Having reached the semi-finals of MasterChef: the Professionals in 2016, Josh Whitehead is manning the pans at the new Samsons Brasserie in the North Yorkshire town of Harrogate. Previously Executive Chef at Harewood Estate, Whitehead’s new venture serves an all-day menu packed with British produce. The style of the food at the 182 cover Cheltenham Crescent restaurant is described as ‘pan-European’. As well as a private wine snug and bar, the restaurant has a balcony which will likely prove popular when the warmer weather arrives. There are also plans afoot for a roof garden with a wild flower meadow and beehives. Sweet.
The Bridge Inn at Ratho, outside of Edinburgh, has launched Bridge Fifteen, a new evening-only restaurant. The kitchens are helmed by Tyler King whose CV includes stints at Edinburgh’s Number One in The Balmoral, Castle Terrace and Berlin’s Michelin-starred Prism. Contemporary Scottish dining is the aim. On the plate this means starters such as wild mushroom raviolo, egg yolk purée, black garlic, puffed rice and mushroom broth or the beer-cured coley with pickled cucumber, buttermilk, dill and crispy potato. Main courses from the current menu include duck breast, confit leg, celeriac purée, pickled pear and chicory or monkfish served mussel xo, burnt leek, pine nut and vermouth sauce. Long a much loved local, the Bridge Inn looks out over the Union Canal.
The Thin White Duke
Soho’s Great Windmill Street has just become home to The Thin White Duke, a bar, café and recording studio named after one of David Bowie’s more colourful life periods. As well as recording studio facilities – available on a membership basis – the skinny, pale member of the Soho aristocracy will serve coffees from Girls Who Grind; a selection of Venetian snackettes and interesting cocktails. Make mine a Just Visiting – a potent combo of quince-infused tequila, Prosecco and a blood orange and rosemary syrup.
Bristol’s Wapping Wharf will welcome Italian restaurant Magari in April. Part of CARGO 2, Magari promises pasta made fresh on site every day, all served with a variety of vegan, veggie and meat ragu. Promoting the benefits of eating together, Magari was conceived by friends Gilda Lombardi and Delphi Ross. Gilda’s family run a cookery school in Rome while Delphi lived in Naples for a couple of years and has worked in the catering trade for a decade. Fittingly, the name of the restaurant means, ‘I hope so’.
Glasgow’s Cail Bruich won a Michelin star last year, the first in the city since 2004. Buoyed by their success, the team are launching a new seafood restaurant and bar on Hyndland Road in the West End. The good ship Shucks will have Chef Shaun Haggerty at the tiller and he promises seasonal, produce-focused dishes inspired by the Scottish coastline. Think along the lines of BBQ halibut from the isle of Gigha; Champagne clams with garlic, chilli, coriander and charred sourdough or mackerel tataki with preserved turnip, ginger ponzu and purple shiso. We’re not claiming to be Mystic Meg or anything but we predict that the £35 per person Sunday set menu will be popular. Especially when paired with a drinks offer that includes a Champagne and cocktail trolley which will roll between tables.
The Soho House group of members’ clubs is expanding again. The proposed Miami and Bangkok launches are a little outside of this column’s patch but we will tell you about Little House which is pencilled in for a summer opening on Bedford Hill in Balham, South London. Members are promised a club space, bar and a Club Cecconi’s restaurant.