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Published:  23 July, 2008

Mocot delayed by Brazilian officials
Mocot, the new contemporary Brazilian restaurant in London's Knightsbridge, has put back its opening date once again - this time to mid-August.

Timber intended for the restaurant's dining room has been sitting on a ship in dock in Brazil and has only just been released by officials. However, David Ponte, the man behind Mocot, is still convinced the restaurant will succeed - on the site where Oliver Peyton's Isola restaurant failed. Isola was a fabulous-looking place, but it was too cold, it didn't attract people in from the street. The bar had such a high ceiling that you tended to rattle around in there. Mocot will be much warmer.'

Ponte, co-founder of London's Momo restaurant, with Mourad Mazouz, has a Brazilian wife, and he believes that there is new interest in Brazil, as there was in Morocco in the mid-'90s when he opened Momo.

Eric Garnier opens Sloane Hotel diner

Eric Garnier, owner of Racine restaurant in Knightsbridge, is helping to revamp The Sloane Square hotel's nearby in-house restaurant. The dining room is set to reopen in September.

Garnier will launch the new space as The Chelsea Brasserie', with Racine's David Karlsson Muller leading the kitchen, serving 140 covers.

The brasserie replaces the branded outlet Simply Nico, which, admitted a hotel spokesperson, was a rather basic restaurant visited by not very many people'. Simply Nico was closed last July by the Sloane Square Company, buyers of The Sloane Square hotel from the Staffordshire-based Moat House Hotel group two years ago.

Food at the new venture will focus on British ingredients, such as Longhorn beef and middle white pork, cooked in a French style. Designer Ed Godrich is altering the interior to show off some exposed brickwork, which will be hung with antique mirrors and porcelain.

Marlon Abela to add Gaia to London set

Entrepreneur Marlon Abela, known as the Roman Abramovitch of the restaurant world, is to add two restaurants to his mini-group in London. The Greenhouse, Morton's and Umu will be joined by US outlets Gaia and A Voce.

It's so difficult to find a good location in London, but by the end of next year we will have opened our American names here, that I can guarantee,' said Abela. He also confirmed that he will secure outside lunchtime dining at his Mayfair Michelin one-star restaurant The Greenhouse.

Sales at The Greenhouse appear to be holding up, despite the loss of head chef Bjorn van der Horst, who is setting up a new restaurant in partnership with Gordon Ramsay at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower hotel on Sloane Street.

Abela's wealth is estimated at half a billion pounds sterling. He also runs MARC Fine Wines, with a collection of over 240,000 bottles.

Ankrah is back at new Clapham bar

After leaving the high-profile Townhouse and LAB bars, their former director Douglas Ankrah is returning to the bar scene. He is to consult at Mooli, a bar near to Clapham Common in south London.

His first cocktail list will be available at the end of July, and will be made of up conventional vodka with fresh fruit drinks, although rather than using bought-in pures, Ankrah will ensure fresh fruit mixes are made in house.

Mooli opened in late May, and is run by former Ignite director Mike Filipi, who operated the Eclipse bar chain.

Mike didn't fall out with Matt at Eclipse, he just wanted to do something on his own,' said a spokesperson. Filipi has no plans for more Mooli bars.

Yau puts Chow Bar on hold for other ventures

Alan Yau is so busy with new restaurants that he will leave the potentially lucrative Chow Bar site in Ganton Street, London W1, empty for nearly a year.

Cha Cha no Hana, a Japanese restaurant, will open on former Shumi site in London's St James's in February. Plus, Yau is launching a Hakkasan in Istanbul that month, a Spanish tapas bar later in the year in Battersea and a restaurant at New York's Grammercy Park Hotel.

According to a spokesperson for Yau: Alan still wants to go with Chow Bar, but he just has too many other things going on right now to take it further.'