Good morning lovely people
Clearly I was too happy last blog. I was getting away with myself. Victor and I even had a date night, in our sitting room. Roaring fire, candles light, Tony Bennett popped by. No.2 daughter and Nonna G were fed (tagliatelle al ragu FYI). We planned a pretend hotel bar evening, at home. Living the life! Smoked salmon blinis, Cerignola olives, those amazing Torres Olive Oil crisps (if you’ve not tasted them they are the Prada of the fried potato snack world), hot homemade sausage rolls and a bottle of a French super chilled sparkling rose from “Drinkmongers” in Morningside. Must confess it was rather lovely, light and very much to my taste by the end of the bottle. Just before we were about to start our impromptu private party, I heard a shout from Victor. You might think, knowing my darling husband, that would be as unlikely as a Christmas Party in Downing Street during Lockdown. Ran to the big room and a very guilty Rocco was lying under the coffee table, with his big ears covering his wee sad eyes, having been caught paws on the table, eating the whole plate of blinis; creme fraiche and cayenne pepper included. Poor soul had never seen any eye level treats before so clearly thought they were all for him! Life catches you out all the time. Just when you think you have it all under control, your puppy eats the canapes.
Business and all our lives seems to be turning out the same way. We thought we had it all planned and now we’re facing a very cold festive period. I don’t want to be negative but this is a nightmare. I thought our headaches were manageable but this is a whole new level of pain. I’m so sorry for all the parties and events, not only in our restaurants, but in all hospitality venues across the country that have been cancelled since we last emailed. Thursday, Plan “B” and the work from home announcement, then Friday’s worse news from FM urging people to cancel Christmas parties (whatever a party is) has changed everything. This isn’t just a potential tsunami of infections, it’s a potential tsunami of business failures and job losses.
“Next year all our troubles will be far away”, sadly that old Christmas classic seems to be on repeat this year. With travel restrictions being reintroduced due to Omicron it’s made it even worse for the tourist industry and the battered travel industry is facing further setbacks and confusion.
Is it just me or does this new Covid variant sound like a Transformers character? I keep expecting it to turn into a sci-fi spaceship that lands on earth like a meteor causing extinction of life as we know it. Both governments’ dialogue around this new variant is working as they hoped. Slowing down social interaction (or are we just moving it to a domestic setting), dramatically damaging business but with no compensation for the affected. The FM says she’s continuing to ask Westminster for financial support, this can only mean bad news is to follow. The corporate world is towing the line although a few firms are challenging and keeping teams in the office. The public have been out and about with an attitude of “I’m cancelling nothing” but I wonder how long this will last. News of the Downing Street “Parties that didn’t happen Parties” in 2020 and Mr & Mrs Johnson news of breaking the Covid bubble rule for their freshly decorated apartment warming, on top of the jetset frivalry in Glasgow last month, means there really is little incentive or desire to self punish, when others are self satisfying. Maybe someone is trying to get cheap Christmas crackers for their next Secret Santa office party as there are going to be thousands flooding eBay shortly. Punch is definitely on the menu this festive season but it’s not being served in a bowl but in a bag and hospitality is getting it all.
Could any of you ever imagine that we’re facing another Christmas of uncertainty. Maybe it is a real life sci-fi movie that we’ve (I’m removing the word accidentally) landed in.
I thought it was good news that Omicron was the milder variant? While it is more transmissible, symptoms seem to be mild and the WHO has reported there have been zero reported deaths so far from it. The battle of Omicron versus Delta will be won by the less aggressive successor. Surely this is how the virus evolves and we get used to living with it, with vaccination boosts to keep us safe. The experts say the science can’t confirm the true effects for a further few weeks. It just feels very exhausting that we’re here again, despite everything that we’ve all been through already. If there is low health risk in this case then the propaganda will have been damage rather than control for some.
Germany has imposed a national lockdown for the unvaccinated and cancelled their Christmas markets. In Italy you need a vaccine passport or negative test to get on a bus. France has closed nightclubs even with their vaccine passport entry. In Greece if you are over 60 and are unvaccinated you have to pay the government 100 Euro per month indefinitely. In California children over five are mandated to have a vaccine, without one they will not be allowed to attend school. Here restrictions are going to be reviewed daily according to the FM, with potentially worse news any day which might match a Plan C from south of the border, oh here we go! I feel we’re almost back in March 2020 but this time we know what the next few months will look like. When the spaceship does land I’ll be updating.
I have no idea how we will cope with the new isolation rule. From yesterday household contacts will be asked to self isolate for 10 days regardless of their vaccination status or negative PCR test. This will have a profound effect on the work force that can’t work from home. Be prepared for big disruption from shortages of personnel in hospitals, health care, schools, retail to the service sector.
Please be rest assured that we continue to be vigilant and we continue to take all steps to ensure our venues are a confident environment for you to enjoy good food with colleagues, friends and loved ones.
All of this aside, Victor and I would like to wish you all a very happy, peaceful and healthy festive season. Despite all the worry, throw caution to the wind and be happy. (Am I talking to myself again?). For those of you who are not able to celebrate with loved ones, we’re thinking about you. My phone will be off but I’m always on firstname.lastname@example.org we can help. If you need anyone to talk to please phone Nonna, as the restaurants are closed on 25th and 26th and we’ll need a rest as she really loves a chat. The children (16, 18 and 20 hardly babies any more) will all be home and we can’t wait to share good food and make new happy memories and say thank goodness, we’ve made it through another year, we’re all well and we have much to be grateful for, our team, our suppliers, our partners and all of you are very much in that long list of life’s blessings.
Keep well and keep safe
Carina, Victor and all the Contini family
CHRISTMAS AT HOME
Remember to order your Contini Christmas at Home delivery22nd, 23rd &24th December.
It’s the perfect treat for the whole family and relieves any stress and pressure on the cook, simply put our handy containers in the oven and pour yourself another glass of bubbly….
CONTINI & SPICE & ALL THINGS NICE
Visit our shop to order your festive treats today!
All items available for collection from 103 George Street
FESTIVE OPENING HOURS
Contini George Street
Breakfast Monday to Saturday 10-11.15am
Lunch Monday to Sunday 12-3pm
Kitchen closed 3-5.30pm
Dinner Monday to Saturday 5-9pm // Sunday 5.30-8pm
Cannonball Restaurant & Bar
Closed Sunday & Monday
Restaurant open for dinner Wednesday to Saturday 5.30-9pm
Restaurant open for lunch 31st December and every Saturday 12-3pm
Bar open Tuesday to Saturday for drinks 12-10pm and bar menu 12-6pm
The Scottish Cafe & Restaurant
Open 7 days
Afternoon Tea 10am-3.30pm
All venues closed 25th and 26th December
All venues open as listed abovefrom 27th December
All venues open at noon on 1st January