Update: 1/4/19 - anyone waiting for Kantina to soft launch today might be disappointed (sorry to the folks who DMd us on Instagram). This was our April Fool's Day story. And if you want to see the full list our April Fools over the years, head over here.
We've had hot pot and hot stone restaurants where you cook your own food, and bar tables with serve-yourself beer taps on them for quite a while. But with restaurants finding it so difficult to recruit staff, it's perhaps not all that surprising that one canny restaurateur has taken the DIY element to the next level.
Kantina, which opens today in Fitzrovia, says it's offering fine dining at fast food prices. The catch? You have to serve yourself. At first glance, the dining room on Charlotte Street looks just like any other restaurant, but there's going to be a computerised board up at the pass, notifying diners when their meal is ready. When it is, the chef will yell "Service!". Diners will have to check and see if their table number is displayed and then go and pick up their dish and bring it back to their table.
"Doesn't that make this an actual canteen," you might ask? Well yes and no, because the food won't be on display. Think of it more like a step on from somewhere like Shake Shack, where you place an order and return when your buzzer goes off. But at Kantina, we're assured that the food will be plated beautifully - no polystyrene boxes or plastic trays here. Of course, you'll have to put your plates into their dishwasher when you're finished.
Drinks are similarly DIY with a variety of vending machines on offer in the bar area, serving cans of beer and wine on tap as well as soft drinks.
"We're sure Londoners will love the idea," says owner Daisy Fallpoor who said she came up with the idea after just three people replied to her ad for waiting staff.
More about Kantina
Where is it? 4 Charlotte Street. Fitzrovia. London W1T 2LP
When? On soft launch from today
Find out more: Follow them on Instagram @kantinafitzrovia.
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