A tip for Terence Conran: Keep your hands off my restaurant's name

DINERS THRILLED at booking a table at Aurora, Sir Terence Conran's newest eaterie, have found themselves seatless and disappointed. They are the losers in a restaurant war that has seen confused, tuxedoed diners turning up miles from their seats and table bookings cancelled.

Whose fault? Sir Terence's. The Aurora opened only a month ago but has already earned the enmity of two longer-established restaurants with the same name in the West End of London.

It's not professional envy: they are being bedevilled by people who ring and think they've achieved something wonderful in booking a table, then cry off when they discover it's nothing of the sort. What would-be diners learn is that they have not booked at Conran's185-seat restaurant in the Great Eastern Hotel on Liverpool Street, where a little cheese will cost you pounds 8.50 and you will be encouraged to leave a tip after paying a 12.5 per cent service charge, and a meal for two costs about pounds 50 before wine. Instead, it's more likely to cost pounds 25 at the Aurora on Lexington Street W1; or less still in the Aurora Ristorante in Covent Garden.

The cancelled bookings would be bad enough at this time but what has really fuelled the rival restaurateurs' ire is Sir Terence's plan to trademark the Aurora name, as he did with his other expensive restaurants, Quaglino's and Mezzo. If he succeeds in winning a trademark he could legitimately apply to have the other businesses closed or force them to change names.

The suggestion caused something of a flambe effect with Renato Mortali, proprietor of Aurora Ristorante, a bistro in Catherine Street. "We've been here for 30 years and we're suddenly getting calls from people thinking we're that place," he said yesterday."If I'm busy it means I have to answer the phone for nothing."

Had he heard Sir Terence was looking to trademark the name? "Trademark? We aren't registered but we will never change our name. They can change their name. He [Sir Terence] may be a big man but he's never going to get anything out of me."

The reaction was more muted but the sentiments similar at Aurora Cafe on Lexington Street, where the chef- manager, Claire Badorek, said: "We noticed the effect really fast after they opened the new place. We would get people making bookings over the phone. Then they would ring us up and say that they had got the wrong Aurora."

The other annoyance is people ringing up to ask for the phone number of the "other" Aurora. The Lexington Aurora has written to Sir Terence, pointing out that because it has been operating for five years and has favourable reviews to prove it, he has no hope of getting a trademark. And there is the even more established existence of the Aurora in Covent Garden - "Oh yes, we've known about them for ages," said Ms Badorek, "and we've never had any problems with them" - which could truly put the slug in the salad for Sir Terence's plans.

So what led him to choose that name, when consulting the phone book would have told him that it was already taken twice over? A spokeswoman seemed amazed by the suggestion. "I have no idea," she said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Personal Tax Senior

£28000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer and Markets Development Executive

£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company's mission is to ma...

Recruitment Genius: Guest Services Assistant

£13832 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This 5 star leisure destination on the w...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Account Manager

£20000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Account Manager is requ...

Day In a Page

Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border