In July, the chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled a plan to get restaurants, cafes and pubs buzzing again. In his mini budget, Sunak announced that customers could get 50 per cent off their bills, up to a total of £10 (not including alcohol) at participating establishments on Mondays to Wednesdays in August.
Measured in footfall, Eat Out To Help Out (EOTHO) appears to have been a success, with customers flocking to restaurants, whose owners have dubbed Monday to Wednesday the new weekend. 35 million meals were eaten in the first few weeks, and previously quiet towns are busy once more.
Kate Nicholls, the CEO of UKHospitality, thinks the scheme should be extended. There is a worry that footfall could tail off once the deal ends, while some pubs and restaurants are still closed and haven’t yet made the most of the scheme. “The benefit to consumers and the importance to businesses shows the need to continue it for another month,” said Nicholls.
Some restaurants report it may have been a little too successful (around 700 businesses have asked HMRC to be removed from the scheme, citing overcrowding and difficulties enforcing social distancing leading to stress and anxiety among staff).
Nevertheless, for others, it has proved a lifeline, and many have announced they will be extending the discount into September – by funding it themselves. These include the City Pub Group, which has 46 venues both in and out of London, the acclaimed tapas restaurant Brindisa, and pizza purveyor Homeslice.
All the restaurants below will be offering 50 per cent off up to £10 on food and non-alcoholic drinks from Monday to Wednesday, unless otherwise stated.
London restaurants extending their Eat Out To Help Out offer into September
Sticky Mango, Waterloo
This popular Waterloo restaurant, which takes inspiration from Indonesian, Thai, Malaysian and Vietnamese cuisines, is located in an area that relies on offices, theatres and concert halls being open, and tourists flocking in. Business has been greatly affected by reduced footfall; without the EOTHO scheme, according to management, it would have been even worse.
“It’s been made clear to us by the public that confidence is growing to come back out to restaurants, especially for a deal,” says chef-owner Peter Lloyd. “We need to keep the momentum going for another month to entice people to make the effort to come out to our area.”
33 Coin Street, London SE1 9NR; 02079284554; stickymango.co.uk
Paladar, Elephant & Castle
Paladar specialises in Latin American fare – think tuna tostadas, pork belly tacos, chicken empanadas – and has been named one of the best outdoor dining spaces in London (ideal for the current climate). Its EOTHO offer will be extended on the main menu; the set menu is excluded, though its price is being reduced to £15 for two courses, and £19 for three.
4-5 London Road, London SE1 6JZ; 02071865555; paladarlondon.com
Sam’s Riverside, Hammersmith
A favourite of Telegraph restaurant critic William Sitwell, Sam’s Riverside is located in a picturesque spot by the Thames, complete with outdoor seating to enjoy the last of the summer sun. The menu includes plenty of seafood, including oysters, crevettes with mayonnaise and grilled native lobster. “We are worried that we might fall off a cliff without it,” says owner Sam Harrison, of his decision to extend the deal into September.
1 Crisp Road, Hammersmith, London W6 9DN; 02082371020; samsriverside.co.uk
The Gilbert Scott, King’s Cross
Set in the iconic St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, The Gilbert Scott, run by Marcus Wareing, focuses on the concept of an “English Feasting Hall”, so expect lots of British produce and elegant versions of British classics for a white tablecloth dinner in a socially distanced setting.
St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, Euston Road, London NW1 2AR; 02072783888; thegilbertscott.com
Lady of the Grapes, Covent Garden
A wine bar, restaurant and shop that centres on organic, biodynamic and natural wines, with a focus on female winemakers. The food menu centres on small plates with plenty of excellent snacking-with-wine potential, such as cheese and charcuterie boards. Lady of the Grapes is running the offer during September, and plans to do so in October too, though only for lunch.
“This scheme has attracted more customers at the beginning of the week and we want them to enjoy ordering our delicious food to go along with our great selection of wine,” says owner Carole Bryon. “We also need to give a reason to people to come to the West End when all the theatres remain closed.”
