Michelin-starred Pensons announces closure with a 'heavy heart'

16 November 2023 by
Michelin-starred Pensons announces closure with a 'heavy heart'

The Michelin-starred Pensons restaurant on the Netherwood Estate in Herefordshire is to permanently close at Christmas after nearly five years of trading.

The 36-cover restaurant opened in January 2019 with chef Lee Westcott at the helm and won a Michelin star 10 months later.

Pensons said the decision followed a "careful consideration [of] its future commercial viability".

"It is with an extremely heavy heart we make this announcement," said Peta Darnley, founder and managing director of Pensons.

"The Pensons team's dedication and talent is outstanding and this decision is no reflection on their ability but a very sad result of the economic climate we face."

Westcott left the restaurant at the end of 2019 and was replaced by Chris Simpson, who led a five-strong kitchen brigade and retained the Michelin star.

An expansion of the restaurant in 2021 saw the launch of two boutique bedrooms to allow guests to stay overnight.

Pensons grows, forages and farms much of its own produce and the restaurant was among just nine restaurants awarded a Michelin Green Star for sustainability in 2022.

"Despite all these accolades we find ourselves under relentless inflationary pressure which has made continuing the business untenable and the restaurant will close after dinner service on 22 December 2023," said Darnley.

"It is with our heads held high that we move into these last weeks of service, and I wish to personally thank all our team for their hard work and applaud their incredible talent, especially Chris Simpson our head chef."

Simpson said he would have "incredibly fond memories" of working in Herefordshire as he prepared to move on to a new chapter in his career.

Darnley has committed to support the restaurant team members while they look for new job opportunities in the new year.

Despite the closure of Pensons, the estate is open to leasing the restaurant building and kitchen garden in the future and any interested parties should contact Darnley directly.

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