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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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

SThree: HR Benefits Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager / Financial Services

£30000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established in 1999, a highly r...

Jemma Gent: Year End Accountant

£250-£300 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Are you a qualified accountant with strong exp...

Jemma Gent: Management Accountant

£230 - £260 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Do you want to stamp your footprint in histo...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower