A Smashing Summer For GAB (Despite The Lack Of Sun!)

September 4, 2017 11:51 am

It’s been a Summer of pink festivals, PizzaExpress relaunches, FAM Trips and blogger events, and we have loved every minute. So, what have we been up to we hear you ask?

Here’s a little taster:

A Summer Soiree
We hosted three Summer shindigs for Café Rouge, one at Esher, one at Dulwich and one in Lakeside. A total of 150 people attended our events for an evening of live music, food and drink, and the feedback was fabulous. Plus the treats didn’t stop there, with those booking in to the restaurants after the event also received complimentary gin bloom cocktails!

CR Dulwich 1

We Are FAM Trip Happy
Account Manager Bianca took a trip to Ipswich earlier in the month, to PizzaExpress Regatta Quay. The restaurant showcased its brand new transformation, with a distinctly nautical themed interior, which gives a nod to its amazing location. Over 20 local businesses attended and sampled the restaurant’s food and drink offering. We received some excellent feedback from those that attended and we look forward to hosting the next very soon!

Not only that but National Account Manager Terri took a little visit to Bella Italia Windsor for Tourism South East! Over 50 people went along and we’ve heard there was plenty of food and gelato for all… which sounds perfect to us!

PE Ipswich FAM

La Notte Rosa
GAB put on a party to be envious of when we played host to a bevvy of familiar faces from around Manchester at Bella Italia’s Piccadilly restaurant, and organised a showcase event for Bella Italia’s limited edition Summer menu. Watermelon Coolers were on tap (not literally – they were freshly made by expert mixologists!) for all, as tasters of Antipasto Rosa, Grilled Watermelon, Pizza Rosa Coppa and Watermelon Rosa Salad were served to guests. Oh, and no one can forget dessert, a scoop or two of Rosa Gelato Sundae finished off the feast for the night.

A raffle was drawn during the evening, in which an iPad was won, along with some boozy treats for 19 others. The evening was topped off with over £200 being raised for the We Love Manchester charity.

The limited edition menu is running until 9th September, so go check it out for yourself at your local Bella Italia! https://www.bellaitalia.co.uk/notte-rosa

BI Notte Roas

We got snap happy in Sheffield at PizzaExpress Ecclesall Road, as we managed the photoshoot for its imminent relaunch. Showcasing not only its new menu and staff, but the restaurant’s extra floor area to host larger groups, including kids parties, office socials and pizza making parties! We’ll think you agree, it looks incredible.

PE Sheff 4

Food and Drink Festivals 2017

August 15, 2017 9:53 am

Here at GAB, we’re not just about great venues, we also know where the great food and drink events are around the UK. Here are our selection of some of the best festivals coming up on the calendar. Now, where’s our diary?


Head to Chipping Norton in the Cotswolds for this family-friendly festival held at Alex James’ farm. The former Blur bassist turned cheesemaker has a cracking line up of music acts including Olly Murs; De La Soul; Madness and the incredible Betsy, all hosted by Jo Whiley. Children are well catered for with entertainment from TV’s Justin Fletcher; Dick and Dom and Sea Marshall from PAW Patrol. Chefs attending include Antonio Carluccio and reigning queen of the Bake Off, Candice Brown.

Fri 25th – Sun 27th August 2017


First things first – yes, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall will be at this two-day festival on the Devon and Dorset border. Held at River Cottage HQ, there are masterclasses galore where you can learn to make sushi, pickles and miso; curry and chapatti; wild cocktails and more. There’ll be fascinating discussions, including Hugh in conversation with Philip Lymbery (CEO of Compassion in World Farming) and a presentation by James Whetlor of Cabrito Goat Meat.

Sat 26th & Sun 27th August 2017


Not many festivals come with their own manifesto, but that’s what you get at this meat-lover’s dream event in London’s Tobacco Dock. They promise… real fire; nothing but the best; ethically sourced meat; nose to tail treats; the best in beverages and live entertainment. These guys mean business, but they also know how to have fun. Star guests include Yotam Ottolenghi and John Torode.

Fri 1st – Sun 3rd September 2017


The UK’s largest food and drink festival celebrates its 20th anniversary this year – and it’s not hard to see why. With no single location, the Festival takes over as much of the City Centre and surrounding districts of Greater Manchester as possible, both indoors and outdoors. The Deliciously Ella Pop Up Banquets are sure to be huge, and we can’t wait for The Big Indie Wine Fest. Plus, home bakers are already prepping for the Manchester Tart Off.

