One Fine Dine

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The at-home restaurant experiences we've been enjoying in lockdown

We can't write about restaurants at the moment, so instead we'll be detailing the best food deliveries we've tested in lockdown as a break from the endless cooking.

We can't write about restaurants at the moment, so instead we'll be detailing the best food deliveries we've tested in lockdown as a break from the endless cooking.

The Shed

We've had several very good meals at The Shed in Notting Hill, so when an email popped into my inbox saying they were launching an The Shed at home menu, bringing their signature farm-to-table cooking to our door, we were thrilled. Having spent the last few months in the country, collecting our milk from the local dairy and vegetables from the greengrocer in the village, The Shed's food was exactly what we wanted to be eating for our first Saturday night back in the city. Exactly on time, or perhaps a few minutes early, our food arrived - to start we had ‘small plates’ of Sussex pig ear terrine and chilli mayo, tempura spring onion with harissa, and smoked chalk stream trout with blinis and tarragon crème fraîche. This was followed by brown crab thermidor, new potatoes in wild garlic pesto and Nutbourne tomato, Keen’s cheddar and spring onion salad. To round the meal out, a pecan and cherry brownie with English strawberries. In truth, we had eaten plenty by that point, so we picked at the deliciously sweet strawberries and saved the brownie for lunch the next day as it would easily feed the whole family - a day later it was rich, gooey and very moreish. We savoured every mouthful, thrilled not to have to cook for ourselves and to be eating things that we wouldn’t otherwise. The only thing I perhaps would not order again is the pig’s ear terrine; it looks very pretty but it didn't pack a punch for me. It was worth trying though and it is good to know part of the pig is not going to waste. Next time, I’m intrigued to try the Mushroom and marmite eclairs. - Hatta Byng

Pied à Terre

In these current times, there is something unbelievably exciting about having a three-course supper, almost ready-to-go, delivered directly to your door. Fitzrovia’s Michelin-starred Pied à Terre is one of the latest restaurants to diversify by offering an at-home service on Friday and Saturday evenings across the capital. Although the restaurant usually offers a broad Mediterranean menu, the at-home offering is vegan. Neither my husband or I are vegan, but we found ourselves excited by each dish and – crucially – really quite full by the end. The cardboard box – £50 for a two-person feast – arrived at about 6pm, just as we’d poured ourselves gin and tonics and were starting to feel a little peckish. Neatly stacked up in the box in 100% recyclable packaging, each dish is designed for sharing, with four nibbles and starters, a main course and a pudding. There was a little bottle of early harvest Kalamata olive oil too – described by Pied a Terre as ‘a token of our appreciation’. Some elements were ready to go, such as the refreshing chilled white bean and truffle soup, while others, as prompted by the accompanying menu, needed warming through. After 2 minutes in the oven, the flatbreads were lightly toasted and ideal for dipping into a deliciously herby guacamole and the olive oil that we had decanted into a small bowl. The main was a generous box of zingy pea and mint ravioli, which we quickly reheated and ate alongside warm tender stem broccoli drizzled with a punchy romesco sauce (although suggested as a starter, the joy is that you can eat the elements in any order you wish). Pears poached in red wine, with little bite-sized portions of banana bread, made for an excellent finale – although by that point we really had eaten plenty. - Elizabeth Metcalfe


I've really been missing restaurants in lockdown, from the new openings to my stalwart favourites, one of which is Bancone. I am always happy sat in its buzzy surrounds, wine in one hand, fork crammed with pasta in the other, so what a delight to hear that they were offering an at-home service. Available on a Friday, the environmentally-friendly package turned up at lunchtime, ready to be cooked, plated and devoured that evening. We started with burrata – which can never disappoint – accompanied by kale in a lemon oil, slivers of beetroot and a vibrant chive oil. Once that was polished off, the fresh mafalde pasta was swiftly cooked, drained and added to a punchy n'duja and pork ragu that was fierce with chilli and so moreish. To finish off, a coconut panna cotta with passion fruit that cleansed the palette from the chilli kick of the pasta. The whole experience was so slick and easy, just like dining there, and couldn't have been more delicious. - Charlotte McCaughan-Hawes


My special delivery all the way from Coya Angel Court, EC2, was eagerly awaited and did not disappoint. A pre-mixed Paloma and Mojito (just add soda water) with crunchy corn tortillas, shrimp crackers and avocado set the stage for a Peruvian feast infused with Far Eastern flavours. Next up were delicate, bite size ceviche tacos – some filled with tuna, green beans and wasabi, others with salmon and more avocado, an ingredient that featured heavily in the selection of dishes we tried. For the main course, succulent confit duck with a rich, dark chifa broth was a real winner – the broth’s name refers to the fusion cuisine created by Chinese immigrants in Lima at the turn of the 20th century, suggesting a nod to Peking duck. The bread of my cerdo bun was a little soggy, the only casualty of the 45-minute journey from the City out to zone 5 – and the chipotle pulled-pork filling more than made up for it. After all these punchy, zingy flavours, a silky chia pudding with granola and fresh fruit was a gentle way to round things off, leaving a generous selection of cookies, macarons and madeleines to enjoy the following day. - Sophie Devlin

