Recent London restaurant casualties
A number of high profile London restaurants, including HKK in Shoreditch and Paradise Garage in Bethnal Green, have been forced to close as profit margins become increasingly squeezed.
The dip in value of the pound in the wake of Brexit, along with the resulting rise in price of imported ingredients and fewer Europeans seeking employment in the British catering sector, has created the perfect storm for the industry.
Accountancy firm Moore Stephens predicted that as many as one in five restaurants in the UK are threatened with closure with the number of restaurants declaring insolvency having risen by 13% in the year ending March 2017.
Recent casualties in London include Michelin-starred Cantonese restaurant HKK in Shoreditch. Part of the Hakkasan group, the fine dining site focused on tasting menus.
Meanwhile, Michelin-starred Marylebone restaurant L’Autre Pied closed in September after a decade in the business.
“I have never known a more difficult time and I have been in this business for more than 30 years,” owner David Moore told Bloomberg.
“Young people are not coming over from Europe in the same numbers and that is having a serious impact. There is not a restaurant in London that is fully staffed,” he added.
Paradise Garage in Bethnal Green has also closed its doors after ongoing building work nearby drove diners away. Serving seasonal modern British cuisine, the restaurant was a sister site to Robin Gill’s The Dairy, The Manor and Counter Culture in Clapham.
Having just won its first Michelin star, high-end Indian restaurant Vineet Bhatia in Chelsea closed a week later without explanation, serving its last orders on 8 October.
The Salt Yard Group’s Venetian-inspired small plates venue Veneta in the new St James’s Market development has been put up for sale a year after it opened.
Sharing a space with Michelin-starred Scandinavian site Aquavit, Eater reports that the owners found the location didn’t work for the Venetia concept.
Even powerhouse Jason Atherton isn’t immune. His Japanese fusion venue Sosharu in Farringdon was put up for sale in August. Atherton is reportedly looking to move the site to a better location with stronger lunch trade potential.
But it’s not all bad news. The Truscott Arms in Maida Vale is due to reopen next March as the Hero of Maida after it fended off plans to be turned into luxury flats.
The pub closed this year after a 333% rent hike made sustaining the business impossible.
Head chef Henry Harris will be steering the ship with his signature style fusing the best of classic French and British cuisine. Among the dishes will be a seven-hour slow-roasted shoulder of lamb with rosemary.
The Hero of Maida name derives from the Count of Maida, Sir John Stuart, who led a small force of British troops to victory in 1806 in a battle against a larger French army in the Italian town of Maida in Calabria.
Bloomberg reports that independent restaurants are in jeopardy in London, with the number of new indie restaurant openings falling while spinoffs are on the rise.
Emerging as the queen of the spinoff, The Ivy has successfully rolled out a dozen casual siblings over the last few years in cosy London districts like Marylebone, Wimbledon, St John’s Wood and Richmond. It recently extended the brand outside of the capital with a restaurant in Edinburgh.