Purely Leisure

Spending over a decade in one building seems today like a lifetime in todays interconnected world. None the less, last month we waved goodbye to our previous office in Chandos Street, nestled between The Langham Hotel and Cavendish Square.

Our habits as office workers, particularly at lunch time, are geographically limited. If I drew a circle around our office, you would extend to John Lewis in Cavendish Square and then to the east, the streets just off Regent Street. Of course, it’s our business to go much further afield and search out the latest and greatest both in London and beyond. Having arrived in our new loft space on Great Titchfield Street, close to the junction with New Cavendish Street, it feels a whole village in London apart from where we were, even though it’s a mere five-minute walk away.

What I’m really interested to explore is the nature of people’s everyday habits and how moving just around the corner or to the other end of a street can make such a difference in personal choice.

In the heart of Fitzrovia, we’re spoilt for choice. With Kaffeine to our left, and Honey and Co to our right, these are just the closet landmark foodie spots nearby our new office. Bonnie Gull, Foleys, Riding House Café, Homeslice and Santa Maria are amongst many others on our doorstep, with Caravan and Oklava due to open in the very near future.

Leaving aside my excitement and enthusiasm of being so spoilt for choice, I think these examples underline how London is so diverse and truly made of almost countless villages clustered together to make our metropolis the International capital it is today. When it comes to location, that small stretch on a street can mean miles of difference to the consumer, especially the lunchtime crowd who are often starved of time.

Understanding the makeup of the local community and the way in which footfall develops though the day and night becomes all the more important when considering the dynamics of a property search. We’ve been based in London for over 30 years so we’re happy to walk the streets and share what we know when you’re on the lookout.

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The 13th annual Taste of London festival was another great success and the whole Shelley Sandzer team headed down on the Thursday night to sample leading restaurants, bars and see world-class chefs do their thing live. Stand outs for us this year were Japanese rock ‘n’ roll stars at Kurobuta, Trishna, Bubbledogs, and fish and chip specialists, Hook. All offered fantastic food and the event as a whole showcased the incredible variety that London has to offer.

Japenese Izakaya restaurant Kurobuta turned out excellent BBQ pork belly buns with peanut soy and a truly innovative tuna sashimi pizza with truffle ponzu and wasabi tobiko. The team created a real buzz around their brand with great music, colour, and pieces of their exciting upcoming fashion range on display, plus a new cookbook from Scott Hallsworth. Trishna’s Aloo Chaat was another favourite.

Hook’s stall boasted an amazing array of food, including an eye-catching Guinness and ink tempura hake, whilst Bubbledogs blew us away with their Togadashi tater tots served with garlic aioli.

From arrival to departure the festival delivered yet again and Regent’s Park is the perfect setting for this event. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. See you again next year!

The Shelley Sandzer Team

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Israel Photo 2

Having been visiting Israel since a young child, I have experienced the food scene undergo considerable changes.

Back in the day, falafel shops were prevalent, as well as other regional dishes such as pitta, humous and shawarma. Like most countries in recent years, however, there has been a structural change for the better. Blessed with some of the finest natural produce as well as a diverse set of citizens, modern Israeli food has been borne.

As Ottolenghi was making his mark in the UK, on home turf, Israel started springing its own stars.

Eyal Shani opened Abraxas North, featuring the likes of roasted cauliflower, some time before it was trendy, no plates and dining at the bar, overlooking the open kitchen.
In fact, bar dining is seriously popular in Israel, often being the most desirable of all seats in the house.

Shani went on to open the very trendy Hasalon, in an offbeat location with high energy atmosphere – be sure to book the later sitting as inevitably there will be dancing and a grand finale of setting sage and herbs alight over the kitchen counter, creating a spectacle.
Downtown, Shani operates a gourmet pita bar called Miznon, redefining grab and go.

One of the most upscale restaurants is in the old north, close to the sea. Named Shila’s Kitchen, it is operated by Sharon Cohen and frequented by an upmarket clientele. Again, there is bar dining as well as some brilliantly executed dishes, including zucchini carpaccio and a wonderful pasta and fish dish to name a few.

On Rothchild Boulevard, Sharon also owns Europa, which is an inside-outside garden restaurant with an extensive menu of sharing plates, all of which are a cut above what you would normally expect from this casual setting.

