Opening nightmare: launching a restaurant into a world stricken by Covid and Brexit | Restaurants

Every morning last autumn, as he took the short walk from Farringdon station in central London to his new restaurant, Russell Norman came face to face with a ghost. The pandemic had hit the hospitality sector hard, and this stretch of takeaway outfits and dine-in burger chains was no exception. A Byron, a Coco di Mama, an Itsu – all long gone, doors locked, interiors dark. And then, just before the final right turn, the one that really hurt, the words on its signage removed but the outline unmistakable: Polpo.

The Venetian-inspired restaurant, which took its name from the Italian for “octopus”, had been a breakout success for Norman in the early 2010s. With its small plates, no-reservations policy and stripped-down interiors, the original Soho site had been credited with reinventing casual dining after the Great Recession. But then, like so many brands that emerged during the same period, it started to expand: taking on investors, extending tentacles across the UK, and then collapsing in instalments from 2016 onwards. Most of its sites were forced to close in the context of a broader casual dining crunch, as the cost of running a restaurant rose and the number of customers fell. These days, just two Polpos survive, in Soho and in Chelsea, west London, under the management of Norman’s former business partner Richard Beatty. Norman’s own departure from the project was finalised in June 2020.

Now, after a hiatus, he was back. For years, Norman had wanted to open an old-fashioned trattoria, replicating the homely, family run restaurants of Italy for a central London audience. A 2017 trip to Tuscany had brought his vision into sharper focus. Many of the region’s most celebrated dishes are rooted in the tradition of cucina povera (“poor cooking”), which makes resourceful use of pasta, beans, bread and offal. The food is nourishing and full of flavour, but beige and unphotogenic. In recognition of this, the restaurant would be called Brutto – or, in English, Ugly.

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Britain races to ebook vacations just after Covid testing relaxed | Journey & leisure

Vacation corporations and airways have reported surging bookings adhering to the rest of Covid testing needs for travellers returning to the British isles.

EasyJet explained there had been nearly a few occasions as many flights bought in the British isles in the several hours adhering to the key minister’s announcement on Wednesday than in the similar period the 7 days ahead of, although vacation agency TUI mentioned there had been “an speedy and solid uptick in bookings”.

British Airways Holiday seasons reported lookups for holidays on its web-sites elevated by just about 40% compared with the week right before.

From 4am on Friday, worldwide arrivals or holidaymakers returning to England will not require to create a unfavorable pre-departure test, nor self-isolate until they acquire a further destructive PCR check final result from the first two times on arrival.

The aviation and travel sector had long argued that the prevalence of the Omicron variant meant the steps had minimal community health gain but ended up triggering considerable problems to their corporations.

Alistair Rowland, chairman of travel association Abta and main government of extensive-haul tour operator Blue Bay Journey, stated the scrapping of the pre-departure take a look at and ditching post-arrival PCR assessments for lateral move checks was “a reduction for the travel business and excellent news for holidaymakers”.

He stated that the information had prompted his firm’s busiest day for web-site website traffic and booking inquiries in more than a year, “which is a little something we could not have imagined a thirty day period in the past, when these testing procedures came in and shopper self esteem plummeted”.

EasyJet claimed flights to Spanish places, specially the Canary Islands, had been most in demand from customers, led by Tenerife, Alicante, Málaga and Lanzarote, with bookings to Lanzarote up 427% 7 days on 7 days.

Tui also reported the Canary Islands, together with Mexico, have been looking at the biggest enhance in summer months vacation bookings so considerably.

EasyJet explained its purchaser surveys showed all around fifty percent of British individuals were being setting up to just take much more holiday

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