North East chef and restaurateur Terry Laybourne is running a new click and collect food and drink service

Terry and some of his chefs are getting back to work in the kitchen at his flagship 21 restaurant on Newcastle’s Quayside.

It’s a welcome relief for the multi-award-winning chef, who had to furlough his staff in the 21 Hospitality Group’s six Newcastle restaurants when the lockdown was imposed in March.

Like many of us, he’d believed the government when they said the lockdown would only last two weeks. It now seems unlikely that Café 21, Saltwater Fish Co, Porterhouse, 21, the Broad Chare and St Vincent will be able to open until July at the earliest, and even then, anti-social distancing restrictions will make it practically impossible for restaurants and bars to be profitable.

Terry explained: “Not many of us envisioned that we would still be living under such challenging conditions. The fine weather and the many messages of goodwill from customers have made things a little more bearable, but it’s been tough. We all miss the work, cooking, serving and looking after our diners.

“Last weekend brought an about-turn in my thinking on all things takeaway. I was adamant I didn’t want to do it, but here we are a week or so later launching 21 at Home. We hope we can all have a bit of fun with it: keep ourselves stimulated, our minds active and customers well-fed.”

Initially, Terry and his team are offering a collection service Thursday to Saturday 4pm-7pm, starting with a choice of 21 crowd pleasers.
Ordering is simple: visit, click on the calendar to select a date, choose a collection slot, choose your favourite menu items, then check out and follow the payment instructions.

Terry said: “We’re offering some of our best loved dishes along with detailed cooking instructions allowing people to re-create their own 21 experience with ease.

“We’re already expanding our initial limited menu, offering people some comfort food, celebration cakes and a bit of luxury too, which I’m sure many will be missing.”

He added that early summer is the most exciting time of the year for chefs, because all the new season fruit and veg is ready. “Out in the field we’ve had an abundance of wild garlic and woodruff and as the seasons alter, we’re anticipating the first elderflowers and early English strawberries.”

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