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Tuesday 2 September 2014

Shutting up shop

6th November, 2003 by db_staff - This article is over multiple pages: 1 2 3

Some say there has never been a worse time to close – debts are likely to be large – or a better time to open.  Rents are cascading on the back of a general realignment of expectations

YOU DON’T GET much grander than the Wolseley on Piccadilly, the latest incarnation from Ivy boys Chris Corbin and Jeremy King.  The room is awash with marble, the floor solid as a rock and many of the original fittings still in place.

The Wolseley is apparently "a café and restaurant in the grand European tradition," according to the website, but one where you can sit and eat a "Breton" hot dog for £5.50 or the plat du jour for £12.75 (it was cassoulet de Toulouse plat du jour for £12.75 (it was cassoulet de Toulouse cassoulet de Toulouse the day I went).

For the past year the industry has been dogged by rumours of failures, impending failures and the inevitable doomsday scenarios about massive fallout from a public that, certainly in London, is exposed to a vast array of dining choices.

Some say there has never been a worse time to close – debts are likely to be large – and a better time to open.  Rents are cascading on the back of a general realignment of expectations.

Curious then, that two of the most established operators in the business – along with David Lowei, who used to be at Conran – have chosen now to launch such a grand and ambitious project.

Dramatic closures on the dining out scene over the last few months include west London restaurants, The Chiswick, Alastair Little at Lancaster Road, Orsino and Pharmacy.

In Knightsbridge the Parisian Chop House was transformed into Chez Max, while the upstairs part of Isola has transformed itself into a bar.  Down in Victoria, Christopher’s has closed while in St James, Che has also shut up shop to use the proverbial.

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