Weekend on a Plate

The weekend digested: 7-Eleven mulls UK return and Gordon Ramsay is accused of cultural appropriation

The news, reviews and trends from April 13-14, including Tesco’s trial of loyalty card discounts and interviews with Dave Lewis and Rooney Anand.

15 April 2019
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Foods news

Is c-store chain 7-Eleven prepping return?

7-Eleven could be readying for a second bash at the UK market, according to The Sunday Times, which reports that the convenience store chain has registered a trademark for the brand. The international business previously sold its British shops to Budgens in 1998 but mooted a return to these shores back in 2014.


(Not so) Lucky Cat

Gordon Ramsay’s new restaurant, Lucky Cat, isn’t even open yet but has already become the subject of controversy. Previously hyped as an “authentic Asian eating house,” according to The Guardian, accusations of cultural appropriation have been aimed at the enterprise. It’s not the only less-than-fortuitous restaurant to be misnamed ‘lucky’: in New York, Lucky Lee’s (run by a Jewish-American couple) has recently been lambasted for claiming to cook “clean” Chinese food that won’t leave people feeling “bloated and icky the next day.”

Seared chu toro, house soy, wakkame oil
image credit: Lucky Cat

Tesco trials Amazon-style loyalty discounts

Tesco has been trialling a scheme to give Clubcard holders discounts at the till, reports The Sunday Times, which notes the similarity to Amazon Prime initiatives. “People who have experience of Clubcard shopping with us – and mobile and banking – their satisfaction with the Tesco brand is much stronger than it is with people who only have a relationship in one part of our business,” said Tesco CEO Dave Lewis.


Food trends

Plastic-free pioneers

The Observer highlights three places it describes as pioneering plastic-free businesses. The article praises Birmingham’s Clean Kilo, an independent supermarket that has dispensed with packaging for food and drink, as well as soaps, cosmetics and household cleaning products; Mossgiel Farm in East Ayrshire, which has returned to glass bottles for its dairy offering; and London’s Spring restaurant, where chef Skye Gyngell has cut out clingfilm in the kitchen and switched to suppliers who can deliver goods without plastic packaging.

image credit: Getty Images

Food interviews

Dave Lewis, Tesco CEO

Following Tesco’s announcement of substantial operating profits, The Sunday Times chats to the retailer’s chief executive about his achievement while pondering how long he will remain in his current position. “The turnaround is complete, the financial position of the business is very significantly different from what it was in 2014-15, and there are some exciting things we can do with it,” Lewis told the paper.


Rooney Anand, Greene King CEO

The Sunday Telegraph speaks to Rooney Anand one last time before he leaves his job as the boss of the UK’s biggest pub chain. Looking back on his 14-year stint leading Greene King, Anand reviews key moments in his tenure, from the restructure following the global banking crisis to the acquisition of Spirit Pubs. He also addresses the controversial beer tie, saying: “It probably gets a little bit more [media] coverage than it really deserves. Because in a way it is symptomatic of a lot of frustration that exists in any landlord and tenant relationship. [The tie] has been around for a few hundred years and I dare say it will be around for a few hundred years more.”


Food reviews

The Fishmarket, Edinburgh EH6 4LP

Tucking into langoustine in garlic butter and smoked haddock chowder, the “butch farmhouse cooking” all seems to be on point at this seafood-focused space (a collaboration between Ondine chef Roy Brett and supplier Welch Fishmongers) – until Jay Rayner reaches the fish and chips. The fish is dubbed “merely OK,” but the chips are so under-fried that the critic contemplates whether to send them back.

Crispy crab claws
image credit: The Fishmarket

The Clunie Dining Room at the Fife Arms, Aberdeenshire AB35 5YN

“I’m not sure whether it’s deliberate or not, but the food at the Clunie, with its defiantly anti-fashion, barley-sugar mahogany furniture, is quite odd too,” writes Marina O’Loughlin of this remote Scottish restaurant and rooms, comparing the cuisine to the bombastically Gothic decor. Locally sourced fare such as deer, langoustine and honey is matched with modern preparations like fermented kohlrabi, celeriac puree and truffle egg cream. “There seems to be little care whether individual ingredients sing to each other or just squabble,” notes the critic, who can’t help but feel the setting is more impressive that the grub.

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