The purpose of the London restaurant festival is to bring all of the establishments that are involved into the public domain, raising their profiles and showing the world just what a wide and varied range of restaurants and eateries are available in the city. The festival is also a homage to the people that feed us, that fill us full of incredible food day in and day out right across the city. There are two main elements to the festival, one being the events and the other the festival menus, oh and not forgetting the side dishes of course, which will include individual restaurants coming up with their own activities to celebrate the festival.
The festival was the brainchild of Fay Maschler a respected restaurant critic and her associate Simon Davis. The first year of the new festival saw 400 restaurants across the city taking part, by 2010 the number had raised to 600 and in 2012 there are an estimated 800 dining establishments taking part in the festival, which aim to feed around 50,000 people. There is no other festival like this that takes place in the city, after all it takes place in different venues around the city at different times and it’s not an event to which tickets are sold; it is in essence an umbrella under which individual businesses plan and carry out their own festival themed activities.
This year the London Restaurant Festival will take place between the 1st and the 15th October. Participating restaurants will be displaying a festival menu throughout these two weeks. The festival menus are created by the individual restaurants taking part, they offer a great value menu to customers and also offer an excellent way for consumers to try out new restaurants that they normally may not be able to afford, as the festival menus tend to offer set menus at a set price, making some of the higher end establishments available to a larger proportion of the public than normal.
Plus the restaurants get to showcase just what they are good at and hopefully earn some new regular customers in the process. Restaurants can opt to either showcase a lunchtime menu or an evening dinner menu, and many of the menus are available to download through the London Restaurant Festival website. This is the time to make that booking at the restaurant that you have always wanted to try but have never been able to afford!
The end of festival awards will be taking place on the 15th October and will mark a real celebration of dining in the city. Prizes will be awarded for the best festival menus of the year, and will be attended by some of the biggest names in the food industry. Eight awards will be given in total which will cover all of the different price categories for the festival menus, and judging will be based upon the number of bookings at each establishment and the number of covers served.