GERALD RONSON and his business partner Enzo Quaradeghini spent 12 years building up their joint restaurant and bar interests in Barcelona, Valencia and Madrid, including the Irish pub O’Sullivans and a 3,500-capacity club called Guru.

But now the Heron International boss and the restaurateur have sold off their Spanish assets, Quaradeghini is free to devote his energies to his next project: a Long Island-style restaurant in London that will be 40 per cent owned by City investors.

The Hamptons, as the Bow Lane restaurant will be known, will combine East Coast dining – grilled meat, fish, “not just clam chowder” – with a Martini cocktail bar, an outdoor smoking terrace, a library, live music, and entertainment from burlesque dancers. It will have a late licence until 2am, but The Hamptons is not a “disco club”, says its owner, who is hoping to attract a “more discerning and mature” clientele.

That means high net worth lawyers, bankers, brokers and accountants over 30 – who are also being targeted as investors in The Hamptons Restaurant Group, which is offering up to 600,000 shares in the company to raise initial target equity of £650,000.

The risk is limited, as all investments qualify for tax relief offered under the Enterprise Investment Scheme. As the restaurant group’s financial adviser Rob Holgate of Gilbert Elliott calculates: “The maximum investors can lose is 35 per cent of their initial outlay.”

QUARADEGHINI also owns the Etrusca Restaurant Group, which recently closed Zucchato City, also on Bow Lane, as reported on 12 August.

Today, The Capitalist can update that the Italian restaurant failed because of a “a big rent barney” with landlords Ilchester Estates. “They kept moving the goalposts, so we pulled out,” said Quaradeghini.

But that still leaves four restaurants under Etrusca Restaurant Group, and The Hamptons Restaurant Group has ambitious plans to grow, as the directors plan to open a second Hamptons in the West End and to convert La Spezia – the London Bridge restaurant opened by Quaradeghini’s father Lino in 1951 – into a third within three years. Watch this space…

WHAT TO tell your boss when you turn up for work with a raging hangover? Simply blame your sorry state on the “bunch of muppets” running the corporate hospitality tent you enjoyed the previous day, who forced you to drink pints of wine after carelessly letting the bar run dry of beer.

Such was the fate of one City drinker at a recent sporting day out, who came up with the following story. “My host spent the entire first half of the game in the queue, missing out on all the on pitch action. When he did return, we had to drink pints of pretty appalling wine instead of a decent beer... and that’s my excuse for the monumental hangover that followed.”

IN RESPONSE to outraged of Cheapside, who wrote to The Capitalist out of concern the City of London’s improvements to the south side of the cathedral are leaving nowhere for the tourist coaches to park.

“The coachyard is being paved over as part of the St Paul’s churchyard enhancement scheme,” wrote the worried mole. “It may enhance the churchyard, but it will hardly enhance wherever the coaches are forced to park in future. What poor tourists are meant to think is anyone’s guess!”

One quick call to the City of London later, and The Capitalist can reassure those anxious sightseers that the replacement coach parks have already opened – one on Angel Lane and one on Queen Victoria Street – providing even more space than before. The case of the temperamental cathedral bus stop, however – “in use in the morning and out of use in the afternoon” – remains unsolved…

THEY had already faced Sir Alan Sugar in the boardroom, so a 90-foot abseil near Liverpool Street Station held no terrors for former Apprentice contestants Stuart “the brand” Baggs and business charmer Raef Bjayou.

Employees from Antares Underwriting and CMC Markets joined the Apprentices (left, Baggs on the right) on yesterday’s descent, organised in aid of charity Sense.