Be­vis Marks restau­rant closes down

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMUNITY - BY JOSH JACKMAN

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.

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