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Following Desperate Attempts to Reopen, Islington’s Cult Chinese Closes for Good

Chinese Laundry on Upper Street had a fire, then squatters. It now can’t afford to reopen and will look to relocate

Chinese Laundry restaurant will cook two residencies at Newcomer Wines and Browns of Brockley’s restaurant space in Dalston and Brockley
Chinese Laundry’s owners have announced that it will not reopen in Islington
@chinese_laundryroom/Instagram

The owners of Chinese Laundry, the cult-followed modern Chinese restaurant in Islington, have announced that the Upper Street site has closed permanently. It follows the publicised fire that took place at the premises in February last year, as well as the difficulties faced with squatters who subsequently entered the property in December.

The restaurant — opened by friends Peiran Gong and Tongtong Ren in November 2015 — was inspired, but not constrained, by the traditional Chinese cuisine they grew up with in the 1980s.

Today they wrote on Instagram:

For all that you know, after an unfortunate fire incident Feb 2017, we’ve been working on getting the insurance to repair the building, meanwhile had to work on the planning permission to repair the damaged temporary structure on the terrace into a solid brick one- which is a permanent solution for the building as well as the neighbourhood.

And then we had squatters issue in December. Now the squatters are out, the building is finally repaired, the planning permission is also granted.

However, it’s been 12 months for us away from business, and now the indemnity [insurance] period had passed, we can not afford to re-open here anymore.

They say that they are now selling the lease and wish to “re-locate” the restaurant and “start over,” asking their customers to “stay tuned” and thanking them for their patience.

Late in 2015, soon after the restaurant had opened, Times critic Giles Coren awarded it a broadly favourable review at a time when the restaurant looked to be gaining some traction; even if the place was deemed not entirely flawless, it was enjoyed for its creativity, novelty and independence in a neighbourhood comprised largely of chains and uninspired locals.

Eater has contacted Chinese Laundry for more information regarding plans for reopening elsewhere in the city.

More soon.

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