Specialist private equity restaurant and retail investor Risk Capital Partners has been advised by lawyers at Birmingham-based Pinsent Masons on back-to-back deals as it expands its portfolio.

The private equity fund, whose chairman is entrepreneur Luke Johnson, has bought London's best known patisserie chain, Patisserie Valerie, with a view to taking the business national.

And it has acquired a large minority stake in Seafood Holdings, a leading independent fresh fish and seafood distributor serving the catering trade.

The sums in both deals were undisclosed.

Patisserie Valerie, which prepares nearly all of its products in-house using traditional methods, began life in Soho 80 years ago growing steadily until today it owns eight sites in London. Its establishments operate throughout the day, seven days a week. Last year the company unveiled its flagship branch in the City at Spital-fields in the Pavillion Build-ing. The company is projected to have revenues of £8 million.

Seafood Holdings, valued at £12 million and with projected sales of £50 million by 2007, was founded by food wholesale entrepreneur Toby Baxendale in 1992. It has grown rapidly and now offers a national wholesale service to the catering trade, special-ising in UK caught, wild, farmed and exotic species of fish.

The investment by Risk Capital Partners, largely a cash subscription for new shares, is to fund further acquisition growth.

Mr Johnson said: "We have significant experience of rolling out successful food and drink concepts, including Pizza Express, Strada and Giraffe. Patisserie Valerie is a much-loved institution with tremendous heritage. We are confident there are many upscale locations across Britain's cities that would love the authentic pastries, cakes and savouries supplied by Patisserie Valerie. Diners increasingly want to graze rather than eat heavy, formal meals."

The Pinsent Masons team acting on Patisserie Valerie was led by corporate partner and private equity specialist, Tom Leman, with Sean Page and Gareth Rees (corporate), Frances Mallender and Kate Halliwell (banking) assisting. The team acting on Seafood Holdings was also led by Tom Leman, with Gareth Hughes assisting. The shareholders of Patisserie Valerie were advised Adams & Remers. Seafood Holdings were advised by Dundas & Wilson.