A touch of lazy luxury is hitting London’s dining scene. There may not be a stack of opulent pillows to recline on as peeled grapes are popped into your mouth one by one, but at the pop-up restaurant Hands Off!, guests won’t have to lift a finger as servers feed them by hand. If you’re parched, the waitstaff will bring a paper straw to your lips. If you’re peckish, chopsticks will bear a selection of nigiri and maki.
Hands Off! will run June 11 to 14; tickets cost £20 ($34), with proceeds going to charity. According to The Independent, the tasting menu (supplied by the U.K.-based restaurant chain Feng Sushi) will include Nippon “mock” duck pancakes, assorted nigiri and maki, and chocolate and strawberry mochi for dessert.
Organized by restaurant discount program Tastecard, the hands-free meal will apparently be the first of its kind to hit the U.K. “Inspired by the Bangkok tradition where it is popular for guests to be honoured, treated with the upmost respect and notably, served by the hosts,” at Hands Off!, the waitstaff will do the heavy lifting.
According to Leela Punyaratabandhu, author of Bangkok (Ten Speed Press, 2017), describing hands-free dining as a tradition in either the Thai capital or the Southeast Asian nation in general is “a huge stretch.” Depicting it as popular – “at least among the locals” – is also an exaggeration.
“This is more of a gimmick than anything else,” says Punyaratabandhu, offering the example of Bangkok’s No Hand Bar & Restaurant, where, the Bangkok Post writes, “luxurious Japanese-style private rooms can be booked for dining and relaxing with the many beautiful female staff.”