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Staff at London restaurant fight back against looters

An employee of a looted shop cleans up debris in the aftermath of riots in the Clapham area of London Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2011.

Elizabeth Dalziel/Elizabeth Dalziel/AP

Now that's service.

Staff at The Ledbury, a two Michelin-starred restaurant in London, trounced a horde of looters with rolling pins and fry baskets, then treated rattled diners to petit fours, champagne and whiskey.

The restaurant, a preferred haunt of Kate Moss and Lily Allen in Notting Hill, came under attack around 10:30 p.m. on Monday evening.

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Food blogger Louise Yang and her husband had just tucked into the fourth dish on the tasting menu when the front door came crashing down and looters dressed in hoodies and masks, wielding "random weapons" poured in.

After spotting Ms. Yang's wedding and engagement rings, one thug started yanking at her fingers. "The rings wouldn't come off and I just yelled at him that I'd take them off myself," Ms. Yang wrote on her blog, Naked Sushi.

Having had enough, Ledbury employees sprung into vigilante justice mode: "The kitchen staff went beyond their call of duty by rushing up from the kitchen with rolling pins, fry baskets, and other dangerous kitchen tools and scared off the looters."

As word spread that the mob would be returning for a second round, staff ushered patrons into washrooms, before sequestering them in the wine cellar.

"The kitchen staff came out and got quite vocal. Those burly kitchen boys did us a lot of favours," assistant manager Jason Walker told Decanter.com. Staff were contemplating whether or not to re-open for dinner, fearing more violence on Tuesday.

Looters also targeted nearby Bumpkin, another celebrity-favoured eatery, as well as Jamie Oliver's mammoth Italian flagship restaurant in Birmingham. Mr. Oliver didn't mince words on his Twitter feed: "Time to get our country back now we need 2 come down hard on these idiots."

As for Ms. Yang, her regret seemed to linger on the expensive cheese: "I was sad for the wonderful smelling cheese cart that had glass littered all over it. So much cheese gone to waste!"

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