‘Soaring costs’ force Hampstead restaurant Ham to close weeks after receiving Michelin’s Bib Gourmand

·2-min read
Ham in West End Lane, West Hampstead  (Google Maps)
Ham in West End Lane, West Hampstead (Google Maps)

A much-loved London restaurant is being forced to shut due to “soaring costs” just one month after receiving Michelin’s prestigious Bib Gourmand.

Owners of Ham in West Hampstead’s West End Lane announced the news on Thursday afternoon.

“It is with a heavy heart that we announce the closure of Ham this Sunday after more than 5 years in business,” they revealed in a post on Instagram.

“The soaring costs of everything makes it very difficult to maintain our mission of being a neighbourhood restaurant providing amazing food at affordable prices.

“This obviously comes at a time when our customers are squeezed by the same cost rises.

“We are proud that the culinary excellence of Ham was recognized with a Bib Gourmand last month and we thank all our staff and customers who have been on this journey with us.”

The news has been met with shock from Londoners.

One wrote on Instagram: “Devastating news, especially after the Bib Gourmand too. Ham will be missed.”

“So sorry to hear this,” wrote another. “Thank you for providing amazing food at affordable prices to the neighbourhood.”

Others commiserated and pointed to other restaurants that have had to shut due to sky-high energy bills and soaring food costs. Among them is beloved sushi business Feng Sushi, which closed in October citing “the rising costs of utilities and food”.

Kensal Rise art gallery 99 Projects commented on Ham’s post: “Oh that’s such sad news. We are also moving out of our gallery space on Sunday! Moving to online and pop ups.”

On its website, Ham describes itself as “a casual, friendly, local restaurant offering simple but imaginative modern British food, cooked in a way that allows the quality of ingredients to shine”.

When Michelin released its hotly anticipated 2023 guide last month, Ham was given a coveted Bib Gourmand award, which rewards excellent food that do not necessarily “come with a hefty price tag”.

The Michelin website said of Ham: “This neighbourhood restaurant’s name means ‘home’ and it certainly has a warm, welcoming feel.

“The bright, modern space is perfectly complemented by the assured yet unfussy Mediterranean-influenced cooking, which takes its inspiration from the seasons.

“They offer a good value set lunch; brunch is served until the early afternoon; and the lamb pie is a must-try. Look up and you might get a glance of the chefs hard at work in the elevated kitchen.”

The restaurant will be open as normal until Sunday, April 30.