UK gastropub chain on the menu

Tragus, one of the UK's largest independent restaurant companies, are planning a chain of gastropubs serving up spotted dick, toad in the hole and all day breakfasts as it looks to cater for the British appetite for comfort food.

by: Marc Jones | 24 Aug 2007

The gastropub specialises in high-quality food a step above the more basic "pub grub." The name is a portmanteau of pub and gastronomy and was coined in 1991 when David Eyre and Mike Belben opened a pub called The Eagle in Clerkenwell, London. They had a non-nonsense food establishment with a clear emphasis on good food

Today, the British gastropub has developed into another opportunity to experience high-quality dining in relaxed and informal surroundings.

Tragus is set to open the first Huxleys Bar & Kitchen next year at Heathrow's new terminal 5 and Chief Executive Graham Turner said it would be the starting point for building a 50-strong chain over the next few years.

"I wouldn't be looking at anything unless I had hopes we would be able to take it to at least 50 units. That is the base level."

Long mocked as tasteless and overcooked, the popularity of British food is surging as celebrity restaurants run by television chefs like Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver serve up reworkings of traditional dishes.

Turner said Huxleys would also appeal to pub goers.

"We would look more to the pub type locations with car parking on the edge of town... It will have a very strong bar presence... almost a gastropub."

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