This month, OpenTable, the world’s leading provider of online restaurant reservations, and Jim’s Café in Hackney will pay homage to the 80th anniversary of the start of rationing in the UK. Opening the Home Front Café on Monday 3rd February, the one-night event will feature a menu designed by ‘One Pound Meals’ chef Miguel Barclay and brought to life for diners by the team at Jim’s Cafe.

Wartime rationing started in January 1940, with cooking staples such as sugar, eggs, butter, milk and meat in limited supply, meaning Brits had to improvise with whatever was available. The ‘Dig For Victory’ campaign had men and women across the UK growing their own vegetables to produce their own source of food. To develop this ‘back to basics’ menu, OpenTable and Jim’s Cafe challenged inventive chef Miguel Barclay to design a ‘rationed’ menu for the 21st century.

Best known for his £1 meals using minimal ingredients, from meat-free to quick and easy recipes, Miguel has designed the dishes from simple rationed ingredients based on the weekly allowances Britons would receive. Guests attending will get the chance to tuck into a classic bubble and squeak with hollandaise sauce to start, followed by a hearty leek and bacon quiche, with a juicy poached pear to finish. Vegan and gluten free options will also be available.

In the 80 years since rationing began, the UK’s culinary scene has developed in leaps and bounds, with food trends and dining habits changing from generation to generation. However, today’s modern trends from sugar and dairy free diets to organic produce, and vegetarian to plant-based alternatives were the norm in the 1940s as Brits became creative trailblazers in the kitchen due to shortages.

Miguel Barclay, chef and author, comments: “Creating these dishes for OpenTable and Jim’s Cafe has been a great chance to further showcase how you can make flavoursome meals with very little. I really enjoyed finding inspiration from the 1940s and putting a modern twist on them. As we have access to so much choice when it comes to cooking, it was great to strip it back and go back to basics.”

Adrian Valeriano, VP EMEA, OpenTable, comments: “Dining habits in the UK are so diverse and have undoubtedly changed significantly from decade to decade, with new trends, changing appetites and global cultural influences significantly impacting the way we eat. Despite all this change we can still look to the past and find parallels in our palates or be reinspired by dishes of time gone by.”

“Limited food sources during the 1940s meant Britons had to make the most of what they had. OpenTable wanted to honour this by revisiting this era and breathing life back into some of Britain’s most classic ingredients.”

The retro three-course meal will be free for guests to book and enjoy via OpenTable, with customers having the opportunity to donate to The Royal British Legion on the night.

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