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Cheers! 300,000 al fresco bookings as Londoners scramble for tables after April 12

Jonathan PrynnConsumer Business Editor
07 April 2021

he restaurant and bar group behind some of London’s biggest al fresco venues has already taken bookings for more than 300,000 drinkers and diners in an “amazing” scramble for tables from April 12.

Ed Devenport, the chief executive of Incipio Group, which is reopening Lost in Brixton, Pergola Paddington, and The Prince in West Brompton on Monday, said demand had been overwhelming. 

He said: “We’ve been delighted with the response, it’s been amazing, I just can’t believe the level of bookings we have had, it’s really encouraging and way beyond what we expected.

“It just shows the level of pent-up demand for the eating-out experience, after a year people are fed up with restaurant meal kits at home.”

Demand has been so strong that the opening time at Lost in Brixton is being brought forward to noon on Mondays to Thursdays, having previously been 5pm. Weekend slots are already close to being booked out until September.

The sites will initially open at half capacity when outdoor dining and drinking returns on Monday under the roadmap out of lockdown as social distancing rules will remain in place.

Mr Devenport said demand for tables had been strong since booking lines reopened in February and is still accelerating.

The strong response has given the company confidence to press ahead with plans for a further round of venue launches. In June it will open its first permanent site, Pergola on the Wharf in Canary Wharf. It will have a heated terrace seating 200 and an overall capacity of 700.

Further planned openings include a new venue at the former Mahiki Kensington site in Kensington High Street and another at the Royal Exchange in the City.

Despite a “lost year” of lockdowns and trading restrictions, an encouraging pipeline of openings is building up for the coming months.

Chef Skye Gyngell today announced she is opening a shop version of Somerset House restaurant Spring on Ledbury Road in Notting Hill.

It will sell “biodynamic” produce from farms in Herefordshire and Hampshire as well as meals such as spring nettle tagliolini with wild garlic and walnut sauce, and poached chicken with sourdough dumplings and winter greens.

The former Petersham Nurseries chef said: “It is imperative to choose to embrace the values of organic, regenerative and community supported agriculture in order to nourish both families and the planet.”