Thu 28th September – Mon 9th October 2017

MCR F&D Festival


For one weekend only, some of the world’s leading craft breweries gather under one roof at Wylam Brewery in Newcastle Upon Tyne. Beavertown; Buxton Brewery and Wild Co are some of the fantastic breweries involved. There’s also a gin palace, a wine cellar, a street food market and a cider cellar. Get involved!

Thu 26th – Sun 28th October 2017


Enjoy some festive cheer in Cornwall this year, with this award-winning festival in a foodie fishing port. There’s a Santa Fan Run, a Christmas food and drink market with local and national fayre, plus a wide range of chef demonstrations. (Previous years have seen Rick Stein, Angela Hartnett and Tom Kerridge get involved).

Thu 7th – Sun 10th December 2017

Food Trends for 2017

July 21, 2017 1:56 pm

What are the big food trends for 2017? Here’s some to keep an eye on…


Believe the hype. These croissant/donut hybrids have become such a cult product that they’ve actually been trademarked by their genius creator Dominique Ansel. The Frenchman, who made his name in New York, opened a bakery in London’s Belgravia last autumn. Retailing at £4, customers are restricted to only buying six cronuts per day, and the pre-order process is intense. Like, really intense.

The charming Ansel’s creation has spawned several imitators, but his loyal devotees continue to make the pilgrimage to his bakery and spread the gospel about the real deal.



Nostalgic, indulgent, and ideal for Instagram – these treats are a calorific triple threat. Born in the USA, ice cream sandwiches have thrived in London thanks to food trucks including Milo & Hector’s, Chin Chin Labs and Blu Top Ice Cream. Putting colourful cream between two brownies appeals to the child in all of us, so roll on summer!


Long overdue a reinvention, all memories of bad Tex-Mex have been obliterated by London’s thrilling new taco joints. The seriously cool Breddos in Clerkenwell is a labour of love which started out as a food truck. Forget Old El Paso – here you’ll find a flavour overload from curry leaf and cumin pizzas to lime and coriander tuna and kung pao pork with sichuan pepper. And as for the mezcal…



No wait, come back! The popularity of vegetarian and vegan cooking continues to grow, but the next big thing promises to come from the ocean. Yes, really. Seaweed is set to be the next healthy snack, bringing what the Japanese have known for years to a UK market. Seaweed can also be used as a salt substitute to add a briny tang to your cooking.

The health benefits of seaweed are extensive, as it contains a high proportion of vitamins and minerals. The flavour may be an acquired taste, but we guarantee you’ll be seeing seaweed on sale in a hot yoga studio or health food shop near you soon.


With ‘clean eating’ on the way out (hurrah!) flexitarianism looks set to become a more achievable way ahead. The practice – where users eat a predominantly but not exclusively vegetarian diet – is increasing in popularity thanks to ethical, health and financial factors. The popularity of the Meat Free Monday campaign started by Paul, Stella and Mary McCartney, is also encouraging people to think about veggie options without ditching burgers altogether. We call that a win win!


Food Trends for 2017

GAB’s ones to watch… Hospitality New Openings 2017

June 20, 2017 3:33 pm

On the look-out for 2017’s most exciting U.K. hospitality openings? Look no further – these are the openings that we’re getting super excited about here at GAB HQ.

  • This recently opened brasserie in outer South West London has already become a firm favourite with locals. For his first restaurant within easy reach of the capital, Stein has chosen a venue overlooking the Thames. There’s a sense of occasion here, yet it still feels relaxed. (The perfect spot to pop the question, hint hint). With a seafood bar, a vegetarian menu and signature classics including Singapore chilli crab, this is the perfect spot for a celebration dinner.
  • http://www.rickstein.com/eat-with-us/barnes/
Rick Stein

Rick Stein, Barnes


  • COYA:
  • After recently opening in May, this is the the second London outpost for the glamorous Peruvian restaurant. Located in the City of London, this upmarket hub has a large selection of light and healthy South American food, with fabulous sharing plates. There’s also a large choice of drinks, with the Rum Round Table expected to be a focal point! (We might book a half day off the next day). Coya, which also has restaurants in Miami and Dubai, looks set to be one of the hot City openings in 2017.
  • http://www.coyarestaurant.com

Coya, Mayfair.


