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Italian version of Wagamama

Published:  23 July, 2008

A new chain of pasta restaurants, called Raviolo, will open with a first branch in Balham, in January.

The brainchild of German entrepreneur Thomas Proxa, they will all be an Italian version of Wagamama', says Proxa, with shared seating, quick service and a simple formula'.

Customers will choose a type of filling and sauce for the ravioli, made at a central kitchen that will eventually serve all the Raviolo outlets. Former Michelin-starred chef Stefano Cavallini will be heading this production centre. Proxa cites the improving demographics of Balham as his reason for opening his first restaurant there, but he has plans for around 20 branches in the capital.

Proxa has worked at Langan's Brasserie, The Greenhouse and Sonny's, in Barnes, and now runs a recruitment and consultancy service for the restaurant industry. This is his first owned-restaurant venture.

Novum and Champagne & Chateaux will supply the wines, including Alain Thienot Champagne and Garbel Prosecco, with half-bottles rather than glasses. By-the-glass involves too much wastage,' says Proxa. Prices run from 11.50 to 22.