Côte, the French brasserie concept backed by Richard Caring, has taken over the former site of Vineet Bhatia's Urban Turban restaurant in west London.
The group secured the site in Westbourne Grove after Bhatia decided to close Urban Turban last month following a drop in trade. "There was a downturn in footfall and a rent increase due so we decided to walk away from Westbourne Grove," the chef said.
Bhatia, chef-proprietor of the Michelin-starred Rasoi, opened Urban Turban in 2007 with a view to rolling out the concept of Indian street food. He told Caterer he is currently looking for another London site for the restaurant and may possibly launch it as a chain in the Middle East. "We're also opening Urban Turban in Auckland, New Zealand, next year," Bhatia added.
Meanwhile, Côte will invest £850,000 in refurbishing the 160-seat restaurant and will reopen it in mid-October. The new site forms part of the group's expansion plans to grow to 22 restaurants by the end of this year and follows outlets in London's Ealing, Highgate and St Paul's which will open throughout September.
Harald Samuelsson, operations director at Côte, commented: "We are also finalising sites in Bristol, central London and Cardiff to open in November. In 2010 we will open 12 new outlets and the plan for 2011 is to open restaurants at a similar rate as this year."
Côte was launched by the former management team of Strada, Andy Bassadone and Chris Benians, in August 2007 with a site in Wimbledon Village. It came after the pair sold Strada to restaurant group Tragus in a deal worth £140m in June that year.
By Kerstin Kühn
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