Riding House at Home

The weeks can easily blur into the weekends these days; it's just an endless cycle of cooking and washing up, foraging in the fridge for odds and ends to make it to the next big shop. Forget all that and do yourself a favour by ordering the weekend box from the Riding House Café's new at home initiative. At £120, it is packed with at least four meals worth of food, plus drinks and snacks to see you through the weekend. Superb quality bacon, black pudding, sausages and cacklebean eggs make up some of the breakfast items, joined by a sourdough loaf, rich and flavourful smoked salmon and, last but not least, pancake mix (with maple syrup on the side, no less). There's also two green juices, Allpress coffee and a bottle of Estate Dairy milk. For lunch and dinner, we uncovered a feast of 32-day aged côte de boeuf, sloppy joes, burratina, smoked miso potato salad, artichoke dip with flatbreads and an outstanding portobello and sweet potato wellington, rich with its truffled mushroom sauce. If that's not enough to keep you going, there's also bloody mary mix and nibbles, all packaged in a sustainable manner. To put it quite simply, it's the best treat you could order for a Friday delivery and it's bloody marvellous. - Charlotte McCaughan-Hawes

Bombay Bustle Dabbawala

Under normal circumstances, it would be but a short hop from House & Garden HQ to Bombay Bustle, the Mayfair Indian restaurant inspired by the colourful urban chaos that is modern Mumbai. So I was particularly grateful when they trekked all the way down to the wilds of south east London to bring me dinner. And what a dinner! Attractively packed in neatly labelled eco-boxes, this was a three-course extravaganza from the restaurant’s new Dabbawala menu. Named for the renowned delivery men who stream around Mumbai by bicycle and train to deliver home cooked meals, this new delivery-focused menu contains the best of Bombay Bustle’s usual offerings. We were treated to their utterly moreish Paan Collins cocktail to start things off - I could have drunk approximately ten of these citrusy delights, but it’s probably best I didn’t. Starters came in the form of saucy, spicy Goan prawn balchao and that wonderful Indian equivalent of the sloppy Joe - pao (brioche buns) laden with richly savoury lamb mince curry. There’s no point trying to look dignified when eating something this delicious and this messy, don’t even bother. We then moved on to two of the highlights of the main courses, dense, earthy achari lamb chops and a creamy chicken Makhanwala, accompanied by perfectly fluffy pilau rice and garlic naan. Amidst all this, we somehow also found room for sides of soft aloo mutter (potatoes and peas) and kidney bean curry (rajma rasile). I rarely order dessert with a takeaway, but the drippingly lovely kheer (Indian rice pudding) with lotus seeds and pistachios, was irresistible. All in all, I couldn’t have been happier had I been back in Mayfair, and when I can return, I certainly will. - Virginia Clark

Surely the only thing that can beat a package delivery during lockdown is the arrival of a restaurant-cooked meal to your house. A ring on the doorbell signifies something new; something exciting. And when this something is a delivery from Sri Lankan restaurant Kolamba, it is a very exciting something indeed. Saturday night saw myself and my family gather eagerly around our table upon which sat (compostable) container upon container filled with Sri Lankan favourites, which vanished at a speed quite remarkable for three people: this was certainly an occasion.

A cashew and onion stir fry was a particular highlight, deceptively sweet at first but packing a hefty punch of chilli in its aftertaste. Luckily a soft date chutney and some brilliantly-executed string hoppers were close at hand to take some of the heat out, allowing us to continue on, delving into green beans with coconut, banana blossom patties and a deep, complex monkfish curry. Although the portions seemed small at first glance, as we continued our meal it became clear that the strength of flavour found in each dish was enough to fill us up. Everything was clean, fresh and vibrant, meaning there were no groaning stomachs afterwards. I am already looking forward to the next time I get a ring on my doorbell to find those brown paper bags sitting enticingly on my doorstep, filled with treats from Kolamba. - Rumer Neill

One Fine Dine

I am a fairly proficient cook but the first to admit that my presentation skills are vastly lacking. So, when I was contacted by One Fine Dine about their delivery service where you reheat the food and then follow plating instructions to create something restaurant-worthy at home, I was a little daunted. I needn’t have been. After an extremely pleasant - and safely distanced - exchange with the charming delivery man, I unpacked a box of delicious goodies for us to serve up ourselves. Each dish comes with its own plating card, which I followed to the letter and the results were worthy of a Michelin star, in my opinion.

We feasted on smoked salmon with a watercress panna cotta, a glorious beetroot and goat’s cheese salad, perfectly balanced and with so much texture before moving on to a fillet of beef with shallot puree, fondant potato and a rich jus, and a ballotine of chicken on broccoli puree. The food was all outstanding and far exceeded any takeaway I’ve ever had, plus the fun of plating it yourself makes for a wonderful experience. At 8pm, when we had cleared away the mains and were pondering dessert, we stepped outside to join the rousing clap for carers and returned feeling buoyant and ready for a tangy tart with raspberry puree and confit lemon. All in all, it was a perfect evening and a better meal than many I’ve had in restaurants. My only regret is that we didn't dress up for the occasion. - Charlotte McCaughan-Hawes


Getting a home delivery never feels the same as being in a restaurant, but having Cobra beer delivered - a beer that I never drink in any other context than an Indian restaurant - instantly created the feeling that I was going out for a curry. Benares is renowned for its Michelin-starred, exemplary dishes and they were just as sensational at home. It was a much higher standard than the usual takeaway, that is for certain: balanced, rich sauces, good quality meats and not overly reliant on oil or salt. The aloo tikka chaat was my highlight; creamy and well-spiced with that essential tang of yoghurt. Alongside that, we ordered a rogan josh with falling-apart slow-cooked lamb and a biryani that was airy with fluffy rice. A tarka daal on the side was the ideal accompaniment. One other highlight to note: the food was packaged in cardboard packaging and not a ton of plastic, which makes a difference. - Ruth Sleightholme