According to an eye witness account from one diner, around 50 masked and hooded looters, armed with knives, rocks in socks and wooden bats, smashed down the glass front door of The Ledbury in Notting Hill at around 10.30pm during evening service and yelled at diners to ‘get down’.
They reportedly began demanding those present to hand over their valuables.
One diner, food blogger Louise Yang, wrote on her blog Naked Sushi: “I got down and started taking off my wedding and engagement ring to hide somewhere, but unfortunately wasn’t fast enough. One looter came up and demanded my phone. I didn’t have it with me since it was in my purse and it was out of arm reach. I also didn’t want to lead him to my passport, so I said I didn’t have one.
“He told me to take off my rings and grabbed my hand, trying to yank them off. His friend tried to help too, but the rings wouldn’t come off and I just yelled at him that I’d take them off myself.”
Brave kitchen staff at the restaurant, owned by Australian chef Brett Graham, scared off looters with a variety of kitchen utensils, including rolling pins but not knives, before helping to calm frightened diners.
Upon fearing a repeat attack, staff at The Ledbury instructed the 30 odd diners to lock themselves in the restaurant’s wine cellar.
Around 10 police officers arrived to calm the situation, which had been dissolved by around 11.15pm.
Looters had targeted other hospitality businesses in the area, including Bumpkin, The Walmer pub and Ottolenghi, all of which had windows smashed.
Graham, who was not present at the restaurant at the time, said he intended to carry on with business as usual and will open The Ledbury for lunch service today at 12pm.
“We’re not going to let them stop us trading,” he said.
Staff at The Ledbury are currently tidying the mess left by looters and installing a new wooden door which is likely to become permanent.