Jamie Barber plans Hush expansion and Cabana rollout

By Peter Ruddick

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Stratford international station, Restaurant, Menu

Jamie Barber plans to expand both his restaurant ventures through a new Hush Brasserie and a rollout of the Brasilian BBQ concept Cabana
Jamie Barber plans to expand both his restaurant ventures through a new Hush Brasserie and a rollout of the Brasilian BBQ concept Cabana
Jamie Barber has revealed he plans to expand both of his current restaurant ventures with the opening of a brasserie under the Hush name and a rollout to at least two more sites in the short-term of the Brasilian BBQ concept Cabana.

The development plans come after a period of scaling back for Sweet Potato Restaurant and Leisure Ventures, the company run by Barber, after the sale last year of the Villandry​, Kitchen Italia and Sake No Hana​ brands.

Hush Brasserie

Speaking to BigHospitality, Barber explained after recently buying back a former Villandry Kitchen site in High Holborn he was now planning to open a scaled back version of the Hush restaurant he founded in the 1990s.

The 100-cover Hush Brasserie will open by the end of June and will offer a version of the menu that is currently in operation in the flagship Mayfair site. Hush, which itself underwent a full refurbishment 18 months ago, has a menu featuring saffron risotto, whole roast sea bass and calf's liver with mains starting at around £13.

"I loved the site and I loved the people," Barber said of the High Holborn restaurant. "It has got a very nice customer base and they were a very nice and easy clientele. It has got a little outside terrace and it will be a very easy, local Hush-style Brasserie," Barber said. 

Barber revealed he was also planning to close and re-design the bar at Mayfair - the first refurb there in 12 years. The lawyer turned restaurateur said he would be approaching the project in the same way he approached the original process of rebooting Hush a year and a half ago - by stripping the concept back to its basics and imagining how he would launch it if he was to do so now.

Barber said this process had enabled him to reconnect with the brand that made his name in the restaurant business and led him to conceive the Hush Brasserie idea; an idea he said would not be designed for mass rollout but could go further than just one site. "If there was an exceptional opportunity to do another little Hush Brasserie I would be crazy not to look at it," he said. 

Cabana

While Hush remains the small-scale and personally special project for Barber there are big plans for the Cabana brand he founded with business partner and Momo co-founder David Ponte​ just five months ago.

The Brasilian BBQ restaurant is now operational at Westfield Stratford City​ and Central St Giles Piazza and Barber revealed he had secured new financing to expand the concept to a further two sites at least.

"I can't see any reason why we couldn't do two or three a year," Barber revealed saying the company had the appetite to do more and was currently on the hunt for locations to open by the end of the year or the beginning of 2013. 

Both current restaurants are in new-build London locations, a situation the restaurateur said he could not see changing.

Organic

In February Barber told BigHospitality in an exclusive video interview​ that he most enjoyed the process of seeing a brand launch. With ambitions to operate four venues in the short-term this will be his most extensive project to date but Barber said the restaurant, which has just enjoyed two record weeks on both sites, was still growing and adapting.

"We have got very big ears so we constantly listen to consumer feedback. We are continuously tweaking our menus in response - we are on our fifth menu draft in five months," he said.

The business, which has raised total equity of around £4m in just over a year, is run with Barber specialising in the legal and financial aspects and Ponte concentrating on operations. "At the moment we are doing it organically but there will come a point when we are going to have to make a step change in terms of our operations," Barber concluded.

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