The Hackney restaurant, bar and wine shop has been forced to shut its doors due to adverse trading conditions, with its final service having taken place on 31 July.
The Laughing Heart, which opened in 2016, received praise for its extensive wine list, with an emphasis on smaller, natural wine producers, and head chef Adam Boon’s seasonal bistro menu. In March 2020 the restaurant opened La Cave, a music venue in its basement.
In a 2016 review for The Guardian, Marina O’Loughlin described it as a place for “good times”: “The fact that it’s often open until the dangerous hours of the morning is evidence of that hospitality”.
However, good times became few and far between as the hospitality sector was subject to severe economic pressure. A statement on an Instagram post on the restaurant’s page from owner Charlie Mellor said: “All the details of how we arrived here are too long, sad and gruesome to list in this forum. The business has fallen victim to these dark times we live in. Almost saving it almost killed me.”
The statement continued: “The Laughing Heart existed to amplify beauty, hope, happiness and purpose…A restaurant is a truly beautiful thing. Where else does such varied creativity coexist? We curate art, music, science, design, food, wine, performance and narrative under one banner.”
Mellor thanked his suppliers, staff, family and guests for their support of the restaurant. He described working with Boon as: “the privilege of my career”.
Many involved in London’s restaurant scene expressed sadness at the establishment’s closure:
Il Portico restaurateur James Chiavarini tweeted: “Very sad to see.”
In a comment beneath the post, food influencer and journalist Felicity Spector wrote: “I am so very sorry – you built a truly wonderful place, Charlie”.