For any occasion …
We’re still in lockdown, and we still cannot even go and sit in a cafe to enjoy a coffee in an actual cup, instead of a take away compostable vessel. At least spring is in the air, the parks in Central London offer a touch of colour to an otherwise grey city and the daffodils are peeping from the ground that only two weeks ago was solid frozen.
One of the things we can do to cheers ourselves us is to order a delivered fine dining experience. I have been using these since lockdown 1.0, and I confess this has been the opportunity to try the food of restaurants I have yet to be able to visit. So it’s not all bad!
Below – in no particular order – a selection of ideas for any weekend treat, let’s be honest. Don’t we all need a bit of pampering?
Alyn Williams at home **new**
Chef Alyn Williams is back on the scene after an over a year and a half of absence, and not just due to the pandemic. I had to order one of his dine at home boxes, as I absolutely love his delicate and creative flair in the kitchen. Alyn Williams at home is reasonably priced, can be ordered just for one person too, and every two weeks the menu changes, offering a vegetarian and a meaty / fishy option. Our box included a flavour packed, umami rich cured sea bream with cucumber, apple and ponzu dressing and a braised rib of beef with dauphinoise potato and smoked carrots (which the 4 year old couldnt get enough of). Look our for the really cute, personalised tags, drawn by Alyn’s wife.
Price from £45 pp, order form Alyn Williams at Home website.
HAME by Adam Handling
No secrets Adam is one of my favourite chefs and I have been loving his food for years. He was one of the first to launch ‘home boxes’ and boy, have they been successful! He offers set menus, a la carte as well as occasion (his NYE boxes sold out very quickly!).
£200 for 2, order from HAME website.
Made in Oldstead by Tommy Banks
I have not yet visited Black Swan at Oldstead in Yorkshire, but a trip up north has been on the cards for ages. When Michelin starred Tommy Banks launched his ‘Made in Oldstead’ boxes for delivery nationwide earlier in lockdown 1, it was the chance to finally try his food.
I have so far had two boxes and I cannot believe how good they are and the value for money! In fact, they now sell out very quickly.
From £54 for 2, order from the Made in Oldstead website.
Sunday Caddies by Matt Gillian
Just like Tommy Banks, Matt Gillian is another chef I’d been meaning to visit for ages, and he’s not even that far away from London. Having failed miserably, I managed to order one of his classic goat caddies recently and absolutely loved it.
Very good amount of food, and really delicious. I then also ordered one of his weekly caddies, just as satisfying and couldn’t recommend more.
From £18, order from Parlour website
Klose & Soan kits
The last meal I had before everything closed down in early December was at Unwined, in Lower Marsh, with my friend Felicity. The kitchen is managed by duo Klose & Soan; their food earthy, rustic and flavoursome with middle eastern and mediterranean influences. Once lockdown struck, they started delivering frozen meals and kits as well as a weekly pasta night, mainly around SE London.
Prices vary, order from the Klose & Soan website
Lake District Farmers chef collaboration
I have also been ordering boxes of ethically reared meat from a couple of srouces, including Lake District Farmers, and I am very happy with their quality. They also offer bespoke menus collaboration with high profiles chefs.
I had intended to order one of these by Marcus Wareing and then ended up choosing Jason Atherton’s as the menu suited the fussy husband better. It was a really good treat which included petit fours too.
Prices vary, around £120 for 2. Order from the Lake District Farmers website
Less known than the above chefs and restaurants, I came across FJ Delivers on Instagram , of course. Like Klose & Soan they are based on South East London, so a given for us.
Their menus are earthy, classic and french inspired and offer really good value for money. Delivery is on fridays and a new menu is published every saturday. The flexibility is great as you can order one veggie meal and one meaty, not something usually possible.
From £30 per person, order from the FJ Delivers website.
Another one of my favourites, which I have used a couple of times since lockdown 1, is social enterprise Fat Macy’s. They do deliver, and now that they have a brick and mortar location in Victoria, they also do on the day delivery as well as pick up. Look out for special editions menus (International Women’s Day, Easter); I could’nt recommend them more.
Prices vary, order from the Fat Macy’s website
1251 by James Cochran
The first of this list I have not actually ordered yet, but I have eaten at chef James Cochran’s restaurant in Islington a couple of times, so I know his food is great. Spicy, creative, with plenty of influences from Scotland to the West Indies, his boxes are mouthwateringly good.
From £120 for 2, order via Slerp
JOY by Stevie Parle
Oh I have missed Stevie’s food! We used to be regulars at the Dock Kitchen, what a beautiful place it was. So when Stevie announced he was coming back on the same site with the loudly named JOY it was… well, a JOY. We still haven’t been back as moving about town has become impossible thanks to TfL, but it possible to order food delivered so it is something I intend to do asap. The menu is extensive and flexible and includes groceries too.
Prices vary, order from Flora website
Darby’s at home
Darby’s is an elegant restaurant surrounded by extremely ugly new buildings, notably the American Embassy. Still, even sitting on the bright outdoor terrace, you can just gaze inside towards the stylish interior. That is once restaurants actually reopen. For now, they offer a variety of delivered meals (occasion or not) and they have a take away ‘hatch’ open during the day.
Prices vary, order via Restokit website