Going overground: the new wave of underground restaurants


Going overground: the new wave of underground restaurants

It’s the new thing!’ I keep reading in the papers. Usually in the same paragraph as ‘the new foodie fad’, ‘pop-up’, ‘guerilla dining’, or ‘underground’. Yet amid this current media feeding frenzy, surely I’m not the only one who can’t see the emperor’s new clothes?

I’m referring, of course, to the ‘new’ trend of food-loving amateur cooks hosting smart dinner parties, then charging their guests for the privilege. It seems to be the charging money bit that takes people aback – well it’s not very British, is it? Guests are not expected to pay. But what if the guests are virtual strangers?

There are several entrepreneurs in London doing exactly this, operating de facto restaurants from their own homes, in the grey area between hosting a dinner party and running a licensed restaurant (see our feature on some of the secret restaurants in London). The advantages for the host are clear: no VAT, not tax, no health inspectors, no red tape. And the cash goes straight into their pockets.

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