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Tracking London Restaurants’ Response to the Coronavirus Curfew

Temporary closures, capacity reductions, new sittings, and more

Sage tortellini at Wander restaurant, on a white plate on a wooden table Wander/Instagram

Here we go again.

In March, as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) spread in the U.K., the restaurant and bar industry was at the heart of enforcing social distancing — a measure proven to be effective in flattening the epidemic curve. In the current absence of firm government guidelines, and in the light of Boris Johnson’s advice to “avoid” restaurants that stopped short of mandating closures, London’s restaurants, cafes, and bars took their own measures, before they were ordered to close.

Now, with COVID-19 cases rising in the U.K., the government has ordered restaurants, pubs, cafes and bars to close at 10p.m., from Thursday 24 September, for around six months. While restaurants fear this curfew will be ruinous for business, they are already making changes — moving or introducing new sittings chief among them.

So, below, a tracked aggregate of all the London restaurant responses to the novel coronavirus in autumn 2020, currently publicised.

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  • JKS Restaurants will introduce set menus across its portfolio: early evening set menus at Michelin stars Gymkhana and Trishna; a “bottomless food” £20 p.p. offer at Berenjak in Soho; and the Bao £15 set that has been a mainstay across the restaurants.
  • At David Carter’s east London Smokestak, a starter, say charred corn salsa or pig tails; a smoked meat bun with a side; and gelato/sorbet come in at £15 from 5p.m. — 6p.m.
  • North London group comprising Newington Green’s Jolene, Holloway’s Westerns Laundry, Hornsey’s Big Jo, and Petherton Road’s Primeur will move dinner services earlier — a first sitting will start at 5:30 p.m.
  • Big Mamma, the London group behind extra openings Gloria and Circolo Popolare, will bring one of the best things on its menu — pizza — to a new delivery service called Napoli Gang.
  • Top Cuvée, the Highbury restaurant, wine bar, and lockdown success story, will take 25 percent off customers’ bills for bookings before 6p.m.
  • Ombra, the Venetian-influenced restaurant in Hackney, will introduce a Monday — Thursday service from 5:30p.m, with a new set menu of three courses for £23.
  • Quality Wines in Farringdon will open from 5:30p.m. until 8:30p.m.
  • Wander, Alexis’ Noble’s restaurant in Stoke Newington, will close for dine-in service from Saturday 26 September, before bringing back its at-home meal kits from 1 October.

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