Speaking on The Restaurant podcast, the chef says he would have liked to reopen his restaurant earlier but felt that his customers would want to see familiar faces when they come back through its doors.
“My GM broke his leg and my assistant manager is going back to Italy for an extended period,” he says. “I thought we could get round that, but initially when restaurants open up the people who are going to come and eat are your regulars, the people that love your restaurant.
"If we were to open without a recognisable presence on the floor that would have caused an issue. People want to see someone they recognise.”
Tunaka, whose restaurant is located on Charlotte Street, a popular dining destination that is home to numerous places to eat and drink, acknowledges that reopening will be a challenge but believes that it will be his regular customers that will likely be the first to pay The Ninth a visit.
“Opening a restaurant any tie in London is a challenge – pretty much every restaurant will be opening in a two to three-month period. It won’t be so much competition for new people, though People have just been missing normal things.
“As soon as I heard restaurants could reopen on 4 July I booked into three of my favourite restaurants. It’s not a case of trying something new, I want to go back to experience something I love and miss.”
When The Ninth does reopen it will have a shorter menu that will see a return of his customers’ favourite dishes. “People are missing things that made them feel comfortable,” he says. “I feel people will want to recognise old favourite dishes.”
The restaurant will continue the takeaway offer it launched during lockdown on a permanent basis and will also sell wines at retail prices.It has also just launched The Ninth Barbecue Box, a selection of prime cuts, summer vegetables, dressings and condiments people to make a meal at home this summer.
The box contains its own QR code, which links to a special tutorial video, where Tunaka shows how best to make a meal using the ingredients.
“You’ve got to be diversified, you cant rely on just one aspect of business of personal finances as it makes you really vulnerable,” says Tanaka. “If anything like this happens again you’re better protected.”