After smashing crowd-funding records, the chef and restaurateur wants a hotel to ‘compliment’ his sixth restaurant - Kala on King Street

He’s only just smashed records for his latest restaurant crowd-funder, beating an already ambitious goal of £50K in 24 hours for Pinion in Prescot. The project reached its target in just one hour and overall raised £86,624.

That means Usher, who started off with Chester’s Sticky Walnut in 2011 (scooping AA UK Restaurant of the Year in 2014) has now Kickstarted four restaurants across the North West: Burnt Truffle in Heswall (£100,000), Hispi in Didsbury (£60,000) and, last year, Liverpool’s Wreckfish; which raised a record-breaking £208,956 from 1522 backers. Pinion, the fifth in Usher’s growing 'Elite Bistros of the World' empire, is due to open next month.

Never one to rest on his laurels, however, Usher has now revealed an intention to open a boutique hotel - to ‘compliment’ his sixth restaurant Kala, which is due to open on King Street later this year.

According to Usher, the 70-cover restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, with an entrance by the bar also serving food, with a pastry chef working alongside the bartender as at Wreckfish. 

20171013 Wreckfish Exterior
Wreckfish, Usher’s fourth restaurant, opened in Liverpool in October last year

Speaking about Kala, Usher, who recently featured in The Caterer’s 'Top 100 Most Powerful People in Hospitality', told the magazine: “It’ll be a bit more all-singing and all-dancing, somewhere you can properly eat; unlike Wreckfish, where you can go in there and chill out or get a cocktail… Kala is being set out Barrafina-style, with fifteen proper seats up at the bar where people can properly eat.” 

Of the name, he said: “My grandad was fluent in Urdu so he named his dog Kala because it was black. My mum did the same with our black cat and I just thought it suited because the restaurant is not what we usually go for. Rather than having a rustic feel it’s a massive glass-fronted building with polished floors. We will be using marble and lots of black because it’ll suit the glass feel the best, so why not call it Kala!” 

Confidential understands that Kala will open in the old Whistles shop site in the very black 55 King Street building, close to Grafene.

55 King Street Kala
Usher is expected to open his sixth restaurant, Kala, at 55 King Street later this year (

So where does the hotel come in? 

“There are a couple of sites in Manchester which I think will be perfect for a hotel, so why not?" he told The Caterer. "Hopefully next year we will go for it - a boutique hotel with anything between twelve and sixteen rooms. Something small and manageable.”

Is there any substance to Usher's hotel plan? Possibly not. Can he pull it off? Probably.