The Handbook
The Handbook

He’s the most eligible bachelor in the world. Not because the young handsome aristo has more land than the Queen, a £12.7bn fortune and owns most of Belgravia and Mayfair. No. Because the 29-year-old Duke of Westminster just single-handedly extended the Help Out To Eat Out scheme to any restaurant he owns. Which is, like, a lot.

This will mean that the Chancellor’s half price Monday to Wednesday programme, which ends on Monday 31st August, will be replicated in some of our favourite restaurants. The Duke has form in playing his part during lockdown, he recently donated £12m to the NHS, and this move will surely be welcomed by his tenants and leaseholders, which will see their rent ledgers credited by the Grosvenor Estate in return for continuing EOTHO. But it’s also great for London eaters too!

Pink Insta-Paradise Peggy Porchen, in the heart of the Duke's estate

Restaurants on the estate, which includes most of Belgravia and much of Mayfair, will welcome the news; footfall in Central London is significantly down as the large offices remain shut and well heeled hedgefunders and tourists that keep some of these restaurants afloat continue to stay home.

But it’s the array of potential venues that has us excited. The list includes the likes of Pizza Pilgrims, Peggy Porschen as well as Scott’s in Mayfair, The Mayfair Chippy and Prezzo, Delfino.

A swathe of pubs is presumably included too, from the posh Thomas Cubitt to old school boozers.

Most notably, the Grosvenor Estate includes Handbook favourite The Connaught, which sports two fabulous restaurants, Hélène Darroze and Jean-Georges (not to mention The Connaught Grill), The Lanesborough Hotel and restaurant Celeste, as well as The Beamont Hotel and Colony Grill, not to mention Gordon Ramsay’s Lucky Cat and Gordon Ramsay Bar & Grill.

We’ll wait and see just how many are eligible to take up the Duke’s offer, and indeed which actually do, but it’s a great innovation, but it seems unlikely Grosvenor’s move is purely out of the goodness of his own heart, there is clearly a commercial case for extending EOTHO.

But it's the array of potential venues that has us excited...

The Connaught, with its three restaurants, sits on the Grosvenor Estate

So perhaps other landlords should take his lead? The Crown Estate plays landlord to some brilliant restaurants, as does the Earl of Cadogan’s Cadogan Estates and the various Middle Eastern wealth funds that own several Berkeley Square clubs and eateries not to mention The Shard.

They have all done extremely well out of their investments in London, and Londoners too have shared some of this upside if only in the form of a diverse London food and drinkscape. It would be great if more wealthy landowners can now put a small fraction of that profit toward ensuring London’s restaurants survive in these extraordinary times…

Update: They’ve now published a list of participating restaurants in Mayfair and Belgravia…