Chef and restaurateur Victor Garvey has announced that he has closed his first restaurant, the “modern Spanish” Encant, one of two sites he operates in Covent Garden. He has used the announcement to confirm, as reported in December, that he will open a second restaurant in Soho this year. Encant ceased trading at the end of December last year.
The number of restaurant closures — 11 in 18 days — already reported this year suggest that these are uncertain times for restaurateurs. But explaining the decision behind what the announcement called the closure of a “profitable and popular” restaurant after just under two years in business, Garvey said: “Encant is very special to me as it was my first solo restaurant, and it’s still as busy as ever, but creatively the team and I feel we’ve taken it as far as we can.”
He added: “Sibarita and Rambla — which are both performing better than I could ever have imagined — opened in quick succession and both their menus feature several dishes which originated at Encant; it got to the stage where Encant had effectively become a development kitchen for the others, rather than innovating in its own right.”
He says that all staff from Encant have been “retained and redeployed within the group,” and confirmed that offers have been received for the prime Covent Garden site (16 Maiden Lane) from other restaurant operators, but could not disclose who they were.
About the new, as yet officially unnamed Soho restaurant, which Eater London believes to be at the intersection of Old Compton Street and Wardour Street, Garvey said: “Although all different, Encant, Sibarita and Rambla have a common DNA: a mix of traditional and contemporary tapas, great Spanish cheeses and charcuterie, well-made cocktails and good-value wines by the glass. I want now to take it further and expand what we offer but I didn’t want to open a fourth restaurant at this stage, just a different one — and decided the best solution all-round was to close Encant and focus on Sibarita and Soho.” Eater London has learnt that the new restaurant will be focused on Spanish rice dishes, including paella.
Garvey has also announced that he has completed a buy-out of his investors. The chef now has full ownership of his three restaurants under the newly-incorporated Garvey Restaurant Holdings.
Three team members, including Garvey’s head chef Krisztian Palinzkas, operations manager Claudio di Martino and executive assistant Marsida Rexhepaj, have been awarded a stake in the new company, “in recognition of the role they have played in its evolution.”