Future of The Wolseley restaurant in London’s Mayfair again in doubt following sudden closure of sister cafe
The future of The Wolseley restaurant in London’s Mayfair is again in doubt following the sudden closure of its sister cafe.
The Wolseley counts writer Stephen Fry, model Kate Moss and former Bank of England governor Mark Carney among its many celebrity diners.
It was put into administration earlier this year amid a bitter battle for control between Jeremy King, co-founder of Corbin & King, and Thailand-based Minor International, its majority shareholder.
Style: Model Kate Moss is one of the celebrities who dines at The Wolseley in Piccadilly
Minor eventually won with a £60million bid and Corbin & King was rebranded The Wolseley Hospitality Group.
In addition to The Wolseley, it has seven other upscale restaurants in London, including The Delaunay, Colbert and Brasserie Zedel.
Another, Cafe Wolseley at Bicester, Oxfordshire, closed last week.
The Wolseley Hospitality Group said it had been ‘forced’ to shut the cafe after four years because its landlord, Value Retail, had ‘taken advantage of a technicality in the lease’.
The Mail on Sunday understands this relates to a ‘change of control’ clause that was triggered when Minor bought the business from administrators FRP Advisory. Crucially, the move means that the landlord at The Wolseley in Piccadilly, STJ Investments, could also take back its lease at some stage – and even install new management if it decides to keep the flagship open.
The news comes just days after The Wolseley’s new owners poached Albanian-born Baton Berisha from rival D&D London, formerly Conran Restaurants, to be its new chief executive with a brief to expand in the UK and overseas.
Critics say plans to franchise The Wolseley would compromise the brand.
Jersey-based STJ Investments is run by the Russian-born Belgian oligarch Vladimir Zemtsov. He was also recently embroiled in a public spat with King, this time over unpaid rent built up during the pandemic.
The Wolseley Hospitality Group said shutting Cafe Wolseley in Bicester was ‘highly regrettable’.
It declined to say what the ‘technicality’ in the lease was that triggered the closure but added that it did not face the same situation at its other restaurants.
King, who The Wolseley Hospitality Group says is still an employee, declined to comment. STJ was also contacted.
King and co-founder Chris Corbin are veterans of the London restaurant scene, having run Langan’s Brasserie, Le Caprice and The Ivy before taking over The Wolseley in 2003.