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Mukkades Yadikir’s Etles in Walthamstow with customers in its dining room after lockdown
Mukaddes Yadikir’s Etles in Walthamstow with customers in its dining room after lockdown
Michaël Protin/Eater London

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After Lockdown, London Restaurants Go Again

With new, covered outdoor seating areas, novel safety signage, and lots of familiar dishes, the city’s restaurants reopen their dining rooms

After four weeks of mandated closure and with England’s second coronavirus lockdown now over, London’s restaurants were permitted to reopen their dining rooms for customers yesterday, 2 December.

They do so with a now-familiar, but nonetheless profound, sense of uncertainty. After a month of relying on takeaway, delivery, meal kits, and provisions, businesses must approach what is normally the busiest time of the year under a suite of public health restrictions that will both protect staff and diners but prevent restaurants from taking the straightforward path to festive profit that many badly need. As well as social distancing measures, only customers from the same household or support bubble can dine together indoors; outdoors, guests cannot gather in groups of more than six. Last orders must be called at 10 p.m., with everyone out by 11 p.m.

Restaurants must also approach this period with the knowledge that a vaccine against COVID-19 — talked up as presaging a return to normality — could be rolled out too late, unless all interested parties reach a satisfactory arrangement on the rent question. Because as it stands, come January, tenants which have been unable to pay their landlords during the pandemic will suddenly be exposed to eviction, with no legal protections. Something has to change, but no one knows if or when it will.

And yet, for many, there is no option but to reopen. Again. And so they must wait. Again.

Here’s what London looked like the day restaurants reopened their dining rooms: more outdoor seating, more tarpaulin, new signage, heaters, queues, masks, and lots of familiar dishes.


Ed and Josie Wilson’s Brawn has been operating as a deli and provisioner for the last month. Yesterday afternoon, it once again reopened its dining room for guests.

Brawn, on Columbia Road, Hackney, one of London’s best restaurants
Brawn, on Columbia Road, Hackney

Chef Sirichai Kularbwong’s Singburi, whose blackboard menu makes it London’s outstanding Thai restaurant, will be open just for takeaway in Leytonstone for the foreseeable future.

Singburi — London’s great Thai restaurant — in Leytonstone. One of the best restaurants in the city
Singburi — London’s great Thai restaurant — in Leytonstone
Michaël Protin/Eater London

Hill and Szrok on Broadway Market, one of the East End’s best butchers shops, lockdown stalwart, once more reopens as a wine bar and “cookshop” for counter dining.

Hill and Szrok butcher and cookshop, Brodway Market, east London
Hill and Szrok butcher and cookshop, Broadway Market, east London

Leila’s Cafe on Calvert Avenue is offering takeaway dishes and store cupboard ingredients.

Leila’s Shop on Calvert Avenue in Shoreditch
Leila’s Shop on Calvert Avenue in Shoreditch

Thai restaurant Smoking Goat on Redchurch Street in Shoreditch has reopened with a covered outside seating area, extending its capacity and enabling guests not from the same household or support bubble to meet and eat at the restaurant; new coronavirus safety signage displayed alongside the daily menu.

Smoking Goat on Redchurch Street in Shoreditch, with a new covered outside seating area — one of London’s best Thai restaurants
Smoking Goat on Redchurch Street in Shoreditch, with a new covered outside seating area
Michaël Protin/Eater London
Smoking Goat’s menu and safety notice in the window of the restaurant — one of London’s best Thai restaurants’ safety precautions during the covid-19 pandemic
Smoking Goat’s menu and safety notice in the window of the restaurant
Michaël Protin/Eater London

40 Maltby Street — one of London’s great restaurant wine bars has remained alert to changing guidance throughout the pandemic, offering fresh fruit and veg, deli items, provisions, and more recently takeaway sandwiches. It is now open for guests with a set menu, plus lots of wine and merch to boot.

Wine and merch available at 40 Maltby Street, one of the city’s best wine bars
Wine and merch available at 40 Maltby Street

Algerian cafe-restaurant, El Marsem, opened on Old Kent Road during the first lockdown and has remained opened for takeaway throughout the pandemic. Yesterday, guests were allowed back inside.

El Marsem on the Old Kent Road, a sandwich bar that opened during the Covid-19 pandemic
El Marsem on the Old Kent Road
Guests inside El Marsem sandwich bar, on Old Kent Road, a restaurant which opened during the COVID-19 pandemic’s first lockdown
Guests inside El Marsem sandwich bar, on Old Kent Road

Chef Thuy Nguyen prepares noodles in the kitchen at Pho Thuy Tay, one of London’s best Vietnamese restaurants, which reopened for guests yesterday.

Chef Thuy Nguyen, of Pho Thuy Tay on Old Kent Road, London’s best Vietnamese restaurant
Chef Thuy Nguyen, of Pho Thuy Tay on Old Kent Road

Little Ochie, which serves fresh seafood grilled, fried, or steamed, open again for customers in Camberwell yesterday evening.

Little Ochie seafood restaurant, Camberwell, one of south London’s best fish restaurants reopened after coronavirus lockdown in England
Little Ochie seafood restaurant, Camberwell

La Barra, Maria-Luisa Riascos Solis’s Colombian restaurant in Elephant and Castle, which is known for serving outstanding Dominican fried chicken.

La Barra, a Colombian restaurant in Elephant and Castle, which serves outstanding Domincan fried chicken
La Barra, Colombian restaurant in Elephant and Castle
Michaël Protin

Koya, one of London’s great Japanese noodle bars open for customers in the City, an area of London with far fewer office workers than in early March. It reopens with an expanded outside seating area.

