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 Soho House hitting back at claims it’s ‘worth zero’ and Heston Blumenthal calling for greater urgency in tackling fraud on Companies House.

- Soho House has hit back at claims made by analysts that it is ‘worth zero’​ and revealed that its owners are considering taking the New York-listed business private. The members club group said it ‘fundamentally rejects’ a short seller report by GlassHouse Research, which accused Soho House of being ‘a company with a broken business model and terrible accounting’. GlassHouse’s report, entitled Soho House & Co: A company facing an existential crisis, goes on to criticise the group for a ‘persistent lack of profitability’, issues with ‘overcrowding’, and a ‘perceived decline in service quality’. It concluded that the value of the company after 28 years of losses ‘is a zero’. In its statement, Soho House claimed GlassHouse’s intention was to drive down the company’s stock price for its own benefit. “Soho House & Co Inc. fundamentally rejects the recent report published by GlassHouse Research, which contains factual inaccuracies, analytical errors, and false and misleading statements, all designed to adversely impact the company's stock price for the benefit of the short-seller,” the statement reads. “The company is confident in the strength of its business and is focused on executing its strategy.”

- Chef Heston Blumenthal has called for greater urgency in tackling fraud on Companies House​ after an investigation revealed hundreds of fake firms have been set up using restaurant names. Blumenthal, whose own business has been targeted by scammers, has written to Louise Smyth, chief executive at Companies House and registrar for England and Wales, asking for greater transparency on how her organisation is tackling the issue. “Our legal team has been scanning the Companies Register for years and has regularly needed to notify Companies House of bogus companies claiming to be to be part of our group,” says Blumenthal. “The process for removing fake companies has to be speeded up and made easier. We need greater transparency from Companies House and a clear timeline.”

- Michelin-rated Sheffield restaurant Juke & Loe will close next month after almost seven years​. Announcing the closure on social media, founders Joseph and Luke Grayson said the decision was due to the business in its current model being no longer viable. “Hospitality in Britain has been broken and we can’t see it getting repaired anytime soon," they said. “Our business in particular has reached a ceiling and can no longer keep up with the ever increasing costs, food, fuel, utilities, staff wages (which they deserve and more) business rates and the dreaded VAT. The latter being set at a preposterous percentage in an industry that can claim almost zero back. Racking our brains we still don’t know how this decimation of our industry began and is allowed to continue.”

Jesús Durón, former executive chef at Mexico City’s globally-renowned restaurant Pujol, is teaming up with Yardbird Hong Kong co-founder Lindsay Jang to open a restaurant in London next year​. Called Dué, the new project is described as being a globally inspired, seasonally-focused upscale restaurant and will drawn on the classical techniques Durón mastered during his career at restaurants including Les Moustaches in Mexico, three Michelinstarred, El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort, and Pujol, which is currently ranked number 13 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. The food will focus on getting the best out of seasonal ingredients to create dishes with both Mexican and modern-European flavours.

- Front of house pro Angus Davies will reopen West Sussex pub The Swan Inn this July following a complete refurbishment​. Once his local, the Grade II-listed Fittleworth pub has suffered from under investment for the past decade or so. The 36-year-old says that venue - which is in between Pulborough and Petworth - will be run with 'an old-fashioned belief in what pub should be; flowing drinks and great food, served by people who care'. Davies is currently recruiting for a chef to lead the kitchen but intends to have a significant influence on the pub’s food offer, which he is billing as classic country cooking that is in keeping with the pub’s rustic aesthetic. Example dishes include devilled kidneys on toast, fish dumplings and shellfish sauce; veal meatballs with polenta, rainbow chard, Parmesan and gremolata; and profiteroles, honeycomb parfait, hazelnuts and chocolate sauce.

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

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