‘Sensational’ restaurant closes after only 18 months

One of London’s most ambitious and accomplished new restaurants of recent years, Oxeye in Nine Elms, has closed down, founder Sven-Hanson Britt announced in a long and heartfelt Instagram post this week.

Several years in the planning, Oxeye opened in late 2021 and was awarded the highest score of 5 for its cooking in this year’s Harden’s guide (with high 4s for service and atmosphere), along with praise for its “sensational cooking with a lightness of touch which enables the flavours of excellent ingredients to sing“.

The restaurant had been temporarily closed since May while Sven-Hanson fought unsuccessfully to find ways to keep it afloat. In his post, he said: “The last couple of months for me have been the hardest of my life.

“I’ve tried everything in my power to save the restaurant, to keep fighting, to regain control, to fundraise, to remodel, to regroup, to reimagine, to restructure, but nothing could be done for my first restaurant and my third baby. I poured my whole heart into that space and I’m so, so grateful to all those that came through the doors – both sides of the pass. 

The closure weighs heavy on my shoulders and in my heart. And it will for some time. I’ve been awol for a while coming to terms with everything, but as anyone who’s been through something similar knows, and is similarly inclined, the only way to move forward is to keep ramblin’ on. I always want to do everything with an honest heart, a kind perspective and a vision to change the world. I’m still working on that. This challenge will only make me a better husband, a better dad, a better employer, a better chef and a better hospitalitarian

I’m not sure what the next step is for me. I would love to carry on the Oxeye journey but perhaps now is a time for stability? Anyone that really knows me will know that it’s the risks, the relentless push, the new project, the glint in my eye when someone has a new ‘idea’ that really gets me going. There will be something new coming, hopefully soon, for now I just need to say goodbye to Oxeye 1.0. Soon I will be ready to add something a bit more interesting to the staid & vapid restaurant scene that London is currently plagued with”.

The closure highlights the challenges that face even the best talents in the industry at a time of rising costs and post-Brexit’s shrunken hospitality workforce – especially for independents that have not had time to build cash reserves. Oxeye also opened during the pandemic, and in a newbuild zone close to the new US embassy which remains off the beaten track to most Londoners – as our guide puts it, “a few minutes on the bus from Vauxhall station“.

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