This story has been updated on 16 March, 14:59, to reflect Black Axe Mangal’s change in policy.
One of London’s essential restaurants, the singular Black Axe Mangal in Highbury has become one of the first high-profile businesses in the capital to announce that it will move, temporarily, to takeaway only as a precautionary measure in light of the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. As of Monday 16 March, the restaurant will close for dine-in service. Co-owner Lee Tiernan added that it would be looking to reconnect with delivery service Deliveroo as soon as possible, but was unsure as to when that would be complete.
On Friday lunchtime, the restaurant, run by Lee and Kate Tiernan, announced on Instagram stories that “as a small family run restaurant we are taking a precautionary measure and limiting our food offering to TAKE AWAY ONLY.” Black Axe Mangal did not say when it would recommence in-restaurant service, but that it would continue the temporary suspension until “the social climate settles.” It has now announced that it will close to dine-in customers.
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@blackaxemangal will close for public dining for the foreseeable future as of today. We are looking into delivery options this week which we will post about when operational. This is a period of HIBERNATION! NOT permanent closure...the axe will rise again and fall when the time is right for us all after we navigate this testing time. Thank you to our team, customers and suppliers who’s lives are all directly affected by the current social climate. Stay healthy, stay safe. Peace ✌ Love ❤️ & Positivity. #blackaxemangal #bam4life
It added that menus, details, and ways to order would follow and that takeaway only would be effective immediately.
Eater understands from sources in the industry that a number of restaurants in the city are signing up to Deliveroo and Uber Eats for the first time in order to mitigate the impact on business over the coming days and weeks. Others are making the necessary preparations in order that they can “press the button” if the situation worsens. Deliveroo and Uber Eats told Eater last week that they were unable to share data on upturns in sales through the apps since the outbreak. Both companies did not immediately respond to a request for comment on any increase in restaurant partner sign-ups.
Elsewhere, so far, neither the national government nor any local authority has issued any advice to restaurants or the population at large to suggest closure or staying away, respectively. And while a number of large public gatherings and sports events are being postponed or cancelled, restaurants across London do remain open for business as usual, according to their usual opening hours.
More information soon as the situation evolves.