Belsize Park’s new Mediterranean restaurant has opened its doors to customers for the first time, after the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

Cinder, at 66 Belsize Lane, is owned and managed by chef Jake Finn, who trained at the Ritz.

Jake, who also boasts La Petite Maison and Coya on his CV, has created a menu where everything has “kissed” his beloved Josper grill at least once.

“I think there is nothing purer than cooking food over fire,” he said.

“I’ve been obsessed with barbecue and cooking over grills since I was little – I’m not sure why. But for me it’s unadulterated cooking, food as it was intended to be eaten. At Cinder I’m pushing that obsession out.”

After being forced to delay his opening due to the pandemic, Finn told the Ham&High he is now raring to go.

“I originally intended to open my first restaurant last May, however lockdown took over, so I created my own home delivery service,” he said.

“The home delivery service has enabled me to perfect Cinder’s food offerings.”

The Mediterranean restaurant opened to customers on April 13.

Hannah Morris, a spokesperson for the restaurant, said: “Although Monday’s opening was low key, it was like a riot to get customers seated outside.

“It’s so nice to see all our friends and supporters in the community come and enjoy Jake’s talented culinary skills – even if they’re limited to sitting outside for now.”

Ham & High: Jake has honed his skills at the Ritz, La Petite Maison and CoyaJake has honed his skills at the Ritz, La Petite Maison and Coya (Image: Nic Crilly-Hargrave Photography)

Finn opted to open “quietly” last week so that any teething problems with suppliers and service could be ironed out before the restaurant’s official opening celebration on April 20.

The soft opening was far from quiet, however, as customers were queuing to get seated throughout the week.

The restaurant has three kitchen staff and a general manager, and it has capacity for 16 people seated outside, and 16 inside.

Hannah said: “We’re mostly looking forward to being able to accept customers for dining inside and the countdown for this begins now.”

Like all restaurants and bars across the country, indoor dining will resume from May 17 when Covid-19 restrictions are further relaxed.

You can follow Cinder and Jake on Instagram via @cinder_london and @chefjakefinn

Ham & High: Some of the food from the menuSome of the food from the menu (Image: Hannah Norris)