How opportunists are snapping up normally hard-to-get tables

Make for the Michelin stars! Hard-to-get tables at the UK’s best restaurants are now VERY easy to reserve as Covid-19 fears keep the masses away (although Heston’s Fat Duck is still fully booked)

  • Hospitality industry has taken a huge hit since lockdown closed restaurants 
  • News that face masks are to be made compulsory in shops isn’t likely to reassure diners – despite pubs and restaurants not making face coverings mandatory 
  • FEMAIL researched how easy it currently is to get a table at two and three Michelin-star restaurants in the UK – and found it surprisingly easy 

The hospitality industry has been served a bitter pill by the coronavirus pandemic with even the nation’s biggest-name chefs wondering whether they’ll survive a summer where staying in is the new going out. 

However, there is a silver lining for those who are keen to eat out in style again – it’s never been easier to book a table. 

FEMAIL searched for reservations in the next few weeks at some of the country’s most famous restaurants – including Michel Roux Jr’s Le Gavroche in Mayfair, Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons in Oxfordshire and Mana, Manchester’s only Michelin-starred restaurant – and found tables surprisingly easy to come by. 

Last week, TV chef Tom Kerridge, who owns the two Michelin-star Hand and Flowers in Marlow, berated 27 diners who didn’t turn up after booking tables at his Kerridge’s Bar & Grill in central London, saying their behaviour was ‘disgraceful, shortsighted and down right unhelpful’ to an industry ‘on the verge of collapse’. 

But if you’re keen to enjoy a Michelin-star meal at a restaurant you never had a hope of getting a reservation at before, now is the time to take advantage. 

Even better, almost all of the restaurants are strictly adhering to social distancing – with screens and visors in place in many of them – ensuring you’re likely to feel entirely safe while enjoying your lobster a la carte.

Here, we list some of the most lusted after restaurants in the UK and find out just how easy it is to get a table at them.  

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No plans this weekend? There’s availability at newly re-opened Le Gavroche in London’s swanky Mayfair

LE GAVROCHE, MAYFAIR

Michel Roux Junior’s exclusive London establishment remains one of the capital’s most sought after dining spots. Famous dishes include the Soufflé Suissesse. Re-opened on July 7th.

Michelin stars: two  

Earliest table available: 16th July for an early dinner   

RESTAURANT GORDON RAMSAY, CHELSEA    

Gordon Ramsay was back at his flagship Chelsea restaurant as early as the 4th July prepping his three Michelin-star eatery for returning customers. 

Earliest table available: 17th July for lunch  

PETRUS, BELGRAVIA 

And across town at long-standing London favourite Petrus, also owned by Ramsay, service is back on. 

Michelin stars: one   

Earliest table available: 17th July for an early dinner   

Petrus, owned by Gordon Ramsay, has plenty of lunch and dinner slots in the coming weeks according to its online booking facility

TOM KERRIDGE’S THE HAND AND FLOWERS, MARLOW

Kerridge opened Kerridge’s Bar and Grill two years ago in the Corinthia Hotel just off London’s Trafalgar Square but it is gourmet pub fare at The Hand and Flowers in Marlow that continues to prove his most popular restaurant. 

Michelin stars: Two

Earliest table available: July 20th – for both lunch and dinner

SKETCH, MAYFAIR 

The bar may have been a C-list celebrity haunt in the 90s but Sketch’s restaurant has real chops – in the shape of three Michelin stars above its door – these days when it comes to cooking.  

Michelin stars: three 

Earliest table available: July 24th – good selection of dinner reservations available 

A serving of colourful decor with your salmon, madame? Inside Sketch’s lavishly decorated bar area 

DINNER BY HESTON BLUMENTHAL, KNIGHTSBRIDGE

Famous for its Meat Fruit dish, a pate that looks like an orange, Dinner by Heston, in the heart of Knightsbridge hasn’t officially named its re-opening day…but you can make bookings from August 1st according to the website.  

Michelin stars: two     

Earliest table available: August 1st – range of times available for evening dining

THE FAT DUCK, BRAY 

Heston’s baby, an hour west of London in Bray, continues to be one of the hottest tickets in town, with zero chance of a table this side of autumn it seems.  

Michelin stars:  three

Earliest table available: No reservations currently available  

ALAIN DUCASSE AT THE DORCHESTER, LONDON 

Legendary chef Alain Ducasse is playing it safe when it comes to re-opening with September looking the likely month service will re-commence.  

Michelin stars: three

Earliest table available: Restaurant re-opens in September 

ANDREW FAIRLIE, GLENEAGLES, SCOTLAND 

There’s only one two Michelin-starred restaurant north of the border and Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles, the enduring swish golf resort, is the man at the helm.  

Michelin stars: two

Earliest table available: August 26th, range of dinner reservations available  


Scotland’s only two Michelin star restaurant, Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles, is booked up until the end of August

LE MANOIR AUX QUAT’SAISONS, OXFORDSHIRE  

Call for cancellations at Raymond Blanc’s Oxfordshire pile, or get to the back of the queue and make a booking for September.  

Michelin stars: two 

Earliest table available: September 2nd, range of times available across the day     

Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons remains ever popular, with September the earliest booking FEMAIL could find for dinner

MANA, MANCHESTER 

Mancunians haven’t given up on the best restaurant in town, with Mana, which has the city’s only Michelin star, fully booked unti 

Michelin stars: one 

Earliest table available: Waiting list available now, or October 8th for secured bookings      

Manchester’s only Michelin-starred restaurant is enjoying being the hottest place to eat in the northern city, with waiting list places only available until October

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