WestEndExtra

The independent London newspaper

Stars’ beloved ‘hut’ restaurant is gutted in fire

Appeal for help after blaze destroys legendary Austrian venue loved by celebs including Kate Moss and Hugh Grant

16 August, 2019 — By Tom Foot

A FAMILY who ran a legendary restaurant for more than 50 years are appealing for help after their business was completely destroyed in a major fire.

The Tiroler Hut has hosted a glittering array of stars over the years including Kate Moss, Claudia Schiffer, Boris Becker and Hugh Grant.

But it is also a pillar of a tight-knit community in Westbourne Grove who cherished the Austrian restaurant’s welcoming atmosphere and raucous music nights.

Owner Josef Friedmann – who has appeared on the Britain’s Got Talent TV show playing his cow bells – will celebrate his 81st birthday tomorrow (Saturday) without his beloved instruments, including his accordion, that were lost in Monday’s blaze.

Model Kate Moss at the Tiroler Hut

Thousands of photos have also been burned and the family are now appealing for people to send in their memories of the venue to keep its spirit alive.

His daughter Madeleine Spencer told the Extra: “It’s so hard to explain about the Hut, and make complete sense. But it wasn’t a place you go to eat and then just go home.

“You would go in at 10 and end up dancing with people you never met before, until at 2am. There have been bizarre situations. It was wonderful and wacky. Josef, he played all these instruments. It is a massive deal to have all this go away.

“It has been there for 52 years. There have been famous people there who have come down and sung. One minute you might come in there and its Kate Moss singing, and the next its Bob from down the road. There is one man who has no family, and he comes in three times a week, and at Christmas.

“From my perspective, I don’t remember a family celebration not being down there. People from the Hut, who have been customers, have been married into our family. It’s too early to say but the fire took the roof off the building. They have basically said don’t expect to get anything back at all. There must be 3,000 pictures in there.”

Actor Hugh Grant at the Tiroler Hut

A fundraising page has been set up to buy Mr Friedmann new instruments, lederhosen, and replace pictures and wooden decorations on the walls. The family are hoping to fix up a pop-up space in time for Christmas.

The on­line appeal said: “Unfortunately, nothing is left of the Hut bar, of course, the memories that so many of you have kindly sent to the tirolerhut-memories@gmail.com account.

“Many of them spanned its 52 years at 27 Westbourne Grove with Josef at the helm, and while reading them we realised how much the magic of Tiroler Hut lay in the community.”

One of the more tragic moments in the wake of the fire was Josef realising that his beloved instruments (including those famous cowbells) were locked in the basement.

London Fire Brigade said: “Fifteen fire engines and around 100 firefighters were called to a restaurant fire in a building containing shops and flats on Westbourne Grove in Notting Hill. The fire affected a restaurant on the ground floor and basement. Around 16 people left the property before the brigade arrived. One person was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.”

LFB was called at 6.54am and the fire was under control at 3.56pm.

Share this story

Post a comment

,