“What was the best thing you ate during lock-down?”
This is my new favourite question.
During lock-down I think we all, even those of us who are culinarily challenged, cooked something we normally wouldn’t. And let’s be honest, what else did we have to look forward to if it wasn’t seeing if that Banana Bread would actually rise (even though it was cobbled together with random bits of flour from the back of the cupboard)?
P.s. If you’ve not seen enough cake disasters yet, then this collection is well worth a look (the crumpets are my particular favourite)
If I’m being honest, it wasn’t pubs that I really yearned for during those 3 months – though don’t get me wrong, a perfectly pulled pint of bitter is one of my favourite things in the entire world. It was eating out. To be handed a menu to peruse whilst sipping a glass of something cool. To have plates filled with seasonal treats brought to me. To not do the washing up! It’s the leisurely lunch that I missed the most. So we wanted to make sure when we reopened our Cafe, you could be as relaxed and comfortable as possible.
Although we have strict new measures in place to help keep you and our team safe, we’ve kept things simple.
What you should expect when you pop into our Cafe…
I think we’ve all become a little ‘sign-blind’ recently – we’re already so used to seeing them everywhere! Signs telling you to sanitise your hands, signs telling you to keep your distance, signs telling you what to do in the bathroom (yep, this is something we’ve had to put in place). It’s easy to miss signs, but we ask that you read ours before entering the shop and please don’t be offended if we remind you of the rules – everyone has different spaces and therefore different rules.
As of this week, shoppers must wear Face Coverings when out and about. Those of you who have visited us before know that we are a mixed space – with Butcher and Deli counters, shelves of tasty goods and a Cafe all rolled into one.
Of course, you won’t need to wear one when you’re seated (I wouldn’t fancy trying to eat a Steak Sandwich with a mask on), but you will need to wear one until you reach your seat and as you pass back through the shop to leave. So please bring a face covering with you. There will be sanitiser available so you can clean your hands before and after you pop it on.
Whether you’re swinging by for a bite to eat or just collecting some sausages from the Butcher’s Counter, everyone must sanitise their hands before they come in. It helps keep surfaces clean and our team safe.
To help us all adhere to distancing rules, we’ve reduced the number of tables inside. Most excitingly of all, we’ve FINALLY been given permission for outside seating!
Although we offered table service before, it was pretty casual. These days things are a little stricter –
You’ll be asked to wait to be shown to your seat (even if you can see an empty table, it doesn’t mean we’ve had the chance to thoroughly clean it yet, so you must wait to be seated).
We’ll come to you – once you’re seated we ask that you remain at your table, unless you are going to the bathroom or you are paying for your meal.
If you need anything, just ask a member of of our team as they go past – please don’t come up to the counter as bottlenecks can easily build up.
We only have one toilet and due to it’s location, we can’t accommodate more than one person queuing for it. If you see someone else is already queuing, please take your seat again and keep an eye out for when it frees up. You’ll also be asked to sanitise your hands before you enter the bathroom.
To help with our local Track & Trace system, we’ll need to take your name and a telephone number (as well as the time you arrive and where you sit). It’ll be safely stored for 21 days then destroyed. We don’t need everyone’s details, just one person who is willing to contact everyone in your party if needs be. I’m afraid we won’t be able to serve you unless we have the contact details of someone in your party.
“although we have strict measures in place to help keep you and our team safe, we’ve kept things simple”
We’ve been slowly building up to this point and so we’ll have a small offering Monday – Wednesday (cakes, coffee, sausage rolls etc). Our Cafe will be fully open Thursday – Saturday, with our fixed menus (take a peek here). Of course, as the year progresses this may change, but our main priority is ensuring our team and customers are in a calm and safe environment.
As a food business we’ve always held ourselves to very high Food Hygiene and Health & Safety standards. But the world has changed, so we’ve introduced a much stricter cleaning regime and very strict personal hygiene procedures.
This means that service may take a little longer, but it’s a price we believe is worth paying to keep us all safe.
Thank goodness we take queuing so seriously in the UK – I’m not sure how we would have coped otherwise!
Because we’re a mixed space, we have to control the flow of customers coming through the doors carefully. If there are a few people already inside, at the till for example, you may be asked to wait outside until there is enough space for you to be safely shown to your table. So please bring a brolly if it’s raining!
If you have any questions or concerns about how we are working, please do ask to speak to a manager – you may see something we haven’t and we want to make The Chopping Block as safe as we can.
See you soon!