Masks, QR codes, and ‘the new normal’ of eating out.

Are you a little apprehensive about going out for a bite to eat or grabbing a drink at the local pub? If you feel ready to head out, but you’re a little nervous about what to expect from the ‘new normal’, you’ve come to the right place. Today I’m going to talk you through my Brunch experience at Bex Toppin and Will Pierce’s café ‘Robinsons’ on Bishopthorpe Road in York.

If you know me, you’ll know that brunch Is one of my FAVOURITE meals of the day. It’s just perfect, nicely squeezed in between breakfast and lunch, and easily the most versatile meal of the day. If you fancy fruit, granola, yoghurt and freshly squeezed OJ at ten, go for it gal. If you want avo on toast and an iced coffee at eleven, be my guest. Pancakes at twelve? You’re covered. See what I mean? Going out for Brunch is possibly one of the greatest things in the world. Ok, maybe I’m being a bit dramatic, but you get my drift. 

This morning I decided to head out to my local café for a bite to eat. Robinson’s has been a long-time favourite hangout spot of mine as its local, independent, and has a super tasty brunch menu with some bangin’ coffee. After walking past their closed-door many times over the last few months of lockdown, I was excited to head back. Although I had been out for dinner once since lockdown was lifted, I was still a little apprehensive. What would the queue be like? Would I be distanced from people? What would the wait time and the service be like? I’m sure I’m not alone in wondering what the ‘new normal’ is going to be like for dining out. 

I arrived at Robinson’s around twelve-thirty with my housemate and there was a small queue of two groups in front of us. The café was bustling, and the large outside seating area and newly extended interior worked brilliantly as distancing between the tables didn’t seem to be a problem for the team at all. After waiting only five minutes, we were asked to give our names and contact details to a masked waitress before heading inside. On walking in, we were kindly asked to sanitise our hands before heading to our table. The tables and chairs had just been sanitised before we sat down and the restaurant looked as lovely as ever. The waitress who showed us to our table made us feel comfortable and safe as she explained the new table service ordering procedure and their online menu that was now available through scanning a QR code on a smartphone. No touching of grubby menus here, it was all contactless.

After deciding on creamy truffled mushrooms on sourdough and an iced coffee (with oat milk, of course, I’m still hooked), a waitress wearing a face mask came to take our order. All of the staff were wearing masks which was great to see, and it really did feel like they were putting the safety of their customers first. The service was as quick as normal, and my creamy truffle mushrooms with poached eggs was divine. No extra salt and pepper needed here, it was seasoned to perfection, mmmmmh deeelicious. 

After we chatted, drank and ate, we picked up the bill. The menu prices were no more expensive in comparison to before lockdown, even considering the additional changes the restaurant had had to make to accommodate social distancing and the government safety guidelines. We were not rushed from our table at all despite there being a small queue outside of the café. After paying contactless, we headed home full and happy with our first brunch experience since lockdown. 

Safe to say, I will be heading back soon! Thanks Robinsons!

E x 

*The front cover photo of this article was taken in 2019 before Robinsons expanded, and before the Coronavirus Pandemic hit.

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