Aldo Zilli leaves London

Posted on News May 2012 - by Tandoori Editor
Aldo Zilli leaves London

Celebrity chef Aldo Zilli has closed the last of his London restaurants, citing greedy landlords as the reason he has quit the capital after three decades in the restaurant trade.

The Italian born chef, who at one point owned seven restaurants across the capital, closed Soho-based Zilli Fish and Zilli Café at the start of April. In an interview with London’s Evening Standard, Zilli said:

“I survived three recessions, but rents have doubled in the past five years and the rates are 90 grand a year. How can a small business survive? On top of this, Westminster council want £2 to take away a bag of rubbish.”

On top of the high rates, Zilli was paying £220,000 a year in rent for the two Brewer Street properties. He said, “I don’t want to work for the landlords anymore. You end up working 13 hours a day to pay the charges.”

Zilli said that when he first opened Zilli Fish, fifteen years ago, it was the only restaurant on Brewer Street. The chef says that Soho has now become overrun by take-away and restaurant chains that have led to the area losing its character, in so doing making it “more like Dubai”.

The Zilli concept with its emphasis on healthy Italian food had been popular with a wealth of celebrities that had dined at his Soho restaurants over the years – from Paul McCartney to Prince Edward to models such as Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell.

Zilli sold the lease on the properties to the Richard Caring-backed restaurant and store chain, Bill’s Produce. The chefs last remaining restaurants are the four sites he has at the Centre Parcs Aqua Sana spas in Longleat, Sherwood and Elveden Forest

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