Rankin's Cayenne restaurant closes

Published Tuesday, 26 March 2013
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Celebrity chef Paul Rankin has been forced to close the doors of his renowned Belfast restaurant Cayenne.

Rankin's Cayenne restaurant closes
Cayenne restuarant closed 14 years after it began serving. (© Pacemaker)

The kitchen was once named among the UK's finest restaurants, but it served diners for a final time on Sunday.

A total of 18 full and part-time staff lost their jobs when the lease on the Shaftesbury Square restaurant was not renewed.

Cayenne opened in 1999 when it replaced Roscoff, a Rankin-owned restaurant which earned Northern Ireland's first Michelin star.

Roscoff closed amid financial difficulties, a decade after it first opened.

Paul Rankin said the decision to shut Cayenne was the result of difficult economic times, adding that the Shaftesbury Square site was no longer sustainable.

"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," he explained.

"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," Mr Rankin added.

The chef is planning to open a new restaurant, which he said will be inspired by both Cayenne and Roscoff.

"There has already been some high level talks taking place about other exciting business and restaurant opportunities but I am open to identifying as many different options as possible so it really is too early to confirm any details as yet," he said.

© UTV News
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33 Comments
Me in Larne wrote (607 days ago):
Dry your eyes Rankin. Yer auld grub is stinking anyway.
Gerard in West Belfast wrote (607 days ago):
Would rather have a fish supper and a few tins of stella in my bed-sit , does me like.
Strange in Down the road and turn left wrote (608 days ago):
Sorry to say, but if anyone thinks location is a key factor in restaurant survival, they are sadly misinformed. People will go to restaurants for food, service and price, no matter where it is. If location was "key" then how do all those places in rural areas with small catchment areas survive, e.g. Balloo House?... oh yes, thats right people travel their because of food, service and price! anyway, Can't remember "fleg" protests being responsible for the closing of his other restaurants and cafes a few years back... Or did I miss those?
Tommy Atkins in London, England wrote (608 days ago):
This is a wise move by Rankin. An astute investor who over the years has deciphered the writing on the wall I.E "Northern Ireland is fast going down the tubes!" Lets face it folks. Would you stay and lose money???
Gerard in Belfast wrote (609 days ago):
Gil, unlike some people here I have no problem in the condemnation of violence from whatever source. I merely stated the fact that the Rankin family stipulated that the flag protests had a bearing on their decision and get a little fed up with people trying to detract the fact that these protests have cost the economy, especially in Belfast. I have issues with all those who feel that violent action serves them and their "cause". I had hoped we had moved past that!! I do agree that we should all work together for the benefit of all. The flag protesters and anyone else for that matter need to be told to stop their actions, particularly from within their own communities, but all I can see from certain comments here are people trying to excuse them.
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