Are you feeling energetic? We hope so, because right now getting a reservation in London means invoking your inner Usain Bolt and moving fast. Like, very, very fast. Because, in case you haven’t noticed, it’s something of a nightmare to get a table anywhere at the moment. With that in mind, we’ve done the hard work for you. We’ve scoured the web, tirelessly scrolled through restaurant Instagrams, and then dutifully scanned what’s available in London this week. Read on for bookings you can snap up if you move quick.
FOR SUPERB SMALL PLATES & OUTSTANDING WINE
Being cooped up has meant everyone’s standards are at an all-time low, but that doesn’t mean you should accept a Pepperami and a mini bottle of Echo Falls as a decent night out. For starters, Rubedo has spaces going in the latter half of the week. The humble and wholly delicious Italian-ish restaurant in Stoke Newington is a real top tier date night venue and its biodynamic list hits the spot. If you’re a fan of either the early (5pm onwards) dinner or the late (9pm and after) meal then Levan has spaces going Wednesday and Thursday this week. Their wine list leans ‘natural’ and is, on the whole, an excellent selection. Otherwise there’s a handful of bits and bobs times going at Big Jo, Jolene’s little bakery and wine bar sibling. There’s things like gnocchi with chard and pecorino, pizza by the slice, lots of things with brilliant bread, and orange wine.
FOR A SUPER-ORGANISED SATURDAY BRUNCH
Cutting one unripe avocado at home was enough to have us looking through our camera rolls, welling up at brunches past. With some pre-planning this week you can leave your kitchen behind and head to Over Under in Earl’s Court that has several Saturday early afternoon slots where you can get your pancake on. Alternatively, Peruvian spot Chicama has some reservations available for a morning ceviche situation. While Belgravia spot Noura has all the labneh and halloumi you need for a Lebanese breakfast spread and some Saturday 12pm reservation slots to go with it.
FOR A 100% RAINPROOF DINNER
It’s so very generous of the rain to grace us with its presence during the final week before indoor dining is set to reopen, non? Luckily, you can still get your sushi fix at Chisou without worrying about the weather. This Japanese spot in Mayfair has got some great rolls, availability throughout the week, and importantly, it also has the holy trinity of outdoor dining: heaters, blankets, and a canopy set-up that’ll keep you completely dry. Speaking of great Japanese food, Koya City has also got plenty of dinner reservations throughout the week where you can get involved in their hand-pulled udon inside Bloomberg Arcade.
If you’re looking for options south of the river, new Cantonese spot The Red Duck has got you covered - literally - with their cute front terrace, excellent char siu pork, and 8.30pm reservations. Or you can opt for an oysters and tasteful shrubbery moment under Darby’s canopy in Vauxhall - where the heaters will keep you warm and the crab brioche roll will make your stomach happy. If you laugh in the face of that 8am alarm, you can also enjoy some rainproof al fresco dining with a late-night booking at Ell Fresco, the gazebo-covered outdoor situation from Elliot’s. Or, grab one of the 9.30pm bookings at excellent Stoke Newington gastropub, The Clarence Tavern.
FOR COVERED & COSY COCKTAILS
If you’re looking for a small bar with plenty of blowtorch cocktail action near Old Street we’d recommend The Gibson. Thanks to the canopy over their little pavement seating area, we’d also recommend it for 7pm first date drinks when it’s absolutely pissing down. Over in Crystal Palace, Varanda’s huge outdoor heated terrace is closed for a refurb this Wednesday, but they still have plenty of availability for Thursday, Friday, and even those coveted Saturday night spots. Alternatively, you can again hit up Over Under because (FYI) this brunch spot becomes a great little covered cocktail bar come Friday night. It’s home to one of London’s best espresso martinis and they have plenty of reservations up for grabs, including prime time 7pm slots.