Although it has been allowed for a few weeks now, I had been reluctant to head out for dinner or drinks until I was ready, as it felt a little too soon. However, this ‘new normal‘ of wearing masks in shops and whilst on transport, and keeping a social distance where possible, shows no signs of going anytime soon so, when my dad visited us for a few days at the end of last week, we decided to give it a try and book our first post lockdown meal out.
We decided to book at The Real Greek, as it is somewhere we have been before, we know the venue and we know we love the food. The booking process was the same as it was before lockdown, and I had no problem in getting a table at the time I wanted on Thursday evening at 6pm. We decided to go early so that it would be less busy, but the venue have taken measures to ensure tables are far enough apart anyway, and they wore face masks whilst serving, and walking around the tables.
We weren’t sure whether there would be a reduced menu, but everything was available, and we were able to order the dishes we love, as well as trying some new items which my dad went for. I think, for the first time, we managed to order just the right amount of food for us and, although we felt pretty full when we left, we all had a really lovely meal and enjoyed everything.
I felt really safe throughout the meal, and it was so nice to get out and to enjoy food and drink in public again. Eating at home, even whilst enjoying a takeaway, was just not the same as being able to eat in company. Some people have mentioned the atmosphere not being the same in restaurants and, although I can see what they might mean, this was not the experience we had. There was still conversation at other tables, and it was clear the staff were smiling from behind their masks. None of this is ‘normal’, and it is unlikely it will go back to how it was anytime soon, but I had a nice time and would feel confident going out for a meal again now.
After dinner, we decided to have a couple of cocktails at two local bars. The first was a new outdoor venue, which has been built in the car park of another venue post lockdown, and the other was our favourite cocktail place, Eden. Backyard is located alongside 1812, and has live music, a street food style menu and a variety of cocktails and other drinks to choose from.
We hadn’t booked, but they do allow walk ins. We needed to provide our contact information for tracing purposes, and then we had table service whilst we were there. We were able to sit at a booth as we went when it was pretty quiet, however these do normally need to be booked in advance. The cocktails we had weren’t the most amazing, but mine was pretty strong, and again, I felt nice and safe, and it was just lovely to be out of the house and enjoying a drink with Ed and my dad again.
Eden was a similar situation to Backyard, we were led to a seating area and given table service to avoid crowds at the bar. This is definitely something I can get on board with, as standing waiting at the bar has always been the worst part of going out for drinks, for me. It was fairly busy in Eden, as it was getting later, and I must admit, I was glad to leave when we did (around 9pm) as I didn’t want to be around too many people, even though social distancing was being observed.