One of the great joys of living in New York is the many wonderful and varied restaurants. But booking a table at, say, some currently cool bistro can often be quite a challenge. There are many booking websites and apps to help, but one that recently caught my attention – when a friend managed to score a table at Alan Yau’s Park Chinois in London with little effort or advance planning – is Velocity.
The app features more than 1,100 restaurants – over 90 of them Michelin starred – in London and New York, as well as Miami, San Francisco and Los Angeles. In addition to stellar venues such as Blue Hill and Daniel in New York, or Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and Coya in London, Velocity specialises in under-the-radar finds, which are suggested by location, occasion and availability. In New York this might include the thoroughly cool Musket Room in NoHo or the cosy Takashi ramen spot in the West Village – or, as in the case of my trial run, at Rotisserie Georgette on a bustling Friday night.
It was quick to download and easy to use, with a streamlined interface featuring information about the type of cuisine, menu highlights and price points. Unlike some other restaurant sites and services, Velocity won’t show you unavailable bookings, which means less precious minutes wasted searching for an unobtainable prime-time booking and more time spent discovering new hidden gems. And it not only allows diners to book a table, but also to pay for it – including the tip.
Further launches are planned for Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai later this year, with pop-up services ranging from Cannes for the film festival to Aspen and Verbier for the ski season.