South London: Pub landlord beatsTier 2 with instant meals

The landlord of a pub in Plumstead has managed to bypass the tier two restrictions by using instant meals made by adding hot water so they can open over the crucial Christmas period.

The aptly-named ‘The Who’d A Thought It’ was one of thousands of ‘wet pubs’ in England left in limbo after London entered into Tier Two last week, meaning only pubs that served substantial meals could reopen.

The pub doesn’t even have a kitchen, but faced with losing £5,000 a week in the run up to Christmas, landlord Brian Hall came up with a clever if slightly sneaky plan to serve new instant meals to meet the Government’s guidelines.

Surrey Comet:

Partnering with Huel, the pub is now offering the brand’s Hot & Savoury instant meals, made by simply adding boiling water and costing just £3.50 a meal.

The self-confessed ‘old boys pub’ in south east London typically serves around 1,000 pints a week to customers, but “food was never our thing,” said Brian, adding: “We thought we’d never be able to meet the ‘substantial meal’s requirement.

“We’re a proper local’s pub and being closed has been tough for our regulars, especially the old boys who come down most days for a pint and a chat.

Surrey Comet:

“Huel Hot & Savoury is a pretty clever way to hack the system as all you need is a kettle, a bowl and a spoon.

“It’s a hell of a lot healthier than the packet of peanuts our regulars are used to having with their pint, and if it means that we can get our doors open in the run up to Christmas then we’re all for it.”

With flavours including Thai Green Curry, Mexican Chilli and Tomato & Herb, the food is a saving grace for pubs not equipped with kitchens and trained chefs.

Ever since the lockdown lifted, the debate has raged about what constituted a ‘substantial meal’, and while perhaps not a traditional pint accompaniment, each Hot & Savoury meal is nutritionally complete, say Huel.

Surrey Comet:

It is made with whole food and natural ingredients, including 24 grams of plant-based protein and all 26 essential vitamins and minerals.

Last week the Beer & Pub association estimated that 14,000 of the 21,000 pubs in tier two would remain closed as they cannot serve meals or do not believe it’s financially viable to open.

Surrey Comet | Kingston