London’s restaurants, cafes, pubs, and bars are, according to the government’s timeframe, halfway through winter coronavirus lockdown. As things stand, they can reopen 3 December. But as goes 2020, so goes the next couple of weeks — it’s entirely uncertain what measures they will reopen under; it’s not yet certain whether they will be allowed to reopen at all. They must wait, but waiting costs money, costs jobs, costs time. And so they wait.
- The week began last week, on Friday, when a De Beauvoir Deli regular visited the Southgate Road provisioner. He bought gazpacho, sparkling wine, and craft beer, to mark his departure from from a high-profile government job.
- There’s a Pret near Westminster, just like there’s a Pret near everywhere with offices in London. With that real estate an albatross round its neck, it’s trying anything it can to survive, now offering a dinner delivery menu for its most diehard stans.
- Another London chain is seeing more felicitous fortunes. Morley’s, the fried chicken shop synonymous with south London, is expanding across the city and further afield, aiming, it says, to take on the Colonel of KFC.
- Expansion was a running theme this week, with international juggernauts looking to stick the landing in London. Eataly, the colossal Italian food hall, will open its long-planned temple to la dolce vita in 2021, while Jollibee, the Filipino fast food star, will open a flagship in Leicester Square around the same time.
- As discussed in the introduction, one of the key unknowns for London restaurants is what they will open into after lockdown. Previously under tier two restrictions, Conservative minister Robert Jenrick’s comment that the government is seeking “greater consistency” going forward has led to fears in some quarters that there could be stricter measures this time around. A shutdown, with proper support, would be more effective.
- In the absence of faith that a bailout could happen, or in a preference to serve on, many of the city’s restaurateurs are wearily anticipating the end — or not — of this lockdown.
- Many other restaurateurs are making pies. Many, many, pies. Just! Look! At! These! Pies!
- Great British Bake Off update: With the final next week, and the rules of the game changing from who loses to who wins, here’s a retrospective on the series rooted in Patisserie Week, and an explanation why it needs a serious revamp.
Fresh restaurant guides on where to eat in London during lockdown...
- Start with the ultimate guide to eating at home in London, of course. But to break it down further:
- The best restaurants for delivery and takeaway.
- The most interesting restaurant meal kits to order.
- The best pasta in London.
- The reason why hot items are the lockdown food MVP, and where to eat them in central London.
- The best food shows and films to stream on Amazon and BBC iPlayer.
- The crispest fried chicken, from America, Taiwan, Korea, the Dominican Republic, and all over.
Until next week, eat well and be safe.