London restaurants have been allowed to reopen for dine-in service for nearly one month. In that time, some have returned with new safety measures in place, serving a clientele which is growing accustomed to a new reality in hospitality. From Monday, the government’s “Eat Out to Help Out” discount scheme arrives, with a range of London’s essential, best-value, and even Michelin-starred restaurants signing up.
Whether this will bring diners through the doors, time will tell.
- The week began with Boris Johnson’s proposals for continuing his “fight against obesity,” which include mandating large restaurant groups with over 250 employees to publish calorie counts on their menus. That measure, and the warlike “fight” language, bear the hallmarks of his government’s prioritising of personal responsibility in public health. Multiple eating disorder charities say that this approach is in fact damaging to public health.
- London restaurants began the week knowing that the Eat Out to Help Out scheme postcode checker would help diners find eligible spots in their local areas. Also at the start of the week, came new updates from some of London’s best restaurants on reopening.
- Not content with the Celebrity Masterchef battle on BBC One, Gregg Wallace and co slip quietly on to Netflix, with six seasons of Masterchef ready to watch
- Not content with having a truly incomprehensible quantity of money, Jeff Bezos’ Amazon wants more money, and it wants it from the supermarkets. Intending to beat them where they can’t win by offering short delivery times, Amazon Fresh’s expansion into the U.K. supermarket ... market is just another sign that being rich and in charge of logistics is a pretty good combination for getting richer.
- A burgeoning reopening trend is restaurant groups known for having a strong central London presence looking to move further into a neighbourhood environment. Low-key-luxury expert Corbin and King has now followed doughnut hypebeasts Bread Ahead and serene noodle specialists Koya in looking local, planning to reopen its Islington bistro, Bellanger.
- Another burgeoning reopening trend is chains that expanded on the back of private equity debt having their bubbles burst. Pizza Hut U.K. is the latest to explore the possibility of closing restaurants.
- Pizza Hut U.K. almost certainly won’t be history, but something that is history? The Paul Hollywood handshake. With Great British Bake Off resuming filming in quarantine, the rules have put paid to the judge fixing his blue eyes on some poor soul, extending an arm, and proffering the dubious reward of grasping his sweaty palm.
- Staying with food TV, Celebrity Masterchef has a new champion, and is over for another year. Who knows what it might look like in 2021. Truly, a new era, which might show that cooking actually can get tougher than this.
- Moving away from food TV, London’s top burger restaurant, Bleecker Burger, has given the much-hyped — not over-hyped — but, nevertheless, hyped vegan Symplicity patty the nod and put it on its menu. Bleecker’s take on it, a cheeseburger, will therefore be vegetarian.
- Two big closures of very different kinds this week. Outstanding, small-scale sandwich shop Bodega Rita’s will shut down its space in Coal Drops Yard, while Dominique Ansel, pastry celebrity of the world, is taking his Cronuts and getting the hell out of London.
- It’s all cake. Always has been. Well, except this, which is pureed chicken liver and foie in a mandarin jelly skin, in a takeaway box.
Don’t forget, in spite of reopened dining rooms, takeaway has not gone away:
- Here’s where to find the best grilled food in the city outside or via delivery right now, for a barbecue, of sorts.
- A reminder of the best takeaway coffee in the city; a new suite of ice cream delivery contenders, key for the boiling weather; and superb sandwiches.
- The best restaurant delivery in London right now.
- And a full list of dining guides for the weekend.
Until next week, eat well and be safe.