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’s Instagrams, got briefly distracted by pictures of Riz Ahmed on the Oscars’ red carpet, and then dutifully scanned London’s best booking platforms. And we’re happy to report that we’ve come across some great last-minute bookings. Read on for bookings you can snap up if you move quick.
FOR A MIDWEEK DINNER THAT WON'T BREAK THE BANK
Desperate times often lead to desperate measures, and your bank account is usually the one that takes the hit. But don’t worry, there are plenty of great affordable restaurants with slots available this week. Officina have a load of dinner spots for two on Wednesday, as does Cây Tre Soho, which also has some early-ish dinner tables for three. Gunpowder in Tower Bridge has a bunch of dinner times which will probably go quick. And while we’re on the topic of bridges, BaoziInn at London Bridge has plenty of evening tables too.
FOR WHEN YOU WANT SOME ALONE TIME
Things (people you know and love) can still feel a little overwhelming at the moment, so we don’t blame you if you need a minute and a meal to yourself. The Canton Arms have got a load of lunchtime slots available on Wednesday if you fancy an al fresco pub meal for one. Alternatively, Mike’s - the new pizza spot in Peckham from the team behind The Camberwell Arms - has lunch and dinner slots all week, while Llerena on Upper Street and Little Taperia in Tooting have loads of options if a quick solo ham and cheese situation is calling you.
FOR A BOOZY SITUATION
Eating? No thank you. You’ve just lived through yet another lockdown, so now it’s strictly gin ‘o’ clock. If you’re after cocktails in the most ‘going for a cocktail’ area of London, Soho, then Cahoots, Two Floors, and one of our all-time favourite spots for a high-end beverage, The Arts Theatre Club have got you covered with bookings on every evening this week. Over near Old Street, The Gibson is booked out for the weekend but there’s plenty of availability for two for those mid-week dates, or you can start the long Bank Holiday weekend early with a top cocktail on Thursday evening. If you’re feeling more vino than vodka, then a table at Bottles is in order. This Italian wine bar has a cosy terrace in Spitalfields Market and they even have tables for bigger groups for Friday night. Just be sure to select a drinks-only table booking unless you want to invest in their snack menu, which wouldn’t be that terrible really, would it?
FOR A BIG BRUNCH
In life, your top priority should always be pancakes. Well, maybe family, your health, and some other stuff too. But mostly, pancakes. If you too live a pancake-first way of life, then you’ll be happy to hear that one of our all time favourite pancake spots, Over Under in Earl’s Court, has countless bookings available this weekend. If that doesn’t take your fancy then Angel’s Kipferl and The Table Café in Southwark both hold the high accolade of being in our The Best Brunches In London guide and have reservations left, right, and centre. For less pancake action and more poached eggs featuring burrata and halloumi, book a table at Spitalfields’ Crispin, a small plates spot that looks like the world’s most sophisticated spaceship - you’ll see what we mean when you get there. Alternatively, if brunch is just your excuse to drink before 12pm, then book one of the elusive Saturday brunch tables at Costa Del Tottenham. It’ll set you back a cool and casual £60 for a table, but technically that’s only a tenner per person and includes a welcome drink and DJ performances. If you’ve forgotten what a DJ is, don’t panic. You’ll like it.
FOR A BANK HOLIDAY SUNDAY NIGHT SPECIAL
Ah, the rarest of gifts. A Sunday night sans the Sunday Scaries. Seeing as you might not have to be up bright and early on Monday morning thanks to the bank holiday, make a Sunday night reservation at one of these restaurants. First up is Clipstone, a fine dining restaurant in central that still manages to have that neighbourhood feel, and importantly, has some late-night Sunday tables going. If you really want to laugh in the face of Monday, opt for one of the available tables at Kensington Wine Rooms, Lady Of The Grapes, or Sager and Wilde, for that big Sunday night wine energy. Or, if you’re looking to keep things a little more casual so you can make the most of that OOO Monday, then grab some siu mai and crispy pork belly at feelgood dim sum spot My Neighbours The Dumplings in Clapton, or sashimi, fried shrimp, and coconut soft serve at Soho’s Inko Nito.