Fancy a Michelin-starred dinner tonight? You’re lucky – To the world

The silver lining for the hospitality industry is few and far between as restaurants prepare for more Christmas cancellations amid growing concerns about the spread of Omicron.



Davies and Brook Restaurant


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Davies and Brook Restaurant

But if you’re a sophisticated diner looking to go out and support a sector that accounts for 10 percent of UK employment, a spate of cancellations means that restaurants that are usually full and full at this time of year are currently plentifully available during the Major holidays.

Chef Tom Kerridge (head owner of The Hand & Flowers, the only two-Michelin-starred pub in the UK) announced this week that one of his restaurants has had more than 650 cancellations in the past six days. “I’m trying to say positive things to get through December, but I have nothing,” he said, adding that the government’s Plan B restrictions were “devastating”. A quick search of The Hand and Flowers website booking engine reveals that tables are available (at the time of writing) for Friday dinner or Saturday lunch.



Tom Kerridge an der Bar seines Pubs The Hand and Flowers in Marlow - Andrew Crowley


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Tom Kerridge an der Bar seines Pubs The Hand and Flowers in Marlow – Andrew Crowley

It may be an exaggeration to see this as an advantage of the disaster we are facing (with lives at stake, by and large there are none), but nonetheless, the Omicron disaster means that it is pretty much right in right now Running restaurants that are usually fully booked for December. If you are a half full (and fully vaccinated) person, right now there is nothing illegal or against government guidelines to take the opportunity to snag a table at a bucket list restaurant.



Michelin star chef Tom Aikens has been busy reporting last minute availability in his Muse by Tom Aikens restaurant in Belgravia


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Michelin star chef Tom Aikens has been busy reporting last minute availability in his Muse by Tom Aikens restaurant in Belgravia

Michelin star chef Tom Aikens posted on his Instagram stories today about last minute availability at his Muse by Tom Aikens restaurant in Belgravia (one of the hottest openings of 2020), with reservations this week from Thursday through Sunday for lunch are available, and intimate dinners for two at the coveted chef’s kitchen counter on Friday evenings. There are also plenty of tables available at Monica Galetti’s Mere in Fitzrovia and the enthusiastic Sessions Arts Club in Clerkenwell, an urban sanctuary located in the old jury dining room in Sessions House – a great Grade II listed building in Clerkenwell.



Chef Daniel Humm at Claridges


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Chef Daniel Humm at Claridges

Over in Mayfair, Chef Daniel Humm’s Michelin-starred Davies & Brook at Claridge’s is quieter than usual – but dishes like the acclaimed dry-aged duck with honey glaze, lavender and pickled persimmon and the iconic Claridge’s Fried Chicken (CFC. called), with chilli-lime-yoghurt) are still served, should they tempt you. If you bag a table due to a last minute cancellation, this is your last chance. The restaurant will close at the end of the year when Humm and Claridge’s split up.

Moor Hall in Lancashire (voted UK’s Leading Restaurant in the 2021 National Restaurant Awards) has both lunch and dinner availability next week due to cancellations; Even Heston Blumenthal’s three-star, notoriously elusive, three-star Bray, Berkshire restaurant, The Fat Duck, recently got short-term reservations, while Michel Roux Jr’s Le Gavroche in London has plenty of (socially distant) tables on the spare.



Michel Roux Jr. restaurateur and chef at Le Gavroche restaurant in Mayfair - Andrew Crowley


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Michel Roux Jr. restaurateur and chef at Le Gavroche restaurant in Mayfair – Andrew Crowley

“In the past three or four days, both upfront and last-minute cancellations have gone from a trickle to a deluge, although luckily we’ve had very few no shows,” says Roux Jr. “People are really concerned about this new variant.

“If there’s a silver lining and there isn’t really a silver lining, it’s because restaurants are currently available in restaurants that you normally have to book three months in advance. At Christmas, Le Gavroche is usually chocolat from November. There is never a table free and there is a happy hum. For us at Le Gavroche we are fortunate to have been around for fifty years and have a large fan base.

“We’re making a hit, but it’s not as bad as it is with small, independent, or new restaurants. December is one of the busiest months for restaurants and is building reserves to get you through the quiet months of January and February. We cannot take things lightly and we must take them very seriously. Tables are available and until we get the word from the government to say, “Close your doors and you will be compensated,” then we need to stay open as safely as possible. We still have fewer tables than usual and measures such as screens and masks. My advice would be – please go out and support your local restaurants.



Chef Aktar Islam at the Michelin-starred Opheem in Birmingham - Andrew Fox


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Chef Aktar Islam at the Michelin-starred Opheem in Birmingham – Andrew Fox

Chef Aktar Islam’s Michelin-starred Opheem in Birmingham is another restaurant that is usually booked months in advance and now has seats. “If you’ve been waiting to get a table at some of the most sought-after restaurants in the country, now is a very good time to try and get a reservation. The UK hospitality industry has been and will continue to be very responsible during the pandemic “to work hard to keep guests, guests and staff safe,” he says.

Up in the Lake District there are also – unusual – tables at the legendary L’Enclume by star chef Simon Rogan in Cartmel in the Lake District.

“Right now, around three to five tables are vacant at L’Enclume every week, which is incredibly rare at this time of the year,” says Sam Ward, manager of Simon Rogan’s restaurants. “Twixmas is traditionally the busiest week of the year for us, and some guests book four months, six months or even a year in advance.



Simon Rogas Restaurant L'Enclume in Cumbria - PA


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In Simon Rogas Restaurant L’Enclume in Cumbria – PA

“For us here in an upscale restaurant in the northwest, the situation is currently different from that for restaurants in cities. People are more likely to come to us for occasions with friends than for business lunches or Christmas dinners for employees, and the incidence is lower right now – so we’re not currently seeing the wave of cancellations that urban restaurants are facing. Our cancellations usually come from people who have contracted Covid or need to isolate themselves or may be feeling uncomfortable at the moment to go out.

“My advice to anyone looking to go to a restaurant that they normally wouldn’t go to at the last minute is to keep an eye on social media to check real-time table availability and get on their waiting lists, or call when the opportunity arises. “

Did you make a last minute reservation at a restaurant or canceled a reservation that you were looking forward to? We’d love to hear about the restaurants you would most like to visit

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Reference-www.nach-welt.com

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