The founder of Wagamama, Busaba Eathai and Hakkasan, has announced on Instagram that he’s “back in the restaurant business” and is making an unexpected and quick return to the sector with a new ‘mono product’ pide restaurant. His Instagram picture shows the now familiar Alan Yau black and white hoardings on the site on 26 James Street, which is due to open in the second week of September.
Yau is already familiar with pide - a type of Turkish pizza - having launched Babaji Pide on London’s Shaftesbury Avenue in 2015. He has long talked about developing single product concepts in the capital, with a quality fast food duck concept also having been mooted.
It will be Yau’s first restaurant venture since leaving the AAYA business, which oversees the Duck & Rice and Babaji Pide formats, last September.
This is not the first time the serial restaurateur has distanced himself from the restaurant industry only to be drawn back into the fray. In 2009 he pulled back from the restaurant world to become ordained as a Buddhist monk in Thailand and in 2012 he announced he was in the process of leaving the business following the launch of Bettys Kitchen in Hong Kong.
More recently, Yau has been working on a restaurant tech platform called Softchow and had said he would be spending the foreseeable future concentrating on that, but it seems he just can’t keep away.
A few months back he also had to quell excitement that he was behind Japense-inspired burger and ramen restaurant Ichibuns, which opens soon in London, after posting a picture of its menu on Instagram.