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The Clove Club, Brat, Brawn, Smoking Goat, and Kiln Have All Closed

More and more of London’s most celebrated restaurants react to the novel coronavirus outbreak

Michelin-starred Clove Club in Shoreditch has closed until 21 April because of the coronavirus outbreak
The Clove Club in Shoreditch
Ola Smit

More and more of London’s most celebrated restaurants — from Shoreditch to Soho — have announced they will cease to serve customers in a bid to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) across the capital.

The latest group to announce group closure is that which owns the Michelin-starred modern European restaurant Clove Club, the Italian Luca, and modern American Two Lights. Those follow grill restaurant Brat, also Michelin-starred, and Thai restaurant Smoking Goat in Shoreditch; modern European wine-focussed restaurants the Laughing Heart and Brawn in Hackney; and the Thai grill, Kiln in Soho.

The situation across the capital has developed rapidly in the last 72 hours as many restaurant owners, faced with an economic conundrum, moral dilemma, and health and safety emergency, have had to use their initiative. Government advice on Monday evening, short of enforcing closure, effectively told Londoners to stay away from social spaces such as restaurants, bars, and cafes. It prompted many more restaurants, dismayed by a lack of clarity, yesterday to announce they would cease trading as normal, with many pivoting to novel delivery or takeaway-only models. It is not yet known to what degree the government’s significant financial aid package is going to ease the crisis, when so many need cash, not debt; provision for staff members; and relief from urgent costs like rent. It is thought further provisions for businesses are going to be announced later today.

Clove Club owners Issac McHale, Daniel Willis, and Johnny Smith used Instagram to announce their decision this morning, stating that they will be closed until at the least the 21 April.

“Our heart breaks,” they wrote. “Our heart breaks for our staff and all those around the country facing uncertainty, worried old people self-isolating, NHS workers going to work every day in the face of all this. Small business owners everywhere and everybody who is scared about what this means to them and their lives. We are you.”

They added that they were looking at ways to support staff through this difficult time and were speaking to their landlords to ask for rent holidays and thinking about what else we can do for them. Suppliers had to be considered, too: “The small-scale farmers, growers and fishermen whose lives are as devastated as ours by all this.” And the wider community: “Can we help those around us who are self-isolating or need shopping done or dogs walking?”

View this post on Instagram

Our heart breaks. ❤ Our heart breaks for our staff and all those around the country facing uncertainty, worried old people self-isolating, NHS workers going to work every day in the face of all this. Small business owners everywhere and everybody who is scared about what this means to them and their lives. We are you. We took the difficult decision yesterday to close all restaurants in The Clove Club Group, @thecloveclub @luca.restaurant @twolightslondon until Tuesday the 21st April. At this moment who knows if we will be able to reopen by then but we remain hopeful and we are planning towards that date. We will be contacting everyone who has booked tables at The Clove Club in that period to ask them to reschedule, rather than cancel their booking, or to look at gift vouchers from us if they want. Cooking and looking after people is the first thing we think of waking up, and the last thing we think of before bed. Hospitality and welcoming people, making them feel special, connecting with them and sharing moments is what we do best, but right now the best we can do is help people avoid social contact and help break the chains of transmission. We know we can weather this storm together and right now we are trying to figure out how to support our staff through this difficult time; speaking to their landlords on their behalf to ask for rent holidays and thinking about what else we can do for them. Then we need to think of our suppliers. The small-scale farmers, growers and fishermen whose lives are as devastated as ours by all this. How can we support them? Next we will look at what we can do to help the community. Can we help those around us who are self-isolating or need shopping done or dogs walking? Now is the time for us all to be the change we want to see in our lives. Let’s look after each other and remember to be kind. Isaac, Daniel and Johnny

A post shared by The Clove Club (@thecloveclub) on

The signed off the post with the following message: “Now is the time for us all to be the change we want to see in our lives. Let’s look after each other and remember to be kind.”

Yesterday, two more of Shoreditch’s most successful and celebrated restaurants — Tomos Parry’s Brat and Ben Chapman’s Smoking Goat and Kiln (in Soho) announced they would close after dinner service last night.

Smoking Goat’s Instagram announcement said: “This is a blow and the last few days have been very hard on all of us. However, our aim is to work to ensure that we are in a position to reopen hand in hand with our supplier network when it is advisable to do so. At this point It’s difficult for anyone to say when that will be, but we can say that we’ll try.”

They added that a solution to reopen with a takeaway offer was being developed: “Once we’ve dusted ourselves down, we ‪start tomorrow‬ on looking to build a safe Smoking Goat style version of a grocery / food delivery service. So you’ll still be able to get chilli fish sauce wings. Watch this space for news and thank you for the love and support over the years.”

This same principle would be adopted by Kiln too — “aged lamb and cumin skewers, but you might have to barbecue them yourself” — while Brat was working on a novel way to continuing providing for its customers: “our team are busy working on our grill and wine shop which we hope to launch in the coming days, with minimal contact and delivery options too,” the team wrote on Instagram.

Further east, Ed and Josie Wilson’s peerless and influential neighbourhood restaurant Brawn ceased trading yesterday. “We are no longer able to guarantee that the work we do in serving food and wine is not putting some of our guests and staff at undue risk,” the owners wrote. “All of our team will be paid up in full for the remainder of this month and beyond then we do not have all of the answers yet,” they added. “We hope everyone can find a way to support the vulnerable local businesses, friends and neighbours that will be hit hardest.”

While Hackney Road’s Laughing Heart, one of the most innovative restaurants (and new music venues) in the east of the city, confirmed its closure, too. Owner Charlie Mellor wrote on Instagram that the COVID-19 outbreak “has left us with no ethical choice but to close our doors in the format we currently operate.”

Mellor confirmed that the venue would be open this Friday and Saturday when he hoped to “sell the last of our produce and share some joy with any healthy people willing to come and see us.” He added the business would be re-inventing itself next week as a delivery service, “offering all of our wonderful cellar, a mixed menu of comforting dishes and some ready-meals to keep you interested whilst you’re stuck at home. I will be here selling wine other bits retail every day until this chaos is over.”

For a full and up-to-date list of closures, moves to delivery and takeaway, and other ways to support restaurants across London, check out this continually updated post.

BRAT

4 Redchurch Street, , England E1 6JL Visit Website

Luca

88 Saint John Street, , England EC1M 4EH 020 3859 3000 Visit Website

London

, , England Visit Website

The Laughing Heart

277 Hackney Road, , England E2 8NA 020 7686 9535 Visit Website

Kiln

58 Brewer Street, , England W1F 9TL Visit Website

Wings

5 - 7 Old Fishmarket Close, , Scotland EH1 1RW 0131 629 1234 Visit Website

Brawn

49 Columbia Road, , England E2 7RG 020 7729 5692 Visit Website

Smoking Goat

64 Shoreditch High Street, London, E1 6JJ

Lamb

94 Lamb's Conduit Street, , England WC1N 3LZ 020 7405 0713 Visit Website

Two Lights

28-30 Kingsland Road, , England E2 8AA 020 3976 0076 Visit Website

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