Homme Nouveau restaurant in Whittlesey - hit hard by the pandemic – is to close.

Owner Chris Newman isn’t going immediately, telling customers via his Facebook page he will remain until close of business on October 29.

"After weeks and months of stress, sleepless nights and tears, it is with a heavy heart and great sadness that Homme Nouveau will be permanently closing,” he said.

“I wanted to announce this end now as my early release clause expires in November and it gives everyone involved enough time to adjust and make plans moving forward.

“All bookings currently held will of course be honoured and I hope you all enjoy the courtyard for the rest of the summer.”

Mr Newman said that running the restaurant “has been the most amazing two and half years with some amazing highs, but sadly the lows are now just too many and too often.

“There is no worse feeling than standing in an empty restaurant with no customers or battling week on week to just break even.”

He said: “I am not after sympathy, and I know there will be a select few people that will be celebrating.

“But I gave it my best shot and worked my arse off to try and make it the best place to go and it almost worked to perfection.

“I will leave here onto whatever comes next, knowing I have learned a hell of a lot.

Mr Newman said running his own restaurant had been his dream but due to rising costs, overheads, and with the living crisis having an effect on trade, he could not sustain the business through autumn and winter.

"The last 4/5 months of down/quiet periods have taken its toll on me mentally and emotionally and I am not ashamed to say I don't have much more left in the tank to give,” he said.

“I have come close to having a break down, and after suffering with mental health and depression, it just isn't worth it anymore.

“Being proactive and not reactive is incredibly important. My family need me to be mentally healthy and not stressed/worried anymore.

“Some weeks lately have been so incredibly quiet; it just breaks my heart things haven't gone as I had hoped.

“Even though we are now in the summer, trade just isn't where it once was.”