The inaugural London Restaurant Festival launched with a splash of red carpet glamour at the Vanity Fair opening party at Quaglino’s, an event that will doubtless become an annual glittering highlight. With the festival’s main events getting underway last week, the organisers have announced gratifying levels of interest from chefs, restaurateurs and the public.
Pre-event targets of signing up 500 restaurants were exceeded by more than 10% in the run-up to this week with a typically diverse range of more than 550 London establishments requesting involvement.
Meanwhile tickets for festival events have been selling even more quickly than anticipated. The excitement generated by the announcement that legendary French chef Pierre Koffmann was going to be cooking at the ‘Pierre Koffmann Restaurant on the Roof at Selfridges’ saw its run extended twice. Diners will now be enjoying some of the finest food in town on top of London’s most iconic department store until 31 October.
The pop-up restaurants on the London Eye sold out more than a week ago. This never-before extravaganza, which happily returns a revolving restaurant to London sees one capsule on the capital’s most popular paid-for tourist attraction transformed each evening into a dining room for ten. Seven different celebrated chefs will be cooking, including Richard Corrigan, Gordon Ramsay and Vineet Bhatia.
Just as much interest was seen for the Supersonic Masonic Supper Club, the event from the original pop-up restaurateurs Pablo Flack and David Waddington of Bistrotheque. For the festival they have teamed up with Andaz Hotel to create a 50-seat, three-night-only eatery in the hotel’s Grade I listed Masonic Temple. Tickets for this event sold out in a matter of days. Elsewhere 3300 bookings have been made via the website TopTable by diners wanting to try out festival menus across the capital, while only a few tickets remain for the other set-piece events that are promising to make the next six days among the most memorable ever seen on London’s eating scene.
The London Restaurant Festival was the inspiration of Fay Maschler, she said, “Restaurants have become a vital part of life, not just for nourishment but for socialising, inspiration, deal-doing and fun. London’s extraordinary breadth and depth of restaurants and our home grown and imported talent deserves to be recognised and celebrated in as entertaining and supportive way as possible. Other great cities have restaurant festivals. Now we do too.”
Sally Chatterjee of Visit London, one of the founding partners of the festival added: “The last 18 months have been challenging for the London restaurant sector. Our aim with the festival was to put them back in the spotlight, to remind people of the quality, value and diversity of the capital’s dining scene, and to encourage people to re-discover eating out in London. We’ve been delighted with just how much interest tourists and locals have shown in the festival, while for those who are yet to make a booking, time is running out so they should check out the London Restaurant Festival website today.”
For tickets and further information visit www.londonrestaurantfestival.com.