The endlessly innovative restaurant industry is nothing if not adaptive. A global pandemic, however, is slightly outside the usual remit of rising rents and a relentlessly competitive market. From hastily organised home delivery operations to cook-at-home ingredient drops, Britain’s restaurants are rising to an unprecedented challenge, so hear their cry – here are the ways you can still sample some of our favourites and support struggling businesses in the process.
Restaurants are turning their kitchens into takeaway machines, hopping on bikes to hand-deliver, finally jumping on the Deliveroo bandwagon or signing up to new platform Slerp. Many are challenged with adapting fine dining fare into food-on-the-move.
- New Whitechapel Gallery restaurant Townsend has launched a delivery service, reconfiguring their signature British fare into a ready-to-eat format, plus hand-selected wines from £10. Any bottle of wine ordered via the Townsend delivery service will come with a free glass to be redeemed at the restaurant when they reopen. E1 7QX; whitechapelgallery.org/townsend
- Coal Office – the food venture from designer Tom Dixon and chef Assaf Granit – is utilising its network of British suppliers to cook a short menu each day at its Coal Drops Yard base, which can be pre-booked and collected in fully prepared or ingredient form. Local deliveries can be done by Boris bike and Deliveroo, while NHS workers get a 50-per-cent discount. Check Instagram for the next day's dish. N1C 4PQ; coaloffice.com
- Southwark’s Native will be delivering a menu of five of their pies, frozen, at £5 each, with the option to add a pint of Two Tribes beers to wash it down with. We’ve got our eye on the wild garlic, leek and mushroom option. SE1 1TU; nativerestaurant.co.uk
- Middle-Eastern masters Honey & Co will be hand-delivering a seasonal selection of nibbles, mains and desserts to doorsteps across London, including a mezze platter, chicken tagine and feta and honey cheesecake. W1T 5LZ; honeyandco.co.uk/catering
- Fulham restaurant Harlequin are introducing ‘Harlequin at Home’, a takeaway menu of dishes – including slow braised goat shoulder, pumpkin, apricot and lentils – that are easily reheated. All meals are for two people and come with a seasonal side dish. SW6 2UF; harlequinrestaurant.co.uk
- Socially-conscious caterers Social Pantry are now delivering breakfast, lunch and dinner packs as well as wine and beers. They’re also offering to throw in four free loo rolls while stocks last. SW18 1SN; socialpantry.co.uk
- Shoreditch’s Passione Vino have launched a ‘wine on wheels’ service, delivering bottles from independent producers on their red Vespa. EC2A 4QS; passionevino.co.uk
- Islington seafood specialists Prawn on the Lawn’s menu is now available to takeaway with 25 per cent discount, plus a selection of wine. Sister restaurant Barnaby’s in Padstow is offering the same. N1 2LH; prawnonthelawn.com / PL28 8AB; barnabyspadstow.com
- Stylish modern Indian restaurant Kricket have introduced a limited-edition menu to order via Deliveroo and to collect from 5pm-10pm, including dishes like Keralan fried chicken and Hyderabadi baby aubergine. Various; kricket.co.uk
- Cult Italian eateries Gloria and Circolo Popolare are exploring all avenues, signing up to food surplus app Karma as well as Deliveroo and UberEats to deliver fresh burrata, pasta fresca, favourite ‘Il Tigramisu’ and more to London's doorsteps. EC2A 3QR & W1T 1HX; bigmammagroup.com
- Glamorous new Soho haunt Folie is offering the new spring menu served on Folie crockery, a full selection of cocktails and wines and a curated Folie playlist. Simple food and wine delivery is also offered across London. W1F 9LB; folie.london
- New opening Bubala in Spitalfields will now be delivering its lauded Middle-Eastern vegetarian fare via Deliveroo each evening. The deep-fried halloumi already has a cult following. E1 6BD; bubala.co.uk
- Award-winning Isle of Wight restaurant The Little Gloster has launched an 'At Home' menu for delivery across much of the island, plus bottles from Wight & Essex Wines. PO31 8JQ; thelittlegloster.com
- The team behind small-but-mighty Islington spot 12:51 will be dropping off orders of a special 'Around the Cluck' menu – including their special jerk chicken and more – by bike, with a 15-per-cent discount for public sector workers. N1 1QN; 1251.co.uk
- Much-loved Shoreditch Thai barbecue The Smoking Goat is now delivering a short daily menu of freshly-made curries and curry pastes to diners’ doorsteps. E1 6JJ; smokinggoatbar.com
- Hackney's Scout Bar – listed at number 28 of the World’s 50 Best Bars – are offering locals a pick-up and delivery service with their most popular bottled cocktails, to jazz up long evenings. E8 1BP; scout.bar
- Borough Market favourite Elliot's have launched a succinct takeaway menu, including their Basque baked cheesecake, plus pre-stirred negronis and a solid wine selection. SE1 9AD; elliotscafe.com
Ready for collection
Those whose models make takeaways tricky are launching careful collection options, with extended offerings and comfort food top of the menu.
