Bevis Marks restaurant closes down
A LEADING caterer has condemned the “vicious circle” of Jewish people not eating kosher after the closure of London’s first and only Michelin-listed kosher restaurant.
Bevis Marks The Restaurant shut on December 24 after serving clients in the City of London for 13 years, with director Kenneth Arfin saying that it was time “to move on to a new project”.
“It was a very successful restaurant, but I’m a chap who has to move on and do new things,” Mr Arfin added, admitting that he would miss his clients, who he said were “lovely, more like family than customers by the end”.
But Arieh Wagner, whose company provides catering for the prestigious Park Lane Hotel in central London, said communal negligence was a problem for kosher food providers.
He called on British Jews to eat kosher to support businesses, saying: “I wish our Jewish community would take the example of Parisian Jews and eat only kosher out of principle.
“Obviously a lot of people will not go kosher because there is not the quality or availability or choice here, but it’s a bit of a vicious circle. The more demand, the more choice, and the more choice, the more customers.”
MrWagner,aco-founderof theKosher Food and Wine Experience, rejected the idea that people chose not to eat at kosher restaurants because of the cost.
He said: “Kosher shouldn’t be about affording or not affording. No, I don’t believe that people don’t eat kosher because they can’t afford it.”
Mr Arfin and fellow Bevis Marks director, his wife, Susan, emailed customers on Christmas Day, writing: “We hoped the restaurant would have continued as kosher and it certainly wasn’t for the want of trying, but it wasn’t to be.”
As for what was next for Mr Arfin, he would only say: “Watch this space.”
The glatt kosher eatery, which offered a fine-dining experience, was licensed by the Sephardi Kashrut Authority and Beth Din.
Early last year, kosher eatery 1701 — in the grounds of Bevis Marks Synagogue — closed down, with owners citing the limitations caused by the location.