In is the new Out: London delivery services, perfect for lockdown . . .
So here we are again. We’re hunkered down, at home, waiting out November. With many companies and businesses hit hard this year, some have recently been busy reworking their offerings, figuring out how to carry on running in the case of another lockdown. As we keep a low profile in the coming weeks, here are a few things for London lockdowners to indulge in or surprise with, as we find the best little luxuries to be delivered to your (or a loved one’s) home.
Fakey Cakey – Extravagant savoury cakes perfect for a celebration at home
These elaborately constructed sushi stacks and layer cakes are designed and crafted to look like colourful birthday gateaux. But are something quite different. These are a fancy, savoury, healthy alternative. Fakey Cakeys are ideal for all the occasions of 2020 we’re having to celebrate at home. Tokyo Diner, a long serving Japanese restaurant in the West End, ventured into the ‘cake’-making business for delivery just this year. The Fakey Cakey concept was born out of lockdown, but long may it continue. Not only were the cakes a delicious tasting and fun dinner, they were also a fantastic centrepiece for the ‘house party’.
This delivery has to be one of the most extravagant order-ins I’ve had. Extravagant in its creativity and originality. And what’s not to love about high-quality sushi delivered to the door when we can’t go out for slap up meals? Fakey Cakey offers the all-cooked range, the sashimi range, the vegetarian and vegan range which come in three sizes: Petite (for one), Rule-of-6, Colossal (12 people). Each is made from layers of seasoned rice (shari), fresh vegetables and a variety of fillings. We had the Classic Sashimi Fakey Cakey, made with diced salmon, hamachi (sushi grade yellowtail), avocado and dashimaki tamago (Japanese omelette), topped with ground salmon, decorated with sliced avocado and ikura-caviar. Judging on texture, freshness, presentation and enjoyment: 10/10. We really went all in with the Fakey Cakey, ordering a tofu cake for a main course. Very different to the sushi starter, it was covered completely in dried crispy fried onions and delicately decorated with sculpted carrots. Top marks again. Alongside the cakes were two big bottles of fresh dipping sauces – one a thick tonkotsu and another souped-up soy. Add in a bottle of plum wine or a few Asahi beers and you’ve got yourself a party.
To order see fakeycakey.com.
Cosaporto – a single delivery service for the best artisanal products in London
Cosaporto lets you pick the cream of the crop from the best shops in town – including patisseries, wine merchants, chocolatiers, flower shops, delicatessens and gourmet gelaterias – and has it delivered to you for the same price as you’d pay in store. Cosaporto is an Italian company that’s been running high-end food and drink products from delis to doors in Rome, Milan and Turin for some time. At the start of November it launched in London. I found a few current favourite independent retailers and names, and discovered several new ones.
Candles, cheese, flowers, truffles – this is my kind of online shopping. I went in big, ordering a cheese and wine box from French Comté (my favourite London fromagerie), flowers from Lavender Green and a cake from Italian gelato specialist Badiani. Everything really was the best of the best, as Cosaporto teams up with London’s top small independents. I’m already planning my next haul that includes a Christmas wreath making kit and several panettone for family members around the city as festive pick-me-ups. I’m also pleased to know of a service that’ll deliver on time and with just a few hours’ notice, to cover me for all the birthdays and occasions I’m always late to remember. Have something delivered within a few hours of placing an order, along with a personalised message.
To order see cosaporto.it.
The French Comté – cheese, charcuterie
The cheese aroma that emanates from this delivery as you rip open the box is just gorgeous. My eye is drawn to the dewy bottle of Crémant, chilled before boxing and delivery. So very good so far, it takes a few moments to clock what other delicacies are packed into the box. Acacia honey, a large jar of framboise jam, a bundle of eight saucisson and two huge cheeses.
The French Comté is a Borough Market establishment, with a small stand by Hackney’s Netil House. It’s good to see it joined up with the Cosaporto fine foods delivery, too. I went for the Box Deluxe, which cost a reasonable £55 for all you get with it. An ideal gift – something I would be very stoked to receive, dropped to me at home on any occasion. The French Comté was created by Florent and Fabien Joly, who hail from the Franche-Comté region near the Swiss border in the French Jura Mountains, a region famous for artisan traditions around food and wine. No delivery could make me happier (especially when paired with a bunch of flowers sourced from Cosaporto).
To order see www.thefrenchcomte.co.uk.
Lavender Green – flowers, Christmas wreaths
A spring-like bunch was ordered on Cosaporto, hand delivered and bringing much needed cheer and colour into this room in which I’m spending all these hours, days. Lavender Green has been going strong for 28 years and as well as bespoke bouquets, creates floral arrangements for galleries, museums and historic houses. I’ve just read that flowers can help to improve sleep quality, boost creativity, increase productivity and even improve attention span. I’ll be sure to make a regular order with this one.
