This city’s brutal restaurant property market doesn’t take Christmas off. Two of south London’s most celebrated bakeries announced their sudden closure today, with Brick House Bread shutting down its branches in East Dulwich and Peckham. In a statement reported by Bloomberg’s Richard Vines, and then shared by the bakery on Instagram, owners Fergus and Sharmin Jackson said that a “crippling rent review” leaves them unable to continue in East Dulwich, while the lease on the Peckham bakery expires in February.
Brick House’s San Franciscan-influenced sourdough is a product of the duo’s 2011 stint in California, which spurred a wholesale bakery based out of Peckham Rye and then the opening of the East Dulwich bakery in 2012. One of the city’s best bakeries through the mid-2010s, its greatest success — particularly in East Dulwich — has been as a genuine community hub, whether for diehard bread regulars or a freelancer that can’t stare at the kitchen table any longer. Such is its status that this sudden demise is, immediately, one of the saddest restaurant closures of 2019.
Writing on the decision, the duo said:
This may come as quite a shock, but behind the scenes we have found ourselves in the unfortunate situation of facing the loss of both of our premises within a couple of months of each other. A crippling rent increase is forcing us out of East Dulwich, and our landlords in Peckham have decided not to re-new our lease when it expires in February. We thought that we had found a solution to move the mother-ship to a new premise around the corner, but expensive and protracted negotiations combined with the timing of losing BH Peckham mean the numbers for us to carry on just don’t stack up.
It’s a bitter pill to swallow but having looked at all the options we feel like our hands are tied and this is our only option.
To say that we’re heartbroken would be an understatement. Over the past 8 years we have poured everything in to Brick House to make it a success, and to for it to come to an end in a way that has felt very much out of our control is extremely upsetting.
Brick House’s Peckham unit, in Blenheim Grove, is owned by Nicholas Balfe’s bistro Levan, which opened in late October 2018. Eater has contacted Balfe and a Levan spokesperson regarding the future of the unit. More soon.