As featured in Condé Nast Traveller on 13 May 2021
London’s food landscape is changing at an unimaginable speed. With some of the best restaurants in London still finding themselves with no choice but to branch out into delivery, getting dinner to your door is fast becoming the default, as well as an important way of supporting independent businesses in troubled times. From modern Mediterranean to spectacular sandwiches and seasonal gelato specials, we’ve put together a list of top meal kits and the very best takeaways from restaurants in London to order right now.
One Fine Dine
Best for: Special-occasion feasts for jet-setters (and those who travel economy)
Order: The May Date Night menu for two
Most of you reading this will doubtless have spent much of the past year jetting around in a private plane, nonchalantly ordering another brace of braised pork baos from the onboard chef as you circle the runway at Mustique. In which case, no need to read on. But others may be intrigued to find out what a mile-high Bombardier feast tastes like. Daniel Hulme set up One Fine Dine in 2020 after spending years catering for private-jet flights, with the intention of delivering intricate, top-end dishes around London (and just outside) – they would simply need a little tweaking and heating before plating up. He’s developed regular à la carte menus with starter, main and pudding options, as well as special-occasion ones for dates such as Valentine’s Day and Easter, and each bears as much resemblance to traditional takeaways as an Old Master still-life does to a five-year-old’s crayon drawing of bangers and mash. Ingredients and pre-prepared dishes arrive carefully colour coded, each recipe with its own photo instruction card – and with a step-by-step video online if needed.
It’s a little daunting at first but then you realise this is food choreography – it’s all about the timing and the final touches, more akin to cake decoration or abstract expressionism than blood-sweat-and-tears kitchen work. A roulade of confit duck, perhaps, is placed just so, as is sous-vide monkfish; spots of beetroot ketchup are dabbed, delicate brushstrokes of raisin purée made with the back of a spoon, sprigs of sorrel and edible flowers sprinkled, Chantilly cream piped… A little Damien Hirst touch here, a Seurat dab there. It’s very satisfying, though you need to be quick to ensure whoever’s plating up eats at the same time. If you’ve invited a friend around, there’s also the temptation to pretend you’ve prepared all this yourself, casually accepting incredulous acclaim with a shrug and wave of the hand. These are dishes few would bother to cook by themselves. The only thing to agonise over… which plates to use? Rick Jordan
Three-course menu from £65 per person; onefinedine.com