Friday five: the week's top restaurant stories

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Top hospitality news stories

Related tags Brad Carter Tomas Lidakevicius Clean Kitchen Club Des Gunewardena Squatters

This week's most read news stories include Brad Carter making his London debut, the closure of Borough Market restaurant Turnips and squatters moving into Ramsay's York & Albany restaurant.

 - Carters of Moseley chef Brad Carter will make his London debut this summer​ with a restaurant in the crypt of Mayfair’s St George’s Church. Undercroft is the creation of Martin Priestnall, who brings with him decades of experience in the music industry. Open from lunch through to late evening, the 107-seater dining room will see Carter - who also runs One Star Döner Bar - ‘bring his meticulous obsession with British produce and classics, reviving dishes that have disappeared off menus, elevating and giving them his signature playful, yet elegant take’. Last year, Carter and his wife Holly confirmed that their Michelin-starred Carters of Moseley had closed ahead of a relocation to an as yet unannounced location in a more central area of Birmingham.

 - Tomas Lidakevicius has announced that his Borough Market restaurant Turnips is to close this month.​ The chef says the ‘vegetable centric’ restaurant’s last service will be 25 April because the Borough Market Trustees have revoked the licence for restaurant use. Turnips opened in Borough Market in 2021 having started the previous year as a pop-up in partnership with Charlie Foster, son of Caroline and Fred Foster who started Turnips in Borough Market more than 30 years ago. Writing on social media the restaurant says: “It is with a great sadness that we write to you today. “The Borough Market Trustees have revoked the Licence for restaurant use and as a result we will be forced to close our Restaurant on the 25th of April.”

 - Clean Kitchen Club co-founder Verity Bowditch is to leave the business following a decision that will see the formerly plant-based fast food brand add animal products to its menu.​ In an update, fellow co-founder Mikey Pearce said the move to adopt a ‘whole food approach’ follows a ‘tough year’ for the London-based group, describing it as a ‘business decision’ made to ‘protect jobs and protect the company’. Appearing with Bowditch in a video posted to Instagram, Pearce said: “We’ve had a really tough, tough year. We’ve had to work incredibly hard, and the proposition of the brand that we have to change is going from 100% plant-based menu to a much more whole food approach catering for everyone.”

 - Des Gunewardena’s new flagship venture will combine two different brands​ when it launches at The Royal Exchange in The City of London this summer. First announced in December last year and due to open in June, the venue will encapsulate hospitality concepts called Engel and Jang and occupy the mezzanine level of the historic building. It will mark the former D&D London CEO’s first opening since leaving the multi-site restaurant group at the end of 2022. Engel, which will occupy the north and east mezzanines, will be a cocktail bar and performance space inspired by 1920s Berlin while Jang will serve modern interpretations of Korean and Japanese cuisine with a kitchen led by former Jinjuu chef Dana Choi. 

 - Squatters have taken over Gordon Ramsay’s York & Albany restaurant and hotel​ with plans to open it as a community venue. The venue, which is vacant and currently up for sale with a guide price of £13m, has been taken over by a group called Camden Art Cafe, which plans to open it up for locals to use. In a statement posted on social media entitle ‘Why we squatted Gordon Ramsay’s pub’, the group says it is occupying hotel in Camden as the collective Camden Art Cafe to become a neighbourhood hub for locals that will provide free food and drink. “We aim to open our doors regularly to anyone and everyone, particularly the people of Camden who have been victims of gentrification and parasitic projects like HS2,” it says. “We provide free food, drinks, and a space to display their art without the ridiculous red-tape that galleries require people to jump over. We believe all of us and our art deserve dignity.”

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