Final meals: a lament to the restaurants we lost in the pandemic

An epitaph to London’s gone – but never forgotten – great eateries

It’s been a cruel year and a half for us all. With the country slowly getting back to normal, one unfortunate after effect of covid means we won’t get the chance to reflect on the past 18 months in our favourite hangouts — a glass of our favourite tipple to hand, plates of those longed-for treats arrayed before us. Sadly, despite the ill-judged Eat Out To Help Out initiative, many of our favourite restaurants, pubs, cafes, bars, clubs and pop ups have ceased to be in the last year and a half. And many more are now struggling to stay afloat.

According to a January 2021 report by consultants CGA, almost 10,000 licensed premises – including pubs, bars and restaurants – shut their doors since the start of the pandemic – a 175 percent rise in net closures compared with 2019. An ONS study, meanwhile, found that although spending in the hospitality sector had risen to £6.9 billion as of this May – the highest figure since August 2020 – this was still 25 percent lower than the same period in 2019.

What this translates to is thousands of jobs lost, thousands of dreams crushed. And, selfishly, many delicious meals that will now exist only in memory. Here, then, is an ode to the restaurants that played host to many evenings of bacchanalian indulgence, quiet catch ups with old friends — and even the odd deliciously indulgent solo lunch. Long may we remember them.

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