The northern Italian restaurant, specialising in the wines and cuisine of Lombardy — Il Cudega — has announced that it will close at the end of this week.
The crowd-funded restaurant, which opened in 2015, initially operated only at lunch time; last June it began serving dinner Wednesday to Saturday, after a protracted license application with Hackney Council. A July review from Evening Standard critic Fay Maschler awarded the restaurant four stars, spoke of a dedication to “the produce, wines and culinary traditions of Lombardy,” and noted a palpable passion among the staff at an “Italian archangel for London Fields.”
In an email sent out this lunchtime, owners Giovanni and Luca spoke of the difficulty they had recovering from the “losses incurred while fighting [Hackney] council for [their] evening license” as well as pointing to the “extremely challenging” trading environment for the restaurant business in London. The duo wrote:
It is with a heavy heart that we inform you that we have been left with no option but to close Il Cudega restaurant. This will be our last week of operation for the restaurant in Westgate Street. If you would like to come and visit us one last time, we will be open for business from Wednesday 14th February until Sunday the 18th February inclusive.
We have given it our all in order to make this a viable enterprise, but unfortunately we were unable to recover from heavy losses incurred while fighting the council for our evening licence. Additionally, the general trading environment for the restaurant business in London has been extremely challenging in the last few months. As a consequence the cost of running a restaurant focused on quality such as Il Cudega has proven unsustainable. We are taking this action also in order to close in a responsible manner, giving priority to the staff who have worked so hard in the last few years.
They thanked the restaurant’s loyal customers, before saying that “Il Cudega has always been more a philosophy of life than a mere restaurant, and we will soon update you in relation to our future projects.”
Il Cudega sat in a railway arch, opposite Netil House — the site that last week Michelin-starred Ellory announced it would be departing. An adjacent building is set for regeneration this year, with TV chef and author Gizzi Erskine overseeing a new restaurant and deli within the new multi-use Mare Street Market, which is scheduled to open next month.