Stevie Parle's JOY faces uncertain future as it prepares for reopening

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Chef Stevie Parle's JOY at London's Portobello Dock faces uncertain future as it prepares for reopening

Related tags: Restaurant, Al fresco, Stevie Parle

JOY at Portobello, the outdoor restaurant and retail space created by chef Stevie Parle, is facing an uncertain future that could see it close just a month after reopening.

The space, which was opened last summer on the site once home to Parle's beloved Dock Kitchen at London's Portobello Dock, is preparing to relaunch when restrictions on outdoor hospitality settings ease on 12 April, with reservations​ set to open today (17 March).

However, the fate of Parle's residency remains up in the air, with the chef struggling to secure a reasonable rent rate in order to take on the site on a longer-term basis.

It is understood that interest from other parties wishing to takeover the space is driving up the price of the lease. 

"I’m hopeful I will get a long lease on the site, but it doesn’t make sense to commit to a huge rent right now," Parle tells BigHospitality​. 

Dock Kitchen, which closed its doors back in late 2017, was Parle's first solo restaurant venture, and the chef spoke last year​ of his delight at being able to return to the site with JOY.

Should he be unable to retain the site on a permanent basis, Parle says he would like to try and relocate the restaurant, but in his heart he would like to keep it where it is.

"We are in conversations with a lot of landlords, but emotionally I want to be at the dock," he explains.

"It’s where I started my journey as a restaurateur, and it’s been amazing to back and part of this amazing community.

"The response has been incredible."

If this is to be the end of JOY's journey, the chef is keen to ensure the restaurant goes out with a flourish.

He's currently in the process of decorating the space with thousands of spring-blooming Parrot Tulips, home-grown in his garden; and is launching a brand new seafood-focused menu.

"Given the difficulties facing the British seafood industry​, I’d really like to focus on that this time around," he says.

"It’s amazing how when you work with small outfits and have a pretty busy, decent size restaurant, you can really make a difference and get much needed cash to people who need it."

Dishes to previously feature on the menu include clams cooked with butter and fresh peas; red prawns with burned lemon and marjoram; and 'lockdown' lobsters, sourced from Welsh catches.

As before, the retail space will feature produce from Canterbury-based farm to fork purveyor The Goods Shed, which is also the resident supplier for the restaurant. 

Parle opened JOY in partnership with long-time friend and designer Tom Dixon.

He also owns fast-casual pasta restaurant Pastaio, which has sites in Soho and Westfield White City.

Related topics: Openings, Restaurant

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