Author: Sophie McLean
In the last few days, as the hospitality world continues to face unprecedented challenges, many restaurant operations have had to make heart-breaking decisions over their short, and long-term, futures, with some having had to choose to close fully. However, the intrinsic creativity within this industry remains alive, and some of our restaurateur friends are trialling alternative methods to ensure that exciting dining doesn’t have to be fully off-the-menu in the coming weeks and months. With adversity, comes diversity.
The government has relaxed its policies on takeaway food, meaning we can still enjoy top-notch cooking and ingredients, as well as offering some solace to an industry that is feeling largely on its knees. This is not just about pleasing our taste buds gratuitously; this is much more about helping in some way to futureproof (hopefully) the businesses we’ve grown to love, and those that have become stalwarts on the dining scene. Long may these continue. Spare a thought for the wonderfully talented, dedicated staff who make these establishments the life and soul of our long-lunchtimes and sociable evenings and buy a dish, or a voucher – something to look forward to.
Until we can revel in the ambience of these smart set-ups again, here’s a short-list of places to try and those doing great community things in the meantime.
Bistrotheque, Bethnal Green – launching on Mothering Sunday, you can order from a list of greatest hits for takeaway or delivery – and if you pre-order before Sunday, you might find their favourite Greek drag act on delivery duty, as an added incentive.
James Ramsden has launched Homing Pidgin – a pivot on the original Pidgn in Hackney. This new service will see a weekly-changing three-course collection meal for £25 per person, Wednesday to Sunday.
Peckham bites: Fine dining in Peckham remains a reality. Artusi (at the time of writing) is offering BYO-tupperware options for those craving their delicious Italo-inspired menu and fresh pasta – loudly supported by fellow Italophile and chef Angela Hartnett. New-to-town but already with a big following, Peckham Cellars are also offering a take-out service.
Farringdon’s Quality Chop restaurant, deli and wine bar are offering a daily collection and delivery service (Monday to Saturday) of ready-to-cook family pies and “good-for-two” ready meals that include things like Harrisa lamb, aubergine ragù (£19.95).
Mayfair favourite Kitty Fisher’s will be setting up shop with a delivery package that will include a pre-mixed version of the Kitty Fisher’s signature cocktail – the Bad Kitty, a fruity mixture of gin, sloe gin, elderflower, lemon and Cava.
Spanish vibes: From Monday 23rd March ArrosQD – one of the more recently opened examples in the capital’s explosion of Spanish cuisine – will be offering their Valencian-themed cuisine to take-away, under the tag-line of “Fire & Rice”. Fans of the long-time tapas restaurant Ibérica will be able to do the same, as well as having the opportunity to buy vouchers – valid for 18 months, from which the company is giving 12.5% to their staff, straight away. Pizarro has launched a self-styled José-Deli at its Bermondsey Street as they close the restaurant, selling all remaining stocks and giving all profits to the staff and locally elderly people.
No longer open, but…
Many of these are available through Deliveroo and UberEats too – where you can choose the distancing delivery options too.
Out of town
The Olive Branch, Clipsham – long-time Michelin-guide Gastropub, the OB is continuing to serve customers with quality ingredients with things like hand-cut 40-day dry-aged sirloin steaks for £6.95 each, reinventing themselves as a Pub Village Shop (loo roll, bread and eggs also on takeaway) with a safe-distance collection bay.
The Royal George, Appledore – this West Country outpost is offering a takeaway menu and delivery. They have also set up their own van specialising in their own pies. A top spot for those in North Devon, with Mother’s Day roasts to go.
The Sun Inn, Dedham – this local gastro-Inn is hosting a menu of “finish at home” dishes alongside boxes of fruit and veg, loo roll, dry goods, and wines and spirits
Our thoughts and taste-buds remain with our friends, for their happy, continued future trading.
Please note all the information above was correct at the time of publication; however please do call ahead or check restaurants’ social media channels for the latest information.If you’re interested in finding out about more ways to support the hospitality industry, Ed Smith is providing a round up of take-out/cook-at-home restaurant services, as well as suggestions for local, independent food shops, on his blog Rocket & Squash