- New Somerset haunt 28 Market Place has launched a comforting takeaway menu, including a gourmet shepherd’s pie. It’s collection only, but the team is offering a free delivery service for the vulnerable and elderly within a five mile radius. TA11 7LZ; 28marketplace.co.uk
- Supper club Supa Ya Ramen – the brainchild of ex-Nopi chef Luke Findlay – is delaying the opening of their first permanent site on Hackney Road and instead will run a collection service from a hatch at the site, with delivery options to come shortly. @supa_ya_ramen
- Vauxhall’s Robin Gill venture Darby’s is extending its takeaway offering, adding new dishes to their usual to-go line-up of coffee, in-house pastries and bread from the Darby’s bakery. SW11 7AY; darbys-london.com
Produce and ingredient packs
Snaps of empty supermarket shelves have prompted some eateries to launch neat parcels of their high quality ingredients, including recipe boxes to buy now and cook later.
- Buzzy pasta spot Pastaio in Soho’s Kingly Court are launching a special delivery service of freshly made pastas (£5 for 500g) and ‘care packages’ with cupboard staples, via Deliveroo. W1F 9BN; pastaio.co.uk
- Townsend has pulled together two supply package boxes, priced at £14 each. The ‘Essentials’ box includes fresh eggs, dried pasta, flour, chopped tomatoes, milk and butter whilst the ‘Seasonal’ box include potatoes, seasonal greens, onion, carrots, leeks and crisp Braeburn apples. E1 7QX; whitechapelgallery.org/townsend
- Shad Thames Italian Legare is launching a takeaway menu, which includes pasta boxes to buy now and cook later. SE1 2YR; legarelondon.com
- Recent launched restaurant Wild by Tart – from sustainable-sourcing caterers Jemima Jones and Lucy Carr-Ellison – have created four luxury hampers to order stocked with ingredients from their Belgravia deli, with food deliveries via Deliveroo to follow shortly. SW1W 9AZ; wildbytart.com
- Michelin-starred Brat in Shoreditch have launched Brat Farm, Grill and Wine Shop and will continue to support their network of small farmers, growers and fisherman, with a market stall offering boxes of fresh vegetables, a delicatessen and a wine shop with a sommelier on hand to offer tips and recommendations. E1 6JL; bratrestaurant.com
As restaurant face a struggle to stay afloat, some independent restaurants are now offering gift vouchers – more associated with chains – which will inject some much needed cash flow and offer diners a celebratory dinner when they reopen.
- All-day cafe Crispin in east London is introducing a special 40-per-cent-off gift voucher, which is available to buy now for £60, but with a value of £100 when you can eventually visit. E1 7NF; crispinlondon.com
- Honey & Co is now offering gift vouchers for when the restaurant reopens. W1T 5LZ; honeyandco.co.uk
- Stylish Spitalfields pub-and-restaurant-with-rooms The Culpeper have set up a voucher system to exclusively support their staff. Vouchers are available from £5 to an overnight stay and will operate on a clever buddy system, so that once they reopen, the member of staff supported may serve you to thank you directly. E1 6LP; theculpeper.com
- Elegant Italian Bocca di Lupo is now offering gift vouchers to redeem once the restaurant reopens its doors. W1D 7BB; boccadilupo.com
- Vibrant Australian cafes Farm Girl have set up a fundraising page. Pledges over £15 will earn 50 per cent off your first bill when they reopen, while £50 plus will act as a voucher to be redeemed in future at any Farm Girl cafe. Various; thefarmgirl.co.uk
Neighbourly restaurants are partnering with local charities to feed the vulnerable in their areas, launching crowd-funding initiatives and donating piles of fresh produce to food banks.
- Soho institution Lina Stores is providing fresh handmade pasta and Italian sauces to hospitality workers who have been made redundant, and those in at-risk groups, They will be fundraising through donations from a Go Fund Me page. N1C 4DR; linastores.co.uk
- Mayfair restaurant Novikov’s kitchen garden at Brent Eleigh in Suffolk will be donating its produce to a charity which provides meals for homeless and vulnerable people in the Bury St Edmunds area. The restaurant will also be taking to IGTV to guide customers in recreating their signature cocktails at home. W1J 8HA; novikovrestaurant.co.uk
- Paul Ainsworth’s Padstow Caffe Rojano sister venture The Mariners in Rock are offering to deliver homemade meals to their most vulnerable neighbours. PL28 8AE & PL27 6LD; paul-ainsworth.co.uk
- Cult pasta service Pasta Evangelists are partnering with Age UK, donating £5 from every ‘Pasta Care Package’ ordered. Packs include freshly handmade pasta, an authentic Italian sauce, garnishes and instructions. Nationwide; pastaevangelists.com
- New Fenchurch Street opening 14 Hills has donated all of its produce to London’s surplus food charity The Felix Project, while Hackney zero-waste pioneers Silo cooked up a feast for vulnerable locals.
- Industry charity Hospitality Action has launched an appeal to build to make a one-off donation to eligible workers acing hardship. Teams at Murano, Cafe Murano and The French House have teamed with the charity to cook meals for the elderly and those self isolating.
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