On the 17th May we were finally allowed to dine-in in British pubs and restaurants. No more hunkering under heaters or shielding our plates from hail stones – Hurrah! As foodies through-and-through the bean team were delighted to be able to finally eat inside and enjoy some old favourites and even try some new experiences.

Here’s where the bean team have been, or are planning on visiting for their first meal back in from the cold…

Enjoyed their first meal inside at…

Clare

Where? Fire Stables

Location: Wimbledon

Why? Just wanted a nice pub for drinks and dinner (in a central location for all of us)

Who with? Friends

What you enjoyed/missed the most: It was so nice not to have to wear a big coat / hat / scarf to stay warm! There was such also such a lovely buzz in the pub – it was clear that everyone, customers and staff – were really happy to be back.

Courtney

Where?  The Giggling Squid

Location: Clifton, Bristol

Why? I really fancied Thai food – It’s not something I would usually order for takeaway and would very seldom make for myself at home

Who with? I was with my old flatmate from uni and his fiancé

What you enjoyed/missed the most: I really missed the atmosphere and the buzz of people around, it was so nice to be served by staff who seemed like they were also really glad to be back, that kind of attitude adds so much to the experience. Most of all I enjoyed the fact that I could take my coat off and we didn’t need to worry about menus flying away! But also, it was such a relief to finally feel like we could plan a weekend that was normal again. I hadn’t been down to Bristol in such a long time due to the restrictions, so it felt like a weight off our shoulders to plan an overnight stay and book lunch.

Emma

Where? Charlie Brown’s Diner

Location: Eastbourne

Why? We have been going here for years as it has been a tradition to go on my birthday most years. As we missed going out on my birthday this year due to lockdown, it was a very belated birthday treat.

Who with? My family for the first meal out together this year.

What you enjoyed/missed the most: The best burgers as they should be – without fuss or fanciness. Also not having to do the washing up!

Jess S

Where? The Ivy Café

Location: Richmond

Why? We felt we deserved to treat ourselves. We’ve missed the sophistication of dressing up and going out for a meal with top service.

Who with? My boyfriend, James (who’s had to endure my home cooking for far too long!)

What you enjoyed/missed the most: The excitement of getting ready at home, travelling there and walking into a beautiful restaurant filled with equally excited people!

Luca

Where?  Piazza Firenze

Location: Leatherhead

Why? It’s local, they know us in there and look after us.

Who with? My family, it was a celebration for my sister’s birthday

What you enjoyed/missed the most: The buzz, atmosphere, enjoying a meal together and no one has to cook, just the overall social aspect of it all.

Mary

Where? Honey & Smoke

Location: Fitzrovia

Why? I love Honey & Co and have wanted to go to their grill house counterpart since before the pandemic. I also wanted to make my first venture back to a restaurant a bit of a special occasion so I chose a spot I knew would tick all the boxes.

Who with? My fella

What you enjoyed/missed the most: Insanely good food in the comfort and warmth of inside a restaurant! The atmosphere was so positive and lively – everyone was in very high spirits.

Megan

Where? Scarlett Green

Location: Soho

Why? Bottomless dinner (Porn Star Martini’s on tap and unlimited prosecco for two hours….)

Who with? Girlfriends!

What you enjoyed/missed the most: Food was amazing (meat platter) – nice to have a girls’ night again.

Sooz

Where? The Ivy Brasserie

Location: Cobham, Surrey

Why? They do a lovely brunch and it’s beautifully designed.

With Who? My other half

What you enjoyed/missed the most: Managing to get to eat inside! If you ignored the masks and hand sanitisers it was just like normal. As for the food. The truffle arancini may not be very brunchy, but it was amazing and the eggs Benedict did not disappoint!

Sue

Where? The Withies Inn

Location: Compton, Surrey

Why? It was my Dad’s 90th birthday & my sister Kath’s birthday as well. It’s really popular locally for its food – so we all went for lunch to celebrate.

Who with? Family

What you enjoyed/missed the most? Having a lovely time with my family.

Have booked to visit…

Andy

Where? The Pig and Pallet

Location: Topsham, Devon

Why? Amazing barbecue, incredible loaded fries, brilliant local ales, peerless selection of bourbons, great playlist and super friendly staff

Who with? Sooz and Whisky the dog

Most looking forward to: Pulled pork and pickleback shots (1 shot of pickle juice, 1 shot of bourbon, 1 x frazzle)

Cass

Where? Buenos Aires

Location: Horsham

Why? Because it has a fabulous atmosphere and feels like a treat type of place for my birthday

Who with? Tom and our friends Neil, and Jacqui.

