I was wondering if anyone knew if anything was ever going to happen with Lovage/Findlays Bar and Grill. There seem to have been quite a lot of spaces along Queen Elizabeth street open up, with no one filling them.
Does anyone know who owns these restaurants/ spare spaces?
It's only going to get worse as another restaurant is set to close - The Hing Lee Chinese Restaurant on Curlew Street. It's never busy, which is shame as I think the food is pretty good and it has 5 scores on the doors. Unfortunately it seems that with the exception of the the Dean Swift people don't trek too far away from the river.
Plans are in motion to convert the restaurant to flats: a 3 bed flat on the ground floor/basement and a 2 bed flat above (planning link 15/AP/3745).
The rents in the commercial properties in the Circle got reviewed (put up) by the landlord which is why Tentazioni moved out last year. It seems they would rather leave them empty than have rental income which is below their expectation.
It's a shame that Hing Lee is closing, I can understand why though. How long have they been on that site?
Salerno's closed earlier this year too and is now being converted into offices.
So the area has or will have lost:
Most of these places were very quiet - Tentazioni Deli got custom at lunchtime but not much else & La Lanterna's standards had dropped dramatically. Much as I'm sad to see any business close I think only the deli will really be missed.
Hing Lee- I like it, disappointed that they are closing.
Tentazioni- loved the products that they sold. Valentina now carries a similar range.
La Lanterna- never visited it.
Salernos- Pony. There was previously a Thai restaurant on the same location that didn't survive either. The landlord is turning the site into office space.
Lovage- did a decent crab bhuna but was expensive and always empty.
Long and the short of it is that only chains can afford to be on Shad Thames itself, and even elsewhere in the area the rents are still unaffordable for independents.
What's surprising is that landlords are prepared to let units stay empty for as long as they do. Many of the Circle units have been empty for years, whilst in nearby Tower Bridge Piazza some have been empty for over a decade. Granted, now a lot of money is to spent on the latter, things should change, but it does beg the question as to why so much has been empty for so long.