Home, cooked: the best food delivery in London
Make the most of the long winter evenings with these restaurant meals delivered straight to your door
With London now back in Tier 3, eating out is no longer an option. So to get your fine-dining fix - and to support your favourite local restaurant - takeaway is now your best bet.
The good news is that having done it all before, many of London’s greatest restaurants had delivery options ready to go this time round.
Here is our pick of the bunch, from the high end to the cheap and cheerful.
Hakkasan at Home
If you have ever dined at Hakkasan it is hard to imagine enjoying the food at home. Its menu seems intimately intertwined with its gorgeous interior design and sophisticated service. And yet much of the magic lingers in the home delivery experience.
The Week opted for the Dragon Menu for two which opens with the restaurant’s immaculately rendered dim sum, including a superb langoustine har gau with Prunier caviar. A tough act to follow, but the dumplings are yet upstaged by a series of knock-out mains including a rich black truffle roasted duck, lean-as-you-like rib eye beef in black bean sauce, and the restaurant’s rightly famed roasted silver cod in champagne and honey. I had doubts about how the fish in particular would travel - we needn’t have worried.
Turn the lights down and you are transported to Mayfair via Shanghai. The meal ends with an entire box of festive-themed macarons courtesy of Hakkasan’s sister restaurant Yauatcha - think gingerbread and mulled wine. If Michelin judges tested takeaway, they might be tempted to dole out stars to Hakkasan at Home. hakkasan.com
Rosa’s Thai Cafe
There is a lot of average Thai food on offer in north London, so when news came through that a new branch of Rosa’s Thai Cafe had opened in Finsbury Park not too far from this reviewer’s home, Tier 3 suddenly began to feel rather more survivable.
The menu is a whip through the best of Thailand, including - inevitably - chicken satay, Massaman curry and Pad Thai. But it is all done with precision and freshness, with flavours that zing with individuality rather than bleeding into one another, and evident freshness everywhere.
Vegetables crunch, fruit is fresh and the meat lean and well-cooked. Plus the portions are somehow just the right size, generous but unlikely to leave you feeling as though you have massively overdone it. And with branches scattered all over London, there is simply no reason to eat poor quality Thai takeaway anymore. rosasthaicafe.com
Barbecue obsessive David Carter opened Smokestak in 2016, following years of hard graft on the festival and street-food scene. Not every food truck operator with dreams of glory made it, but Carter’s attention to detail and evident love of fire and smoke turned his humble brisket bun into something resembling high art. No wonder his cult following; no wonder the successful transition to a fixed location restaurant.
Now, Covid has turned things around again with Smokestak’s barbeque hitting the road again, though this time it doesn’t come in a truck, but is delivered straight to your door via the restaurant’s pre-order service (available Friday and Saturday).
It is hard to go wrong here, from the glistening pork belly ribs to the 30-day dry-aged beef rib. There are veggie dishes here too that are worth a look in, such as the unctuous salt baked beetroot, with goat cheese and hazelnut, and not-quite-vegetarian options like the mushrooms on toast with beef dripping gravy.
Yes, this is largely a carnivore’s paradise - and it is hard to imagine how meat could be better respected or more thoughtfully prepared than this. smokestak.co.uk
One of the joys of eating at Park Chinois is the restaurant’s retro chic French/Asian Chinoiserie, not to mention on weekends the live music and stage shows. Also, is there a finer spot in London for people watching?
Last time The Week visited we were seated next to the UK’s then foreign secretary and a tableful of what we can only assume were Instagram influencers. And while the lavish decor and human traffic can’t be enjoyed at home, the spectacular dumplings certainly can.
Available via Supper and Deliveroo seven days a week, the expansive menu by chef Lee Che Liang offers everything from wasabi prawns and kimchi to vegetable spring rolls and the restaurant’s popular Duck de Chine. Or if you can’t choose, just pick from one of the four set menus on offer, which range from £45 for one to a massive family-style spread for four to share at £440. parkchinois.com
For a high-end restaurant that has only recently begun delivering, Benares’ takeaway menu is surprisingly extensive, including a wide range of tandoor dishes, curries, and biryanis as well as a selection of the restaurant’s exquisite signatures. Add to that a rotating list of specials of the day and there is plenty of deliciousness to choose from.
The Week tried the tasting menu for two, which offered a host of highlights, including a superb prawn kasundi - a marinated tandoor grilled prawn which travels surprisingly well - and an unctuous rogan josh, perfect for a cold winter’s night. The black dahl was also superb, as were the pair of soft, milky Gulab Jamun which finished the meal.
It isn’t cheap, as you might expect from a top-notch restaurant located in Mayfair, but the quality is sublime, the portion sizes very generous and the home delivery experience flawless. benaresrestaurant.com
From the team behind Michelin-starred east end restaurant Lyle’s and spin-off wine bar Flor, ASAP Pizza offers New York-style pies made with heritage British wheats and topped with exceptional produce. ASAP only delivers on Sundays (when Flor’s kitchen is otherwise closed) but it is worth putting a date in your diary and ending the weekend right.
The menu includes Flor head chef Pamela Yung’s much-loved signatures including the Porco Rosso with red pesto, mortadella, stracciatella and guindillas; Spice Grrl, with tomato and ’nduja sauce, caciocavallo, honey, sicilian oregano; and the Marg & Rita with tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil, and spenwood.
Lyle’s and Flor can do no wrong, and their classy pizzas are no exception. asap.pizza
There was a time when eating burgers meant a choice between McDonald’s or Burger King. Then everything changed and the “dude food” revolution dragged the humble burger into the mid- to upper-echelons of takeaway. Among the best to join the revolution was Honest Burgers which has quickly become a contemporary classic due to its high-quality meats and of course its scrumptious rosemary chips.
Now, the chain’s burgers can be delivered right to your door - a small upside of the pandemic. It is hard to go past the eponymous Honest burger with its red onion relish and smoked bacon, but the veggie alternatives are also exceptional. The coleslaw is also a must. honestburgers.co.uk
On the face of it, pasta is one of the world’s simplest and most democratic dishes. It is readily available, light on the wallet, and easy to prepare. And yet the gulf between good pasta and the merely adequate stuff you might whip up at home on a bog-standard Wednesday night can be vast.
This is where Officina 00 comes in. Not only can fresh pasta be delivered straight to your door that you can then finish yourself, Officina 00 also now offers its superb menu as takeaway, so all you need to do is open and eat. We tried the aubergine parmigiana and a burrata to start, both of which were cheesy appetite boosters, then a corzetti (a kind of flying saucer-shaped pasta) with sausage, mushroom and port and a pumpkin gnocchi, rich with gorgonzola.
The portion sizes are not massive, but the flavours are spectacular. If you are hungry/greedy, like us, you might want to order a bit too much. officina00.co.uk