Also on Rothchild is Shulchan (table), operated by owner Omer Miller and featuring grilled fish with olives and tomatoes, hanger steak and, if you’re still hungry, the Shulchan desert.
Other fantastic Tel Aviv venues include Kitchen table, Port Said, Social, David and Yossef and Onza.

An overview wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the famous Machneyuda, named after the fantastic sprawling food market in Jerusalem which it sits alongside. Delicious and playful, with signature dishes such as polenta with asparagus and mushrooms, this stands out day or night, excelling always.

In fact, Machneyuda has been so successful the owners partnered with Layo and Zoe Paskin of London to open Palomar to great acclaim in London, showcasing the essence of modern Israeli food in the heart of Soho.

And there are more to come as we are currently working with a number of Israeli restaurants looking to make their mark in London, so watch this space.

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We celebrate our fifth annual breakfast along with 350 guests at Sushi Samba.

Exciting food, breath taking views and a gathering of world class leaders in the leisure and property markets assured another great success.


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Food – The new Rock n Roll?

We are more discerning than ever when it comes to eating out and the restaurant sector is booming at present with new restaurant openings hitting an all time high this year.

Increased demand for restaurant space is a result of food becoming increasingly on trend.  There has been a significant rise in reality cooking and baking shows with recipe books and food journals dominating bestsellers lists. The style of individual chefs has also changed to younger, hipper more fashion conscious crowd with chefs such as Florence Knight (Polpetto), Gizzi Erskine and David Chang (Momufuku) all attracting huge followings and becoming ‘rock stars’ in their own right.

Adding to this, food has also become more intertwined with music and this is clearly demonstrated by hip restaurants such as Bonedaddies and Kurobuta both of which focus on Rock n Roll as much as they do the excellent food they offer.

But why is this? One theory is that the accessibility of music, due to downloading and streaming, has taken away the thrill of new discovery which food can still offer as it cannot be experienced until you have been to the restaurant/food truck/shack wherever that may be.

As people have always defined themselves by music, they are now doing this with food; it is imperative to be seen dining in the right places and checking out the hottest new openings and interesting food offers. The rise of social media has supported this with #foodporn becoming one of the most overused phrases this year.

The UK festival scene has also underlined this with chips and noodles no longer on the menu as restaurants and chefs become headlining acts.  Both Wilderness and The Big Feastival put food at the centre stage offering banqueting experiences from the likes of Ottolenghi, Polpo and Jamie Oliver which provide as much of a draw as the performing bands.  On a smaller scale street food festivals have proved to be extremely popular with Street Feast, Fairground and Guerrilla Eats all providing an alternative to clubbing.. the guest rotating street food offering a different experience every time.

So is food the new Rock n Roll? As are now increasingly discerning, not only about what we eat but where it is sourced, the image of restaurants and food has become as important as the food itself.  As we continue to seek new experiences and look for new ways to define ourselves it seems that this trend is set to continue.

Camilla Topham

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Following yet another fantastic Annual Breakfast on Thursday 6th March, please find a selection of photographs taken on the day.

We would like to thank all of you that were able to join us on this great occasion which turned out to be quite a party and celebration.

We look forward to seeing you all again next year!

Please click on ‘Read More’ to view photos.




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How exciting that Trinity Kitchen is finally open.

A few years in the planning has reached a reality.

This is a game changer for the following principle reasons.

Firstly, Trinity Kitchen is a true destination for all parts of the day and also night.

This is due to the incredible urban design making an experience that has never been achieved in a centre environment.

Then we have the premium operators including firsts such as notes coffee, a true stand out gastro coffee and wine experience as well as all of the other best in class operators who are proven in this environment, including Pho, Tortilla, Pizza Lux, Circle 360, Chip and Fish and Chicago Rib Shack.

Lastly and clearly, this is in no particular order, we have somewhat of a first in craning original street food trucks which are award winning and this retains the authenticity to the experience.

So, there you have it, the future of food kitchens in centres.

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Brixton pic

The recent news that Brixton Prison is running its own restaurant, staffed by inmates and open to the public is to be applauded.

The Clink will open at HMP Brixton next year in conjunction with The Clink Charity which already operates two inmate-run restaurants.

