Chef shuts restaurant after flag protests

One of Belfast’s most famous restaurants has shut.

Celebrity chef Paul Rankin, who once owned a string of eateries across Ireland, blamed the continuing union flag protests for his decision to close his flagship restaurant, Cayenne.

“Location is key in the restaurant business, particularly at a time of economic downturn, and our current setting is no longer sustainable. The disturbances around the flag protest, particularly during the Christmas period, also confirmed our decision,” he said.

Cayenne officially stopped trading on Sunday.

“The lease at our current location has now come to an end and, given the change in the Shaftesbury Square area over the last number of years, it doesn’t make sense to undertake the necessary investment required to continue to operate there at this time.

“The once ‘golden mile’ of Belfast has suffered badly from a lack of regeneration and a general decline in popularity and appearance, even the Ulster Bank with its gable end statues across from us is to close shortly.”

Paul Rankin is one of the North’s best known cooks. He won the country’s first Michelin star when he and his wife, Jeanne, opened the fine-dining Roscoff Brasserie in 1989.

Cayenne replaced Roscoff on Shaftesbury Square.

The closure has resulted in the loss of 18 full and part-time jobs, although the chef has insisted he will open a new restaurant.

The Rankin brand selection of foods will continue to be sold in supermarkets across Britain and Ireland.


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