Two-Michelin-starred, no-expense-spared restaurant The Greenhouse will not reopen in Mayfair, as the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to make the economics of “fine dining” untenable, as it currently exists.
Executive chef Alex Dilling announced the news on Instagram on Saturday, saying that the “last 2 years have been an amazing journey” and appealing to his peers in the industry to hire the chefs now in need of work. He inherited the restaurant’s two Michelin stars from previous incumbent Arnaud Bignon, and maintained them over two cycles. His cooking, with a leaning on trad luxury ingredients like caviar, lobster, and truffle, emphasised richness and technical manipulation, drawing praise but not without earning an eviscerating review from Sunday Times critic Marina O’Loughlin, which criticised “an idiotic pantomime of whispering and glaring at us from behind pillars” and “performative, tortured, effete, decadent nonsense” on the plate. Veteran star-chaser Andy Hayler was considerably kinder, praising “an impressive meal and a definite step up here from my previous experience here.”
The restaurant had emerged unscathed from the demise of its parent company, Marlon Abela Restaurant Corporation (MARC,) which forced fellow Michelin-starred restaurant The Square to close at the end of January. While Dilling did not clarify the precise reason for the closure, it follows two-Michelin-starred The Ledbury, in Notting Hill, and longtime Michelin-star elect Indian Accent in shutting down in the last fortnight. With (gastro)tourism out of the question in the short-term, and even local destination dining likely to be a harder sell, traditional “fine dining,” and the bodies that anoint it, will struggle to sustain themselves in their current forms.