The hot new trend on the London restaurant scene is the “no reservations” policy. So what it means in practice is this:
You turn up with a couple of friends and ask for a table.
The reply is – sorry we don’t have any tables for another two hours.
Wait, what I though there was a no reservations policy?
Yes there is but you come and leave your name and number and then we text you when your table is ready.
Otherwise known as these hipper than hip restaurants don’t want to have to pay someone to manage a diary, they want guaranteed bums on chairs so make you rock up and leave your name and then they call you. The flaw in the plan – it’s cute at the beginning but the no reservations but we do really policy gets old fast. I still have yet to eat at Hoppers because every time I turn up at 6.30pm on a Friday night – solo or with friends I’m told there are no spaces left. The restaurant opens at 6pm so either the whole of London runs to put their name down on the list or the door person doesn’t know how to work the iPad their holding. The problem with all of that is, maybe I’m getting old, but I just want to eat when I want to eat and I like having a reservation beforehand. All this spontaneous booking rubbish means if you forget to put your name down or have a friend who just doesn’t queue forget the hip place. Although 4 is the magic number so if there are 4 or more of you – these types of restaurants will let you book the old fashioned way. So you know what you need to do – make some friends. However, as a solo diner sometimes just sometimes you get lucky and skip the 3 hour wait – YES 3 HOURS – and sit down straight away at 7.30pm on a Saturday night just before catching a film at the Curzon Soho as part of the London Film Festival at the hottest table in town – Kiln Soho! View Post
How will I know I’m successful?
I shall go to the cinema at midday and afterwards sate my appetite eating oysters all day and not worry about the cost. However, whilst I am still in the fake it whilst I make it stage I must watch the pennies, sort of. How is it possible to eat oysters everyday and not worry too much? Not walk and text is how. Walkers and texters miss all the bargains – you have to keep your eyes peeled. A few weeks ago I came across the sign above and made a mental note. I thought I really must try out this place although I did have a sense of fear. You see I’m a virgin. An oyster virgin in public. I’ve eaten the delicacies with people who know what they are doing in sweeping gardens in South West France and on a dock of a bay in San Francisco. The imagery is sickening I know! However, eating them in a restaurant and ALONE – I recoiled in silent horror just as I imagine an oyster does when the shallot vinaigrette is first poured on. View Post
I’ve always been hip!
A bold statement I will admit but, since returning home, all the places I used to hang out or thought that looks interesting are now achingly hip. Obviously not because of moi but for instance, Kingly Court just off Carnaby Street, was quirky and a bit trendy in 2010 with a mixture of shops and a few restaurants but now it is full of restaurants and there are queues! You, loyal readers that you are or haven’t quite worked out how to unsubscribe from my newsletter, will know I despise queues. If there is a line out of the door with people holding menus, I just head elsewhere. Except, the night in question I had stumbled out of the bombastic, quake filled press screening of San Andreas and needed something to bring me back to reality. The Rum Kitchen had been in my sights for a long time: a nibble and drink were in order. View Post
Paris – Emma Mapp Photography
Merde! It was all so easy solo dining and drinking my way around Paris. I was a foreigner and a pretty exotic one at that in a foreign land. I would walk in with my Del Boy accented french and get a seat and well it was fun. Not that I cared what the waiting staff thought but frankly I sounded as if I just stepped off the Eurostar a day ago not 4.5 years ago and so got away with it. Not so, now that I am back in London, my S-o-u-t-h London accent is as strong as ever. It doesn’t seem as fun. I get a little lost but not so much. What do I miss the most about Paris is the question I get asked the most. The bridges and bread. I miss bread being on the table as soon I sat down and being able to tell the quality of the place from the bread. Honestly, the bread will tell you if you’ll be eating a plate of merde or foodie delight!
I’m a last minute sort of girl. I’m also usually late to the party and doesn’t it show – Valentine’s Day is tomorrow and I am posting this late in the afternoon of the 13th. However as the old adage goes – better late than never. I’m back in London now and dating (interesting) and one of the important things with dating is being able to cut a date short if it is going nowhere – I need to get better at that. Is your date worth coffee (20 mins), cocktail (depends on the size of the glass but a healthy 45 mins) or dinner (possibly 1.5 hours filled with chat, charm and a cab ride for two back to yours – steady!) Here are my choices of unique and sometimes rather chic places to go to either spend a wonderful loved up evening or one that makes you glad to be single and free. View Post