Belsize Park restaurant owner and F Word star ‘dies in his sleep’ aged 41

Retsina in Belsize Lane, Belsize Park. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Retsina in Belsize Lane, Belsize Park. Picture: Nigel Sutton - Credit: Nigel Sutton

The owner of a family-run Greek restaurant in Belsize Park who starred in Gordon Ramsay’s The F Word has died suddenly aged 41.

Minos Mina died suddenly last week

Minos Mina died suddenly last week - Credit: Archant

Minos Mina, of Belsize Avenue, had been working the evening shift at Retsina restaurant in Belsize Lane the night before he tragically died.

A notice in Retsina's window. Picture: Nigel Sutton

A notice in Retsina's window. Picture: Nigel Sutton - Credit: Nigel Sutton

He apparently went to sleep after work on Monday, August 12 but never woke up.

The cause of death is not known yet but a source said Mr Mina may have had a heart attack.

Tributes have poured in for the “heart and soul” of Retsina restaurant.

Regular diner David Stark, of Belsize Crescent, has known Mr Mina for about a decade since the restaurant moved from Primrose Hill to Belsize Park.

He said: “It was a big shock for everybody in the area.

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“I popped over to the restaurant when I heard the news to pay my respects. His parents had gathered at the restaurant and were in total shock.

“His mother was totally desolate and crying. His father was just saying, how could this happen?”

Retsina restaurant shot to fame in 2009 when it reached the semi-finals of the fifth season of Ramsay’s The F Word, a competition to find the best local restaurant in the country.

Mr Mina proudly displayed a trophy from the show in the restaurant, where regulars included former London Mayor Ken Livingstone, singer and DJ Boy George and Virgin’s Sir Richard Branson.

The future of the 30-year-old establishment now looks uncertain as it has remained closed since Mr Mina’s death.

Dennis Duhaney, a fitness instructor, who owns a gym in Belsize Park Gardens, remembered the restaurateur as a “complete gentleman”.

He said: “I was dumbfounded and completely shocked when I heard. He was so young.

“He was a naturally joyful person and always so welcoming to everyone.

“My condolences go out to his mum and family.”

Mr Mina worked alongside his mother and head chef Zeta, or Mama as she is known to locals, and took over as manager after his father Harry retired 17 years ago.

Mr Stark said: “He was a workaholic. It wasn’t that he overdid it but he was always there at the restaurant. He was a popular and a lovely guy.

“So many people know that restaurant really well.

“Everyone is just waiting to hear what the cause of his death was. It’s very, very sad.”