Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > U.K./Ireland >
Apr 13, 2012 06:39 AM

Reservations during the Olympics

I'm heading to London for the Olympics in July with my sister and a couple of friends, and I'd like to take my sister out to a nice restaurant for her 30th birthday. I'm trying to decide which place to take her so I can make reservations once they start taking them for that timeframe. The restaurants I was thinking about are:
The Fat Duck
Waterside Inn
The Ledbury
Pollen Street Social

Any thoughts among those options or do you have any other ideas (i.e Gordon Ramsey, L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon - love the Las Vegas one, Alain Ducasse, or Hibiscus)?

We won't have a car, so how difficult is it to get to and from Bray for a meal at The Fat Duck or Waterside Inn by train?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Good luck Doug on getting into any of the above restaurants..
    Having been to Olympics in other parts of the world, it's a complete and utter zoo for dining and especially, fine dining...maybe London will be different...hope so!
    One of my fave pubs is White Horse with great food and beer.
    Have a great time!

    1. Getting to Bray should be the easy bit. Train to Maidenhead, then taxi. Perhaps there's a quicker route (I'm not from those parts).

      Trickier might be getting the reservation. Fat Duck is a nightmare at the best of times. Their website says they have introduced a new system from 1/4 which makes bookings available 91 days in advance. Ring on the dot of 11am the precise day to fit when you want to go. It will be engaged. Keep trying. Eventually it will ring and you'll be in the queue. In due course, you'll get to speak to someone. They will tell you that all tables for your requested day have gone. It will be now be about 11.15. Bound to be far, far worse during the Olympics.

      We will be trying to score a table at the Waterside for mid-August. They don't open their book until 1/5. I'm not hopeful. It's clear that it is going to be a very busy time. Hotel in Maidenhead we used when we visited the Fat Duck and wanted to use again has upped its prices by around 300% for the two nights we wanted, which made it not affordable - special occasion or not.

      1. I think the others are correct that getting into the top London restaurants around the Olympics is going to be a tough slog. But go for it.. you have nothing to lose but some money on phone calls. Or.. think of someplace that isn't high on the minds of others, perhaps, but is very decent and a bit less popular. Min Jiang is a wonderful Chinese restaurant in a hotel on Kensington High St. It overlooks Kensington Gardens and would be lovely for a birthday celebration.. maybe someplace like that?

        Perhaps I should open a restaurant during the Olympic weeks. :-)

        2 Replies
        1. re: zuriga1

          I was living in Sydney during the 2000 Olympics and the feared difficulty of getting reservations didn't really materialise. Yes, some places book out to the Corporate Hospitality brigade who take the whole restaurant for client functions, and the mid-range and bars did get crowded but for many other places it was business as usual (much to the owners disappointment). Sports fans are often not keen gourmets.

          So places like the Fat Duck, Dinner, Waterside Inn with established reservation systems won't be more difficult, or easier than normal. Best to simply go for it and you should be OK. Bray by train and taxi is easy and not overly expensive - the FD will arrange for a taxi back to the station in Maidenhead.

          The same was true for many who expected to rent their houses for short term gain over the period, a few do make good money, but the majority found it not to be the gravy train they thought it would be. As Harter's said Hotels will try to boost revenue - but look out for bette deals closer to the time.

          1. re: PhilD

            There's deals around already, Phil. Having decided that we were not going to spend several hundred quid for 2 nights at an albeit pleasant if average hotel in Maidenhead, we're spending a tad less than sixty quid at the Premier Inn at High Wycombe.

            Should be good if I can get the tables. Waterside on celebration night; Hand & Flowers on the other - and lunch at Le Manoir on the way home.

        2. Thanks for the suggestions. I guess I'll just try and see what I can get then go from there.

          Min Jiang was actually another place that was on my list.

          Has anyone been to the Chef's Table at Dinner? That is available for booking now and it sounds like there is availability. Is it worth it?