V OR V Kelham Island: Sadness as acclaimed Sheffield restaurant announces impending closure
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V OR V restaurant at Wharncliffe Works on Cornish Street, Kelham Island, said it had taken the incredibly difficult decision to shut for good, though it will remain open until Sunday, December 17, to give staff 'time to regroup and plan their futures'. It plans to keep the catering and events side of the business open, it said.
V OR V is one of Sheffield's top-rated restaurants and made BBC Good Food's list of the best places to dine in the city. BBC Good Food praised its 'innovative' plant-based dishes, including the jerk-spiced oyster mushrooms, pineapple scotch bonnet jam and red cabbage sauerkraut.
Only earlier this year, V OR V had opened a second venue, V OR V Presents the Grill House, at the Orchard Square food hall Sheffield Plate. The offshoot, specialising in vegan kebabs and small plates, had a short-lived residency there before popping up at Tramlines festival and Meadowhall's Summer Beach Club.
Decision to close brings an 'enormous amount of sadness'
Announcing the decision to close, Matt Burgess, who opened the restaurant with his brother Nick in 2019, said: "It's with a heavy heart and even deeper sadness I have to announce the upcoming closure of V OR V in Kelham Island.
"This decision has taken an incredible amount of time and thought but like every decision of this nature it also brings an enormous amount of sadness too.
"Despite providing the quality offering we have done over the last four years we opened at probably the worst time for hospitality that there's ever been. It hasn't really ever gotten any easier since being crushed by COVID three months into opening, I'd personally say that it got even harder to create a sustainable business.
"I would imagine that like a great deal of other small hospitality businesses we live on a day to day basis and due to the well documented troubles the industry and ourselves a like have had since we opened, our margins for profit are so tight and stringent that, if we don't hit these targets we are playing a spiralling game of catch up to recoup the losses.
Praise for V OR V's 'remarkable' staff and 'incredible' chef
"There are also a huge amount of external factors which make it extremely hard for a restaurant to survive in 2023. I'm sure most people get this but unfortunately don't fully appreciate it until something so sad like this happens. Unfortunately it simply isn't possible to run V OR V against all these headwinds going forward, despite the best will in the world."
Matt went on to thank V OR V's customers, his brother and all his staff, who he said had been 'truly remarkable' over the last four years, giving a special mention to the 'incredible' head chef Danny Lynn.
He added: "I really hope you will be able to join us over the next six weeks to say a proper good bye and give my team the festive send-off they deserve." News of V OR V's impending closure has been met with great sadness from diners and fellow restaurant and bar owners alike.
'Huge loss' to Sheffield's vegan community
The vegan bar and restaurant Church - Temple of Fun, also located in Kelham Island, responded: "So sad to hear! Another huge loss to our lil Sheffield vegan community."
The Sheffield city centre cocktail bar Public commented: "So sorry to hear this, sending love to you all."
BBC Radio Sheffield presenter Kat Cowan wrote: "This is so sad. Such an amazing restaurant. If places as stellar as yours go, what hope is there for hospitality in general.
"I really hope to see you back at it in some way, shape or form and pray that there’s a significant shift that somehow makes hospitality a viable industry once more."
The Riverside Kelham gastropub commented: "This is absolutely gutting news - we came for dinner two weeks ago and loved every dish we ordered, which was literally every dish on the menu. It’s so hard for everyone at the moment. Wish you guys all the best - what you’ve done has been incredible."
Matt and his brother Nick had run bars including Varsity on West Street and Champs on Ecclesall Road before launching V OR V, inspired by the thriving plant-based food scene they encountered on their travels in Melbourne, Australia.