Chef Alex Dilling confirms permanent closure of two Michelin-starred The Greenhouse

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor

Two Michelin-starred chef Alex Dilling has confirmed that The Greenhouse would be permanently closed after the company behind it, MARC Ltd, Was wound up by court order due to an unsettled tax bill of almost £500,000. 

Directed by Marlon Abela, the group saw its other two restaurants - The Square and Umu - fall into administration in January, was declared insolvent as it has failed to raise the funds needed to pay £479,000 in fiscal payments. 

Alex Dilling took to social media to confirm suspicions that this was a farewell to the two Michelin-starred restaurant. 

He said: "It is with great sadness I confirm the Greenhouse Mayfair will not be reopening. The last 2 years have been an amazing journey.

"I want to thank all of the team that was a part of it; for supporting my vision of gastronomy &  culture of hospitality. You are all incredibly talented and I am so proud to have called you my colleagues but more importantly my friends. I have no doubt we will all cross paths again.

"I also want to thank all of the guests that came and enjoyed our craft. We found so much joy in our work and got to challenge ourselves daily to bring you a unique & memorable experience.

"And finally our suppliers, a cuisine based purely on the quality of product was only made possible through your support and passion."

The chef called on all restaurants looking for staff to send him a direct message specifying the role, promising to forward the CVs of his kitchen team - or, as he called them, "one of these incredible talented people."

"I can’t wait to cook for you all again," he said.

Wound up

The winding up order was granted by Judge Briggs last week by remote order (on Skype), who deemed that the company was not only insolvent on paper, but was so due to its inability to pay its tax debts off upfront.

This isn't the first time a winding up order has been issued to the company, but previous orders were later rescinded. The last petition was filed in November 2019, and two administration applications having been rejected earlier this year. 

The company is said to have sold wine at an auction in Hong Kong last week, generating £233,000, and proposed to pay £100,000 of its debts immediately, giving it time to settle the rest by the end of the year.

Additionally, MARC Ltd is said to have £700,000 of non-tax upaid debt, which it proposed to settle by 2022.

Representing the company at the hearing yesterday, barrister Faith Julian argued that the debt belonged to the restaurant group, whose registration was dissolved last November, but that by allowing deferred payment, the tax office would be getting the full payment. 

She argued that the pandemic had slowed down their means of raising the required sums and requested a delay.

However, the judge deemed that given how long the petition had been outstanding for, and how many hearings had been held to wind up the company, a delay would not be suitable in this instance.

What's more, the restaurant's landlord was represented at the hearing, and supported the winding up order on the basis that it was owed a very substantial sum. 

An official receiver - the person whose responsibility it is to collect and protect assets for creditors after someone's been made bankrupt and find out the reasons for the insolvency - has now been appointed. 

We reached out for comment from Marc Group and The Greenhouse but have yet to receive a response. Executive chef Alex Dilling declined to comment. 

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Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor 29th June 2020

Chef Alex Dilling confirms permanent closure of two Michelin-starred The Greenhouse