If restaurant trends are to be abided, diners no longer want good food in a nice environment, they want an “experience” – one that seemingly involves dilapidated decor, bad service and wildly overrated food. All this – and less – is provided at any of the deluge of “pop-up” restaurants that have recently appeared in London. Here is our easy-to-follow guide of how to set up your very own trendy eatery of this type.
1. Break the tired old paradigms of allowing prospective diners access to useful information like the menu and directions, and instead have a website that looks like it was cobbled together the week the internet was invented, with the only contact details being a private Twitter account. And as for reservations – go fuck yourself! You can wait at the (overpriced) bar and buy perfectly measured glasses of inadequately chilled white wine until a table becomes available.
2. Never refer to the people flipping the slabs of meat back in the kitchen as “chefs”; they are “the boys in the back room”, a well-drilled platoon bravely fighting their way through a never-ending onslaught of balls of burrata and mounds of sourdough.
3. To make your restaurant appear in-demand, force people to queue up outside for at least two hours in a nearby alley as rats dine on the contents of the bin bags scattered at their feet.
4. Your eatery should be so hip it hurts – literally. All seating needs to look like something that could have been taken from the set of Saw. Diners should feel as if they’re having a proctological examination as they twist and turn their fundaments on rock-hard stools while waiting for two hours for their slow-cooked chicken feet stew.
5. Everything in the restaurant has to look “reclaimed”. All crockery needs to have a least one chip or crack in it. For extra authenticity, serve cocktails in jars collected from recycling bins.
6. Write all your menu copy in an over-familiar, “matey” tone on scraps on scrunched-up paper (even this has to be vintage). Dishes should have hilarious names, such as the Dead Alkie – a lump of beef doused in cheap vodka and left in the open air to cure for three weeks. Also – and this is essential – always refer to coleslaw as “slaw”.
7. It is essential that ear-bleedingly loud music is played at all times, ensuring that all conversation between diners descends into incoherent yelling.
8. Finally, you need a stupid, pretentious name for your eatery. How about Burgerac? The Lower Eat Side? Tap Ass?
By DAN GILSON and JOHN McDONNELL