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Hot Girl Summer Is Over, and Endless Restaurant Opening Autumn Is Here

Despite widespread concerns over staffing, the London restaurant carousel turns faster than ever

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People enjoying food and drinks in Carnaby Street area.
Central London restaurants are opening up like mad.
Pietro Recchia/Getty Images

Season of mists and many restaurant openings

Autumn 2021 is going to be a very busy season for new restaurants in London. Despite persistent staffing problems occasioned by Brexit, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the fact that restaurant wages and hours tend to be low and inhospitable, groups in a position to take advantage of lucrative deals at vacant sites are on a mad one.

Just today: Fledgling fried chicken chain Thunderbird will take over from older fried chicken chain Bird in Stratford then fly south to Clapham; ramen specialists Kanada-Ya will join Butchies — more fried chicken — at Filmworks in Ealing, just across the road from fellow ramen specialists Tonkotsu.

A Monaco restaurant group will bring “Le PetitBeefbar” — a steakhouse restaurant that it insists is not a steakhouse — to Cale Street in Chelsea; Pitaya, a French, Thai chain will pitch up in Covent Garden; Soho lynchpin Chotto Matte will open in Marylebone and Danish espresso bar Hagen will open its fourth cafe in Pimlico, just down the road from no less than four more new-ish coffee shops. Vegetarian institution Mildreds will head for Borough Market with a new restaurant, Mallow, and the Galvin brothers will take over from Neptune restaurant in Bloomsbury.

The restaurant market is hectic, and those with sufficient capital and proven portfolios are taking full advantage: what this means for the quality and diversity of central London’s restaurants is a separate question entirely.

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