Most looking forward to: The sharing steak platter – pieces of each type of steak, cooked as the chef believes they should be cooked 😊

Ellie

Where? Sushi Samba

Location: London (Heron Tower)

Why? Good reviews and views

Who with? Friends

Most looking forward to: Cocktails *devil face*

Gemma

Where? The Ivy

Location: West Street, London

Why? The Ivy has always been on my bucket list and during lockdown 1.0.  I promised myself that I’d book a table as soon as the restaurant reopened.

Who with? My husband Leigh to celebrate our anniversary.

Most looking forward to: Enjoying some incredible cocktails and sampling  the famous Ivy Shepherd’s Pie.

Jess C

Where? The Royal Foresters

Location: Ascot

Why? Middle ground between us and the people we are meeting up with. Plus, I haven’t been since it was refurbished! Plus, great food apparently.

Who with? Ben and another couple (Mel and Harry)

Most looking forward to? Being able to enjoy a glass of wine and a meal without freezing to death.

Neil

Where? The Hornbrook Inn

Location: Horsham

Why? It’s a family favourite. Great pub grub. Always excellent service. In walking distance. Dog friendly as we’ve welcomed a rescue dog, Milo, into our lives during lockdown.

Who with? My wife, our two girls and our Jackshound Milo, my mum and dad and their cockapoo Masie.

Most looking forward to? Being together as a family after 9 months apart. Can’t wait to try the Spiced Indian Bhaji Burger and triple cooked chips. Washed down with Badger beer.

Nick

Where? The Abinger Hatch

Location: Abinger Hatch, Surrey

Why? Lovely Food, great staff, good beer and a roaring fire.

Who with? L Ness

Most looking forward to? Having a pregnant designated driver.

Solene

Name and website of the pub or restaurant you have booked or are planning to

Where? The Bell, Fetcham
Location: Fetcham, Surrey

Why? Beautiful surroundings, tasty, classic pub food with a vegan menu.

Who with? My colleagues!

Most looking forward to? Being able to socialise accompanied by good food and drink (the simple joys in life).

Sue

Where? The Withies Inn

Location: Compton, Surrey

Why? It’s my Dad’s 90th birthday & my sister Kath’s birthday as well on Monday 24th May. It’s really popular locally for its food – so we are going for lunch to celebrate.

Who with? Family

Most looking forward to? I’m looking forward to a lovely time with my family.

Vanesa

Where? Gomshall Mill

Location: In Gomshall, Surrey.

Why? Because it’s cosy, there is a river that, literally, runs under the pub (as this was a medieval mill and you can see the old mill through the glass inside the pub). Also because of the countryside surroundings. It’s a very rural pub and it has a garden on the back to enjoy the sun in summer and a big fireplace for cold winters. It feels like home, but sharing the space with other people and enjoying good times together, which is even better.

Who With? Boyfriend or/and friends after a nice walk/hike around the area.

Most looking forward to? I’m looking forward to coming back to normality (I suppose like everyone else), not having to worry for social distancing, wearing a mask, getting ill…just to have the freedom to “roam” around and meet friends without any fears.

Warren

Where? The Ned The Electric Bar and Diner

Location: City of London, near Bank

Why? I think it’s the luxury of eating out that I’ve missed alongside the food. There’s something decadent about choosing to eat in a hotel restaurant that I really love, plus with 9 restaurants there’s plenty of choice. I used to take a lot of journalists here so it’ll be nice to ease back in to some normality around eating out and hospitality.

Who with? Just my partner – he prefers to eat breakfast out over any other meal and as we’ve planned to visit some galleries on that day we thought we’d start off with a fancy meal.

Most looking forward to? Apart from food and good service it’s the vibe, the noise of chatter and clinking glasses and cutlery. People watching while you eat is always fun when you visit somewhere like this too! I also think it’s so important to get back to your favourite spots and show your support for these businesses that have suffered so much over the past year.

So there we have it, from local pubs to 5 Star hotels the bean team have been and will be out in force supporting the hospitality world – it’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it!