The sweet pain of anticipation


As the nation’s foodies and oenophiles eye the opening of many pubs and restaurants in just three days’ time, this piece considers a selection of venues that truly conjure excitement and expectancy.

Fischer’s, London W1

With its Austrian belle epoque interior (think Grand Budapest Hotel) and signature schnitzel dishes, this very steady offering from the Corbin and King group should enjoy a bounce back. Good service, imaginative cuisine and value for money are in bountiful supply here and the Palate team will be making a booking quicker than you can say Überstürzer.

Rick Stein, Barnes/Mortlake, London SW14

Despite its fringe location and absence of natural footfall, the venue is a joy to south Londoners and worthy of travel for everyone else. A varied seafood menu and a stylish, botanical interior makes this Thames-side gem in the Stein group an eagerly awaited re-opening.

Riverside dining at Rick Stein Barnes

Le Gavroche, London W1

The Roux family’s sensational eatery was probably always for a “special occasion” and yet its return animates the food enthusiast. The layout already suits a more socially-distant experience for diners, with couples able to face outwards to the restaurant in a series of curtained alcoves adorned with tasselled lamps. Fine-diners who’ve been confined to the odd French dish made inexpertly at home will surely flock to Le Gav for its rich fayre, low lighting and speak-easy ambience.

The Cat Inn, West Hoathly, West Sussex RH19

One thing we’ve all missed is a proper pub. This countryside hostelry, with all the charm and old-world character you’d expect, caters for the foodie and the drinker alike. The sorority running the restaurant will again provide hearty dishes to include steak pie and Harvey’s-battered cod. Pubs having had a rough few months to say the least, Palate looks forward to treading the Victorian floorboards in boozers such as this once more.

And also …

The Game Bird, famed for its venison Wellington, salmon trolley and stellar wine list, appears to be taking bookings from 3 August. Not a cheap eat, but worth every penny for the experience – with the added perk of drinks in the adjacent American Bar beforehand.


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