By now, the feeling is familiar. Following a Christmas and new year period in which most businesses were closed because of tier 4 coronavirus restrictions, the capital went into full lockdown for the third time on 6 January.
The differences to restaurants in London may seem immaterial on the surface. But the government’s announcement, coupled with the stark public health crisis in the capital, changes the mood. While restaurant owners worry about the future of their businesses, workers contend not just with concerns of the security of their job but their health and safety, too.
The public health, social, and economic situation in London is grave. With no assurances on when the crisis might ease, vaccine roll-out notwithstanding, both the end of lockdown and the path to reopening remain unknown. So restaurants, having been forced to adapt and survive once more, must just wait and wonder.
Below is a snapshot of London’s restaurants, in lockdown, in week one of 2021.
Jolene, on Newington Green. Co-owner Jeremie Cometto-Lingenheim told Eater at the start of the year: “As a nation, we place too much trust in the competence of our government and we are too dependent on its whims. The last 12 months have shown resilient businesses are built on decisions they make autonomously, on a controllable level for themselves.”
“We are back” is the message. The Eagle, like most hospitality businesses in London, were not back for long before having to close again before Christmas.
Voodoo Ray’s pizza slice joint on Kingsland Road.
Purveyor of east London’s most famous naan, Ararat Bread packs up at the end of the day last week on Ridley Road market in Dalston.
Chef Jeremy Lee on the restaurant whose kitchen he oversees: “the great dame of Dean Street hibernates.”
E5 Bakehouse and Secret Smokehouse, two businesses under the arches by London Fields in Hackney.
Bright is open for takeaway during the day, offering the likes of squid sandwiches, cookies, and housemade soda bread.
El Marsem, a sandwich bar which opened in spring last year on the Old Kent Road; and Jenecheru, the Bolivian cafe-restaurant, which continued to serve its community throughout last year.
Bao’s original food stall, Netil Market, Hackney last week, open during lockdown.
Climpson and Sons coffee shop on Broadway Market.
Pavilion bakery on Broadway Market.
Brick Lane’s Beigel Bake remains open for takeaway, 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
The Fryer’s Delight in Holborn — possibly London’s best and most famous chippy — is open for takeaway.
St John Bread and Wine, one of the city’s great restaurants, is open on Fridays and Saturdays throughout lockdown for takeaway pies and other dishes, as well as wine and bakery items.
Koya, in Soho, will begin sending out flat-packets of udon noodles in the coming weeks.
Lyle’s, chef James Lowe’s Michelin-starred Shoreditch restaurant sits closed. Meal kits are being shipped nationwide while London is in lockdown.
An iconic London restaurant on Exmouth Market, Moro, with the shutters down at the start of 2021.
In Shoreditch, Neapolitan-style pizzeria Pizza Pilgrims’ branch sits closed.
The Michelin-Starred Clove Club, London’s highest placed restuarant in the World’s 50 Best, remains closed during lockdown. Owners Isaac McHale, Dan Willis, and Johnny Smith announced the permanent closure of sister restaurant Two Lights, helmed by chef Chase Lovecky last year. Meanwhile, the group’s Italian restaurant Luca remains open for takeaway and delivery through Big Night App.
Bun Bun Bun Vietnamese restaurant closed on Kingsland Road in Dalston.
Italian meat specialist Macellaio RC is operating a delivery service from its sites in Clerkenwell, Northcote Road, South Kensington, Fitzrovia, and Union Street.
Quality Chop House will continue to ship wine and supplies from its store in Clerkenwell. Quality Wines (at Home) is for the time being replaced by takeaway brand Arrosto, by chef Nick Bramham, out of the Clipstone kitchen.
Wei Guirong’s Xi’an restaurant Master Wei has remained open for takeaway and delivery since last summer. While, Cafe Deco by Anna Tobias has known nothing but the pandemic, opening for takeaway collection in November last year.
While Bao’s Fitzrovia restaurant and development kitchen remains closed for dine-in, the group’s delivery brand Rice Error has taken off from its Borough Market and Netil Market locations.
Some things remain too good to close: Good Friend in Chinatown.