The founders of London-based restaurant chain Rosa’s Thai Café have bought well-regarded Peruvian restaurant business Ceviche out of administration in a management-led buy-out deal.
The Ceviche group, founded by Peruvian-born DJ and entrepreneur Martin Morales, includes the original Ceviche on Frith Street in Soho, Andina in Shoreditch, and Casita Andina on Great Windmill Street in Soho. Ceviche Old Street, Ceviche Notting Hill and Andina bakery – also in Notting Hill, closed last month.
Morales opened the first Ceviche on Frith Street in 2012, at the vanguard of a wave of restaurants that brought Peruvian cuisine into the UK consciousness. However, the company started to struggle with high wage costs and business rates, as well as the political uncertainty caused by Brexit, and called in administrators last month.
Now Alex and Saiphin Moore have acquired the group under Atomex, the turn-around company they set up after they sold the majority of their shares in the business they founded, Rosa’s Thai Café, to TriSpan last year.
Staff from all of the now-closed sites were offered alternative roles within the business as part of the buy-out terms and 88 jobs were secured.
Morales is no longer employed by the company but will act as a brand ambassador. Meanwhile, Raquel De Oliveira, who has worked with Martin since 2011, remains as Ceviche Group MD and becomes a shareholder in the business.
She has been tasked with stabilising and drive it forward, with Alex and Saiphin Moore reportedly keen to grow the Andina brand. Group head chef Daniel Ribeiro and group operations manager Alessio Bascherini also remain with the business.
De Oliveira said: “I am incredibly grateful for having the support of Alex and Saiphin in helping save our beautiful restaurants and our team’s employment. I am looking forward to working alongside them and creating a strong company once again.”
Alex Moore added: “Saiphin and I are incredibly excited about this opportunity as we have been fans of the Ceviche brand for years. We are looking to put a significant amount of time and resource in to supporting Raquel and to do so we have chosen to temporarily close our other venture Hoh Sek Noodles.”
Morales, whose cookbook, Ceviche Peruvian Kitchen, has been translated into 10 different languages and is sold in more than 20 countries worldwide, said: “It’s with a heavy heart that I step away from the business I created and love dearly, but know I am leaving it in Raquel’s very capable hands. She’s been with me on this journey from day one, and has so much passion for both Ceviche and Andina brands. I’m excited about what lies ahead and I am sure with Alex and Saiphin’s support, she can help grow the business, despite the challenging and uncertain economic times we are currently in.”