The latest coronavirus lockdown’s end date in England remains up in the air, but rumours of reopening timelines and measures are beginning to bubble up, leaving the capital’s restaurants in even more uncertain times. Meanwhile, Michelin drops its stars for 2021.
- The week began with 2021’s Michelin stars. The top line: London has two new three-Michelin-starred restaurants, both run by women — Core by Clare Smyth and Hélène Darroze at The Connaught. New Michelin stars included a restaurant that traded for 20 days; it still took stars away during a pandemic.
- The bottom line is that while the revelation event brought its usual mix of scripted awkwardness and general amateurishness, it also showed how Michelin giving out stars in 2021 meant it fundamentally undermining Michelin’s founding mission.
- The week also began with a by-now-familiar pattern of leaks on when the coronavirus lockdown will end in England — and therefore, when restaurants can consider a reopening timeline. The expectation is that things will begin with social distancing and restrictions on household mixing, which is unsurprising. What’s more doubtful is whether or not financial support, which is set to diminish at the end of March, will be available to get restaurants through to the alleged promised land of spring and summer.
- That’s the running theme for restaurants right now: supported for almost a year, they now fear that government parsimony and/or delay will see them have to take terminal decisions they could otherwise avoid.
- One example of that is the current cut on the VAT rate from 20 percent to five percent, which is a real boon to restaurants’ finances. Given the Treasury keeps measures “under review,” having “no plans” to extend the cut is, in some ways, a non-event. But statements like that create fear and anxiety for businesses that are using it to stay afloat, and having it withdrawn just a month before trading — might — resume would be dreadful.
- There are openings, if for takeaway. on the horizon too. Florence Mae Maglanoc and Omar Shah will bring Filipino desserts and bakes to Kentish Town with Panadera, a new bakery from the mavens behind Mamasons Dirty Ice Cream.
- It’s the battle of the blue eyes on Great Celebrity Bake Off, as James McAvoy goes iris to iris with Paul Hollywood.
Dining guides for staying in this weekend...
- How to ship a taste of London’s restaurants nationwide, with new kits including suya, udon, and Parsi biryani.
- The best restaurants for delivery and takeaway.
- The best meal kits from London restaurants.
- What London’s standout 38 restaurants are doing right now.
- Where to find fish and chips for the weekly ritual.
- Some top sushi for takeaway.
- The best bakeries in London for takeaway pastries and bread.
- 10 brilliant burgers for lockdown.
- And where to order takeaway and delivery in...
- central London.
- north London.
- west London.
- east London.
- south east London.
- south west London.
- Where to buy produce, meat, fish, pantry items, wine, and beer.
- Some gear to make great coffee at home.
- And some gear to wear: tees, totes, mugs. #Gear
Until next week, eat well and be safe.