Birmingham’s much-praised and pioneering restaurant Two Cats Kitchen is to close.
Chef-patron Nikki Astley says that the Jewellery Quarter restaurant will shut in September.
News comes just three days before Two Cats marks its second anniversary of trading.
Two Cats occupies a former jewellery workshop in Warstone Lane that has housed other restaurants including Gilmores and La Toque d’Or.
It emerged from a pop-up concept called Two Cats Roaming, at first offering so-called New Baltic cuisine and later adding other influences.
Nikki said: “On a personal note its been two of the hardest and most rewarding years I can recall.
“I never would have guessed that something that started as a experimental concept would have grown into a full-time thing.
“I am eternally grateful to those who have supported us.
“There are realities to face with such a concept. It is a niche; we take chances with the food that few restaurants can rival; our venue is small and kitchen space restrictive.
“I’ve found this has created a very tentative approach to dining at Two Cats and this has made trade volatile.
“Our offering is exclusive and unpredictable to the many, exciting to the few – very contrary to what is, on the whole, busy in Birmingham.”
Two Cats’ last days on trading will be on September 30, though the restaurant will be closed for holidays from July 16 to August 1.
Nikki added: “It won’t be the end for me as a chef in Birmingham but details on that are unconfirmed and should be saved for a later date as the important thing to know now is that Two Cats will only be part of Birmingham’s food scene for another three months.
“I hope that everyone that’s been telling me they were going to come try it finally does. I can cockily say it’s worth it.”
Fans of Two Cats have included The Guardian’s respected food critic Marina O’Loughlin.
Its innovative and beautifully presented dishes also won my heart.
It’s a big regret that I didn’t visit more frequently but a joy that I did eat there at all.
It’s a big regret, too, that such a fantastic atmospheric space will again lie idle.
What a shame such a fascinating independent is vanishing in a city which its being swamped by identi-kit chains.
Meanwhile, here’s looking forward to Nikki’s future plans, whatever they may be.