Fine dining restaurant operates out of a dark kitchen

The Cookout Club is a delivery-only fine dining restaurant that is based in a ghost kitchen in Battersea, London. Led by Michelin-starred chef Philip Britten, the restaurant prepares fresh, seasonal meals such as chicken liver parfait dressed with olive oil and watercress salad, or glazed barbary duck, sauced with red wine, red cabbage, and glazed onions. Two courses will cost no more than £20 per person, because The Bookout Club spends no money on waiters, sommeliers, silverware, or crockery and currently delivers to Brixton, Battersea, Clapham, Wandsworth, Balham, Kennington, Vauxhall, Lambeth, and parts of Kensington and Chelsea. If you don’t live in any of those areas, look out for their expansion, with two further restaurants projected to open this year.

Restaurant vintage clothing store hybrid

Hybrid stores have been a growing trend, and Cha Cha is one of the early birds to catch on. You might be familiar with Cha Cha’s Mediterranean and Latin American-inspired food in Maida Vale and Mayfair, but the four-floor building at the new Notting Hill site is more than just a restaurant. Sister Jane is the vintage-inspired clothing label that will have its own store above the ground-floor restaurant and a studio on the second floor. The roof terrace includes a cocktail bar and a secret garden. Visitors will be encouraged to wander about all areas of the building, drink in hand. Shopping while drinking or drinking while shopping? We can’t wait to give it a try.

News from across the pond

Philadelphia-based coffee brand La Colombe has teamed up with beverage tech startup HeatGen to create self-heating coffee cans. Users twist the bottom of the can to activate a chemical reaction that will heat the coffee to about 54 degrees Celsius within two minutes. The two launch flavours are La Colombe Brazilian with Milk + Sugar and an unsweetened La Colombe Brazilian Single Origin. The $5 product, which was in development for five years, is currently available at La Colombe’s flagship Fishtown location only. But our hope is the planned larger rollout in Wegmans supermarkets will lead to other companies catching on so that we can enjoy an on-the-go self-heating coffee as well.

Starbucks and Nespresso caught up in child labour row

Channel 4’s TV show Dispatches has exposed children in Guatemala working 40-hour weeks in taxing conditions to pick coffee for a daily wage roughly equivalent to the price of a latte. The beans that were picked by children at all 12 farms the production team visited are supplied both to Starbucks and Nespresso, which is owned by Nestlé. The TV show calculated that even though 25p of a £2.50 coffee goes to the company as pure profit, only 10p is left for coffee suppliers, of which 1p goes to the farmer who uses a fraction of this pay coffee pickers. It’s evident that the payment system requires restructuring to put an end to child labour and distribute wages more fairly.

M&S expands trial of fill-your-own container scheme

With a successful first trial run and 25 out of 44 products offered loose outselling packaged equivalents, Marks & Spencer will be extending is trial of their refill scheme. It was devised in reaction to research made by the retail giant which revealed that more than three in four customers are trying to reduce the amount of packaging they use. The 44 packaging-free products on trial in Southampton range from coffee to confectionery and will be expanded this month to include a second store in Manchester. We think the move is only the beginning for fill-your-own grocery shopping at large retailers, which independent retailers have already been offering for a while.