Earl of Cadogan forces Chelsea brasserie to close
Man who owns 90 acres of London cancels lease after a bad meal at the Oriel
The abnormally high blood pressure afflicting many Chelsea restaurateurs today can be attributed to one man, the Earl of Cadogan. It has emerged that he is responsible for next month's closure of a Sloane Square institution, the Oriel brasserie, all because he went in for a bite to eat one day and didn't enjoy his food.
The standard practice on such occasions is to complain to the maitre d'. But Lord Cadogan is in the unique position of owning 90 acres of London that included Oriel's site. So he simply announced that he would not be renewing the restaurant's lease when it came up.
"I can tell you," he said, after the fateful meal back in May 2008, "that we won't be renewing their lease when it expires in two years' time... We are going to have a new development there. I didn't like the food and the prices there are far too high."
True to his word, he has refused to extend the Oriel's lease and after 25 years as a popular before- and after-theatre haunt for patrons of the Royal Court, and despite a local petition to save the brasserie and its 60-odd staff, it will close for good on February 26.
"The building isn't very efficient or modern," said a spokesman for Cadogan Estates. "Cadogan always looks for independent traders who tend to be more committed to producing good food. We will start to look for a restaurant to fill the refurbished site in around 18 months."
In fairness to the Earl, he is not the only one to question the Oriel's standards. The restaurant guide Harden’s gave it low ratings for food and service.