We’ve eaten lots of amazing things in unexpected places in 2020.
From our own kitchen - thanks to DIY Restaurant Meal Kits - to brilliant Park Bench Meals, this year has had some delicious silver linings. But there have also been the other moments. The ones that have seen us eating chunks of cheddar in bed. Or pretending to be a trucker with our steering wheel as a plate. So while we’re excited to regularly and safely eat in actual restaurants again, we also wanted to reflect on a year of awkward dining. Here’s the absolute worst places we ate at in 2020.
My Bath - “The bath? Yeah, the bath. Grow up. Hot pizza, cold pizza, toast, a bowl of puttanesca, dumplings, precisely four McNuggets and, once, an almond Magnum. Don’t look at me.” - Jake Missing
Shake Shack Covent Garden - “I’m down for outdoor dining. And I’m so down for burgers and cheesy fries. What I’m not down for is pigeons defecating on my hair.” - Rianne Shlebak
The Infectious Disease Ward of St George’s Hospital - “Thanks to a 4am picnic eating leftover rotisserie chicken in Green Park, and a tiny tick bastard, I managed to get Lyme Disease in the midst of a pandemic. This is something my friends, family, and anyone who has been on a fleeting date with me would describe as being ‘so Heidi’. Something else that is just so gloriously, fantastically me is eating a couple of those football-sized cookies right before you’re meant to have a glucose test. Love you NHS. Sorry, again. No really, sorry.” - Heidi Lauth Beasley
My Friend’s Stoop - “I’ve had a lot of stoop meals this year, and depending on a variety of factors, usually involving the weather, they’ve ranged from quite pleasant to absolutely awful. The worst was at some friends who’d just moved. Standing in the rain amongst the rubble of their half-demolished kitchen - which itself had been demolished overnight by a fox who’d also, thoughtfully, shat everywhere - was a fairly low-point in a year that had far too many to mention. Might have been the worst if it hadn’t been saved by a (quite excellent) fish finger hot dog.” - Oliver Feldman
Odeon Covent Garden - “Picture this: London, mid-summer, 28 degrees, a bag of cold cans, the park. Now, picture this: London, mid-summer, a shabby cinema, me, a char siu bun, Akira, and five other anaemic-looking men.” - JM
On An Elliptical In My Lounge - “It turns out you can do a lot on an elliptical. Listen to podcasts, close your eyes and pretend you’re in a club, eat leftover biang biang noodles. Sure, the indigestion makes you feel like there’s a mosh pit in your oesophagus, but wow, that eight minutes of mild physical activity sure did work off all that breakfast cheese. Feel free to get in touch if you’re looking for body goal tips.” - HLB
Slap Bang In The Middle Of The Fulham Road - “I’m usually pretty patient when it comes to finding a nice spot to eat my food. But on this occasion I couldn’t wait, so I ate a cupcake whilst standing in the centre of the pavement. I was annoying the people trying to walk past me, and I annoyed myself when my impulsiveness led to some crumbs ending up on the pavement instead of in my mouth. Not my proudest moment, but I’d probably do it again.” - RS
A Dark Corner of Haggerston Park - “I dunno about you, but I’ve started to become suspicious of everybody’s park walks sounding like an impromptu turn around the Garden of Eden. This is partly because I’m a cynic. But it’s also partly because I spent one lunchtime in July eating Dom’s Subs surrounded by fossilised dog shit and a roaming mischief of rats. Thankfully - I think that’s the right word - Oliver, editor and organised human, was on hand with a holy water-like bottle of Aesop sanitiser to shoo the little bastards away from our sandwiches.” - JM
Hyde Park - “Step foot in a park mid-bite and your cheese and onion pasty is immediately transformed from a modest snack to a tasteful on-the-go picnic in pleasant surroundings. Do the same thing in the pouring rain when your only protection from the weather is the little bag your pasty came in and the entire situation is pretty bleak”. - RS
The 4:12pm from St. Austell to London Paddington - “I have very few pieces of advice. And even fewer pieces of advice worth listening to. Here’s one though: never get on a five hour train, mid-pandemic, without water. Especially if the train has no catering. And especially if you’ve come straight from the kind of lunch that starts with martinis and ends with dessert wine. But most of all, don’t eat the two pasties (x1 beef and potato, x1 cheese and onion) in your bag. And yes, I know now that Cornish pasties are not a source of hydration”. - JM
My Bed ft. A Bunny Hiding House - “Let me set the scene. One True Craft pizza, one bed, one weepy staff writer, and a star print rabbit hiding house being used as a lap tray. I’m not finished. Add in a soundtrack of ‘On The Floor’ by J-Lo ft. Pitbull played through a phone speaker, because we all know that really hit the spot back in the Smirnoff days. Fun fact for any human behaviourists out there, you totally can sing ‘everybody knows I get off the chain’ whilst simultaneously ugly crying”. - HLB
The 106 Bus - “Okay I confess, I do not agree with this submission even though it’s my own. It’s just that a few people replied to one of my Instagram stories being all like “ugh, are you eating on the bus” and “Jake why are you eating mussels on the bus are you okay”. And sure, maybe eating a pot of ceviche and a deep-fried squid sandwich on the bus is a bit off. But you know what, it was from Bright, it was delicious, it was comfy, and there was a USB port in case I wanted to charge my phone. Suck on that, Musk.”. - JM