16 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, London WC2E 7NJ; 02078364152; ladyofthegrapes.com
Gaucho, various locations
The classic Argentinian steakhouse, which has several branches across London and beyond, is extending the scheme throughout September on all a la carte dining. The company estimates that, by the end of August, 40,000 customers will have benefited from its £10 discount, and it hopes to see many more through the door in September.
“Now it’s our turn to give back, both by rewarding previous guests’ loyalty and thanking new diners who are experiencing Gaucho for the first time,” says CEO Martin William.
Several locations; gauchorestaurants.com
By Chloe, various locations
With five London venues, By Chloe is rapidly becoming one of the most successful all-vegan eating spots in the capital. It caters to both the health-conscious plant-based crowd (salads), and the fast-food seekers (burgers).
“Following a hugely successful campaign in August, we’d like to offer even more people the chance to try plant-based food,” says restaurateur Loui Blake. “At a time when sustainability and health is so high on the national agenda, it’s important we’re able to champion these foods.”
Several locations; eatbychloe.com
Homeslice, various locations
With four open locations (Shoreditch, City, White City and Marylebone), Homeslice, which is famous for its 20-inch pizzas, is one of London’s best-loved pizzerias. The pizzas, which can serve up to three people, are effectively half price, so September is a good time to try them.
“We want to thank customers for their enormous support in helping us reopen,” say co-founders Mark and Alan Wogan. “It has been great to welcome both new and regular diners back into the restaurants – it’s a scheme that clearly works for everyone, both for the customers as well as the industry, so we’ve decided to carry it on.”
Several locations; homeslicepizza.co.uk
Hicce, King’s Cross
Set in the Coal Drops Yard development by King’s Cross, Hicce has quickly risen to becoming one of the area’s best restaurants. For Tuesday and Wednesday dinners, and Thursday and Friday lunches, guests will receive a £10 discount per person at the modern British, woodfire-focused restaurant – though it only covers bookings who have quoted #eatoutout.
“The government’s scheme has been an amazing lifeline for hicce and our industry,” says director Gordon McIntyre. “The general feel-good factor that it generated was much needed at this time for everyone, so we though we’d keep the positivity going.”
Unit 102, Stable Street, London N1C 4DQ; 02038698200; hicce.co.uk
Kricket, various locations
This Indian-inspired restaurant group, with branches in Soho, Brixton and White City, has gone down a different route for its EOTHO extension. Fans of its classics, such as Keralan fried chicken or bhel puri, can get a half-price meal any Monday for the rest of the year.
“After the success of Eat Out To Help Out, and with a continued desire to encourage people to eat out, we’ve decided to make Mondays half price for the rest of the year,” says co-founder Rik Campbell. “That’s 50 per cent off food and soft drinks, unlimited, at every Kricket, every Monday, for the rest of the year.”
Several locations; kricket.co.uk
Delhi Grill, Islington
This Punjabi restaurant, an Islington favourite, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this September, so is going one step further throughout the month, by offering 50 per cent off up to £10 every day. What better time to experience its wonderful grills from the tandoor.
21 Chapel Market, London N1 9EZ; 02072788100; delhigrill.com
“We’re delighted to see the positive impact EOTHO has had so far,” says Sameer Taneja, executive chef at Benares, an Indian restaurant in Mayfair. “Both lunch and dinner reservations have surged on the days the offer is available. This has allowed us to increase staff working hours and bring back more of the team from furlough.”
The dinner, available for both a la carte and the tasting menu, functions in the same way, though runs from Tuesday to Thursday.
12a Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London W1J 6BS; 02076298886; benaresrestaurant.com
Brindisa, various locations
Now with five sites, Brindisa is one of the UK’s foremost tapas restaurants. The perennially busy restaurants are continuing their participation in the scheme throughout September, stretching from Mondays to Thursdays. To make the most of the discount, diners must quote ‘Comemos’ (Spanish for ‘we eat’) when booking.
