Seven more days of lockdown have slipped away, with restaurants, pubs, cafes, and bars still waiting for news of financial support extensions and, longer term, a plan for reopening. Here’s what’s been happening in the London restaurant world this week.
- Restaurants, pubs, and cafes end the week with the clearest indication yet that they will not learn of the status of the financial support they so badly need until chancellor Rishi Sunak delivers the Budget on 3 March, in just under three weeks’ time. The question for Sunak remains: Why wait, when the future of the U.K.’s third largest employer is at stake?
- The lockdown rumour mill’s been spinning for months, and this week’s new grist was some of the strangest yet: Pubs and restaurants could reopen in April, but without alcohol. While the policy itself is unlikely, the act of suggesting it as a conciliation to lockdown sceptics in the Conservative party still put pubs in a spin.
- London’s restaurants are in a threefold lockdown waiting game. They don’t know when they’re going to reopen, because pandemics are fundamentally uncertain; and they don’t know whether they’ll get the chance to reopen, because they don’t know whether the government is going to extend the coronavirus financial support schemes that are keeping bills off the ledger and staff on the payroll. Pubs are trapped there too, and when they will reopen after lockdown remains a deep concern to workers and owners.
- As the waiting game continues, London’s restaurants find ever more ingenious ways to reach diners. Koya, the outstanding udon restaurant that began in Soho, is now delivering vacuum-packed noodles and dashi nationwide.
- And the ever-widening London restaurant meal kit field has some competitive new entrants.
- Today, 12 February, is Lunar New Year, and the Year of the Ox that so often sees families and friends gather in restaurants must take place at home. With a guide to the celebratory dishes, a Chinese dumpling taxonomy, Chinatown’s finest takeaway options, and delivery across the city, there’s plenty to get teeth into.
- Many people think restaurants and pubs would have a better chance of getting the support they need with ministerial representation. On Wednesday, news that petitioners for a Minister for Hospitality had secured a government meeting was a tonic.
- High street chains continue to navigate stormy territory, as Italian effort Prezzo closes 22 restaurants in a bid to keep going — with the help of some private equity investment.
- A new luxury sandwich sweeping Instagram suggests that eating the rich would be kind of bland.
- But greater horror still comes from an unholy alliance between Weetabix and Heinz baked beans, all in the name of brand twitter.
Abolish corporate social media management now.
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.
- Order from London’s best restaurants without the apps.
- The best meal kits for Valentine’s Day at home.
- What Soho’s finest are doing in lockdown.
- 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.