Shaftesbury transforms part of Chinatown into 'open air food destination'

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Shaftesbury transforms part of Chinatown into 'open air food destination' #LoveChinatown al fresco

Related tags Chinatown Restaurant Landlord Coronavirus

Shaftesbury PLC has temporarily transformed part of London's Chinatown into an 'open air food destination', as part of a campaign to support tenants as they reopen.

The commercial landlord, which owns a 15.2-acre portfolio in London’s West End, has installed 150 covers of additional seating in Newport Place, which will be open to the public everyday between midday and 8pm.

Benches for the space have been decorated by paper-cutting artist, Samantha Quinn, featuring a vibrant koi carp and lotus flower design.

The space will be designated for diners to consume takeaway meals, with participating restaurants in the area set to begin offering an eco-friendly and biodegradable #LoveChinatown 'Take-Put' box on selected dishes.

To help diners, the boxes have been designed so that they can be folded out into a makeshift plate.

In partnership with the London Chinatown Chinese Association (LCCA), Chinatown London’s trademark red lanterns will also be replaced with rows of special multi-coloured lanterns.

Coinciding with the hanging of the lanterns, a digital screen will pop-up at 13 Newport Place where visitors can share messages of goodwill to loved ones or their favourite Chinatown London restaurant each week.

“Chinatown London is very much about community, we have a very large Chinese student customer base, many haven’t been able to get back to Asia and they see us as a home away from home," says Martin Ma, general manager of Chinatown restaurant Jinli.

"Throughout the lockdown our takeaway business has grown and we’ve reached many new customers. 

"But having reopened our business, the extra covers Shaftesbury has provided with this outdoor space will enable us to facilitate a safe place for our customers to meet and have some culinary home comforts.”

Many operators in Chinatown have also set up al fresco spaces in front of their restaurants, in line with Westminster City Council's decision to allow hospitality business to create safe outdoor dining zones for the summer months. 

"As our visitors start to return, the #LoveChinatown campaign will help to continue to support our restaurants, celebrate the diversity of Chinatown’s offering and inspire people to revisit safely," says Karen Baines, head of group marketing and communications at Shaftesbury.

"London is resilient and throughout the pandemic our restaurateurs have been adapting, from providing more deliveries, developing meal kits, expanding their apps and honing menus to ensure less waste and more sustainability.

"We want to reflect this resilience; these new initiatives complement our move to an omni-channel Chinatown keeping people connected whether digitally or physically. We hope to safely welcome many more people back soon.”

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