Take advantage of the August lull to get a table at London's most popular restaurants
August is the month in which tables at some of London's smartest restaurants can be had. We offer our best tips on where and how to do so
Look on the bright side. Us remainiacs, as we must never be called, at least have the city to ourselves for a few weeks, bar a few hundred thousand enthusiastic tourists. They can busy themselves visiting a range of places to eat, from the salubrious likes of The Ivy to the less-honoured Angus Steak Houses, but where should the rest of us take advantage of the comparative lull in footfall to attempt to bag a table?
First things first. A poor and overpriced restaurant is still a dismal experience whether it’s possible to get a table there or not. Naming no names, but some of 2016’s most hyped openings are likely to be even more disappointing without even the novelty factor of a Middleton or Beckham on a nearby table to observe. Secondly, there will be some places that are still insanely busy, August or not.
Good luck with getting a table at The Fat Duck, and the best tables at the River Café are already reserved as we speak. The last time we checked, too, the queues at Hoppers, Bao and The Barbary are still lengthy; the only difference is that you might only have to wait 30 minutes for a table, rather than 60.
So what is going to be your best bet? There is a formula to this which we’re going to share, but don’t tell everyone as otherwise we’ll never get a table, ever. The places to head towards are those that have been on people’s radar for a while, and have received some spectacularly glowing reviews, but are crowded night after night with a mixture of local residents, bloggers, food tourists and lucky passers-by.
Most of these people will have decamped for the next few weeks (we can’t speak for the bloggers, who have an uncanny knack of popping up when least expected to battle you for the perfect corner table), so you have a chance of getting in at short notice one evening, especially if it's a pop-up or special event. We can offer you a few recommendations – places that we loved, and little spots that have been full since they opened but now, finally, have a little more space for those of us who don’t plan our visits with military precision.
Best of luck. We’ll see you there, hopefully.