Obikà to open two West End restaurants in 2013

By Peter Ruddick

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: South kensington, Restaurant

Italian restaurant chain Obikà opened its second UK site in South Kensington and has now lined up a third venue in Charlotte Street
Italian restaurant chain Obikà opened its second UK site in South Kensington and has now lined up a third venue in Charlotte Street
Italian restaurant chain Obikà has acquired a site in Charlotte Street for its third UK restaurant with plans to open a fourth venue, also in the West End, later this year.

The 100-cover eatery will be located next to the Charlotte Street Hotel and will take up the spaces vacated by former Mexican restaurant and bar La Perla and a barbershop.

One unit will be created following the refurb and the team hope to launch the restaurant by late May/early June.

UK focus

Speaking to BigHospitality, David Haimes, the group chief executive of Obikà, confirmed the restaurant was one of two the private equity-backed company was hoping to open in London this year. 

"We have got another unit which we are close to securing, again in the West End," he explained.

Inspired by the growth of Tokyo sushi bars, the chain, originally founded by Italian restaurateur Silvio Ursini in 2004, now operates 19 sites in Italy; the USA; Turkey; Japan; Canada and the UK.

Haimes revealed the original Obikà shareholders and London-based private equity firm Neo Capital were concentrating on growth in New York and the UK capital.

Mozzarella bar

The former Itsu managing director has led the development of the chain since 2011 and last year helped open the company's second venue, taking over the former Ilia restaurant in South Kensington.

The Obikà menu is centred on authentic buffalo mozzarella which is available with a number of accompaniments including tomatoes, artichokes and Parma ham.

Each location features a slightly different interior design and an amended menu - diners at the South Kensington restaurant can choose from an expanded selection of special dishes including swordfish skewer with fresh herbs, whole grain black rice and citrus pesto.

Haimes revealed the service style also differed between the sites - while Canary Wharf, the brand's first UK restaurant, is premium fast-casual, South Kensington has a slower, more formal style with a greater emphasis on evening and weekend trade.

Delivery is also in place in Canary Wharf and has been trialled at South Kensington, while private dining is becoming a bigger part of the business.

"It is a very popular private dining room because there is not many in South Kensington," Haimes explained. "Our evening trade is equally as strong as our lunchtime trade. I guess people perceive us as a mozzarella bar and perceive us to be cold food but actually our gourmet pizzas go down extremely well.

"Our Italian wines make us particularly attractive - we have 100 per cent Italian wines which we source," he added.

Related topics: Business, Restaurants, Venues

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