On Tuesday we ceremoniously turned on the TV at 2.30pm.
Who would have thought the FM announcements would ever be our prime time TV. Sitting listened to these moments make the whole thing feel even more surreal. Those movies when everyone huddles around the radio and listens to a Churchillian speech or the president of the United States sharing the pending jeopardy of the day. Having your life in the hands of so few makes these announcements even more important for some of us more than others.
My first thoughts were all rose-coloured glasses. Great, something to start working on. We can now plan to open from 26th April and if you’re outside you can have a drink. April and May are always lovely months in Scotland so all will be well.
As the day went on and I read and understood the detail I felt slightly duped. The variation and the detail of the plan is messy. That practical side of me, the side that says solve the problem and we pay the bills, isn’t seeing the same depth of that rosy tint.
Please don’t get me wrong. it’s not all bad, and it has never been an easy task. Easy is one word we could never use for this journey.
Why can I get my haircut on 5th April, but can’t go to a shop and buy a new pair of trainers, the iron that I need replaced or get my nails done? I’m a cook, so I don’t get my nails done but I do like a little drama.
From 26th April I can drink outside until 10pm with five other people from three households and don’t have to order any food. I’m tipsy after my aperitivo never mind an afternoon in the sun with a few Aperol spritz. I’ll still have to go indoors to use the washroom, but can’t meet my mother and my brother, have lunch and one glass of prosecco inside.
I can meet five other people outside but only three others inside from 26th April. Let’s hope it doesn’t rain.
Why can six people meet in a beer garden but I can’t invite one person to our house? Those that are housebound will be questioning this logic.
What changes between May and June that I can stay in a restaurant or bar until 11pm but only 10.30pm the week before?
I can travel around Scotland from 26th April but the level restrictions will still be in place.
I can have my wedding reception (probably more likely my funeral) for up to 50 but can’t have alcohol but I could have alcohol in December for upto 20 guests before we went into lockdown. All our wedding bookings, I’m sorry!
Then on 17th May, Victor and I can have two friends at home for dinner, but we’ll need to ask Nonna G and the children to leave.
On 17th May we can serve alcohol inside but only if Edinburgh has moved down to Level 2. Yes this is the devil in the detail moment that makes it messy.
It’s so complicated. Managing booking of more than two will be tricky. The content is confusing and when there is confusion people make mistakes or more importantly they ignore the detail.
All this aside, we’re discussing all the options and we’re getting the team back up to speed to be able to welcome you all back to the restaurants. We truly have missed you all. Some of the team popped to George Street on Thursday for our Team Treat Day and collected a wee parcel of goodies to take home. A chance to see our Contini family and share the energy. It’s contagious! Thursday was a happy day.
Havinglived with Covid for over a year we understand more now than when we came out of the first lockdown. We’ve learned and when we do reopen, we’ll be taking these learnings and we will be approaching our service slightly differently. Importantly, we feel all of you, the consumer, has a much greater understanding of what hospitality should be delivering and we want to meet (and exceed) your expectations.
In the same way that great food and great service are expected, you will expect us to have our Covid protocols in place, it will no longer be a surprise as to how we approach this new normal.
You know we will be taking this as seriously as before but we are confident we can deliver these protocols in a way that they will be more absorbed into the experience.
We will still have to take details for Test & Protect (Track & Trace in England), a two hour stay will be the maximum you will be permitted and we’ll be running our Covid service asking you to remove and replace items from trays so we continue to minimise the contact. In addition please wear a mask when entering and moving around the restaurant.
What does that mean, well we’ll stop the Covid chat (I can hear you say thank the lord!). If anyone insists we’ll happily provide. We’re also opening back up at Contini George Street for coffee in the mornings. The Italian Bar will be available for those quick drop in meetings that I know many of you have missed. The Scottish Cafe will be open from 6th May (Thursday to Sunday) to start. We’ll be updating on Cannonball as soon as we get further clarity on events as the detail still hasn’t been shared.
We have some exciting new partnerships that we’ll be telling you about soon so lots to look forward to.
To hopefully say goodbye (for now at least) to all this Covid craziness, Victor and I would like to say goodbye to it in style and we’re inviting you for a virtual demo and dinner at Casa Contini.
Free for all or you can buy the ingredients kit to join in the fun and the food. Laughter, relaxation and a very delicious dish for you to cook and eat while we show you how to make it. Four weeks before we’ll be able to welcome you back to the restaurants and see you in person, next Friday night will be our prime time Zoom TV, we look forward to seeing you all. Drama free. Hopefully you won’t think you’ve tuned into the Teletubbies or One Man and his Dog by accident. 7pm Friday, you’ve got to laugh! I’ll have a rose coloured glass of wine to toast you all.
Finally thank you to everyone who responds to the emails each week. Sunday morning inbox is my weekly highlight. Your support makes us feel so much richer in spirit.
Keep well and keep safe and thank you, fun times are coming.
LAST CHANCE TO ORDER CONTINI AT HOME MARCH MENUS
It’s our final week of our March menus so please make sure you place your orders now to avoid missing out on any favourites. On request we have added a seasonal vegetarian risotto to the site and it is proven very popular!
EASTER MENU AT CONTINI AT HOME
Let us take care of the cooking so you can enjoy the day with family and friends. We have extended availability so you can order for delivery on Saturday 3rd April too.Easter SundayMenu for 1 £35 per person
Served with a bottle of Prosecco £53
Vegetarian version £30 per person or with a bottle of Prosecco £48