Mystery surrounds the sudden closure of a city centre brasserie that closed its doors two weeks after an Italian restaurant crashed out of business on the next street.
Would-be customers of The House brasserie, which only opened in Bennett’s Hill in July, turned up last Wednesday to find the building in darkness and the doors firmly shut.
It follows the closure of upmarket Italian restaurant Don Salvo, repossessed on Temple Street two weeks ago after racking up debts to the landlord and suppliers.
The landlord of The House, a former bank building on Bennett’s Hill, claimed the tenant had not paid the rent.
Christmas menus were still displayed in menu boxes and signs on the windows said the business, including fixtures and fittings, was available for “immediate vacation”.
Owner Barry Sherwin, a director of Ronnie Scott’s when it crashed in 2001 owing £1.6 million, said: “There are legal issues on this and I have been advised not to comment.
“I will be able to tell you more about The House in the next couple of weeks.”
An agent who posted his mobile phone number on the windows of The House said: “I’m acting for the landlord to get somebody else in. All I can tell you is the landlord took possession from the tenant, Mr Sherwin, because he had not been paying the rent.”
Mr Sherwin had big plans for the brasserie, which included turning the basement into an upmarket bar.
He told the Post in August it would be modelled on the concept of London’s China White, with low-level bed seating and opium-style tables. He also wanted an exclusive VIP vodka room and bullion poker room, housed in the former bank’s old safe.
A spokesman for the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry said they were not aware of a trend of restaurants closing.
He added: “Despite two restaurants closing in recent weeks, there is no obvious trend.
“Although it is difficult for the Chamber to tell the circumstances of the two closures, all business are feeling the pinch in the current financial climate.”