St Albans and Harpenden restaurants prepare for grand re-opening weekend

Backyard Kitchen.

Backyard Kitchen. - Credit: Archant

I have been writing this column for over 10 years, and this has been the most challenging time ever for our food and hospitality industry, but I feel we are edging back towards

Banhmi from Taste of Vietnam.

Banhmi from Taste of Vietnam. - Credit: Archant


I, for one, am incredibly relieved for our cafés, shops, stalls, restaurants, bars and pubs. Many are still waiting for guidance on what they can and can’t do after July 4, and for some it won’t be possible or viable to open as before, especially in our area with its quirky (and small!) buildings.

People in this industry are entrepreneurs and they are best-placed to find a way, but we do need to be patient while they figure it out. Many are now open for bookings from July 4, whether outdoor, indoor or both, so head over to the website to find out what your favourite is doing. Some will continue with takeout and delivery for a while. Here are some updates on the ‘new’ openings.

Suckerpunch are ready to welcome you back into the bar, and they are continuing their very popular cocktail delivery service if you prefer to ‘party at home.’ It’s already a bookings only bar, so they are well set up and ready to go. Head to for how to book or order.

The Red Cow in Harpenden.

The Red Cow in Harpenden. - Credit: Archant

Hatch on the hill is continuing with take-out for the time-being as their space inside is fairly small.

Lussmanns in Harpenden and St Albans is now open for bookings, with extra spacing between tables, outdoor and inside. Their Harpenden courtyard garden is lovely, and I am sure will be in demand!

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Ayos near St Albans train station is opening on July 4, and they have a spacious inside and a terrace so space for all – ideal if you are missing delicious Turkish food.

Craft & Cleaver are waiting until July 6 to open, to give themselves time to get into the new routine. They have a hidden treasure of a patio, and you can book for outside and inside.

They are taking bookings for mixed groups up to six people, or two households up to eight people, as per the guidelines they have received.

The Red Cow in Harpenden is one of our newest pubs, run by the Farr Brew team. They have a spacious garden, and they have set it up nicely with tables spaced apart and gazebos for sun or rain!

My Backyard Kitchen is doing beautifully presented picnic grazing boxes, which is a great idea for those heading out to the parks for social lives. A great date night option, or share with friends? For £35 you get plenty for 2-4, including cheeses, cold meats, olives, filled peppers, chutney, falafel, hummus, nuts, crackers, grapes and much more. Ring 07951121303 to book.

We picked up delicious banh mi from Taste of Vietnam; order through their Facebook page, and collect from Fleetville. I had a wonderful tofu baguette stuffed with crispy vegetables and a spicy sauce. Anne also makes banh mi with chicken and beef. You book a slot, and there is a well-organised system for collection, and your banh mi will be warm!

Street Café on Catherine Street, St Albans is offering takeout and if you order online you get 20% off their usual prices. They do a breakfast in a box full English, vegetarian, smashed avo and eggs, grilled sandwiches and soups, and their amazing cakes. The website is a bit glitchy but if you click on ‘catalog’ you will see the menu.

Everything is prepped fresh and you can usually pick up within 20 minutes of ordering! They are open 8.30am-2.30pm.

St Albans Wednesday charter market is slowly adding more stalls, as space allows, and I am so pleased that there will be more hot streetfood. Peddling Pizza is back on Wednesdays in the same spot. You can message Adam on Instagram to preorder, which is a great idea as he always sells out fast, or turn up and queue as per usual.

Cha & Nasta is a lovely little café on Hatfield Road, St Albans, near St Peters. It used to be called The Hideout Kafe, but they are now playing to their strengths with a focus on delicious Bangladeshi-style streetfood. Cha means tea, and nasta means breakfast, lunch and snacks, and they also do great coffee.

Loft in St Albans will be opening on July 4. To celebrate they are offering a 10 per cent discount to all customers, and 20% if you work for the NHS key workers on opening weekend. They have

put all the guidance in place for table spacing and cleaning. Call 01727 865568 to book. How lovely to have someone else cook for you, and fine dining is quite tricky via delivery! It’s great to have our restaurants back.

I hope to see you in a pub garden very soon!