Did you ‘check in’ with an ex in April? Or have you rewatched The OC and The Sopranos for the third time, because it’s nice to feel like Jeff Buckley is in the room whilst you eat a tray of melanzane? If the answer is neither, then you’ve probably just moved home instead. Because familiarity has become everyone’s best friend in 2020. And that goes for restaurants and takeaway too. Thankfully, we’ve got a guide to mix things up a bit. To break the ten hot wings and fries tyranny. From legit Mexican taco specialists, to all manner of hand-pulled noodles, these 24 spots will help prevent that feeling of delivery deja vu.
Open since 1993, Abeno was Europe’s first okonomiyaki specialist and, ordinarily, it’s one of the best restaurant experiences in London. But if you aren’t after an interactive hot plate experience and just want some plump Japanese pancakes for dinner, then this is your place. Pre-order a day in advance and you can get Abeno’s pork, squid, and prawn Tokyo okonomiyaki combo delivered straight to you. The om-soba - yaki-soba noodles in a sleeping bag-like omelette topped with kewpie mayo, okonomiyaki sauce, and ketchup is essential.
La Chingada Mexican Food
We’re not in the business of overstating things because we’re, like, pragmatic and relatable and all those things. But La Chingada is a gastronomic revelation for London and an epiphany in the shape of a taco. The little Mexican spot with a kaleidoscopic chicken shop aesthetic makes food that will have you dancing on the pavements of Surrey Quays. You want to order the el pastor - chunks of marinated pork, with onion and punches of green and red salsa - and the carnitas and the chorizo too, and also the fried chicken (complete with a deliciously molten chilli and butter sauce) and, well, pretty much everything else. Before you ask, here’s the link.
An undeniable Brixton institution, the Caribbean corner spot has been serving curried goat, jerk, and freshly baked patties since 2003. An enormous plate with rice and peas, coleslaw, plantain, and extra jerk sauce is our go-to. It’s an unforgivingly flavour-packed plate full of spice and comfort that will make you feel different about delivery. Find the link to order here.
If you’re in the mood for a brunch that doesn’t involve smashed avocado or sourdough, order the excellent manakeesh from this Lebanese bakery in Acton. You can order for collection from 9am, and delivery from 12pm, and the spinach and cheese and lahm bi ajeen make a great brunch any day of the week. They’re £2.50 a pop, so order a few, eat some for breakfast, and snack on the rest throughout the day. A slice at 2pm, another dipped in hummus at 4pm, and that’s lunch sorted too.
Etles Uyghur Restaurant
Etles is one of a handful of London restaurants specialising in Uyghur cuisine from around Xinjiang in the northwest of China. It’s a comforting and comfortable family-run affair in Walthamstow serving big plate chicken with a sauce full of soy and star anise, mixed with potatoes and hand pulled noodles. The leghmen noodles are also delicious. There’s an English menu and a more extensive Chinese menu, and you can give them a call or order online.
Dom’s Subs are coming out of Lanark Coffee on the Hackney Road and they’re the best thing to happen to east London since people non-ironically wore Playstation controllers around their necks. Expect generous fillings - from mortadella, bresaola, and more cold cuts, to brisket with cheese whiz, or tenderstem broccoli with confit garlic, and other marinated vegetables. Whatever you go for, all of it is in a soft-but-crisp sub. We love Dom, and so will you. Order from their website.
People often ask us where they can get amazing sushi in London. And often our answer is simple. Sushi Tetsu. This tiny, intimate sushi counter in Clerkenwell has one of the best omakase experiences this city has to offer, and you can now get their sushi to go for the very first time. Check out their Twitter for all the details on collection, but move quickly, they sell out fast.
The food at Au Lac is reliably delicious and that’s why it’s such a local favourite. Sit indoors at this Vietnamese spot in Highbury and you might just see Nigel Slater tucking into thịt kho, a silky smooth dish of caramel pork. That’s something you’ll want to order, along with the fragrant mince pork, dry fish and aubergine hotpot. It’s a must.
If getting what is probably London’s best gelato straight to your door doesn’t sound like an excellent idea, then we don’t know what is. Gelupo are delivering all over - you just need to reserve a weekend delivery spot - and the minimum order is two half-litre tubs. Which, frankly, will be the least of your problems once you look at that ricotta sour cherry, and the rest of the menu.
With the greatest respect to Leyton Orient football club, Singburi is this part of east London’s #1 destination, whether you live close or far. The Thai restaurant is best known for its changing specials blackboard, which has featured things like razor clams pad cha (stir fried in chilli paste), salt fish fried rice, and moo krob (crispy pork belly). There’s a standard à la carte menu as well, but you want to check their Instagram to see the specials board and make an order for collection.
Maybe you think you’ve made enough aubergine pastas in your time to know a thing or two about how good vegetarian food can be. But until you’ve tried Bubala’s entire menu, we’re going to tell you that you don’t. Confit potato latkes, shitake and oyster mushroom skewers, and fried aubergine with zhoug and date syrup are just some of the excellent Middle Eastern inspired dishes being made at this Spitalfields restaurant. And you can get it delivered right to your door. From the labneh to the laffa bread, order it all for an excellent vegetarian feast.
