MWB Group, the operator of the Malmaison and Hotel du Vin chains, has launched an upmarket steakhouse concept, which will sit alongside Bistro du Vin in its restaurant division.
The group, which is led by chief executive Robert Cook, will launchthe first Smoak, an amalgamation of smoke and oak, at the Malmaison Manchester this August. The 163-cover high-end restaurant has a “Tuscon, Arizona” feel and will feature a Josper grill and counter dining.
Cook told M&C Report that the concept would be used predominantly as part of the rollout of the Malmaison brand overseas and in selected sites in the UK, with the Edinburgh Malmaison due to get a Smoak this winter.
However, he did not rule out the opportunity of rolling out standalone sites under concept, especially after the initial success of Bistro du Vin, which currently has two sites in London.
Cook said: “The idea will be that Smoak will be to Malmaison, what Bistro du Vin is to Hotel du Vin, a branded restaurant operation that can be used in our existing sites and where opportunities permit in standalone locations. It also gives us added flexibility when talking to developers abroad about the possibilities we can bring to each potential location.”
He said that the company would also add an upmarket cocktail lounge, called Ember Lounge, to the Manchester Malmaison, which will specialise in premium drinks and feature a table service.
Cook said the group, which also operates two Pub du Vin sites, had experienced its best month in two years in June, but remained cautious regarding trading for the rest of the year.