L'Escargot Soho

The future of London’s oldest French restaurant has been thrown into doubt after its lights suddenly went out this week.

L’Escargot Soho suddenly closed its doors when the landlord indicated they had exercised reentry rights and evicted them from the premises.

A Notice of Forfeiture dated February 13 said that the building’s owners, Soho Estates Ltd had terminated the lease and changed the locks.

Forfeiture is when a lease is ended by a property’s owner usually due to the tenant breaching its terms.

The WT understands that talks between L’Escargot and the landlord are ongoing.

The restaurant’s website says that it is ‘closed for refurbishment’ and will reopen on March 28, with no further details mentioned. This date has since been revised to May 10.

L’Escargot has welcomed patrons at 48 Greek Street since 1927 when it was established by Georges Gaudin and was frequented by famous figures including Elton John and Mick Jagger.

As its name suggests, it was famed for its snails, with Gaudin’s previous establishment, Le Bienvenue, the first to serve the delicacy in England.

The eatery rose again to fame when it was taken over by Michelin starred chef Marco Pierre White in 1992.

More recently, the landmark opened the Upstairs Club, an exclusive members only section, after the business was acquired by a group led by restauranteur Brian Clivaz who previously managed the Arts Club in Mayfair.

Plans were also unveiled last June to relaunch L’Escargot Sur Mer, the brand’s offshoot in the coastal town of Aldeburgh in Suffolk.

John James, the managing director of Soho Estates said: “We are sorry to see L’Escargot is in liquidation but will do everything in our power to keep this historic restaurant remaining part of the rich history of Soho.”

Image:Flickr/Matt Brown.

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