Beefeater, the Whitbread-owned restaurant brand, is set to launch its fledgling high street-focused Bar + Block concept in central London by the end of this year, MCA has learnt.

It is thought that the company plans to replace the Thyme restaurant at its Premier Inn in King’s Cross with the new format, which launched earlier this year in Birmingham.

It is thought that the group is set to focus on the expansion of the new concept over the next couple of years.

Earlier this year, David Murdin, chief operating officer at Whitbread Restaurants, told MCA that the company was already in advanced talks on a couple of further sites for the new format both of which would be high street based.

The company hoped the £1m Birmingham restaurant would be the first of a new chain of ‘high end’ Beefeater restaurants around the country.

The group is halfway through updating the brand’s existing c145-strong estate, with the remainder set to be completed by the end of February next year.

Murdin said that in terms of the company’s investment case, those sites upgraded already were already delivering ahead of the returns, both in terms of an “aggressive and defensive investment”.

He said: “Bar + Block is an example of what you can do when there is no restraint. Too make it work in a high street environment you have to send clear signals to a younger customer base that this is a place they want to come and eat. The work we did on the core estate gave us the confidence to demonstrate to the board we could take that further and give us the confidence to develop Bar + Block.”

The informal all-day dining venue focuses on high quality steaks which are hand cut to order and feature the restaurant’s signature dish, ‘Our Butcher’s Block’ showcase a “rotating range of limited time only, one of a kind steaks”.

The c3,000sq ft, 173 cover site in Birmingham, which has been developed by Harrison, also features a central bar with copper detailing and a large open kitchen.