A Notting Hill restaurant that served fish & chips to world-famous celebrities since 1939 has become another hospitality casualty of Covid-19 by closing permanently.
Having survived a world war and decades of gentrification, Geales, the iconic restaurant on Farmer Street in Kensington, could not survive months of closure during the pandemic, even with famous fans including David Beckham and Elton John.
Entrepreneur Mark Fuller, 61, proprietor of Geales for 15 years, said: “The restaurant’s always been infamous in the area.
“Quintessentially British and a piece of World War Two history that was born out of the love for the British staple diet of fish and chips and continued through the decades.
“Just about everybody ate at Geales: Steve Tyler, The Smiths, Thin Lizzy, Elton John, Rod Stewart, Grace Jones, it’s actually endless.”
Last year, national chains Byron Burger & Carluccio’s reduced their estate across the country after lack of sales before the pandemic.
Smaller brands struggled to turn a profit too, but Geales was always a preferred choice for stalwart west London diners.
With the support of the surrounding community, visits from the stars of yester-year, and modern-day influencers, including broadcaster Ashley James & actress Jessica Woodley, you might question how such a popular restaurant could close down.
Fuller said: “The restaurant closing is an indication of the current market, that has been exacerbated by Covid-19 and the issues that it has brought.
“Small individual restaurants were suffering before Covid-19, due to the collapse of the casual dining market, which has been replaced by dine at home recipes and the Great British Bake Off.”
At Geales, known as the home of ‘posh fish and chips,’ diners paid on average £15 for a main course.
Choices included freshly caught fish from Scottish coastlines, lobster linguine and oysters from Mersea island in Essex.
Hospitality businesses during the pandemic have suffered at the hands of the takeaway trade, as the only source of income for restaurants has been to deliver.
With a luxury menu that was impossible to transport through food-delivery apps with the quality customers expected, lockdown restrictions meant that from March 2020, Geales was unable to trade.
However, not all is lost for regulars who mourned the loss of Geales.
Fuller said: “I’ll bring it back somewhere. When it’s economically viable, and the public want it again.”
Featured image credit: Jessica Woodley