First Michelin-starred Italian restaurant destroyed by fire

Italian eatery Firenze Kitchen in Hampshire incinerated in fire early on Monday morning

An Italian restaurant in Hampshire that had achieved its first Michelin star has been engulfed in a massive fire after a fellow restaurant owner made a drunken mistake in a common area.

The fire at Firenze Kitchen in Milford Haven destroyed the kitchen on Monday morning and left the restaurant without staff or supplies, owner Paul Clement-Wright said.

He blamed a common mistake made by a businessman who visited the restaurant and left an accidental cigarette butt. Clement-Wright said there was a heat on the balcony and the smoker’s heater had caught fire.

“The room was totally destroyed. It’s very sad because I have been there five years,” Clement-Wright told the BBC.

“It all happened at about 3am when we had got a call for a suspected fire at the restaurant. A few minutes later I got an email that the restaurant had caught fire and firefighters were here.”

When the restaurant was opened on 20 February, 2018, it was hailed as “a first for the UK” because it was the first Italian restaurant to earn a Michelin star outside of London. The fifth Michelin star it earned was on the table, it said, and was highlighted at the time.

The fire chief at Milford Haven fire station, Gordon West, said all the guests had left and there were no injuries.

Clement-Wright said: “My family and I are absolutely devastated. We had made plans for dinner at the restaurant and some clients were also due to be coming for lunch tomorrow.

“We are very much looking forward to opening again and putting the restaurant back together as soon as possible.”

The fire in Milford Haven comes less than a year after the only Michelin-starred Italian restaurant in the United Kingdom – Cecina in Sonning, Berkshire – burned down after suffering from a series of fire and flood threats.

It closed for two years after being forced to close permanently following a fire.

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