The closure of La Brasserie in Chelsea should send a signal to greedy landlords; their avarice is killing London
There are restaurants that come and go and there are ones that become institutions. La Brasserie fell into the second category but sadly, yesterday, after 45 years in business, this popular dining spot closed its doors for the very last time.
A great loss to the neighbourhood and a firm favourite of everyone from Mary Quant to Mickey Rourke, this Brompton Road restaurant and bar was considered a home-from-home by its loyal staff and rambunctious regulars. Never did one pass through its doors without encountering a plethora of familiar faces and never did one leave without having been part of something akin to an episode of Cheers.
Opened originally in 1972 and run by its charming and able proprietor Peter Godwin since 1972, the sad demise of ‘La Bras’ (as it was endearingly known) came about after a six figure rent increase resulted in continued trading being utterly unsustainable. Joining many other restaurants in the area to have departed – including Elistano on Elystan Street, Itsu on Draycott Avenue, Poissonnerie on Sloane Avenue and Toto’s on Walton Street – soaring business rates did not help either but one can certainly attribute far more blame to the not-so-charitable landlords grasping to achieve an extra buck.
In a statement, issued via Facebook on Wednesday morning, a representative for La Brasserie remarked:
Peter Godwin the proprietor of La Brasserie, announces with deep regret the closure of the restaurant after 45 years, due to insurmountable increases in overheads and operating costs.
Peter would like to thank all the wonderful hard working staff, many of whom have worked here for over 20 years and have become a real family. He would especially like to thank his right hand man for 42 years Majid Barka, he says he could not have done it without him. He would also like to thank the fabulous management team, Suzie Cooke, Ross Armitage, Cesar Salinas, Carlos Marques, Elodie Bourges, Juan Lousada and Anna Milescu . Also the fantastic team Jose Dantes, Angelo Saavedra, Teodosio Candeias, Manuel Nascimento, Juan Carlos Moreno, Maria Hernandez, Anca Stroia, Edyta Grzesik, Ferran Rodriques, Alessandro Mazziotto, Alhaji Kanu, Anastasios Andreadis, Carlos Teotonio, Hasmik Gevorgyan, Iveta Sudova, Karla Pestana de Barros, Manon Fouquet, Marion Vialle and Monica Cassiano. Last but definitely not least our amazing kitchen team, Head Chef Jamie Smith, Christian Cheregi, Antonio Filipe, Jose Marquez (Pepe), Alexandro Fratini, Desmond Cowan, Jason Whiskey, Jonathan Lincango, Kwacu Owusu, Leopaldo Alvarado, Nanis Dimitrakis, Salar Samyani, Silviu Manole and Stephan Mendes.
It’s a huge disappointment that we had to close, but we have exhausted all possible options to remain in operation. Thank you for all your support, we have enjoyed 45 years of trading and serving you, our customers. As you well know, you have become our friends and extended family. We hope you and your family have enjoyed it as much as we have and we wish you all the best for your future.
Please forgive us and remember the good times!
Peter and all the team at La Brasserie.
Of this sad development, Matthew Steeples, editor of The Steeple Times, commented:
“Chelsea’s character is being torn from its soul by greedy commercial property owners wanting to replace long established businesses with chain stores and luxury goods brands as they believe they’ll pay higher rents”.
“Given the number of empty shops and restaurants peppering the locality, however, the strategy of landlords is plainly not working. These charlatans are killing the area and all that will soon be left is a near empty money park”.