Top British chef Heston Blumenthal has shut his London restaurant Dinner, which has two Michelin stars, for a week after 24 guests fell ill with the vomiting bug norovirus, officials said yesterday.
The closure comes five years after an outbreak of norovirus caused by contaminated shellfish forced Blumenthal to close The Fat Duck, his three-starred restaurant in Bray, west of the capital, for 10 days.
Westminster City Council, the local authority, said 24 diners and 21 staff had been taken ill at Dinner, which was named the world' seventh-best restaurant in last year's San Pellegrino awards.
James Armitage, the council's food safety manager, said: "Test results this week have shown that there has been an outbreak of norovirus at the Dinner restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Knightsbridge.
"The operators have now temporarily closed the restaurant and we believe this is the responsible thing to do."
In an interview with Britain's Mail on Sunday, Blumenthal said his decision to close the restaurant was driven by his previous experience at the Fat Duck.
"I will always err on the side of extreme caution - as The Who sang, 'I won't get fooled again'," the 47-year-old said.
"My goal has always been to pursue perfection in the kitchen and to amaze our guests with taste sensations beyond their imagination, rather than expose them to the risk of a really nasty couple of days of heaving."
Blumenthal was criticised for reacting too slowly to the 2009 outbreak of norovirus at The Fat Duck, when more than 500 diners reported falling ill.
The Health Protection Agency said the virus was probably introduced via contaminated or undercooked shellfish.
Dinner, which serves food inspired by historic British dishes, said on its website it would be closed for a week from yesterday.
"We apologise for any inconvenience caused to those guests whose bookings have been cancelled," a spokeswoman said.
"However we understand how contagious this winter flu bug can be and will take every precaution necessary to protect our guests."
Noma, the two Michelin-starred Danish restaurant named the best in the world in 2010, 2011 and 2012, was hit by an outbreak of norovirus last year.