Koya, inside the City’s Bloomberg Arcade with a new expanded outside seating area — one of the best Japanese (udon noodle) restaurants
Koya, inside the City’s Bloomberg Arcade with a new expanded outside seating area
Michaël Protin/Eater London

Another restaurant (and sports bar), Brigadiers, in the Bloomberg Arcade reopens after keeping its customers fed and watered via delivery and meal kits through lockdown.

JKS Restaurants’ grill restaurant and sports bar Brigadiers in the Bloomberg Arcade, in the City of London
JKS Restaurants’ grill restaurant and sports bar Brigadiers in the Bloomberg Arcade
Michaël Protin/Eater London

One of the London’s best coffee shops, Rosslyn, is getting used to being open in the heart of the City with fewer commuters and fewer office workers.

Rosslyn Coffee, among London’s top tier coffee shops — reopens yesterday in the City
Rosslyn Coffee, among London’s top tier coffee shops

Quality Wines in Clerkenwell re-pivots back to indoor (and outdoor) dining. Awnings and heaters keep guests warm and sheltered on the makeshift terrace.

Quality Wines in Clerkenwell, at dusk — one of London’s best restaurants and wine bars by chef Nick Bramham
Quality Wines in Clerkenwell, at dusk
Michaël Protin/Eater London

Hala, one of Green Lanes’ restaurant institutions, reopens for customers in north London yesterday lunch time.

Hala Turkish restaurant on Green Lanes in North London
Hala Turkish restaurant on Green Lanes in North London

Noble Rot, which has fully closed during both lockdowns, welcomes guests back to its dining room and wine bar on Lamb’s Conduit Street.

Noble Rot Restaurant and Wine Bar, on Lambs Conduit Street in Bloomsbury
Noble Rot Restaurant and Wine Bar in Bloomsbury

Modern Japanese restaurant Roka reopens its dining room for guests in Fitzrovia.

Roka, on Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia in central London
Roka, on Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia in central London

Under the joint stewardship of brothers Ferhat and Sertaç Dirik, Mangal 2, renowned Turkish ocakbasi in Dalston, reinvented itself after lockdown 1 this summer. Having remained open for takeaway and delivery for the last four weeks, it reopened for guests once more last night.

Mangal 2 ocakbasi in Dalston, one of east London’s best and most famous Turkish restaurants
Mangal 2 ocakbasi in Dalston
A customer enters Mangal 2 in Dalston after the national coronavirus lockdown in England
A customer enters Mangal 2 in Dalston

Bright, sister restaurant to east London favourites P. Franco and Peg, with a new covered outdoor seating space — looking anything but bright in the drizzle.

Bright, beneath Netil House in Hackney, with a new covered outdoor seating area — one of east London’s best wine bar and restaurants
Bright, beneath Netil House in Hackney, with a new covered outdoor seating area
Michaël Protin

Chef Mitshel Ibrahim’s Ombra, one of the pandemic’s most agile and innovative restaurant success stories, back open again for diners last night.

Ombra, off Mare Street, open again after lockdown in England
Ombra, off Mare Street, open again after lockdown

Kerala restaurant Thattukada in East Ham reopens for guests after a month of lockdown
Kerala restaurant Thattukada in East Ham reopens for guests after a month of lockdown

Inside Biju and Preeti Gopinath’s Thattukada in East Ham, one of the area’s outstanding Kerala restaurants — after four weeks, welcoming guests back into its dining room.

Inside Thattukada in East Ham — for the first time welcoming guests back into its dining room
Thattukada in East Ham

Broadway Market

Broadway Market, , England E8 4QJ

Pho Thuy Tay

899 Old Kent Road, London,

Bloomberg Arcade

Bloomberg Arcade, , England

Roka

37 Charlotte St, London, Greater London W1T 1RR +44 20 7580 6464 Visit Website

La Barra

, , England SE1 6SP 020 7701 2188

Mangal 2

4 Stoke Newington Rd, London, Greater London N16 7XN +44 20 7254 7888 Visit Website

El Marsem

223 Old Kent Road, , England SE1 5LU

P Franco

107 Lower Clapton Road, , England E5 0NP 020 8533 4660 Visit Website

Thattukada

241B High Street North, East Ham, Greater London E12 6SJ +44 20 8548 8239

Peg

120 Morning Lane, , England E9 6LH 020 3441 8765 Visit Website

Little Ochie

Camberwell, London, SE5 7FG

Hala

29-30 Grand Parade, Harringay, Greater London N4 1LG +44 20 8802 4883 Visit Website

Koya City

10-12 Bloomberg Arcade, , England EC4N 8AR Visit Website

40 Maltby Street

40 Maltby Street, , England SE1 3PA 020 8076 9517 Visit Website

Brawn

49 Columbia Road, , England E2 7RG 020 7729 5692 Visit Website

Rosslyn Coffee

78 Queen Victoria Street, , England EC4N 4SJ 07732 077870 Visit Website

Brigadiers

1-5 Bloomberg Arcade, , England EC4N 8AR 020 3319 8140 Visit Website

OMBRA

1 Vyner Street, , England E2 9DG 020 8981 5150 Visit Website

Noble Rot

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

Smoking Goat

64 Shoreditch High Street, London, E1 6JJ

Lamb

94 Lamb's Conduit Street, , England WC1N 3LZ 020 7405 0713 Visit Website

Singburi

593 High Road Leytonstone, , England E11 4PA 020 8281 4801

Bright

1 Westgate Street, , England E8 3RL 020 3095 9407 Visit Website

Quality Wines

88 Farringdon Road, , England EC1R 3EA 020 3602 8115 Visit Website

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