We understand the 100-seat restaurant will teach prisoners new skills for future jobs and the Clink Charity has been granted planning permission to transform the old governor’s house within the grounds into the restaurant.

Apparently this isn’t the first, with restaurants already open at HMP High Down in Surrey and at HMP Cardiff and the charity hopes to open a further seven restaurants over the next four years.

We think it’s a fantastic use of inmates’ time, development of new skills and alleviate the boredom of confinement.  You hear of all sorts of things being learned in prison, well this initiative ensures they are learning something positive and that they can use – legally – once back in the community.

Well done Brixton Prison!

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The 25 September saw the first ‘Tax Parity Day’ when up to 15,000 outlets across the country took part in a campaign to convince the UK Treasury to reduce the VAT for bar and catering outlets from the current 20% to 5%.

By dropping prices for one day, the aim was to demonstrate that a lower rate of VAT would see sales increase – good news for us all in the leisure industry and customers wallets.  Campaigners also argue that this would lead to more employment and would ultimately generate more income by encouraging new customers to socialize in pubs and restaurants.   In turn this would increase the amount paid to the Treasury. At the moment pubs and restaurants pay 20% VAT on food and drinks, while supermarkets pay 0% on food.

The protest day was organised by VAT Club, which is run by French businessman Jacques Borel. The main aim of the day being to try to reduce the VAT which applies to pubs, bars, restaurants, caterers and hotels.

Some big names got involved – mainly from the breweries – including JD Wetherspoon, plus Young’s, Wadworth, Shepherd Neame, Thwaites, Heineken and SA Brain to name but a few.   Pizza Hut was also a participant.

Early reports show that the day was a great success with JD Wetherspoon and Batemans reporting a 20% uplift in the sales of pints and meals sold on the day with Pizza Hut also reporting a very successful days trade..

Currently, pubs, restaurants and coffee shops provide about a third of the outlets for successful shopping centres, so are a vital area of the economy and intrinsic in the bid to revitalize the high street.  Generally, I think this campaign a good thing – a bid to try to get  fair taxes for pubs and restaurants. With 10,000 pubs closing down in the last few years, it is apparent that the current tax regime is unsustainable.

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Trinity six months on

Questions abound, prior to the opening of Trinity Leeds were “Can Leeds sustain more restaurants?” “Do they need another cinema?” “How many restaurants would it be sensible to create within a million sq ft destination? “

Six months on, I feel we have many of these answers. With thirteen restaurants opened and more to come. Trinity’s restaurant and cinemas are trading with swagger. D&D London’s Crafthouse and Angelica were cleaned out of their entire stock of Don Perrion in their first hour of opening and continue to rank alongside Bluebird in highest proportion of champagne prosecco sales in the D&D group. In fact footfall has been so strong at Trinity Leeds, Land Securities flagship development for 2013 over ten million people have visited the scheme since opening on the 21st March until the beginning of September.

Moreover, a far proportion of these visitors have actually come in the evening after the closing of the shops. Numerous first’s outside of London and in fact within centre’s themselves include, Everyman, who up until that point only were based in South East London and had never undertaken a new unit of this scale from scratch. Everyman has got of to a tremendous start and in fact is now recognised as one of the leading, if not the game changing cinema and restaurant for the sector.   Trinity Leeds has also enabled D&D London to have two levels of roof top restaurants a true signature location which is all about the quality of the experience, quite unique in a shopping centre environment. Other ground breaking restaurant/bars include the Alchemist and Botanist from Living Ventures which is also their first for a inter center environments and not only are they enormous sales volumes in excess of others in Leeds City Centre, they continue to trend upwards. Perhaps the most pleasing journey of all was Jack’s Bar of local fame to create their new brand Ceilo Blanco where going through the rigmarole of quality, standard etc within a shopping centre environment has been hard work but well worth the pain as this yet another loved restaurant/bar, all homed within Trinity Leeds.

Six months on, I don’t think we could be happier with the results with all restaurants trading well beyond expectations and all their aspirational met.

The news keeps getting better as we are awaiting the opening of the first Roast + Conch outside of London, the first Wasabi outside of London and of course the pending opening of Trinity Kitchen hopefully will redefine the fast casual and grab and go within the shopping centre.

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