Don't get too excited, you're still not allowed to dine in. However, wunderkind chef Stewart Wesson and maître d' Luke Turton have devised a menu and method to bring a lot more than just the food of Part Time Lover into your home.
Part Time Lover re-opens
The blinds are down and the doors closed at the Greenhill Road restaurant Whistle and Flute. There are the tell-tale signs of coronavirus here: a restaurant packed up and looking a little dusty.
In fact, Whistle & Flute has just reopened. The business flung open its tiny courtyard over the weekend to allow people to pop in and pick up the restaurant’s lauded brunch offering.
Chef at Whistle & Flute, Stewart Wesson is here to meet us today – not to talk about Whistle, but to hand us a meal from Part Time Lover that he wants us to cook for ourselves.
It’s the first step Stewart and co-owners of Part Time Lover, Josh Baker and Luke Turton, have taken towards resuming business since they shuttered operations on 23 March.
This Friday, 24 April, Part Time Lover is re-opening to the world with a menu from Stewart specially designed to be heated up and plated up by you at home.
“I started really missing cooking,” says Stewart. “It’s something that gets drilled into you as a chef – working long hours – and I’ve done it for such a long time that I thought taking a step back from the business I would enjoy the downtime, but I really missed cooking.”
This led Stewart to – like so many of us – start working from home.
“I started plating up some stuff at home to get back into the routine of it and this got me thinking of our menu in a different context.
“Some businesses never stopped doing takeaway food, but restaurant-quality food is different and it doesn’t travel well,” says Stewart. “Cooking Part Time Lover food in my own home made me think how we might do Part Time Lover food in other people’s homes.”
The system is simple.
You order based on how many people you’re feeding and the chef will prepare a deconstructed version of a Part Time Lover meal, which you simply need a pot of boiling water to bring to aromatic life in your own home (a microwave helps, too).
The chef has made short and simple image-based instructions and the cooking time is less than 10 minutes – and CityMag can confirm, it tastes just like it does in the restaurant.
“I get so frustrated that everyone loves the chef, but I get it,” says Luke Turton, maître d’ at Part Time Lover, with a laugh. “They don’t come there for me.”
But when we think of Part Time Lover, we actually do think of the great ambiance and service.
“That’s all I’ve got to bring,” says Luke with deference.
“I’m all about the nuances, very sensory, very tactile. When I walk into a restaurant I almost want to close my eyes and think, ‘How’s the music? How’s the temperature?’ and then open your eyes and ask, ‘How’s the lighting? How does everyone look? Does it look like they’re having a good time?'”
It was with this in mind that Luke sought to bump up the experience of Part Time Lover at home.
“So we’ve put together a playlist that’s really ‘us'” says Luke. “I’m throwing in the Part Time Love napkins and accoutrements so you can set up the table at home and listen to the music – loud – and feel like you’re with us when you’re preparing the meal, all the way through to packaging up the leftovers.”
“Music is so important,” Stewart adds, nodding.
“Everyone connects through music,” adds Luke.
Carrying out our paper bag full of chickpea dumplings with spiced yoghurt, chilli oil and sumac, plus a serving of Egyptian celebration rice with slow-cooked lamb and chicken, we note we can still hear music booming from Whistle & Flute as we reach our car and appreciate what a wonderful ingredient it is.
You can watch CityMag make the meal at home on our Instagram Story now.