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Lockdown Takeaways Have Gone High-End As The Country's Best Restaurants Adapt

Grazia logo Grazia 23/05/2020 Grazia Contributor
a pizza sitting on top of a wooden table with a plate of food: Fancy food © Credits: Getty Images Fancy food

Once upon a time, it was almost impossible to snag a table at Gloria, the gloriously kitsch and uber-cool trattoria in Shoreditch. With a no-reservation policy, the only way to feast on its 10-layered big lasagne or truffle shuffle pizza was to wait, and wait... sometimes for up to two very long hours.

But that was then. Now, all you need do to enjoy their gastronomic delights is pick up the phone. Last week, Gloria announced it was doing takeaways that can be delivered direct to your door or collected from the restaurant.

It is the latest top-flight UK restaurant – including 200 with Michelin stars – to turn to takeaways and bring fine dining to our tables. But it’s not just restaurants; with so many food suppliers going online to beat lockdown (see yourlocaldelivered. co.uk), transforming yourself into a virtual gastronome is as easy as brewing a cup of bergamot-infused tea to drink with a slice of your homemade sourdough loaf.

Whether you want to make like a restaurant critic, cook along with top chefs, taste the best wines or mix cocktails like a pro, you can do it from the comfort of your living room (and in your PJs, if you like).

It’s all part of the food revolution that has taken place since lockdown, with technology being used to make us feel good in the most effective way possible – eating.

‘The main sense involved in taste is actually smell,’ says clinical psychologist Linda Blair. ‘It’s the first scent we develop – it’s how we recognise our mothers – and it’s very soothing, so eating is one of the basic things we can do that brings comfort.’

High-end delivery company SUPPER has seen a 700% increase in sales over the past eight weeks, with people ordering a croque monsieur with black truffle from Hide, vegan dim sum from Hakkasan and smoked salmon tacos from Coya.

The Wine List © Credits: The Wine List The Wine List

Meanwhile, Merienda in Edinburgh, which was awarded a Bib Gourmand from Michelin this year, does about 75 deliveries weekly, serving up a three-course menu. ‘People have ordered from us every single week,’ says chef owner Campbell Mickel.

But a fun foodie night in goes beyond fine dining. Cook-alongs with chefs are taking over IGTV. Grazia fave Gizzi Erskine and Professor Green (@gizandgreens) is just one; others include @breadaheadbakery, @puffthebakery and @officina00 (pasta). Turn to You Tube too where, on Wok at Home, Steve Mangleshot, Wagamamma executive chef, shows you how to make the chain’s favourites, including katsu curry. On WahacaTV, Thomasina Miers whips up fabulous Mexican food. And put 29 May in the diary – Thomasina will join Yotam Ottolenghi, Helen Graham and other big names for a cook-along to raise money for Chefs in Schools UK (see @belazu_co bio).

Then there are the many small producers winging their extra-special produce direct to you. Goodsixty.co.uk delivers from Borough Market and artisan producers based around Bristol and Bath. Online butcher Field and Flower does nationwide delivery of dishes that have been hand- prepared with natural ingredients by expert Somerset chefs and then slow-cooked in a water bath to stay tender and packed with flavour (think crispy aromatic duck).

Get to know new cheeses with a cheese box from @homage2fromageuk. Its French box, for example, contains six cheeses and expert info. ‘We want people to be able to discover new cheeses but in a fun way so we’ve also created a game that comes with the cheese,’ says cofounder Nick Copland.

What to drink with your Camembert? How about St Pourcain Domaine de Chinière’s Rosé, 2019, an on-trend pale rosé with an ‘appealing palate of red currants and raspberries’? It’s one of a selection of online food pairing suggestions from wine merchants Yapp Brothers, whose restaurant clientele for its top-class French wines usually includes the likes of Sketch and La Gavroche. Take your pick of wines and champagnes and have them arrive on your doorstep from its base in Wiltshire.

If you want to know more about what you’re quaffing, order a wine tasting. Wine merchant Elliot Awin (elliot.wine) has created the Isolation Tastings series – he chooses three wines that are then available to buy through online retailer Pull the Cork and other independents. On the night, you taste the wines with him. ‘As well as recognisable regions and grape varieties, I also pick wines from less well-known regions, and styles,’ he says. ‘It helps to demystify and encourage experimentation.'

a pizza sitting on top of a plate of food © Getty Images

Others hosting virtual tastings include The Wine List, where ‘Boxes are sent out before the tasting, which discusses the basic principles of wine, how to taste, what to look out for, and then helping to develop their knowledge base,’ says founder Josh Lachkovic.

There’s no excuse for a badly mixed #quarantini as cocktails from the world’s best bartenders are a click away – just add ice. ‘The Mirror Margerita, the clear margerita from Hacha, is perfection,’ says Hannah Lodge from BarChick, who puts out a weekly newsletter on new cocktails and bars coming online.

Others she recommends include The French 75, the classic gin and champagne cocktail from Three Sheets (topcuvee.com) and Mr Lyan’s Spotless Martini (masterofmalt.com). The Drinks Drop (London and Manchester) delivers drinks from famous bars from around the world. ‘Just remember to freeze your glass for 30 minutes before you pour,’ she adds.

And for those wanting to add expert bartender to their lockdown up-skilling, we suggest you check out Stanley Tucci shaking it up on his Instagram. Or tune into the Experimental Tasting Club run by Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels, which has teamed up with its (closed) Covent Garden neighbour The Henrietta Hotel for a live cocktail session every Saturday on @henriettahotel. Order the drinks in advance and get ready to shake and stir. ‘It’s been a blast!’ says organiser Xavier Padovani.

We’re definitely adding cocktail connoisseur to our lockdown CVs...

READ MORE:

Gizzi Erskine Is, Like So Many Of Us, Cooking Comfort Food In Lockdown

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