Michelin-starred restaurant The Crown At Whitebrook closes
ONE of Gwent's two Michelin-starred restaurants, the Crown at Whitebrook, closed suddenly today - with staff blaming financial pressures after the winter's snow.
Ceri Williams, PA for the owner of Mike Davies, said the business had ceased trading and that the restaurant had closed.
She said 20 staff have been let go from the business, based in the Wye Valley near Monmouth.
"We had a Christmas closedown for refurbishment and [with] the snow on top of that, it played havoc with our finances," she said.
One would-be diner contacted us after attempting to book a table at the Crown at Whitebrook restaurant – she was told that the venue had shut.
The Crown is one of a only four restaurants in Wales to have the prized Michelin Star status, and has held it for seven successive years. The other Gwent restaurant with a Michelin star is the Walnut Tree near Abergavenny.
In October, the Crown was one of two Monmouthshire restaurants to be voted the best in Wales, scooping first place in the Sunday Times Food List 2012.
It has won three rosettes and a five star gold award from AA and was a open table diners choice winner in 2012.
The AA rosettes were awarded in recognition of the venue's culinary excellence.
The Crown's staff included celebrity chef James Sommerin, from Pontypool, who started at the Crown as sous chef and became head chef in 2003.
The restaurant had won many plaudits from food writers, and guide book firm Lonely Planet said that its "elegant dining room and riverside setting may conspire to ignite romance in the hardest of hearts."
It was one of the few in Wales to offer accomodation and offered eight bedrooms.
On his Twitter feed, James Sommerin said: "Thanks for all the great comments. I'm not going anywhere Wales is home. Rise like the phoenix. Hopefully won't be long #watchthisspace"