I'm excited to finally be able to announce that this iteration of Wander will be closing on Nov 8th 2022.
Nov 8 will be exactly 5 years since Wander first opened, which is honestly all I could have ever dreamed of for my first restaurant. When I moved to the UK to open, making it this far was my primary goal, and what I have achieved in this space has exceeded my wildest expectations. I have been thinking about this for quite some time, actually making the decision back in Jan, so have had some time to come to terms with all that this means, but with only 3 months left to go it now feels right to share the news with everyone. Honestly it is a bittersweet decision, but after being separated from my home since the pandemic begun, continuing to go through everything with immigration, and after finally being able to spend time with my family over the past few months when they have visited London, it has made me realise that I want to be able to spend more time at home.
I think most people by now know that Wander is just me. Over the years I have sacrificed everything to make this restaurant work and I really am so proud of what I’ve accomplished alone. I’ve never had any outside investors, no loans or debt and I came to London with a relatively small amount of money, took a site that nobody wanted, and I slowly learnt how to build and run a restaurant. For the first year of Wander, I lived in the basement ( sleeping on a couch because I was always scared of getting caught because technically you aren’t meant to live in a restaurant ), and over the years anything I could by myself I did, learning and figuring things out day by day. I was probably pretty naive in the beginning and was initially met with quite a bit of doubt, but over time I developed the skills required to manage a restaurant single handedly, a challenge that despite my extensive experience in hospitality was extremely overwhelming at times. Even through a global pandemic, I persevered and continued to grow Wander, renovating and transforming the space into a very successful business that I believe has accomplished the goals I had when I first envisioned opening my own restaurant.
The name Wander came from the quote “all that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost”. In my career as a young chef I travelled a lot, working in many places and restaurants and consequently many people thought I lacked direction or was wasting my talent. But every decision I made regarding my career was made with the end goal of opening this. I've never been attracted to big glitzy fit outs or spaces and like my restaurants, small, independent and with a lot of heart. Substance over style was always my primary goal and whilst I have a few haters, it seems most guests really have come to love what I have created here with my limited resources. Whilst N16 has become my second home and this past 5 years has been the longest I have ever spent in one place other than Cronulla, my idea of Wander was that it was always temporary, transferable, or moveable and hopefully I'll reopen it in another location. Whilst there is no denying how tough the last few years have been and there looks to be quite a few more challenges on the horizon for my industry, there is no question that I will open something else. My greatest love is hospitality and I truly believe I was designed for restaurants. It is in my blood and I struggle being away from service for too long, so my current plan is to have a summer at home with my family before hopefully returning to London in April ( dependent on the Home Office ) and working on whatever it is I do next. First I just need to take a bit of a break, recharge and spend some time in the ocean before deciding when, where, what and why.
Wander will be open for the next 3 months before having our final service on our 5th birthday. It's been very difficult for me to keep this secret and consequently, I have been laying very low the past few months whilst finalising my decision. I'm sorry if your email requests for private hire, vouchers etc have gone unanswered but I have needed to take a little distance for things whilst I came to terms with and plan for what is next.
If you have been to the restaurant lately you will have noticed and no doubt commented on the fact that it is just me. Yes I do all the cooking and the floor and the wine and the dishes etc, and no I don't think that I’m crazy. Honestly not having staff has been liberating and a step I wish I took ages ago. In a time when I have had so much uncertainty around my long term future I did not want to recruit staff only to tell them a few months later that the business would be closing. To me it's not amazing or weird, it's just a natural progression of what I always have done at Wander, and maybe with the current staffing crisis it will be a step you will see others take as well. However it does mean on each night I do less covers, with only a max of 22pax a night. I have opened up online reservations for the final 3 months up to Oct 22. In that time we will be serving our usual menu and over the coming weeks I will have a think about what I want to do for our final 2 weeks. Hopefully giving everyone notice of Wander closing will allow our guests a chance to come in before we close.
Im sorry if this comes as a shock to some people, but please don’t be sad, or view this news as negative, I’ve taken a long time to come to this decision, and whilst I will miss this space, I am super excited for the future. The reality is this whole thing has been well beyond anything I could have ever dreamed of and I look forward to celebrating Wanders’ success with you over the next few months.
Please read our Cancelation policy below prior to making a reservation
Menus will change daily depending on availability, and we can accomodate dietary requirements only with prior notice. We will be taking only limited reservations online, if the time or date is unavailable please email email@example.com.
We require credit card details to secure a booking. Wander is a small restaurant, and we can only safely welcome 20 guests at one time. Please note if the table is cancelled within 72 hours of arrival time a charge of £40 per person will be taken from the card used to secure the booking.
All bookings more than 15 minutes late without notice to the restaurant will be treated as a No Show and be charged a cancelation fee. We will do our best to contact you in the 72 hours prior to your reservation to confirm, and any dietary requirements not disclosed prior to dining may not be able to be accommodated. We do accept walk in reservations although space is very limited.
We are not currently taking reservations for our Private Dining Room, and the largest table we can currently accommodate is 8 people. We can only accept bookings of up to 4 people online, for larger tables please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.