London Restaurant Festival returns this October with a mix of Covid-secure dine-in experiences and exclusive at-home events that are perfect for those who prefer to – or need to – stay indoors
London Restaurant Festival, returning in October for its 12th year, is going full steam ahead with top names and venues like Michel Roux Jr at Le Gavroche, Ollie Dabbous at Hide, Claude Bosi at Bibendum and Anna Haugh at Myrtle taking part.
There are plenty of dine-in events taking place – subject to changes in government policy, of course – although most have already sold out, perhaps because many of are thoroughly sick of being stuck at home, but also, of course, because some of them are quite brilliant, once-in-a-lifetime gourmet experiences.
These include Gourmet Odysseys, where you can enjoy a six course lunch at three different restaurants within walking distance of each other, and the Ultimate Gastronomic Weekend, an all-inclusive weekend of gastronomy, anchored by one of the UK’s leading chefs and combined with a stay at a 5* hotel.
London Restaurant Festival (LRF), in partnership with American Express, has a line-up of 60 at-home and dine-out culinary events, with chefs ‘joining’ guests in their homes via video messages and live links.
LRF At-Home has been specially designed to cater to those who can’t, or prefer not to, leave their homes during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Twenty of London’s leading restaurants are taking part, offering exclusive LRF Feasts At-Home, complete with messages from the chefs. The feasts will be delivered by Supper, which works with top London restaurants including Sexy Fish, Gymkhana, The Ninth, Roka, Hide, Arros QD, Chotto Matte and Aquavit.
‘LRF was established to celebrate and reflect the phenomenally vibrant London restaurant scene through exclusive experiences,’ said Simon Davis, who founded the festival with Fay Maschler in 2009.
‘Our irrepressible restaurant scene has been forced to adapt in 2020, as have we, but we must still celebrate it if we can. It needs all the support it can get.
‘LRF will bring together the capital’s leading chefs and restaurants in a month of small-scale, socially-distanced events and experiences.’
‘Restaurant deliveries have obviously grown in popularity,’ adds Festival Director Chris Wright. ‘With LRF At-Home we intend to take the “restaurant-at-home” experience to the next level.’
Choose from a Gusbourne Reserve Masterclass in English Sparkling Wine on Friday 9 October, where by Brand Ambassador Laura Rhys MS will guide you through Gusbourne’s range of three English sparkling wines; Cognac & La Fromagerie with Rémy Martin on Friday 16 October, where Brand Ambassador Jack Charlton will teach you how to make two cocktails: a Rémy 1738 & Ginger and Espresso Martini; Beer & Brindisa Tapas with Estrella Galicia on Friday 23 October, where you’ll enjoy top Spanish gastronomy paired with four beers; and Gin & Macarons with Martin Millers on Thursday 29 October, where you’ll learn to make gin-based cocktails paired with macarons.
There’s also the Chef’s Table At-Home series – exclusive to American Express card members – where ingredients are delivered to your home and the chef guides you through preparing the dish in a special video. They will then ‘join’ you for dinner and a Q&A via a live link. Again, most are sold out, but if you move swiftly, you can still take part in two Michelin-starred chef James Knappett’s Chef’s Table At-Home on 1 October.
The aforementioned Feasts At-Home is a great way to experience London Restaurant Festival from the comfort of your home. Twenty of London’s leading restaurants are taking part, including Sexy Fish, Gymkhana, The Ninth, Roka, Hide and Aquavit, creating a home-delivery feast that arrives hot and ready to eat, complete with a bottle of wine and a message from the chef. The only draw-back is that you need to live within 2.5 miles of the restaurant.
Plus, on Monday 5 October there’s an exclusive free Chef’s Talk. Hosted by William Sitwell, food writer and restaurant critic for The Telegraph, the live webinar features Michelin-star chefs Tom Aikens, Andrew Wong and Jason Atherton, who will be swapping stories and answering Sitwell’s questions about life in the hospitality industry.
Unfortunately, most of the Tasting Menus tickets have sold out, but at the time of writing, you could still bag tickets for two Talk of the Town events (Arros QD at 7pm on 22 October, and Caviar House & Prunier at Harrods at 6pm on 27 October).
Other In-restaurant experiences still available include Gourmet Odyssey: The Bubble Edition, where you and five friends can enjoy a six course lunch at three different restaurants within walking distance of each other (two courses at each restaurant).
The Mayfair edition on Saturday 10 October takes in Galvin at Windows, Seven Park Place and Benares, while The Regent Street and St James’s edition on Saturday 17 October takes in Veeraswamy, Wild Honey and Aquavit.
The Ultimate Gastronomic Weekend is the ultimate in indulgence, with three unforgettable all-inclusive weekends of gastronomy and culture, each anchored by one of the UK’s leading chefs and including an overnight stay at one of Hyatt’s three London 5* hotels.
Two of the three, with Michel Roux Jr and Marcus Wareing, have already sold out, but at the time of writing tickets were still available for the Ultimate Gastronomic Weekend with Giorgio Locatelli, running 10-11 October at the 5* Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill.
Finally, there’s Top Ten Cuisines, where you can pick a leading cuisine from French to South American and join a leading chef in that area for an exclusive dinner. Again, most of these are sold out, but at the time of writing you could still bag tickets to explore Israeli cuisine with Limor Chen at Delamina in Marylebone on Sunday 18 October.
Plus, London Restaurant Festival continues its successful partnership with OpenTable to offer Festival Menus as part of the month-long celebration. OpenTable and LRF will hand pick 250 of London’s top restaurants to offer guests access to special menus throughout the month of October, which is basically akin to the Eat Out to Help Out scheme being extended into September – go forth and bag yourself a bargain!
For tickets and further information see londonrestaurantfestival.com