  • The original is one of London’s most fun restaurants, thanks to its 24-hour opening times and its location on the 40th floor of Heron Tower near Liverpool Street Station. It’s also a great place to take visiting friends and family from out-of-town for that London ‘wow’ May 2017 will see the hatching of Duck and Waffle’s smaller sibling, on street level and at Piccadilly. There’ll be speedy counter service, on-tap cocktails, duck jam doughnuts and the legendary duck and waffle, of course. You’d be quackers not to check it out.
  • http://www.duckandwafflelocal.com
Duck & Waffle

Duck & Waffle, London.



  • They’ve conquered Vegas, Miami, Manila and now Shoreditch. Nobu’s first European hotel is due to open in June – and it will have a 240 seater restaurant attached. It will be the third Nobu in London and you’ll also be able to order the food in the lobby bar while pouting away in your black shades. Nobu classics which already entice its celebrity clientele – think Black Cod Miso and Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeño – will be on the menu along with some Nobu Shoreditch exclusives. Glamour!
  • http://www.nobuhotelshoreditch.com
Nobu Hotel,

Nobu Hotel, Shoreditch. Artist impression.

  • The London outpost has famously been a favourite haunt of Prince Harry – GAB’s favourite royal – over the years. Along with its Dubai branch, the fun-loving tiki bar has become an award-winning nightspot, attracting celebs including Little Mix, One Direction and Drake. 2017 sees Manchester get a slice of the action, thanks to owners and ex-Manchester United players Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs. Mahiki’s blend of tropical cocktails and dressed-up, unpretentious good times will suit Manchester to a tee.
  • http://mahiki.com

Mahiki, soon to open in Manchester.

  • Branching out from London’s West End, The Ivy is headed to Spinningfields this winter. The celeb haunt (fans include Tom Cruise, Madonna and the Beckhams) teased the news on Facebook a few months ago with a cryptic video message from pop princess Kylie Minogue. (GAB fact: it’s the law that pop princess Kylie Minogue always must be described as ‘pop princess Kylie Minogue’). The new venue will be a cafe-style brasserie serving up the original’s popular brand of classy comfort food. Recruitment has already begun, so watch this space…
The Ivy

The Ivy, Manchester. Artist impression.

The Top 5 Hospitality Trends For 2017

May 9, 2017 12:41 pm

Wow, we can hardly believe that the first quarter of 2017 is already behind us!  

It’s the perfect time to predict the big hospitality industry trends for the year. We’ve dusted off the GAB crystal ball and picked out the key industry directions to keep an eye on. (Sadly we can’t predict whether you’ll be meeting a tall, dark, handsome stranger).

  • The DIY celebrity chef: It’s no longer necessary to have landed a TV show or a supermarket deal in order to boost your profile. It seems like every week, a new social media star is born in the chef world – and that will continue. Using Facebook, Instagram and Youtube to gain a loyal following is second nature to ultra-focussed millennials, and it can translate into book deals or packed restaurants. Having a gimmick doesn’t hurt, and we all love looking at gorgeous food photos, but ultimately it still comes down to the quality and presentation of your food and ideas.
  • The mixologist is dead, long live simplicity: There will always be a place for skilled cocktail makers, but the era of earnest bartenders seems to thankfully be over. Drinkers don’t want to wait forever at the bar while a work of art is created. Simple, well-executed classics made with a smile (go on, you can do it!) are the way forward.

Old Fashioned

  • Vegan and vegetarian butcher’s shops: You’ll be hearing a lot more about this trend, which is currently generating a lot of buzz in North America. Plant-based meat alternatives are thriving, thanks to health and ethical concerns around meat. Without sacrificing on flavour, a new wave of innovative foodies are set to revolutionise the humble butcher’s counter. Despite this, there are rumblings that we may have reached ‘Peak Kale.’ This may not be such a bad thing…
  • Let’s do brunch: Socialising around the breakfast or brunch table is set to gain momentum as the year goes on. But there’s more than Eggs Benedict on the menu while we have a gossip. 2017’s customers are branching out into interesting options including shakshuka, tacos and chorizo. Just don’t skimp on the Bloody Mary’


  • Restaurant hotels become a destination in their own right: Hollywood legend Robert De Niro’s new Covent Garden hotel The Wellington will have two restaurants, and should become a hotspot for non-guests pretty sharpish. Meanwhile, chef Tom Kerridge will be opening his first London restaurant this year – at the Knightsbridge Jumeirah Carlton Tower. Fancy!