Bored yet? Furloughed? Hungry? Here are some of my favourite bits to eat and drink around London Town, from socially distant shopping to delivered-to-your-door goodies.
The best butter around? You betcha. This cultured butter is made by the lovely Grant Harrington on a farm in Oxfordshire. Michelin starred restaurants aplenty use his butter and now you can get your hands on it in London shops like Pavilion on Broadway Market and Taylor’s in Maltby Street or from Ampersand’s website.
A curry makes everything better. Benares in Mayfair are now on Deliveroo and they’re serving favourites like lamb rogan josh, chicken tikka masala and chicken biryani. Starters of prawn kasundi and paneer malai tikka are a taste of restaurant quality Indian in your living room.
Berkmann Help 4 Hospitality
These guys are the hospitality industry’s go-to wine supplier. While restaurants are having a hiatus, family-owned Berkmann are opening up their wine list to the general public. You’ll find anything from 2016 Tignanello (£100) to Morande Pionero Pinot Noir Reserva (£9.75). The bonus here: with every order they’ll donate on your behalf to two hospitality charities.
There is literally everything you need as most of the stalls have remained open. Fruit and veg from Turnips and Elsey & Bent, Ginger Pig for blowout joints of meat and Northfield Farm for more modest cuts. Wyndham’s for your chicken needs but get your eggs (Cacklebean) from Neal’s Yard, along with some English cheese – they really need our support. Coffee beans from Monmouth, Parmesan from Bianca Mora, tinned tomatoes (and fresh yeast) from Gastronomica and chorizo from Brindisa. These are my tried and tested favourites.
Burger and Beyond
If it’s big, fat, juicy burgers you’re missing then you need a Burger and Beyond Lockdown kit. Delivering to London and Colchester, you’ll get enough 35 day aged mince for four burgers, sesame seed demi brioche buns, pancetta bacon, American cheese, burnt butter mayo and pickled onions. I cooked mine medium rare and it was a little taste of heaven.
Cartford Inn Brownies
One of Lancashire’s finest pubs, The Cartford Inn, is selling brownies via their on-site deli, TOTI (Taste of the Inn). You’ll need to follow their Instagram account for details of when the brownie sale goes live and you have to be quick as they sell out fast. If you’re looking for an indulgent treat, these are essential.
Cotswolds Single Malt
Lockdown has at least given me chance to stock my drinks cabinet with some right little beauties. This single malt is the first ever whisky produced in the Cotswolds and it even uses barley grown locally. Ex-bourbon barrels ensure a sweet honey finish which is most enjoyable straight-up with a dash of water.
Robin and Sarah Gill’s gorgeous restaurant beside the American Embassy has reopened as a deli serving astoundingly good bread. Go and get that bread. They’re also offering beef sirloin on the bone, chateaubriands, Dexter beef pies and fresh pasta. Just get the bloody bread whatever you do.
Cookie dough handily rolled into balls ready to bung in the oven. And you know what, they’re LOVELY. Flavours range from double chocolate chip and peanut butter to matcha with white chocolate and chunky oat chocolate chip. Moreish is the word here.
Duck and Waffle / Sushisamba
These two restaurant heavyweights are working from the same Covent Garden kitchen offering takeaway and delivery. It’s a heady mix of bacon wrapped dates, lobster cocktail topped with Exmoor caviar, BBQ sauce corn on the cob, whopping sushi platters and, of course, the signature duck and waffle. The duck arrives flakey with a crisp skin, the waffle still fluffy and the egg yolk still runny. Impressive stuff.
Michelin starred dim sum in your living room? You know want some of that. We opt for the Dragon Tasting menu for 2 (£150) which showcases Hakkasan classics like black pepper rib eye beef with Merlot, steamed dumplings and black truffle roasted duck. This is luxe to the max and it’s rather fabulous. Available on Deliveroo.
Haiwaiin poke bowls are the perfect lunch for this glorious weather. Bowls of sushi rice topped with Scottish salmon or yellowfin tuna will help you forget your locked down. The vegan offering; avocado and mango and Korean BBQ pulled “pork”, or jackfruit, is particularly exciting. Available on Deliveroo.
Lockdown croquetas are a must for anyone dreaming of Spanish holidays. You can get your fix delivered to your door by Iberica restaurants and they travel reeaaally well. These little beauties are filled with jamon and are as rich as anything. Other menu highlights include battered chorizo lollipops and chunks of Manchego cheese.
Both Josē and Pizarro on Bermondsey Street are open for takeaway (and delivery from Slerp) and the offering is rather clever. It’s all the tapas menu highlights, prepared and cooked, ready for you to finish off at home. From pan con tomate and Spanish tortilla to suckling lamb leg and Carabineros al ajillo in a sea of olive oil. Best of all is presa iberico which needs just four minutes in a hot oven.
Knoops Hot Chocolate
Jens Knoop has been pleasing the locals of Rye with his hot chocolate since 2013. He opened his first London shop in Clapham just before Lockdown struck. Panic not! You can order his insanely good hot chocolate online for delivery. Whether it’s sweeter 43% single origin from Venezuela or luscious and bitter 72% from Peru, you’re in for a treat.
Marylebone-based Spanish hotspot, Lurra, has pivoted to takeaway hot meals. The menu features tortillas, pan con tomate, croquetas, a rather special slow cooked ox cheek with celeriac puree and even suckling lamb shoulder or grilled octopus with pequillo sauce. Yumerama. Their Galician steaks are also available to cook at home.
There are few things more comforting than pie and mash and the good news is Manze, who have been selling their homemade pies and mash since 1902, is still open for takeaway and Deliveroo/Just Eat from their 3 sites in Tower Bridge, Peckham and Sutton.
Next door to Quality Chop House you’ll find Quality Wines, a deli offering treats from Ortiz sardines and Kewpie mayo to Marmite and Arabica jarred spices. It’s a smorgasbord of fabulousness. They have an on-site butcher too, the meat and poultry being top notch. Why not pick up a QCH cookbook while you’re there.
Wright Brothers at Home
London’s most loved seafood experts, Wright Bros, has started delivering gorgeous fresh fish otherwise destined for restaurants. The quality is sublime ranging from fancy treats like dover sole, oysters and caviar to smoked salmon, monkfish tails and mussels. It’s a slick operation from placing your order on the easy-to-use website to the friendly delivery in ice-cold packaging.
Finding a lockdown katsu curry has proved quite a challenge but the folks of Battersea are in luck, as Yatai is on Deliveroo. Their stall in Market Halls West End was one of the best curries I’ve ever had so you need to give it a try. Owner, Angelo Sato, has just released a digital cookbook too which helps you recreate his Insta-friendly katsu sando.