The latest coronavirus lockdown’s end date in England is not going to be set for some time, and London’s restaurants remain closed. For now, it’s a waiting game — here’s all the London restaurant news from this week.
- The week began with the fight for political representation in restaurants reaching Westminster. MPs debated the creation of a Minister for Hospitality in Parliament’s Westminster Hall on Monday 11 January, following an online petition that racked up over 200,000 signatures. Those that spoke were in favour in the majority, but any formal appointment remains a distant dream.
- It also began with some reopening murmurs — that restaurants and pubs might not expect to reopen until May. An anonymous government source won’t always have the right idea, but the timeline has precedent from 2020 and runs alongside expectations about a vaccine-boosted improvement to the COVID-19 situation in the U.K. by spring. The matter of when they can reopen is somewhat academic to most restaurants: what matters more is what reopening looks like, and whether or not financial support will be provided until it happens.
- Someone keeping a close eye on that reopening will be Aziz Ansari. The third series of his and Alan Yang’s Netflix comedy Master of None is set to be filmed in London and its best restaurants.
- Food businesses were at the helm of some shifts in policies on masks. Borough Market became the first outdoor space in the U.K. to legally enforce coronavirus mask wearing rules, thanks to its bylaws, while supermarkets Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Marks and Spencer, Waitrose, and Aldi said they would more strictly enforce the same policy.
- Wow, the U.K. government is bad at free school meals. After images circulated of derisory food parcels provided by private contractors, the government pledged to bring back the more successful voucher scheme by Monday 18 January. This was already planned. But then, two days later, it announced that the voucher scheme would not cover February half-term.
- In pictures: Dining rooms closed, London’s restaurants wait for what’s coming.
- Dough ballers Pizza Express announced 23 further restaurant closures, with the pandemic the pin in its private equity bubble.
- But London’s slickest restaurant group, Bao, is poised to open on Redchurch Street in Shoreditch. This would be its sixth restaurant, right next door to several of the city’s best.
Dining guides for staying in this weekend...
- The best restaurants for delivery and takeaway.
- The best meal kits from London restaurants.
- 10 terrific Sunday roasts for delivery or takeaway.
- The hypebeast’s guide to the best London restaurant merch.
- central London.
- north London.
- west London.
- east London.
- south east London.
- south west London.
- Where to buy produce, meat, fish, pantry items, wine, and beer.
- And some gear to make great coffee at home.
Until next week, eat well and be safe.