Mark Ashley, the former operations director of Benugo, has launched a new concept called REX. The first site in Muswell Hill in London opened last month – and Ashley hopes that the contemporary take on an English café will be the first of a national chain. The former head of hospitality at Marks & Spencers and chief operating officer for Virgin Active plans to target the suburbs of large towns and cities. He said: “It’s a market that is often ignored. We’re looking to attract a diverse range of customers and establish REX as a quality local amenity.” The project, which is to be funded by a range of private backers, offers an all-day menu centred on high quality British ingredients.