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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
voices
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
music
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

KS1 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1 Supply Teacher re...

KS2 Teaching Supply Wakefield

£140 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS2 Supply Teacher r...

Year 1/2 Teacher

£130 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1 Teacher required,...

Primary Teachers Needed for Supply in Wakefield

£140 - £160 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1&2 Supply Te...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam