Two Michelin-starred London restaurants – The Square and Umu, as well as private members’ club Mortons – have entered administration after the businesses behind them struggled to pay their tax bills.
Diners at The Square in Mayfair were reportedly asked to leave during service at lunchtime on Friday 31st January after administrators took over. The restaurant has now ceased to trade, as has Mortons.
Umu, also in Mayfair, remains open while administrators seek a buyer.
The Square gained a reputation as one of London’s top restaurants under chef Phil Howard who held two Michelin stars there from 1998 until he sold it to Marc Group in 2016.
Administrator RSM confirmed that it is handling the administration of four companies within the Marc Ltd group, owned by Lebanese restaurateur Marlon Abela. Marc Ltd was already in ill financial health after it fell into liquidation at the end of 2018. Abela subsequently injected cash into the business to keep it afloat.
The four businesses to enter administration are:
- Mortons the Restaurant Limited and Mortons Club Limited – owners and operators of the Mortons private members club in Berkeley Square, Mayfair – which employs around 40 staff
- Dailyrare Limited – operator of the Michelin starred The Square restaurant in Mayfair – which employs 31 staff
- Marc Umu Limited – operator of Umu Japanese restaurant in Bruton Place, Mayfair
The administration follows court action from HMRC to wind up the businesses following the non-payment of VAT. There are other associated companies which are not affected by this action. Joint administrator Graham Bushby said: “At this stage in the process, it is too early to comment on our strategy for the administration.
“We are working closely with management and staff in seeking a positive way forward. We understand that the current situation is uncertain for many staff members across this group of businesses and we will be looking to provide clarity as soon as we can.”