2017 will be remembered for a number of significant new restaurant openings, expansions and high-profile reappearances — from Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster in Shoreditch to Core by Clare Smyth in Notting Hill — but it will be a year tinged with some sadness, too. It has been a twelve months in which the opaque realities of a post-Brexit Britain appear to have begun to affect material change; where increased competition, high business rates and rent hikes have hit a number of old, new, seemingly established, as well as vulnerable sites across the city. In chronological order, below is a list of the year’s most notable restaurant closures.
What: Renowned chef Ollie Dabbous’ first, and best restaurant.
When: The restaurant was leased for sale in February, shutting in June.
Why: An evolution in the chef’s operational mantra and also style, culminating first in the opening of Henrietta, to be followed by a huge site on Piccadilly in Spring 2018.
What: One of the first Antipodean speciality coffee + brunch spots to make it big in the capital.
When: The closure was announced in July, by an unpublicised blogpost giving a week’s notice. It is understood by Eater London that staff received the same notice period.
Why: The statement indicated that the kitchen took too much attention away from coffee, Workshop’s raison d’être.
What: Chef Bruno Loubet’s veg-centric restaurant in Granary Square, King’s Cross
Why: Because the chef wished to retire, but it is also thought that the owners did not wish to renew the site’s lease. Granary Square Brasserie by Caprice Holdings has since opened on the site.
What: Beloved late-night Lebanese on the Edgware Road
When: Its closure was announced on the 24th September
Why: No explanation has been given to date
What: High-end Indian (in the site formerly occupied by Rasoi) that received its first Michelin star just one week before closing
When: Last service was the 8th of October
Why: No explanation has been given to date
What: Michelin-starred, experimental tasting menu site from the Hakkasan group
When: Its closure was announced on October 10th
Why: Chef Tong Chee Hwee explained that the group’s priorities had shifted to (presumably more profitable) overseas markets like Indonesia and Saudi Arabia. It’s likely that an experimental avenue was no longer viable in London’s increasingly competitive market.
What: The creative Hackney offshoot from Robin Gill’s Clapham mini-empire
When: Its closure was announced on October 11th
Why: Gill cited ongoing building works opposite the restaurant as a major drag on lunch trade
What: Century-old pie and mash shop on Islington’s Chapel Market
When: The site is expected to close by Christmas
Why: Owner Tim Nicholls cited a now-familiar combination of high business rates and rent hikes.
What: Chef Mark Hix’s restaurant in the Brown’s Hotel on Albermarle Street
When: The termination was announced 7 November this year
Why: A spokesperson for Hix said, “Mark’s partnership with Browns came to the end following the end of their ten year contract.”
What: Hoxton Street’s Antipodean coffee shop and brunch restaurant famous for its toasties
When: Early December
Why: The team behind it decided not to renew the lease and will focus on a new project elsewhere in the new year
What: A So-Cal chain with three sites across the city, focussed on healthy, modern food When: Immediate closure was announced via Instagram 22 November 2017
Why: The statement noted a failure to secure funding, though given the sites’ premium locations, rents and rates are likely to have played a part
What: A Hackney gastropub with a menu slanted towards seafood.
When: The decision was confirmed 24 November, a week after the announcement of a new opening in Bloomsbury.
Why: The owners of The Richmond, Margaret Crow and Brett Redman, recently opened Neptune at The Principal Hotel in Bloomsbury; this opening was effectively a straight swap for The Richmond.
James Cochran N1
What: A flat bread-focused restaurant in Angel Central shopping centre
When: 5 December 2017
Why: According to the restaurant, because it was a pop-up. Although publicity around the restaurant never once stated it would be a pop-up. It is understood that the site did not work for the concept
The Ebury Restaurant and Bar
What: An iconic Belgravia restaurant and bar that was established in 1959.
When: The site shuttered its doors on 22 December, 44 years after owner Nigel Windrige took it on.
Why: Windridge chose to retire after a storied, colourful tenure.
Duke’s Brew & Que
What: “The spiritual home of east London’s (now waning) Southern barbecue craze.”
When: Beavertown announced the closure early December, reminiscing over the first batches of now iconic beers (Gamma Ray, Neck Oil) that were brewed there.
Why: No immediate reason was given for the closure.
What: Popular, prolific restaurateur Stevie Parle’s first restaurant, opened 2009.
When: The news was announced 18 December, in an email to newsletter subscribers.
Why: The lease on the unconventional site ran out, with Parle unable to renew.
The Modern Pantry Finsbury Square
What: The (evidently) difficult second album for Anna Hansen MBE, following the original The Modern Pantry in Clerkenwell.
When: The news was announced by email to customers on 15 December. An additional statement was made the following week.
Why: Tough competition in the City location made keeping to Hansen’s ethos too much of a struggle for the bottom line.
What: Critically acclaimed Jason Atherton Japanese-fusion restaurant and bar in Farringdon
When: The site was put on sale in early August
Why: Atherton told Eater London that Sosharu was emphatically not closing, but rather moving to a part of town with a stronger lunch trade. Daytime footfall was simply not strong enough in its former location, given high rents
George Reynolds and James Hansen contributed to this compilation of closures.