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Ramsay shuts down his star restaurant; CELEB HOTSPOT AMARYLLIS CLOSES ITS DOORS.


GORDON Ramsay is to axe his struggling Scots restaurant - just a week after insisting that jobs were safe.

Worried workers at Glasgow's Amaryllis were assured of their futures only days ago while the failed footballer was sunning himself on holiday.

But the Mirror can reveal that the restaurant - a favourite with celebrities - will close amid fears it is to lose its coveted listing in the Michelin Star guide.

One employee said: "We are all gutted - we just feel totally betrayed by this."

Award-winning Amaryllis - where meals cost upwards of pounds 75-a-head - has entertained stars including Robbie Williams and Kylie Minogue on visits to Scotland.

Ramsay was delighted when it won its first Michelin star just seven months after opening in April 2000.

But things have turned sour over the past year.

Its award-winning head chef David Dempsey plunged to his death last May as he attempted to break into a flat while high on coke.

And recently the eatery was forced to close its doors two days a week due to a slump in business.

Amaryllis even revamped its menu in an attempt to move downmarket and boost trade.

Fiery Scot Ramsay will find out whether it has lost its rating when the Michelin Great Britain and Ireland Red Guide is published in a few days.

The former Rangers youth footballer pulled out of a second restaurant in London only days ago.

Fleur had the plug pulled by Ramsay and business partner Marcus Wareing after only six months because business was too slow.

Amaryllis, at the plush One Devonshire Gardens hotel, is not the only Glasgow restaurant to have have closed due to a depressed market.

Eurasia, Nairn's, the Gaucho Grill and the Buttery have all ended their associations with the city.

Ramsay, 37, recently admitted that the venue was struggling.

He said: "I found it incredibly difficult in Glasgow to have the restaurant full on a Monday and Tuesday night.

"I don't think people have got the money. It's pounds 30 for supper and we are still running an pounds 18 lunch menu.

"But it is Glasgow's only Michelin star. It means a hell of a lot to me and I will do all I can to make sure that business goes from strength to strength."

In a bid to drum up business Amaryllis changed its dining room with tables given up to cheaper menus. Its upmarket menu remained available to wealthier diners in the drawing room next door. But cash takings haven't materialised despite the major overhaul.

Ramsay will get his Michelin report card after returning from a sunshine break in Mauritius with his wife Tana and their four children.

To lose the star-rating would be a huge embarrassment.

He has also yet to get over the death of his protege and friend Dempsey.

When the Mirror quizzed bosses at his management firm, Gordon Ramsay Holdings, just a week ago, they denied rumours that Amaryllis was in any danger.

A spokeswoman said: "The restaurant is safe and there's no way it will close."

But yesterday they finally admitted: "Yes, it's true. A full statement will be issued later today."

The firm refused to comment on what will happen if it loses its Michelin Star.

One diner who may not be too upset by the closure is food critic Maurice Taylor.

The writer was famously thrown out of Amaryllis by the late David Dempsey after complaining his pigeon was under-cooked. Taylor said: "Before I knew it, he said he didn't want my money and told me to get out."

Ramsay later replied: "He wanted it struck off his bill. But it wasn't pigeon from f****** Trafalgar Square, it was pigeon from the south-west of France."

It's not all bad news for Ramsay, though, as several of his businesses elswhere have been shortlisted for the prestigous Tio Pepe Carlton London Restaurant Awards.


TOP DISH: Kylie dined at Amaryllis; TRAGIC: Ramsay's top chef Dempsey; OFF THE MENU: Ramsay has been forced to close Amaryllis
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 15, 2004
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