Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Jamie's Kitchen nightmares

Not being the biggest fan of either the man himself or chain restaurants generally, I'll admit that my initial reaction to the news that Jamie Oliver is to close his Cardiff eaterie was one of amusement. But the sad reality, of course, is that this is about much more than simply the wide-tongued one getting a bloody nose.

For a start, the restaurant employs local people who have mouths to feed themselves (as well as mortgages or rent to pay), so it makes for a particularly miserable beginning to the new year.

Second, as several people have pointed out, if a place that was located in a prime location in the city centre, never seemed to be empty and had the clout/kudos of a TV chef's name behind it can't survive, then what hope for anyone else? Certainly, any notion that it might be replaced by an independent restaurant are fanciful, owing to the exorbitant business rates that have already forced the closure of other places nearby.

The issue isn't specific to Cardiff, though: the decision has been taken as part of a wider programme of cutbacks around the country. The suggestion in some quarters is that more people are now choosing to go out to small restaurants on their doorstep. In that respect those of us in Canton are fortunate to have such an array of choice, including Chapter, Sen BBQ, Calabrisella, Janata Palace, Viva Latino, Time & Beef and Chai Street, as well as more upmarket places like the Purple Poppadom, Bully's and Milkwood. Even here, though, all is not entirely rosy - as evidenced by the closure of the second branch of Got Beef after only a matter of months. We ate there soon after it opened its doors and thoroughly enjoyed our meal, so it's not as though there's much justice in which places are feeling the heat and going to the wall.

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