Bad news from Mayfair this morning as details are filtering in about the shock closure of Michelin-starred restaurant The Square yesterday.
We were alerted to the news by industry website The Staff Canteen which stated that the restaurant, which is owned by restaurateur Marlon Abela (he also owns Umu, Mortons and The Greenhouse), was closed down by bailiffs midway through lunch service on Friday.
Hot Dinners heard from the restaurant's Head Chef Clement Leroy, whose pregnant wife Aya Tamura also worked at the restaurant as Head Patisserie Chef. As Leroy suggests, yesterday's turn of events would not have been entirely surprising as the company was allegedly wound up in early January with all the art in the restaurant being removed from the beginning of the month. But it seems that not closing the restaurant led to the arrival of the administrators yesterday to turn out all the customers and staff.
Customer Sue Houghton was enjoying an anniversary meal at the Square yesterday when it all kicked off. In a post on Instagram, she said: "4 suited men arrived mid-meal and disappeared into a side room. Cheese is then #mysteriously ‘off’ and then over coffee, a very tearful Maitre D comes round all the tables and says we must please leave now as the restaurant has gone bankrupt. Staff haven’t been paid and they are all in tears and so apologetic to us. Feel so bad for them. Really sad way to get a free meal."
We're told that none of the staff have apparently been paid for the month of January and, according to chef Leroy, nobody from the company was able to give them any information. Apparently The Square wasn't the only place to close yesterday - Leroy told Hot Dinners that Abela's private members' club Mortons had also closed its doors, leading to the unemployment of between 40-50 staff across the two venues.
Understandably, Leroy is upset and angry at the situation. He told us: "Shame on them. I am really disappointed by the way the company used [us] and hope the industry will support us and not accept Marlon Abela in their restaurants any more."
A statement from the company said: “It has been a challenging time for the hospitality sector as a whole over the last few years, with rents and rates rising dramatically. Mr Abela cares deeply about the businesses and staff but, despite investing tens of millions of pounds of his own money into the businesses, was unable to save them from going into administration.”
More about The Square
Where is it? 6-10 Bruton St, Mayfair, London W1J 6PU
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