A Rhyme for London’s Restaurants


More than 60 icons of London’s restaurant and food world have come together to pay homage and share their love for the city’s restaurant scene with a poetic ode to the industry, a little love letter – A Rhyme for London’s Restaurants.

Written by Lucy Golding, an Account Director at Gerber Communications, the rhyme is a poignant celebration of the eclectic and diverse dining scene in the capital, and a reminder of all that diners can look forward to when normal life resumes – plus offers a glimpse into the homes and gardens of some of London’s foodie elite.

Please watch the video on our IGTV, share, and donate as much as you can afford, to one of our two charity partners (link to Virgin Giving page below). These are, the London Evening Standard’s Food for London Now campaign, which is raising funds to distribute food for vulnerable, elderly and poor Londoners, in partnership with The Felix Project; and Hospitality Action’s COVID-19 emergency relief grant, supporting hospitality workers in immediate crisis. Money raised through this campaign will be split equally between both charities.


The written version of the rhyme, in its entirety, is also below. See if you can guess all restaurants referred to throughout (Clue: there are 50 !)

@gerbercomms #RhymeForRestaurants

A Rhyme for London’s Restaurants

By Lucy Golding


It fell quiet in town,

when our restaurants shut down

and we pined for a time so familiar

Whilst the boarded-up windows,

and strange word ‘furlough’

made it all feel a little Black Mirror


And as dining destinations,

entered spring hibernation

a void filled our boroughs and diaries

As we mourned our favourite mate-spots,

our date-spots and cake-spots

our space for debaucherous soirees


Weren’t our options outrageous?

Before things got contagious

to afford such plethora and vision

In this time of uncertainty

it’s only now occurred, you see,

that restaurants are their very own religion…


This spectacle stems

from the vibrant West End,

where venues couldn’t pack in much closer

Come here for Persian,

or Taiwanese immersion

try Ramen, Robata or Dosa


Indulge in New York soul food,

or Hawaiian poke bowl food

perhaps you’re feelin’ vegan or sashimi

Fill up on Fattoush,

labneh, Baba Ganoush

if your mood is skewed towards some Israeli


For chops and chips colossal,

find that former ground floor brothel

devour a tower-high with juicy meat,

Whilst eel sandwiches with pickle,

bring a little British tickle

to that hub that’s dubbed the ‘Dame of Dean Street’


Step back to 1970,

at Soho’s home of revelry

quaff a cheeky glass of Cote du Rhone,

Where the movers and shakers,

lap up livers with capers

just don’t let the Maître D see your phone


For grub that’s Sub-Saharan,

not far from Covent Garden

one scholar’s getting spicy with plantain

Near the farm-to-fork queen,

making change on the scene,

with her single-use plastic campaign


Scoff a mini toasted sarnie.

at the pre-theatre darling

named after that historical whore 

But if you’re feeling flush,

indulge your shortcrust lust

where that guy makes pie with lobster thermidor


A moneyed Mayfair Asian,

suits any opulent occasion

get frisky with its plate of fruits de mere

Or splash out on wagyu,

in the jungles of Peru,

found just a few doors down on Berkeley Square


For gluttony less glittery,

but seafood steeped in history

a Jermyn Street retreat will have your fill,

Or grace that grand canteen,

and glean its mean Eggs Florentine

a favourite of the late, great AA Gill


A smorgasbord of talent,

is flown in from round the planet

at a gourmet roundabout in Marylebone

Savour flavour from Busan,

Kyoto and Milan

Tel Aviv, Los Angeles and Rome


And if you adore,

salmon tikka tandoor

book your space on an Indian spice trail

Then make towards Baker Street,

where that bloke from the Lakes

cooks five different types of kale


From those brothers slightly posh

sample Spanish in Kings Cross,

come here for tortilla and croquetas

Sent with love from Bombay,

an Irani-style café

makes breakfast naans that don’t get much better


Seek a sensual Turkish riot

and factor flatbreads in your diet,

at that shrine to open-fire and metal tunes

But for pure dairy fandom,

get your ass up to Camden,

dip mozzarella sticks in cheese fondue


Embark east to the land

of the tattooed bearded man,

if your taste buds remain unfulfilled

And gorge on pork ribs,

made from pedigree pigs

oak smoked, brushed in sauce and chargrilled


An Italian fantasia,

serves bowls of misbehaviour

and a life-changing pesto burrata,

But for turbot to share,

there’s that place up the stairs

yet don’t the cod roe for starter


Take a short Provence vacation,

just behind the petrol station

and scoff a trough of soothing bouillabaisse

Whilst the lady from The States,

who made the royal wedding cake,

whips up her world-class bakes in Wilton Way


A veg-centric Middle Eastern,

is where you should be feastin’

for the greatest grilled halloumi you will taste

Or for planet-saving grazing,

there’s the chef who’s just amazing

doing everything he can for zero-waste


For pasta hand-crafted,

its straight to Borough Market

at that place with the permanent queue

Devour chili Tagliarini

and ‘Njuda fettucini,

pappardelle with a slow beef ragu


Further down on the left,

there’s that chef from 50 Best,

making London’s best prawn dish bar none

But for livelier dos,

blast out some Voulez Vous,

at karaoke with a side of steamed buns


And for piri piri chicken,

flying out an open kitchen

eat your way through the sunny Algarve,

Or that hot new hotel,

with the octopus roll

and staggering scenes of the Shard


Take a pew in perfect view

of the vendors in bloom,

for a plate of Singaporean fried rice

But if caffeine’s that you’re feeling,

those guys from New Zealand,

make the best flat white of your life


Watch the hoards leaving Harrods

on a terrace out of Venice

eat Caprase with Campari and gin

Which is rather convenient,

to that molecular genius

making parfait moulded like a mandarin


And down towards Clapham,

there’s still plenty happenin’,

locate the chicken livers of dreams

Or that place on the square,

with its tart tatin to share,

consume with prune and Armagnac ice-cream


A market nearby,

will give you plenty to try

from Brazilian to BYO Thai

Fill your face with Filipino,

quesadilla with jalapeno,

or those patties where the beef don’t lie


Yet when we revere,

our restaurant pioneers

We must think beyond bricks-and-mortar

There’s a multitude of teams,

who build dreams behind the scenes,

a contingent you may not have thought of


These brasseries and bars,

have suppliers and PRs

they too are being asked to hold tight

Or that chef who makes tortillas,

waiting almost three full years,

on the brink of his very first site


No less the press and media,

who feed this foodie theatre

the Insta-clan who bring the bums on seats

And even our dear critics,

who as soon as the shit hit

paid homage to the cause with poignant Tweets


Let’s honour loyal guests,

the ‘hot new chef’ obsessed

those dealing with a dining out addiction

Yes, there must be nearing thousands,

who despite being housebound

are allergic to their very own kitchens


Hats off to those triers,

who dig out their deep fat fryers,

dust off their Berry, Oliver or Stein

Yet even bake-off dreams,

run out of steam in quarantine

plus no one can make their own wine


So vineyards, farms and breweries,

dispatch throughout communities,

dining rooms turn delis overnight

Some dabble with delivery,

or honour frontline chivalry,

to fuel the NHS throughout its fight


So as we crave that cosy chatter,

glasses clinking, kitchen clatter

every morsel of this ritual we yearn

It’s now we can appreciate,

where we’ve got to celebrate,

the day that it all returns


And it will, one way or other,

these cracks will recover

the industry will mend and unite

And when it does, let’s ensure,

that we’ll never once more,

cancel plans on a Saturday night

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