A restaurant in Amsterdam has led the way in defining how post-lockdown Dutch restaurants could work. Setting up Perspex tents outdoors, meals are delivered to the ‘pods’ where groups of two, three or four can eat safe in the knowledge they’re not going to be infecting anyone. I’m sure I’ve seen that somewhere before…
Normally the subject of breathless guides in magazines like The Handbook between around October time and Valentine’s Day, is it possible that the igloo is the way out of this whole mess? Partly in the hope that it is, and partly just as an excuse to regurgitate old material, here are six igloos that could be wheeled out of hibernation as quickly as this article was…
The two signs that winter’s coming because the swallows fly south and Thames-side restaurant Coppa Club starts bigging up its famous igloos. But perhaps, like their auspicious feathered partners, they’ll be making a come-back for summer?
Coppa Club launched the igloos three years ago and they’ve become an institution, capturing the imaginations on Londoners with their beautifully half-timbered aesthetic and their view, overlooking Tower Bridge and The Shard. Diners enjoy table service from Coppa Club and all the excellent food and drink options you’d expect.
Where: 3 Three Quays Walk, Lower Thames Street, EC3R 6AH
The prettiest igloos in London, Aviary match the solid build of their pods with a brilliant view of The City.
The tenth-storey igloos, high above Finsbury Square, will have to adapt for summer by rethinking the sheep pelts and blankets, but these are pandemic proof pods, built for protection, and would allow for disease free dining throughout summer.
Where: 10th Floor Montcalm Royal London House Hotel, 22-25 Finsbury Square, EC2A 1DX
The Sipping Room
There’s no standing room at The Sipping Room, because there’ll be no standing room anywhere at all as we recover from coronavirus, expect a summer of table service and strict social distancing (no more crowded bars trying desperately to catch the bartender’s eye!).
The Sipping Room opened a great line in igloos last winter, including their ‘B’igloos’, not a mobile toilet service but rather very large igloos for parties, which may not hit the trend this year but fear not as their regular igloos were perfect for small groups dining and drinking.
Where: 16 Hertsmere Road, Canary Wharf, E14 4AX
Skylight at Tobacco Dock manages to change personality between the seasons, in winter the converted East London car park boasts a skating rink but in winter it’s all about the big screen and Wimbledon (RIP – so sad!).
But might their winter igloos make the transition to summer? They have been in touch to say they have big news in the offing, so here’s to hoping…
Where: Tobacco Dock, Pennington Street entrance, St Katharine’s and Wapping, E1W 2SF
Jimmy Garcia’s South Bank lodges were the place to be photographed by passing tourists last winter. But with an expected far lower footfall this summer, perhaps you’ll be able to enjoy the stunning riverside view uninterrupted if Jimmy’s Lodge returns.
Of course it would require the erstwhile Alpine popup restaurant Refuge to reopen too, but we’re sure Jimmy could get onto it…
Where: Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, Southbank, SE1 8XX
No strangers to innovative takes on dining, Inamo are famous for their interactive ordering system (the whole schtick is that you press buttons on the screen on your table and your food appears as if by magic).
But another way Inamo clearly forsaw the future was getting in on the igloo game. Their balcony was teaming with the things last winter.
Where: 265 Hampstead Road, Camden, NW1 7QX
Of course, igloos are designed for the colder months (clue’s in the name), so reintroducing them during an inner-city heatwave may just back-fire. After all, persuading punters to dine in a greenhouse in August is a tall ask, especially when people could just as easy eat al fresco and achieve similar distancing. But igloos just may be one part of the weaponry that the hospitality can deploy in the recovery phase of coronavirus. Let’s hope so…