Friday five: the week's top hospitality stories

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

Friday five: the week's top hospitality stories

Related tags Dishoom Simon Rogan Big Mamma Kirk Haworth Rigatoni’s

This week's most read news stories include Dishoom taking its Permit Room spin-off to Cambridge and the return of Simon Rogan's seasonal on-farm dining experience.

- Indian restaurant group Dishoom is taking its fledgling spin-off brand the Permit Room to Cambridge​ for its second site. Planning documents, which were approved by Cambridge City Council last month, show that the group has secured the former Strada site on Trinity Street. It will mark Dishoom’s first permanent location in Cambridge, although the group does currently offer delivery across much of the city via a dark kitchen. Dishoom opened its first Permit Room late last year in Brighton’s The Lanes. The all-day bar and café concept is positioned as being a more drinks-led counterpoint to Dishoom’s core restaurant brand, and takes its influence from the ‘permit rooms, beer bars and drinking holes’ of 1960s and 1970s Bombay. It is also understood that Dishoom is also eyeing a site in Oxford for a third Permit Room location. 

Simon Rogan’s seasonal on-farm dining experience will return this summer for its second year.​ Based within Umbel Restaurant Group’s Our Farm in the Lake District, A Day at Our Farm begins with a farm tour followed by dinner al fresco overlooking the polytunnels and growing beds. Set to take place on some Mondays from June through to September, the experience will welcome up to 16 guests per sitting, from mid afternoon onwards. A Day at Our Farm is led by head farmer John Rowlands and Our Farm head chef Liam Fitzpatrick.

- Restaurant group Big Mamma is understood to have found a site in Manchester​ for what would be its first UK opening outside the capital. The group, which is behind London restaurants Gloria, Ave Mario, Jacuzzi, Circolo Popolare, and Carlotta, is believed to have found a site within Manchester’s new high-end St Michael’s development in the city. The development is also set to welcome Japanese-Peruvian restaurant group Chotto Matte, which will open a 450-coverrooftop restaurant at the development in early 2025. Big Mamma has said that it intends to expand across Europe as well as into the Middle East and the US following its purchase by McWin last year. 

- Plant-Based chef Kirk Haworth has been crowned the Great British Menu 2024 Champion of Champions.​ The latest series of the competitive BBC cooking show ended last week with Haworth’s ‘A Taste of Unity’ dessert declared the best dish at the Great British Menu banquet, which was held at the British ambassador’s residence in Paris and themed around the Olympic and Paralympic Games that are to be held in the French capital this summer. The entirely plant-based dish combined flavours chosen to represent each of the five continents that take part in the Olympics. It consisted of sour cherries from Europe set in the middle of a sponge ring and served with a cacao gateau with cherry gel, vanilla caramel sauce and Australian toasted macadamias. His success on the show sees him follow in the footsteps of his dad, Nigel Haworth, who also made it to the banquet of the show in 2009.

- Rigatoni’s, the Manchester-based restaurant group that previously traded under the name Sud Pasta, has announced the closure of its second site in as many months.​ The group announced last week that its kitchen at the Exhibition food hall in the city centre had closed in order to allow the team to focus on its two remaining restaurants in Altrincham and Ancoats. It follows the closure of Rigatoni’s site on Stanley Square in Sale last month, which was attributed to the ongoing financial challenges facing the industry. The two closures mean that Rigatoni’s has halved its estate within less than three months of the brand launching.

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