Diners to go al fresco with a ‘streatery’ in Belsize Park
Nine restaurants get permission to serve in the street
03 July, 2020 — By Tom Foot
Bourne’s chefs Jake Norman and Michael Bagnall
RESTAURANTS are hoping to kickstart an al fresco revolution in Belsize Village when they open on Sunday with new outdoor seating.
Nine independent businesses will be seating at least 90 people on 45 tables in the public square in Belsize Terrace until 10pm seven days a week until September 27. None of the restaurants currently have any outdoor terraces.
Phil Peters, who lives in Belsize and is one of the organisers, said: “It’s going to be Barcelona piazza-style. Chilled people, behaving themselves. It’s a family thing. There will be breakfast and brunch Roni’s and Belsize Kitchen. Then lunch with six restaurants, and dinner with all nine, seven days a week.”
An initial plan to put the tables and chairs in parking bays was dismissed but the square plan has been approved.
There have been more than 200 responses to a survey of residents and few objections, Mr Peters said.
He added: “Absolutely, I am ready to go out. But I am not ready to eat indoors at a restaurant. I am 60 and I’m not ready yet to take that risk yet.”
Restaurants taking part are Belsize Cafe, Bourne’s, Calici, Charro de Rio, Hazara, Retsina, Roni’s Tahera and Teta. Belsize, Hampstead Town and Frognal and Fitzjohn’s councillors have allocated a grant of £30,000 for the businesses to buy tables, chairs, parasols and planters.
Businesses in the West End, where 50 roads are being closed or partially closed to allow for al fresco dining, have complained about the cost of negotiating the planning system to get approval.
But Bob Stephenson-Padron, coordinator of the Belsize Village Business Association, said: “We applaud Camden Council for the support it has provided and the speed with which it has acted to get us through the red tape to make it a reality not just an intention.”
The group has hired a “Streateries Cleaning and Stewarding team” to clear up and keep hygiene standards. They will also show diners to tables and ensure hand sanitiser is available. Restaurant staff will wear face masks and gloves.
All restaurants are now taking bookings.