clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Here’s What Happened in the London Restaurant World Last Week

New coronavirus restrictions and job support measures combined to leave restaurants, cafes, pubs, and bars staring into a bleak midwinter

A London restaurant worker moves restaurant chairs off the street in Soho for the 10pm coronavirus curfew
Restaurant staff had to scramble to meet the new 10p.m. curfew
Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images

The last two weeks of London restaurant news round-ups have concluded with the feeling that “two parallel realities are in play at once.” As coronavirus cases continue to rise in the U.K., and the government introduces a coronavirus curfew for restaurants, pubs, and bars, this feeling gets starker, as openings continue in what is traditionally the busiest period for them.


  • Health secretary Matt Hancock offered the restaurant world a preview of what was to come on Monday, by asserting that hospitality businesses and “social settings” were key drivers in rising coronavirus cases. While reporting protocols mean that widely cited Public Health England data accrediting just five percent of cases to food outlets isn’t the full rejoinder many restaurants believe it to be, the assertion was not backed up by any scientific evidence.


  • Restaurants reacted to the news first with dismay, and then with invention. A 10p.m. closure cuts capacity for many restaurants in half, when their capacity was already limited by social distancing; that cuts shifts; that cuts wages; that cuts people’s ability to live. With the curfew not backed by scientific modelling, and scenes in central London this Thursday confirming fears about bottlenecks and crowding with few people wearing masks, the government is set to face pressure about its rationale.


  • Great British Bake Off has always been celebrated for its coziness / warmth / chumminess / choose your fighter. These qualities make an easy read-in for a “relief from everything” narrative, but that didn’t quite come to pass. One: the new series was filmed in a bio-secure bubble. Two: episode one, Cake Week, was absolutely disturbed, featuring tumbling cakes, Sir David Attenborough’s head falling over, and Paul Hollywood slicing Freddie Mercury in half.





  • No strikingly weird stories this week, so just remember that while Twitter virality is fleeting, the sack of wet eggs is forever.

As for where to eat...

Until next week, eat well and be safe.

The Dairy

15 The Pavement, , England SW4 0HY 020 7622 4165 Visit Website

Pollo Feliz

13-23 Westgate Street, , England E8 3RL 07479 478722 Visit Website

Milkbar

3 Bateman Street, , England W1D 4AG 07910 941134 Visit Website

Sonora Taquería

13-23 Westgate Street, , England E8 3RL Visit Website

BAO

590 Valencia Street, , CA 94110 (415) 658-7453 Visit Website

Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre

New Kent Road, , England SE1 6TE 020 7708 6170 Visit Website

Sardine

15 Micawber Street, , England N1 7TB 020 7490 0144 Visit Website

Noble Rot

51 Lamb’s Conduit St, London, Greater London WC1N 3NB +44 20 7242 8963 Visit Website

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Eater London newsletter

The freshest news from the local food world