The New Year has seen an unhappy accident at Bar Shu, the Sichuanese restaurant in London for which I act as consultant. On Saturday 3rd January, a fire started in the extractor fans above the stoves, and spread throughout the ventilation system. Fortunately this happened early in the day, when the kitchen was almost empty and there were no customers in the restaurant, and no one was hurt. The damage, however, has been extensive, and the restaurant has been forced to close temporarily. Given the intense heat of the stoves during busy service times, it seems ironic that the fire started when one of the chefs was simply frying eggs for staff breakfasts.
It’s not clear exactly when the restaurant will be able to reopen – we are waiting for the insurance company to investigate the site, and then the damage needs to be fixed – but three months seems likely.
We are all incredibly sad about this event, and painfully aware that the closure will leave a gaping hole in London’s restaurant scene. We hope that regular customers will be able to survive for a little while without their usual fix of Gong Bao prawns, dry-fried beans or chicken with chillies. Sichuan food addicts might be relieved to know that they can find some of the characteristic flavours of the region in the more casual surroundings of Baozi Inn in Newport Place, the smaller sibling of Bar Shu. And we are currently working on the menu for the third restaurant, which will open sometime this Spring…
Do watch this space for news of Bar Shu, and of the new place.