How many of you have a countdown set for March 8 (from which time, with luck, we can meet a friend for a one-on-one picnic on a park bench), for March 29 (the earliest point from which six people from six different households can meet outside, hoorah!), or for April 12 – when the prospect of a pub garden lunch or al fresco restaurant trip becomes ever more real?
The personal roadmaps of our favourite chefs and food writers for post lockdown are no less detailed – they’re plotting Paris trips for slap-up meals at Michelin-starred restaurants, craving champagne and oysters by the sea with friends, and looking forward to cocktails, Chinese feasts, and tea at Claridge’s as soon as they can.
What will you be eating and drinking as soon as you can get back to your favourite haunt? Tell us in the comments below.
William Sitwell, Telegraph restaurant critic
“I’d like breakfast at The Wolseley with Stephen Bayley (I can’t wait for the privilege of someone bringing me coffee), drinks before lunch at White’s club on St James (some much-missed banter), lunch at Umu (an exceptional Japanese restaurant with a mad, long sake list) with food writer Joe Warwick, tea at Claridge’s with my teenage kids, a cocktail before dinner at The House of Heydari with Farhad Heydari and a rowdy gaggle of PR friends, then dinner at Quo Vadis with my wife and everyone I’ve ever met and loved. That’s not much to ask, is it?”
Michel Roux Jr, chef patron of Le Gavroche, London
“Oh, I’ll be eating out as soon as I can! I’ve missed the buzz, the atmosphere of it all so much the past year – it’s like nothing else. My hit list is long, but at the top is my daughter’s restaurant, Caractère, in Notting Hill. I am a huge fan, and I’m not just saying that because it’s my daughter, I’m saying it because I genuinely believe what she and her husband, Diego, are doing, is fantastic. And I’ll be seeking out Chinese food, because I don’t cook it at home. I can’t wait to go to A Wong. At Catactere, I’ll be getting a starter of sweetbreads; they cook that dish so well. And at A Wong? I will be getting absolutely every dim sum on the menu – and chef Andrew has a lot. I’ll be ordering one of each, maybe even two!”
Angela Hartnett, Telegraph columnist and owner of Murano, London
“I normally go to Dartmouth about five times a year and have missed it so much, so I can’t wait to go to visit Mitch Tonks and many of our friends. We’ll drink rosé over the river Dart and each fish.”
Jack Stein, chef director of Rick Stein Restaurants
“I have quite literally been dreaming about a certain dish at a certain London haunt, so first port of call is to scratch that itch – I’ll be heading to St. John for the roast bone marrow and parsley salad. I’ll drink a negroni too, and then we’ll think about what to order next. Oh, and I’d give my right arm to go to Lord’s for the first day of the England vs India test match….”
Sat Bains, chef owner of Restaurant Sat Bains, Nottingham
“I’ve got it all planned out: I’ll be hopping on the Eurostar as soon as I can, and going for a slap-up meal at L’Ambroisie in Paris. It’s a three-michelin star restaurant, one of the best in the world. Claude Bosi and I usually go there two or three times a year. It’s phenomenal, and the beauty of it is you can do it all in a day!
I get up at 5:30am, get a 6:30am train to St Pancras and onto the Eurostar at 8:20am. We’re in Paris, lunch is at about 12:30pm, back on the train at 5:30pm and home by 9:30pm. It’s incredible. The restaurant is old-school, a real classic Michelin-star joint. It’s very romantic, beautiful decor and exactly the kind of escapism I’ve been craving.”
José Pizarro, owner of José and Pizarro in London, and The Swan Inn, Esher
“I can’t wait to go out and talk to people when this is all over. My local Chinese restaurant will be one of the first places that sees me! I also can’t wait to have a glass of fino sherry and a plate of jamón at my tapas bar while talking to guests again, and watching people pass by on the street. I’ve missed the hustle and bustle of it all.”
Stephen Harris, Telegraph columnist and owner of The Sportsman, Seasalter
“I am craving the chance to sit at the bar at Noble Rot, drinking whatever the owners Dan or Mark suggest (I’m hoping it will be a grower champagne by Jerome Prevost or Ulysse Collin) with a plate of pasta negra.”
Skye McApline, food writer and author
“The first thing I want to do once we’re back to normal is have a big party at home: lots and lots of friends (who I’ve missed so much!) squashed round the table in our kitchen. I’m going to make lots of lovely fresh summery salads to share, a couple of nice tomato and cheese tarts, and my favourite chicken salad (with rocket and dates and spiced honey dressing) – all served in big bowls so we can tuck in and share (!). And for pudding, a triple flourless chocolate cake with mascarpone buttercream icing. I’m also going to go straight to Violet bakery in Hackney and have one of their American biscuit sandwiches with bacon and fried egg for breakfast.”
A meal with everyone round the table is what food writer Skye McAlpine most craves
James Cochran, chef owner of 12:51, London
“The end of lockdown can’t come soon enough! I can’t wait to head out to my favourite restaurants again, and my first port of call is definitely going to be Frog by Adam Handling in Covent Garden. His lobster wagyu (lobster claw drenched in wagyu fat), is truly immense.”
Michael Caines, chef patron at Lympstone Manor, Exmouth, and the Michael Caines Collection
“Once this is all over, I’ll be having champagne and Porthilly oysters on the Exmouth shoreside at Mickeys seafront restaurant and bar. I can’t wait for the overwhelming sense of freedom, relief and of course joy when we’re able to get together with family and friends. “
Tom Brown, chef-owner of Cornerstone, London
“The first thing I’m going to do is take the wife out for a slap-up meal at Top Cuvée in Highbury. Their wines have kept me going all through lockdown and I’m dying to sit in and have a large glass of pet nat (natural sparkling wine) and a big plate of whatever’s on the menu. As long as I’ve not cooked it, I’ll be happy!”