Three London restaurants close on the same day – all part of Conran’s group

Three London restaurants closed last week after their parent company went into administration.

Parabola at the Design Museum, Luytens, a casual, lunch-friendly bistro, and Clerkenwell’s British restaurant Albion all closed with immediate effect on June 20.

The closure involves three restaurants owned by Sir Terence and Lady Conran, and Peter Prescott. The Conran family will retain ownership of the Boundary Project, which includes Redchurch Steet in Shoreditch.

The closures were first reported by City A.M. They weren’t the first to go, however – in December, Les Deux Salons, another restaurant under the joint venture, quietly closed without press.

Low ratings

Parabola is perhaps the most significant point in a declining trilogy. Chef Rowley Leigh took over the Kensington outpost in September 2017 with a view to improve the premises – as he has done with other art gallery and museum sites. Yet he left abruptly just six months later.

Long-term Harden’s readers will not fall off their seats in shock. Each Conran restaurant ranked poorly in our rankings: both Albion and Luytens had scores of two across the board. Irrespective of current restaurant conditions, arguably it is a surprise that they all lasted as long as they did.

‘Decidedly corporate’

Of Luytens, we said: “The ambience is decidedly corporate”; while there was “nothing wrong” with the venue, “the daft prices” didn’t help matters.

At Albion, it was “difficult to be fantastically enthusiastic” about the “reasonably average and slightly expensive” food.

Parabola – spurred, perhaps, by Leigh – fared a little better, with a food score of three. Even so the review notes the restaurant “also expresses some of Prescott & Conran’s less desirable restaurant DNA with its variable service and some prices that are not really justified”.

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