WOW, what a bombshell. Less than 24 hours after a terrific Manchester Food and Drink Awards trumpeted to the world what a healthy state our city’s food and drink scene is in a shock announcement that Manchester House Bar & Restaurant and Spinningfields neighbour Artisan are to close.
Neither featured in the MFDF shortlists but it is only a few short years since Manchester House and this year’s Restaurant of the Year Adam Reid at the French both proclaimed their Michelin ambitions in that notorious TV documentary. It still hasn’t happened for the French and it never can for its Tower 12 rival now.
Owners Living Ventures Group blamed a period of difficult trading for their decision to place these high profile venues into administration. Administrators Duff & Phelps have been appointed today and will be working with employees and suppliers to limit impact and disruption.
Jeremy Roberts, CEO of Living Ventures, said: “Trading at Artisan and Manchester House Bar and Restaurant has been much lower over the summer, and like many other restaurants, we have struggled with balancing rising costs and high rents, together with localised access difficulties.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank our brilliant and hardworking teams; we are currently contacting all affected employees and looking into available roles in other parts of the Group.”
The remainder of the Living Ventures Group continues to trade normally, with revenues for the Full Year to March 2018 at around.£20m. The Group will focus on successful ventures such as Australasia, Grand Pacific and new projects such as Sunset by Australasia.
The late Tim Bacon lavished £3m creating Manchester House in the quest for that star and our recent five star review confirmed it was still at the top of its game under new exec chef Nat Tofan, who took over after Aiden Byrne decamped to glitzy new rival 20 Stories.
The effect of 20 Stories round the corner can't be discounted in MH's demise. it and Artisan were also facing an imminent, spectacular rival in The Ivy on Harman Square with its 400 covers.
Individuals with reservations at Artisan and Manchester House Bar and Restaurant will be contacted and offered alternative options at one of the other restaurants in the Group. Gift cards issued by Artisan or Manchester House Bar and Restaurant will be redeemable at Australasia Restaurant until March 31, 2019.