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Roussillon restaurant falls prey to tough economic climate

By Luke Nicholls , 12-Jun-2012
Last updated on 12-Jun-2012 at 14:44 GMT2012-06-12T14:44:46Z

Roussillon restaurant in Pimlico is the latest London site to close in a tough economic climate

Roussillon restaurant in Pimlico is the latest London site to close in a tough economic climate

French restaurant Roussillon has ceased trading after almost 14 years in London's Pimlico, citing the current economic climate as the reason for its closure.

An automated message on the Roussillon’s reservation phone line now states: “Due to the economic climate, Roussillon is now closed as of 1 June 2012. We would like to thank all of the customers for their support and custom over the years."

In March, BigHospitality spoke to the restaurant's head chef Shane Hughes, who didn’t reveal any major problems but did admit that he was still getting used to the new working conditions.

“Everything’s going to plan so far,” he said. “I didn’t actually plan to come back here to London but it just struck me as the best thing to do.

“I have to admit, it’s been challenging - getting used to the pace of service and the different style of working here.

“The customers are no different to the customers I had in Wales; they’re actually the same age group. We’re not in Soho - we don’t get the enormous young crowds here after fast lunches so in that respect it’s not been too difficult a transition.”

Personnel changes 

Roussillon first opened in 1998 under chef patron Alexis Gauthier and held a Michelin star from 2000 to 2010. It lost that star shortly after Gauthier’s departure, who left to set up Gauthier Soho with sommelier Roberto Della Pietra.

Former Midsummer House sous chef Dan Gill was then appointed head chef of the restaurant at the age of 23. Following that, ex-Michelin-starred chef Hughes took the reigns in October last year, having previously headed up the kitchens at Ynyshir Hall in Wales and spent time at The Connaught Hotel, The Landmark and Whatley Manor.

Hughes had introduced his own range of menus for Roussillon, with the evening à la carte menu priced at £65 for three courses and the Roussillon evening tasting menu features eight courses, priced at £75. The Garden Menu was available at dinner and cost £65 for eight courses.

It is not yet known what will happen to the site at 16 St Barnabas Street.

High-profile closures

Roussillon is the latest addition to a growing number of high-profile closures across the capital in recent months, which could be the first signs that London is no longer the recession-free zone many have considered it to be.

New restaurants including Galoupet in Knightsbridge and Assemblage in Spitalfields – two areas thought of as London hotspots – have closed within months of opening, despite strong financial backing and favourable reviews from the national press.

Meanwhile, nearby restaurant Chicago Rib shack recently closed its branch in Knightsbridge after four years, leaving a single outlet within Westfield Stratford City’s food court. The group is now on the hunt for a replacement central London site.

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