Wahaca is to open a new Test Kitchen restaurant on Tabernacle Street in Shoreditch a week on Monday (27 November). It will act as a development platform for new recipes and ideas, with some of them then rolled out at Wahaca restaurants around the UK. It will have 120 covers, a central communal table and open kitchen. Co-founder Thomasina Miers said: “Wahaca has always been at the forefront of innovation, bringing new Mexican dishes to the UK, and after ten years we’re hugely excited to have this new Test Kitchen to help us continue to push the boundaries and find new ways to explore the incredible variety of vibrant flavours and ingredients from Mexico’s extraordinary range of cuisines.”

US restaurant group Denny’s will make its long-awaited launch into the UK at Hammerson’s Parc Tawe retail and leisure park in Swansea. It will open a 4,000 square feet unit there before the end of the year. Hammerson’s UK director of retail parks Andrew Berger North said: “The signing of such an exciting and highly-anticipated brand as Denny’s is testament to Parc Tawe’s appeal and our plans to create a leading, contemporary and attractive retail destination for Swansea.

A major new Japanese food hall called Ichiba is to open at Westfield London. The 17,000 square feet space will include retail elements and fresh food stations dedicated to different aspects of Japanese cooking. It is part of a major revamp of the Westfield centre, and is a joint venture between the Japan Centre Group and Cool Japan Fund, an initiative to promote Japanese food and culture overseas. It claims to be the biggest Japanese food hall in Europe.

Retailer Morrisons has opened its first-ever in-store bar at its supermarket in Guiseley in Yorkshire. The bar is called Barista, and sells ales from the nearby Saltaire Brewery as well as ciders, lagers and wines.

The Electric Star Pub Company is opening its sixth pub—the Heathcote and Star in Leytonstone. The group, founded in 2007, has five other pubs across north and east London. Founder Rob Star said: “It will be the biggest site in the group and we are working with Kai design to return it to its former glory and give the residents of Leytonstone a local that they can enjoy for years to come.”

Noodle restaurant chain Chopstix has increased the size of its estate by nine after acquiring the Yangtze chain. The brand’s locations are all in shopping centres, including Birmingham’s Merryhill and Sheffield’s Meadowhall. It means Chopstix now has interests in 35 retail centres around the UK and Ireland.

Nando’s will open a new-build restaurant in Kingswood in Hull in January, local media report—its third location in the city.

Dirty Martini opens its new bar on King Street in Leeds on Saturday (18 November)—its second location outside London.

Pan-Asian concept Ekachai will open its fifth restaurant in the Granary Square development in Kings Cross in the next few weeks. The 50-cover unit will join three other Ekachai sites in Liverpool Street, Wandsworth and Bankside, plus a concession within Selfridges on Oxford Street.

Drake & Morgan has just opened its 22nd bar and restaurant—The Listing at the Cannon Green building in the City.

Gaucho opened on St Andrew Square in Edinburgh last Saturday (11 November)—its first restaurant in Scotland.

Pi, an artisan pizza restaurant in Winchester, is to open a second site in Battersea Rise next year. It has taken a 1,500 square feet unit. The restaurant specialises in large sharing pizzas.

Loungers is to open in Moseley near Birmingham, according to local media. It will take over a unit currently occupied by Prezzo. Loungers has meanwhile just launched the Bendigo Lounge in Beeston in Nottinghamshire.

The Castle Rock Brewery has opened its 24th bar and restaurant—the Yarn within the Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham. It is being run as a joint venture with CGC Event Caterers.

Indian street food concept Rola Wala will open in Oxford’s Westgate centre next Friday (24 November). The concept started out as a mobile operation but now has permanent restaurants in London and Leeds. It will be part of the Westgate Social of the Oxford centre.

TV chef Gizzi Erskine is opening a pop-up restaurant called Pure Filth at Tate Modern next week. The concept will get a permanent site in 2018, at a yet-to-be-disclosed location.

Whitbread has submitted plans to open a Brewers Fayre pub restaurant by the New Square shopping centre in West Bromwich. It would be alongside a Premier Inn hotel.

Jack Solomons Club, a new speakeasy-style basement bar concept, will open on Great Windmill Street on 1 December. It is named after a renowned Soho boxing promoter and inspired by opulent 1940s and 50s Soho clubs. The bar menu will include a range of whiskies, plus snacks and small plates. The bar has space for 390 people and will host live music and events.

The ETM Group has reopened its White Swan pub near Chancery Lane as a chophouse-style restaurant and bar.

     

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