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
Sartre was right – hell is other people!
Alas my full time passion of writing and and film criticism doesn’t currently pay the bills. I’m back temping in a “proper job” to pays all the bills plus a little fun and frolics. I hope whoever devised open plan working is living out their days miserable as sin. Open plan working is like experiencing hell ever day. There is nowhere to hide! Those flirty texts need to kept to a minimum and other people’s conversations funny for the first time but when you’ve overheard the same story ten times and seen pictures of their puppies, babies push one to the proverbial edge. I now just put my headphones and whack up the music although I have no desire to become deaf. So now I just put them on, bop along to non existent music and people leave me alone. Result! All that means is I cannot wait until I work for myself and remove myself from the crazies although somedays I do wonder who’s crazier. Lunch is supposed to be peaceful but not at your desk and sometimes you need to Spring into action. At these times I take myself off to a ritzy place. Afterwards, I return to the office hot and flustered as if I’ve done something naughty. We all need a little decadent, naughty fun in our lives, even just in a lunch hour, more so when you’re daily existence is open plan! View Post
“No one puts Baby in the corner”
When I started this blog, Liquid Marmalade, I was ashamed to tell people about it for fear they were going to judge me. They did and guess what I am still doing it 18 months later. I have had: inverted snorts of derision, pitiful looks and even plain why on earth would you want to eat alone. The reason I started solo dining was to stop missing out on all these wonderful restaurants and bars in Paris. I am single, most of my friends are coupled up and well you don’t always want to be the third or fifth wheel, but most of all I am an independent woman in control of the rest of my life, that’s the hope, and yet the fear of saying table for one left me trembling. Solo dining is great and having done it for well over a year in the City of Love and Lights here are my top tips and observations on how to successful dine solo.
Let me tell you one thing this baby sits anywhere but the corner! View Post
Paris is the city of love, light and walkers.
To really see Paris you need to walk the streets and get lost, as I do often, being GPS challenged even with a blue flashing dot on the map I manage to often go in the wrong direction. You could take the metro and have the metro ticket rejected because it got demagnetised in your bag next to phone or have the pleasure – did I say pleasure – of someone push up against your backside, with not so much as an introduction, as they barrier hop. Yes, a very Parisian sport is fare dodging and riding the metro for free. Then if that wasn’t enough there is the dank stench of perspiration so strong that the back of your throat itches. View Post
Hidden bars are popular in Paris: the Beef Club, Moonshiner etc and they are fun at first given the novelty factor of entering the restaurant like you own the place, walking to the unmarked door, pushing it open and entering the secret drinking den. I had wanted to go to Candelaria for a long time and finally went with a friend and decided that maybe I had judged it unfairly so promised to go back for a solo apéro – ha! View Post