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.
- A trio of opening announcements offer another look into the coming restaurant economy. He of the salt sprinkle, the steak, and the wage theft lawsuit Salt Bae will open his Nusret Steakhouse in May after three years of waiting; an eye-watering New England seafood restaurant heads for Mayfair; and one of the most revered kaiseki chefs heads for Marylebone.
- Having said the pandemic nearly put it out of business, Deliveroo is on the verge of delivering a £5 billion valuation, while workers across the gig economy fight to enshrine their basic rights.
Dining guides for staying in this weekend...
- How to ship a taste of London’s restaurants nationwide, with kits including suya, udon, and some world-famous butter chicken.
- And here are some condiments to put on them, or indeed anything else.
- The pop-ups and chef projects to order from right now. Borek! Pizza! Bagels!
- Sunday roasts and Mother’s Day kits.
- The most exciting places for takeaway and delivery right now.
- Order from London’s best restaurants without the apps.
- Champion chicken wings, for takeaway or delivery.
- 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...
- 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.