London Fields restaurant opens for just nine days before second lockdown

Behind Restaurant in London Fields. Picture: John Carey

Behind Restaurant in London Fields. Picture: John Carey - Credit: Archant

A restaurant opened for just nine days in Hackney before shutting its doors to diners as the country went into the second lockdown.

Less than a fortnight open, Behind Restaurant in London Fields has had to adapt to the new restrictions introduced on November 5 - last week, it launched an online shop selling wine and selected one dish a day to be available for takeaway.

In usual times, a fish-focused tasting menu is served by chefs to diners sitting on a counter encircling the kitchen.

READ MORE: Stoke Newington pop-up shopping hub to support Hackney traders again once lockdown endsChef and owner Andy Beynon said: “It was just such a shame to create such a good buzz and then for it just to go, essentially overnight.”

The restaurant was enjoying success before the enforced shutdown, with Andy describing it as “amazing – crazy clientele and 100 per cent of people were so happy”.

Andy said he “put everything into it”, including providing funding: “I do everything. I even wash up.”

When asked about his “bold” decision to open during a global pandemic, he jokingly responded it could be called bold “or stupid”, adding: “No, I’m happy with (the decision). When you want to do something, you’ve just got to go and do it.”

He is optimistic it is “definitely going to pick up again...everyone wants to eat good food”, and for the few days that the restaurant was open “everyone loved it”.

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Many businesses in the hospitality industry face an uncertain future - sales in the sector shrunk by 21.3pc in the first quarter of 2020 compared to a 2pc decline in the economy overall, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics.

Andy said that, even before the recent lockdown, it was “really hard – especially with a 10 o’clock curfew” and “spreading everyone in restaurants” to maintain social distancing.

However, he believes restaurants have been “very good to adapt to all the measures”, despite a few “silly decisions” by the government.

“It’s sad more than anything else”, he added, that for most restaurants, it’s just about “surviving”.

The second lockdown, which came into force this month, is due to end on December 2 - if governmental advice does not change.

Behind Restaurant is on Sidworth Street in Hackney.

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