Hot Dinners were sad to hear the news this week that Bjorn van der Horst had announced the closure of his Clerkenwell restaurant, the Eastside Inn. Talking to Caterersearch.com, the chef explained; 'We were offered the opportunity to carry on but we didn't want to get ourselves into a hole that we couldn't get out of and end up not being able to pay our staff and suppliers.'
When we interviewed van der Horst back in September last year, the opening of the Eastside Inn had been dogged by delays and bad timing: ‘We signed everything in August 08 and then the world came crashing down on all of us,' Bjorn told us then. 'So it slowed everything down. ...we just took time to see what was happening with the market and readjust our forecasts and budget.’
Although it received pretty good reviews when it launched, the Eastside Inn never really hit the stride of other Clerkenwell openings, such as Bruno Loubet at the Zetter or even Giant Robot both just around the corner. In our interview Bjorn admitted 'The one thing that was completely silly that we didn’t do was a big, big bar. There’s a reason why all the restaurants in New York have one – it attracts people.' A decision just weeks ago to open a bar at the Eastside Inn was clearly too late to save the restaurant.