Conran plans rival to Cafe Rouge

Low-cost eats from the man who gave us Quaglino's

Sir Terence Conran plans to launch a chain of affordable French- style eateries to rival the Cafe Rouge. He may seek a market quote to raise funds for what could be the design guru's most ambitious venture since he started Habitat in 1964.

The chain, called Zinc Bar and Grill, will open its first outlet next year in the West End of London. It will feature Conran-style minimalist decor, a dedicated bar area, and simple entrees priced under pounds 10.

The first restaurant will be opened on Heddon Street, just off Regent Street, in the middle of 1997. It will seat 120 people, have open-air tables and will serve such French-English staples as steak frites and rotisserie chicken. A spokeswoman for the Conran group said work would begin on the site as soon as the Crown Estate had finished pedestrianising the area.

If the first restaurant is a success, Sir Terence is planning to open two more outlets in London, and then roll the Zinc brand out nationwide from 1998, in a challenge to the growing chains of Cafe Rouge, part of the Pelican Group recently bought by Whitbread for pounds 133m, and the 100- strong Pierre Victoire restaurants group. Zinc will be seen as a radical departure for the Habitat founder-turned-restaurateur whose other properties, including Pont de la Tour, Quaglino's and Mezzo, have become roaring successes on the back of their exclusivity, high prices and top-quality cuisine.

Zinc will be closer to Sir Terence's roots, located not far from his first ever restaurant, the cheap and cheerful Soup Kitchen, which he started in 1954.

The plans for Zinc form part of an ambitious 1997 expansion drive by the Conran group. Early next year the group will open the Bluebird cafe and "gastrodrome" in the King's Road, featuring a private dining club, cookware shops and a French-style open market on the ground floor. It will be followed by a new Conran Shop in Marylebone High Street, featuring an upmarket in-store restaurant.

Sir Terence might tap the financial markets through a listing on the Alternative Investment Market to fund the chain. Sir Terence has eschewed the stock market ever since he resigned from Storehouse, the then parent company of Habitat, in 1989.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
From Mean Girls to Mamet: Lindsay Lohan
theatre
Sport
Nathaniel Clyne (No 2) drives home his side's second goal past Arsenal’s David Ospina at the Emirates
footballArsenal 1 Southampton 2: Arsène Wenger pays the price for picking reserve side in Capital One Cup
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
Travel
travelGallery And yes, it is indoors
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
booksJudith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
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 Money & Business

IT Project manager - Web E-commerce

£65000 Per Annum Benefits + bonus: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: If you are...

Trainee / Experienced Recruitment Consultants

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Soho

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40000: SThree: As a Recruitment Consultant, y...

Trainee Recruitment Consultants - Banking & Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Day In a Page

Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

My George!

Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world