restaurant​, Stanton confirmed that Wonderland would be ‘closing down’ after its investor withdrew his support. The Instagram statement added that Stanton and Santoro hoped to reopen the restaurant soon and are now looking for new investors.

For more of this week's headlines, click here​.

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