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

With a roadmap in place and financial support confirmed, restaurants are starting to plan

Customers queue outside Trullo, the Italian restaurant in Islington, with a striped awning overhanging the window
Queueing outside Trullo, the outstanding Italian restaurant in Islington
Michaël Protin/Eater London

With Boris Johnson’s coronavirus lockdown reopening roadmap and Rishi Sunak’s Budget under their belts for better or for worse, London restaurants planning for when they will reopen after lockdown have a luxury they’ve not had for a long time: time. But as they use that time before either 12 April or 17 May, depending on whether or not outdoor dining is possible, their biggest looming concern — rent — will grow bigger. Appropriately, this week’s news brought consolidation and new plans, alongside reminders that the government must do something on rent to avoid merely delaying a property bloodbath.

  • Restaurants now have a time limit on their rent protections — but no idea what will happen when they expire. The government confirmed an extension to the lease forfeiture moratorium until the end of June, but that extension does nothing about the £3 billion of rent debt believed to have accumulated in the hospitality sector. The government is now giving a “call for evidence” on what to do next, despite the situation’s core tenets being the same as they have been since March 2020.

  • Two stories are salient reminders of that situation. Angus Steakhouse, the London restaurant least visited by Londoners, is on the verge of collapse because it can’t meet rent obligations. And the India Club, an institution on the Strand more revered for its past than its present, is under pressure from landlords in a microcosm of how terms like “regeneration” and “renewal” gloss over what they raze.

  • These stories also can’t be separated from those restaurants opening for the first time at “reopening,” or reopening after having had mere days or weeks to trade. Here are the openings to watch in spring 2021.

Dining guides for staying in this weekend...

And where to order takeaway and delivery in...

And finally...

Until next week, eat well and be safe.