Many family favourite shops and restaurants in Esher have closed due to the effects that the Coronavirus pandemic is having on businesses. Café Rouge, La Orient and ABC music are some of the most notable local businesses that have closed their doors for good.

Café Rouge, a French bistro style restaurant chain with 70 restaurants across the UK, was founded in 1989 by Karen Jones and Roger Myers who sought to recreate bistro style dining that is so popular across France.  The Esher Café Rouge closed on the 23rd March along with all other restaurants and bars across the UK, however when restrictions were eased on July 4th it never reopened. Casual Dining Group, the owners of Café Rouge, Bella Italia and Las Iguanas had brought in their administrators and decided to call time on 91 of their 250 restaurants, including 31 Café Rouge’s. The decision was made off the back of a huge financial loss, a consequence of the 15 week lockdown period last spring.

La Orient was a popular independent family owned Chinese restaurant. They served a wide variety of authentic Chinese dishes, and ran a popular takeaway service. Like many other restaurants in Esher they closed at the start of the lockdown and never reopened. This was a decision made by the owners as they decided that it was the right time for them to retire.

ABC Music was also an independent business, they sold and rented a wide range of instruments from guitars and drums, to oboes and harps; if you can name it they sold it. ABC also provided a repair service and gave invaluable advice to aspiring musicians. I myself rented my first guitar from them a few years ago and it was of great quality and their service was excellent. They also supplied many schools in the area with instruments for their music departments. Like La Orient and Café Rouge they also shut down due to the nationwide lockdown and never reopened.

The presence of all these stores will be sorely missed as they all provided Esher with unique services that many families will miss.