The Lowdown: The coronation of King Charles III

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

What are restaurants doing to celebrate the coronation of King Charles III

Related tags Bank holiday Coronation King Charles III Bank holiday weekend ukhospitality Finance

Restaurants across the country are planning to make the most of the regal bank holiday celebrations.

Hopefully their plans are more exciting than the recipe for the official coronation dish
Spinach and broad bean quiche hardly screams celebration, does it.? One thinks they’d have been better off going with Adam Handling’s majestic chicken pie, which was crowned the winner of a coronation dish competition on the BBC’s The One Show​ earlier this week.

That sounds delicious, but I fancy going out over the weekend…
Good for you. National celebrations like the coronation are a fantastic opportunity for restaurants to bolster their revenue. Some attempts feel a touch cynical– we’ve seen a few places say they’ll be giving out free drinks and dishes to any couples ‘lucky enough’ to be called Charles and Camilla - but many places are really getting into the spirit of the festivities by putting on special menus and dishes to commemorate the occasion. At Nessa in London’s Soho, Tom Cenci is serving up his own, contemporary take on coronation chicken over the weekend, featuring a half roast chicken in sauce spiced with vadouvan and curry scraps, bejewelled with apricots, raisins and toasted almonds. Other places in the capital looking to get in on the action include Galvin Bar & Grill, which is serving a coronation menu on bank holiday Monday (8 May) that includes a ‘Windsor soup’ made with oxtail and spelt; while the Corinthia is putting on a coronation afternoon tea that’s described as ‘a fragrant ceremony to grace, charm and tradition’. For something slightly more outlandish, head to 100 Wardour St, which is hosting a ‘Britpop Brunch’ celebrating the kings and queens of pop on Sunday 7 ​May. And if you’re on a budget, then supermarket giant Tesco has opened its own Coronation-themed pub for the weekend in Farringdon that’s serving a classic royal high tea in the afternoon for just £10. Every little helps, after all.

What about outside of London?
There’s plenty going on all over the country, with several nationwide chains running their own coronation-themed promotions over the weekend. Thai restaurant group Giggling Squid, for example, has launched a limited-edition Thai tea, descried as being a ‘quintessential British high tea with a Thai twist’, across a select number of its restaurants. The meal costs £32.99 for two and includes a selection of Thai snacks and cakes served with a pot of tea. Based on the picture provided in the press notes (see below), it’s already proved popular with a pair of Charles and Camilla lookalikes.


Sounds like restaurants are on course to make a killing this weekend
That’s certainly what much of the mood music suggests. According to Barclays’ latest SME Barometer, 40% of hospitality businesses expect the coronation weekend to provide a welcome lift in sales. Some forecasts have suggested the celebrations will provide billions in extra revenue for the sector, with research from guest experience and retention platform SevenRooms suggesting the coronation could bring in an additional £2.6bn in consumer spending, while a report from VoucherCodes puts this figure at £1.2bn. At the more modest end of the scale, trade body UKHospitality says the long weekend, which will also see licensing hours extended between Friday 5 and Sunday 7 May, will provide businesses with an estimated £350m boost.

Those figures are encouraging, but there’s quite a discrepancy between them. What’s the reason for that?
We suspect there’s several factors at play here. Let’s not forget that the country is still gripped by a cost of living crisis, and with many households under pressure to cut back on spending out, many more may choose to celebrate at home or at local street parties. Then there’s the weather, which is unpredictable in this country at the best of times. There had been talk that this weekend could see the country bask in a mini heatwave, but that’s hardly borne out in the current forecasts, which suggest plenty of showers over the weekend. But then, what’s a British celebration without rain (or queuing)?

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