Diners' fury as famous Sheffield restaurant which featured on Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares closes suddenly

One of Sheffield’s most celebrated restaurants has closed suddenly for the second time in a year, with furious customers telling how they turned up for bookings to find the place in darkness.

By Robert Cumber
Wednesday, 14 August, 2019, 15:23

Silversmiths, on Arundel Street in the city centre, famously featured on Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares and went on to win numerous awards after he helped turn around its fortunes.

The restaurant has been shut since Monday, July 29, with its Facebook page stating in a message posted two days later that the building on Arundel Street, in the city centre, had flooded and would remain closed ‘until further notice’.

Staff reportedly turned up on the day it closed to find the locks had been changed without any warning, while there was no notice either for diners – some of whom had booked anniversary meals weeks in advance and were left bitterly disappointed.

Silversmiths Restaurant. on Arundel Street, in Sheffield city centre

The latest closure comes almost a year to the day the restaurant shut suddenly in August 2018 before reopening shortly after under new ownership.

Creditors were owed more than £300,000 at the time, documents seen by The Star show, and staff went unpaid.

Five former employees went on to win employment tribunals for unauthorised deductions from wages and were between them awarded more than £10,000 – money they say they are still waiting to receive.

The restaurant was owned at the time by a company called Silversmiths Restaurant Limited, the director of which is listed by Companies House as a Michael Standerline.

The licence is now held by Gallaghers of Yorkshire Limited, the directors of which are John Gallagher, Mark Beighton and Thomas Straw.

The restaurant had been owned until 2017 by Justin Rowntree, who was in charge when it featured on a notoriously sweary episode of Kitchen Nightmares in 2009.

Gordon Ramsay helped transform the venue from a failing tapas joint called The Runaway Girl and, under its new name, it went on to win a clutch of awards.

It was crowned Yorkshire’s best restaurant in 2010, in the Taste of Yorkshire awards, and 2015, in the Deliciously Yorkshire Awards; was a runner up in the Observer Food Monthly’s 2013 Restaurant of the Year award; and in 2012 came fourth in a list of the UK’s sexiest places to eat published in The Times.

One disappointed diner, David Gibbs, told how he and his wife Margaret had booked to celebrate their 43rd wedding anniversary at Silversmiths on Friday, August 2, only to turn up that evening and find it closed – despite having received a confirmation email only the day before.

“When we got there the restaurant was in total darkness and the doors were locked. We were a bit dumbfounded. We stood there and thought 'is this real',” said the 72-year-old, of Norton.

"I phoned the lady whose number was given on the website, who kindly responded and was very apologetic.

"She told me how the staff themselves had turned up earlier that week to find the locks had been changed without any notice to staff or customers.

“It totally ruined the evening and I will not be going again, especially as it appears they treat the staff so appallingly.”

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Other customers took to Silversmiths’ Facebook page to vent their frustration.

Jodie Nicholson wrote how she had booked online to celebrate her wedding anniversary there on Saturday, August 3, only to arrive that evening and find it closed.

“Our anniversary meal out is now ruined, with no alternative available this late on a Saturday evening. Very disappointed,” she wrote.

“For future issues please notify via website and booking and certainly amend your auto generated booking confirmation email! I am so annoyed!”

Rob Farmer said he turned up on Friday, August 2, to find the restaurant shut, having paid an £80 deposit only that Monday when he booked a table for eight.

“What a way to treat staff and customers,” he commented.

Stacey Probert, deputy manager at The Globe pub, around the corner from Silversmiths, said staff from the restaurant had come into the pub distraught after finding it closed.

“They've got mortgages to pay and children to look after, and they were all absolutely gutted,” she said.

"The staff said they came in that morning, tried the keys and couldn't get in because all the locks had been changed.

"They were told they no longer had a job, but they were let in a few hours later by one of the owners to get all their belongings.”

There is no mention on Silversmiths’ website of the restaurant being closed, nor any notice on the door of the premises, but its Facebook page states: “Unfortunately Silversmiths has flooded due to the poor weather conditions and is now closed until further notice. Sorry for any inconvenience.”

The Star has attempted to contact Silversmiths and Gallaghers of Yorkshire Limited but has yet to receive any response.

We have not been able to speak directly to any staff affected by the latest closure, but two ex-employees who are among those owed money by the previous owner after winning their employment tribunals said they were concerned history was repeating itself.

Vicky Wainwright was the head chef and Dalibor Glemba was a sous chef at the restaurant last summer.

Mr Glemba, 26, was owed more than £4,000 in unpaid wages when he left, of which he says he has yet to receive a penny, and he told how he had to borrow money from his family to pay the rent and buy food.

Ms Wainwright, 49, who was owed nearly £2,300, said: “We worked so hard there and we’re so angry about what happened. We’re really worried the same thing is happening again.”

A list of creditors drawn up last September, who were between them owed nearly £340,000, included Mr Rowntree, who was owed £60,000 at the time; Mr Standerline, who was owed nearly £23,000; and HM Revenue & Customs, which was owed more than £53,000.