It sounds stupid. It sounds illogical. But, sometimes, you go out for a meal and, well, you’re already full. Maybe it was because of that pesky jar of chocolate digestives at work. The ones that taunt you. Call you. And eventually beat you. Or maybe it was because you had a late breakfast. And by late we mean 4pm. And by breakfast we mean a fry up. Whatever it is, sometimes you find yourself in a situation where another meal could tip you over the edge. Fear not, because there are a load of restaurants that actually suit this. Where you can comfortably drink and nibble, if need be, without getting any funny looks.
Seeing your grandparents is lovely. It’s great. But has anyone ever wanted a four pack of jam doughnuts for dessert after a bowl of spag bol with an entire garlic bread baguette? Also, has anyone ever said no? Your Saturday night dinner plans might be as limited as your stomach capacity, but they’re not ruined. P. Franco has got you covered. This Clapton wine bar is good for an evening out, and great if you don’t want to eat too much. There are loads of picky things - from charcuterie to pasta - and a distinctly no-pressure-to-eat environment.
Cheese is always your downfall. So peckable. So easy to take a sliver from. A sliver that turns into a wedge that turns into an entire block of extra mature cheddar whilst you’re getting ready to go out for a meal. Nice one. Salon is probably the next logical move. This Brixton wine bar and restaurant is an excellent place for when you’re already full. Give the umpteen course tasting menu on offer upstairs a miss, and keep to the downstairs bar with some small plates and a glass (or two) of wine.
Some absolute bloody legend is leaving the office and you couldn’t give a flying fart. Thankfully, after the excessive buffet lunch, and pre-dinner drinks and nibbles, you’ve organised to go to Brigadiers. Whilst some of the others crack into the best lamb chops around, and a bit of bone marrow biryani, you and a splinter group can get acquainted with the pool table, and the on-tap espresso martinis. Goodbye whatsyourname.
You arrived half an hour early because you’re starving, and nursing a ‘feed me’ hangover. So it’s a good thing there’s a chippy across the road. One small bag of chips later, you’re ready for bed again, but actually you’re going for lunch. Good thing it’s at Jolene. This all-day cafe is the kind of place you can get very comfortable in, and make yourself at home. There are a load of little things - eggs, soups, and whatnot - if you decide to get involved again. Or you can just sit back and digest those chips.
You had dinner plans for after the movie, but that extra-large popcorn was never going to eat itself. Now the thought of anything too solid and substantial is bringing you out in a cold sweat. Before you cancel those plans altogether, consider switching the destination to The Blue Posts in Soho. It’s a small, smart pub, and while your dinner companion delves into a spread of properly good bar snacks and small plates, you can have a beer, and graze on a plate of padron peppers.
You’re on your way home. Technically you’re not hungry. But technically you will be at some point again. And technically that’s good forward planning. So, really, heading to Mr. Bao for a little mushroom bao top up is the right thing to do. Because, first, it’s delicious. And, secondly, it means you can head straight for the duvet as soon as you’re home. Technically, you’re a genius.
You’re one dinner and one lunch into your birthday. You’ve got one more to go (for now) but you’ve already had around 10 courses in about 12 hours. You’re really not hungry, but you’ve arranged a birthday night out with some friends. What you wanna do is swap any more food for wine. Exclusively wine. Absolutely nothing but wine. And maybe some bread. Because that bread is so good. And a bit of ham. Because ham doesn’t count. And that’s why you’re in Noble Rot.
You’ve inexplicably found yourself holding and eating a Greggs sausage roll with absolutely no recollection of how this happened. So be it. Change the dinner plan to a ‘you know, small plates and a few glasses’ plan and head to Linden Stores in Highbury. There’s a load of nice little things, with a bourbon biscuit-style dessert being particularly lovely. Which is good seeing as you’ve had your main and all.
Nothing beats a good work lunch that ends at 5pm does it? The food. The laughs. The feeling of being unable to escape. Can’t wait for that dinner in an hour, can you? Rovi is the best place for it. It’s Ottolenghi’s vegetable bonanza, and it’s the kind of restaurant you can dip in and out of without any judgement. Herb tempura is an excellent drinking accompaniment, while predominantly vegetable mains don’t make you feel like a dead weight.
The crying into your pillow stage of your breakup is over. Now you’ve moved onto serial dating. But four dates in one day was probably a bit much. The dog walk thing was a push. Hopefully that dog finds its way home. Anyway, head to Bright for the last hurrah, and put that brunch and pre-dinner dinner to the back of your mind. Load up on wine, lovely little katsu sandos, and the knowledge that you will never, ever try to do this again.