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A la Colthard: the Covid Effect on restaurants

Yesterday in London I had breakfast, lunch and an early dinner in three different restaurants.

I took breakfast in my hotel.

Normally this would be in the restaurant where they lay out a buffet and there is a choice but because of the restrictions it was served in the foyer lounge.

The waiter brought a tray with my choice of fruit salad and scrambled eggs and smoked salmon but this tray was too big for the table.

Normally in the restaurant you would see guests and hear them talking business and others scrutinising their mobiles.

It was distinctly strange to be sitting on my own. I suspect that I was the only resident. They willingly acceded to my request for a later check out.

Lunch was at Imperial Treasure, a high-end Chinese restaurant just off Pall Mall.

It’s a big restaurant so distanced tables presented no problem. The set lunch at £28 was good value.

The food and service were excellent but there was no atmosphere at all.

Finally I had an early supper in the Brooklands Restaurant at the RAC Pall Mall.

It’s a huge space so a two-way system – though confusing – was easy to implement.

The food was good but not memorable and, given it was business meeting, I felt the waiters were too obtrusive.

One of my bete noires at any restaurant is the cloakroom. If possible I avoid them.

I had a train to catch so I was fearful there might be a queue on departing.

That was manageable but the attendant was insistent that I brought no hat. In fact it was untagged on a table by the rail; that was his fault and responsbility.

Nonetheless I felt that the club in general handled everything well.

Only at Imperial Treasure was I requested to produce the NHS Covid App.

My conclusion is that, given circumstances that were unforeseen, all these restaurants coped well.

People need to get out and restaurants provide a location, interaction, atmosphere and break from routine.

It would be a terrible thing for them and us to reimpose a total lockdown necessitating their closure. If people are concerned by Covid then the choice to go out or not should rest with them, not the Government nor “the Science’.

Daphne Colthard
About Daphne Colthard

After graduating at RADA but finding no roles Daphne went into magazine journalism with Good Housekeeping. Widely recognised as one of the country's leading restaurant and hotel reviewers, particularly by herself, Daphne is the author of "Bedded and Breakfasted", a light hearted chick novel and Grand Hotels DC: the Daffers Dictionary. Daphne lives in West London and is married to an investment banker Oliver. They have 2 boys Humphrey and Tarquin. More Posts

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