Monday 16 January 2017 11:56 am

A London restaurant has offered to lock up your mobile phone while you eat

Today, our dinner tables ring out with the buzzes and pings of mobile phones calling out for attention. What happened to good, old-fashioned conversation over a cuppa?

Well, a London restaurant and tea house is hoping to find out with a new (though optional) policy to lock up customers' phones while they eat.

The Tea Terrace Restaurants and Tea Rooms said their so-called "phonetentiary" is a small box fitted with a combination lock so customers can ditch their mobile devices at the table.

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Only the wait staff will know the combination to release your phone from the box, which is disguised as a book so it won't look out of place on the table.

Rowena Shouly, director of the Tea Terrace, said the restaurant is working to get customers to take a break from social media and enjoy conversations away from digital distractions.

"We want to bring back good old conversations. Very often we see guests, especially families with tweens or teenagers, not engaging in conversation because the children are on their smart phones. Or sometimes, friends would be busy posting photos of themselves at our tea rooms or their food or our lovely throne chairs on social media," she added.

"In the old days the tradition of afternoon tea was a social occasion for the guests to enjoy conversations and a bit of gossip," Rowena said.

The lock-up box will also be available for customers to buy so they can try the social experiment at home.

Read more: Avocad-no: A London restaurant is banning avocado