‘Demon chef’ Alvin Leung has blamed a major water leak for the unexpected closure of his Michelin-starred Bo London restaurant in London’s Mill Street.
The self-taught chef, who is also behind the two-Michelin-starred Bo Innovation in Hong Kong, told Caterer and Hotelkeeper that he would be taking the closure of the restaurant as an opportunity to change it from a fine dining establishment to a “casual concept”.
He said: “We are closed to conduct a major repair on a serious water leak that developed recently.
“We will also undergo a refit to the restaurant changing it from fine dining to a casual concept. There is no scheduled reopen date yet but I will make sure you will be notified.”
The London outpost closed early last week in an apparently unannounced move. One would-be diner, who attempted to organise his reservation for the restaurant only to turn up and find it closed, took to online reviews website TripAdvisor on 7 March.
He said: “After several days of no reply by email, online res[ervation] system being terminally down, and listening to the phone ring endlessly, I dropped by Bo London last night to get our reservation sorted out. Surprise surprise – the restaurant has apparently closed, with no notification on their website or elsewhere and no indication when (if ever) it will reopen.”
Initially, when Caterer attempted to contact the restaurant by telephone and in person, no-one was available to comment. There was no answering machine message on the restaurant’s line and no notices in the window to explain why it had closed. Meanwhile, Samphire Communications, the company listed as handling the PR for Bo London on its website, confirmed it had not worked with Leung for some time.
But Leung said efforts had been made to notify diners with bookings: “We tried to notify everyone who had a reservation of our temporary closing. There might have been a couple missed due to lack of contact information.”
Leung opened the Mayfair site in December 2012. It won a star in the 2014 Michelin Guide, published in September last year.
On opening the site, Leung promised to bring his “X-treme cuisine” to the UK, which included controversial dishes like his famous “Sex on the Beach” creation, a mixture of shiitake mushrooms, tapiocas, yams, honey and ham, which looks like a used pink condom discarded on sand.
However, despite its subsequent honour from Michelin, Bo London failed to find favour with some critics – particularly The Guardian’s Marina O’Loughlin who, despite praising the restaurant for the standard of its food, asked in January 2013: “At these prices, even in rarefied Mayfair, I can’t imagine who is going to use the place once the Michelin-groupie plate-sniffers have moved on. Expense accounts are business, and who wants to put up with the client for three hours of tortured food?”