Two of Malcolm John’s restaurants - Le Cassoulet in South Croydon and Fish & Grill in Putney - have closed their doors after trade at the sites failed to pick up over the past 12 months.
Le Cassoulet's restaurant’s closure comes just months after the South Croydon Business Association created the ‘restaurant quarter’ in a bid to boost business after the riots and encourage diners back into the area.
It is believed that a combination of the recession, the high rate of VAT and the riots are to blame for Le Cassoulet’s closure, with the latter decimating like-for-likes in the area by up to 90 per cent in August and September 2011.
Speaking to Restaurant magazine earlier this year about the effects of the riots, John said: “Financially it was a disaster, but it was painful for me on an emotional level too. It’s an area that I love. I’ve brought up my family here and it’s particularly sad that a lot of local youngsters have, by extension, been stigmatised by the riots and now can’t find work.”
Meanwhile, the permanent closure of Fish & Grill Putney comes just 15 months after it launched and nine months after a 36-cover jazz bar was opened underneath the restaurant in a bid to boost trade.
John has become known for his involvement in altruistic community activities and, following the riots, he launched The Phoenix Initiative - an apprenticeship scheme which gave four teenagers first-hand kitchen experience at each of his South London restaurants.
His other three London restaurants, Le Vacherin (Chiswick), Fish & Grill (Croydon) and Brasserie Vacherin (Sutton), all continue to trade as normal. The chef has declined to comment on the two closures.