London Restaurant Festival to launch in October in support of UK hospitality
In a show of support for the restaurant industry, London Restaurant Festival (LRF) in partnership with American Express is set to return for the 12th year this October with a line-up of 60 exclusive culinary events where guests can choose between In-Restaurant or At-Home options. There will be the customary chef-hosted experiences alongside several new series including Reunion Dinners in private dining rooms and a comprehensive programme of At-Home digital dining initatives where leading chefs join guests live.
Restaurants are currently being signed up, with many of the capital’s leading chefs and restaurants already committed including Michel Roux Jr at Le Gavroche, Adam Handling at Adam Handling Chelsea, Ollie Dabbous at Hide, Jackson Boxer at Orasay, Mark Dobbie at Som Saa, Claude Bosi at Bibendum, Vivek Singh at The Cinnamon Club, Anna Haugh at Myrtle and Atul Kotchar at Kanishka.
Simon Davis, who founded the festival with Fay Maschler in 2009, said: “LRF was established to celebrate and reflect the phenomenally vibrant London restaurant scene through exclusive experiences that inspire people to visit as many restaurants as possible throughout October. Our irrepressible restaurant scene has been forced to adapt in 2020, as have we, but we must still celebrate it if we can. It needs all the support it can get. LRF will bring together the capital’s leading chefs and restaurants in a month of small-scale, socially-distanced events and experiences.”
For the first time, LRF’s At-Home initiative will bring the festival’s bespoke feel to those who prefer to, or must, remain at home. There will be exclusive LRF Feasts At-Home from twenty of London’s leading restaurants, which will include messages from the chefs. These will be delivered exclusively by Supper, who work with London’s leading restaurants including Sexy Fish, Gymkhana, The Ninth, Roka, Hide, Arras QD, Chotto Matte and Aquavit. There will also be five additional menus where leading chefs will join guests live for dinner and answer questions.
“Restaurant deliveries have obviously grown in popularity,” said Festival director Chris Wright. “With LRF At-Home we intend to take the ‘restaurant-at-home’ experience to the next level.” LRF are intent on ensuring those at home don’t miss out on the festival experience, an interactive pack will be included with the chefs’ inspiration behind the menu and a sneak peek into the restaurant kitchen.
Tasting Menus, LRF’s most popular series, will provide ticketholders with a taste of some of London’s most exciting restaurants and chefs, featuring Michelin-starred restaurants including Sabor, Aquavit, Barrafina and new restaurants such as The Melusine. There will be approximately twenty taking place In-Restaurant.
LRF’s celebrated Gourmet Odysseys will be adapted this year in a series called Reunions in Private Dining Rooms. The format consists of an exclusive six-course lunch with starters in one restaurant, mains in a second and desserts in a third, and will be hosted by three of the capital’s most sought-after private dining rooms. This is perfect for family or friends longing for a reunion or to celebrate a special occasion that was cancelled during lockdown.
For this year’s Ultimate Gastronomic Weekends, guests can enjoy luxurious stays at some of London’s leading hotels including newly-opened Great Scotland Yard. Each hotel will play host to a packed weekend of specially curated, socially-distanced, chef-led events and dining experiences – including lunches hosted by Michel Roux Jr at Le Gavroche and Giorgio Locatelli at Locanda Locatelli.
LRF continues its successful partnership with OpenTable to offer Festival Menus as part of the month-long celebration. OpenTable and LRF will handpick 250 of London’s top restaurants to offer guests access to special menus throughout the month of October.
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Photos: Filippo L’Astorina