The likes of Gordon Ramsay and Anthony Worrall-Thompson may be suffering in this economic climate, but what about other restaurants? In some places in London you would be hard pressed to find any evidence of a downturn. Most of Carluccios’ branches are heaving with people, and the company still slowly and steadily opening new branches and improving profits. The previous owners of Strada are expanding a small chain of no-frills bistros, called Cote, with emphasis on good simple French cooking. So, all is not gloom. As usual in a recession the best survive, and the mediocre offerings fall away. All good stuff really.
The fact is, that people still want to eat out and have some fun, but they don’t want to spend £50 or more per head doing it. It’s no coincidence that Pret a Manger was launched in the recession right at the beginning of the 1990s, and Alan Yau’s Wagamama in 1992, to satisfy the same need then. And, now of course Alan Yau has done it again with Princi in Wardour St, the stylish Italian bakery/cafe of the moment (of which more soon).