The first time we ate Jay Dees, we sat alone, on a bench, with a tub of jerk and rice and peas, that could quite easily feed two people. Needless to say the table (bench and knee) was laid, everything was wolfed with a slightly concerning speed and passion, and nothing has changed how we feel about it since. The Caribbean takeaway-only spot in Notting Hill is worth going out of your way for. For jerk, for patties, for oxtail, for yourself.
When you’re looking to stuff that hole in your heart where your social life and physical contact used to be, do what we do, and fill it with noodles. More specifically, some of London’s best noodles from beloved udon bar, Koya. They’re delivering their huge, comforting bowls of curry atsu-atsu and big donburis, plus their supersized prawn tempura that is honestly much better than our social life ever was.
There aren’t enough fingers on our hands to count the many benefits of ordering a giant shared platter from Zeret in Camberwell. The Ethiopian favourite, as you might expect, has excellent options for vegans, vegetarians, and meat eaters alike. Warming shuro wot (roasted and blended chickpeas in a hot berbere sauce, awaze tibs (lamb chunks marinated in peppers and berbere sauce), and more are featured on the menu. You’ll want to order a combination served on spongy injera to tear and scoop.
Sidechick is an offshoot of the Patty & Bun brand and we can safely say it’s one of the best takeaways you can get in London. Their thing is, quite simply, roast chicken. And when roast chicken is juicy and crispy and bone-suckingly good, like it is here, it’s simply one of the best things in the world. You can choose from three marinades - za’atar with garlic honey and lemon is our favourite - and pair with crispy potatoes, salads, or smoky aubergine with labneh. It’s available for delivery and takeaway in Hackney, or from P&B in White City.
Please sing the following to the tune of Craig David’s iconic hit ‘7 Days’: Ordered a pizza on Tuesday. Ordered another pizza on Wednesday. And on Thursday, and Friday, and Saturday. Ate crust on Sunday. Yes, welcome to our new weekly routine, but it’s time to ditch old faithful for a big, old khachapuri instead. A huge, traditional cheese bread stuffed with yet more cheese, you can order one from Hackney’s Little Georgia. You can’t go wrong with their stews and salads either.
From channa packed baras to, newborn-sized rotis, to wedges of macaroni pie with sweet tamarind sauce on top, the range of enormously delicious and incredible value Trinidadian options from Roti Joupa isn’t quite limitless, but it will keep you going for some time. With locations in both north (Finsbury Park) and south (Clapham) of the river, and in Shepherd’s Bush, you should be eating hot doubles, stat.
If it sounds like it would be great dipped in hummus, then it’s on Melabes’ menu. We’re talking garlic laffa, seabass skewers, falafel, and black tahini chargrilled cauliflower. One of those great little places that more Londoners ought to know about, this Mediterranean restaurant on Kensington High Street is delivering all of the above, with kids meals and vegan options to boot. Oh, and in case you were wondering, their hummus is fantastic and perfect for all the dipping your heart desires.
There are so many reasons you should get involved in Bao’s delivery operation, Rice Error. The 40-day aged beef rice box. The Taiwanese fried chicken. The achingly cool branding that will make you feel like maybe, just maybe, you could get a tattoo of a beer label after all. But whether you go for a DIY fried chicken bao meal or the yellow chilli chicken rice, be sure to order the peanut ice cream for dessert. We repeat, order the peanut ice cream.
Sambal Shiok’s laksa is an absolute whopper of a feel good dish. The special - featuring king prawns, poached chicken, soft tofu puffs, noodles, and a shrimp-based broth that makes you sweat in excitement - is what you need this winter. The fried chicken with peanut sauce is an essential side. Just bear in mind it’s only open for delivery and collection Wednesday to Saturday.
Look, if the only smoked butter your kitchen has seen is when your flatmate used the Clover tub as an ashtray, that’s fine. We get it. But it’s time for an upgrade. Fine dining and all round class act, Hide are delivering set dinners including things like monkfish roasted in smoked butter with a celeriac and sea truffle broth. Basically, it’s fancy seasonal dining from the comfort of your own home. And although it’s certainly not cheap, their upmarket brunch options shouldn’t be skipped.
Tomi’s Kitchen makes hearty West African food to eat in or takeaway five minutes from Hackney Central. Stopping in or ordering a plate of stewed beef with jollof rice, beans, and plantain is always a good idea. The suya is decent and there are staples like efo-riro and ayamase stew too. If you’re going rice-heavy, just make sure you get a generous ladle of fried tomato and also chilli sauce. Order from via their website,
If there was something missing from your lockdown diet the first time round, it was balance. But there’s no need to go back to your rotation of Jaffa Cakes and Babybels. Because this time you know that the excellent sushi from this high-end Japanese spot in St James’s can be delivered to your door. There are maki selections, bento boxes which include the excellent spicy maguro maki, sashimi, and nigiri.
Your search history is filled with tutorials on ‘how to fold a dumpling’, and montages of floating bamboo steamers. But you can actually see some dim sum IRL by ordering from this Chinese spot in Hackney. They’re delivering sui gok, potstickers, and rice boxes from both their Victoria Park and Clapton locations, or you can click and collect if you’re passing by.