Several locations; brindisakitchens.com
Aqua Restaurant Group, various locations
Aqua Shard (British cuisine), Hutong (Chinese) and Aqua Kyoto (Japanese) will all be extending the offer in September, after August saw footfall double on July. “It’s a crucial time for restaurants right now as we all rally to survive, so we’re delighted to extend this offer with our compliments to keep London eating out,” said a spokesperson.
Emilia’s Crafted Pasta, Aldgate
This fresh pasta restaurant is offering 50 per cent off up to £10, though only on pasta, throughout September. “EOTHO was a brilliant scheme to get the ball rolling again for the hospitality industry,” says owner Andrew Macleod. “August was the first stepping stone to securing the future of the restaurant industry. The next is that offices are scheduled to start coming back around September and we feel it’s now our turn to give back to our guests.”
77 Alie St, Whitechapel, London E1 8NH; 02077029944; emiliaspasta.com
Barboun, an “Eastern Mediterranean” restaurant in east London, didn’t reap the rewards of EOTHO, because it remained shut until August 21. It has now reopened, and, while it’s had a week on the scheme, it has decided to extend the deal throughout September.
All diners who book using the code WELCOMEBACK can receive the discount on the a la carte menu, which features the likes of beef manti with oak smoked paprika sauce, or aubergine dolma with sour cherry and bulgur, or weekend brunch menu from Wednesday to Sunday.
61-67 Great Eastern Street, London EC2A 3HU; 02039953622; barboun.com
Mama Shelter London, Hackney
The scheme will continue to run at Hackney Road’s Mama Shelter throughout September. The breakfast, lunch and dinner spot has seen guests flock back since EOTHO was introduced, and hopes that will continue into the autumn.
437 Hackney Road, London E2 8PP; 02076136500; mamashelter.com
Ibérica, various locations
The popular tapas chain, with branches in Victoria, Marylebone, Canary Wharf, Farringdon (and several outside London), is running the scheme throughout September, provided guests book directly through them. Make sure to try the famous croquettes.
Several locations; 02030265118; ibericarestaurants.com
Bala Baya, Southwark
The Tel Aviv-inspired restaurant and cocktail bar in south London is offering the discount throughout the month, so head there for pits, dips, and a wide selection of Middle Eastern small plates.
Arch 25, Old Union Yard Arches, 229 Union Street, London SE1 0LR; 02080017015; balabaya.co.uk
El Pirata, Mayfair
El Pirata, a Spanish restaurant and tapas bar, is offering the 50 per cent (up to £10) discount, as well as a saving on the Introduction to Tapas sharing menu (with 10 dishes, including cured meats, prawns pil-pil and chorizo al vino), now priced at £14.50 per person on Tuesdays to Fridays between 12pm and 5pm.
5-6 Down Street, Mayfair, London W1J 7AQ; 02074913810; elpirata.co.uk
Boxpark, various locations
Across its three locations (Shoreditch, Croydon, Wembley), Boxpark, which features several dining options, is funding its own discount in September. Participating traders will be offering 20 per cent off meals, up to £10, on dine in between Monday and Wednesday. If you get a Boxpark black card, the discount extends from Thursdays to Sundays. Participating restaurants include souvlaki spot The Athenian, Big Mike’s Calypso Kitchen, and Thai Express.
Farzi Cafe, Piccadilly
Farzi Cafe, with its playful twists on Indian and British classics, is extending the deal in its current guise, though only until September 12 (but every day of the week). During the week it’s all day, while on Saturdays it’s only for lunch (and not on Sundays).
8 Haymarket, West End, London SW1Y 4BP; 02039810090; farzilondon.com
Pizarro, various locations
All three London locations of José Pizarro’s venerated tapas spots, in Bermondsey and Broadgate Circle, (and his Surrey pub The Swan Inn), are gearing up for £10 discounts throughout September. Not one to be missed.