What else could I order to top off this luxury haul? All with ease under Cosaporto?
Badiani – Confectionary
Cake. Gelato cake, no less. Delivered by hand, perfectly packaged as a frozen gift (for myself) and so beautifully presented. Badiani is famous for its gelato and there are now four gelaterias in London, with many more in Italy. I cannot describe how exquisitely crafted this pistachio and white chocolate ice-cream sweet was. It’s certainly not something I could try to recreate at home and so was a real treat. As we approach Christmas I’ll be putting in my order for a Badiani Panettone and probably a Pandoro too, for good measure. ‘Tis the season for feasting.
To order see Cosaporto.co.uk
The Sun Tavern – Cocktail delivery kits
Bethnal Green’s Sun Tavern is delivering. During lockdown this long-standing East End pub has developed an online shop to drop off to you bottled cocktails, wine, beer from 15 breweries, spirits, hot sauce and even glassware (if you need it).
I received a box for the ultimate hot toddy, perfect for these dark, cold nights rolling in. Included is the golden dram of Aberfeldy Single Malt Scotch whisky, a jar of sustainably produced raw English honey from the bees at Bermondsey Street and alcoholic ginger beer (which I’m especially pleased with, notoriously hard to find). With these beautiful ingredients ready sourced, mixing up this tipple was a breeze.
Luckily, I’m an East London local and will take my daily lockdown walk to The Sun Tavern hatch to ring the bell and take away another from the Quarantini list. My motivation (and some inspiration for anyone near-ish by): A Chartreuse hot choc, the ginger whisky hot punch and the mulled wine, to accompany my outdoor exercise. Or, if you’re further afield opt for a Quarantini Cocktail Kit to be sent your way. It’ll include the two perfect cocktails, each bottle with four serves, created on site at The Sun Tavern. Choose from a Banana Daiquiri, Irish Old Fashioned, Margarita, Sazerac, Rob Roy and a Boulevardier.
To order see www.thesuntavern.co.uk.
Good In Bread? – Sign up to sourdough in the city
Good in Bread (get it?) delivers freshly baked artisan sourdough loaves to London addresses. Bread, plus spreads, condiments and conserves too. This year I feel like I’m one of few not to have got into bread making. I’ve no sourdough starter chat and zero yeast intel, but one hell of a bread craving now we’re locked down, which I’ll be sating with this brilliant bakery subscription. I’m signed up to Loaf of the Week, where you can receive one or two loaves, once or twice a week – Tuesdays and/or Fridays. In my first order I received a multibrain tin ‘Loaf At First Sight’ – a satisfyingly weighty seed-laden loaf, exactly the carb I like at breakfast, at lunch and with an afternoon snack. Second time round was white country sourdough ‘True Loaf’ that, despite being enormous, went the same day buttered and toasted, cheese toastie, soup dunked and late-night snacked. So good, I couldn’t leave it alone.
I’m completely spoiled for bakeries in this East corner of London and cannot escape sourdough. But I’m not an early riser and like a few bread-y meals before I leave the house nowadays. It’s this service, based in North London, that I’ll be using over the looming low-key winter in which I intend to eat way beyond my weight in bread. I’m looking forward to trying next the ‘Love Handles’ sourdough brioche as I up my sandwich-making game and the ‘Nutty but Nice’ hazelnut and cranberry loaf to sit under all the cheese I’ve ordered from The French Comté. So this is Lockdown Round 2 starting strong.
Good in Bread was launched in June 2020. Owner Emily was born in Brittany, France so bread has always been close to her heart and she believes a basket of bread should be at the centre of every dinner table. I can get on board with this. The company delivers fresh-from-the-oven loaves by bicycle across London, using 100% recyclable materials in all packaging. Enjoy the loaf delivered to your door, sliced through the letterbox (TBC, but I don’t think this is a prank), or whole. Every Good In Bread sourdough is made from 100% organic flours, natural sourdough leavens with a long cool fermentation.
Try the 3-month sourdough subscription plan for £84.50
Free delivery on all bread and spread orders over £15
To order see wearegoodinbread.com.
Noble House Prepared – Fresh, frozen, restaurant-quality food delivered
If for you, like me, the joy of cooking impressive and elaborate meals has fallen by the wayside this autumn lockdown after a decent run, but the hunger for good food is still there, I urge you to look up Noble House Prepared. It’s essentially posh shove-in-the-ovens delivered to your door. Something like COOKS but with a different backstory.
The Noble House brand has long been operating in fine dining events and wedding catering. The ‘Noble House Prepared’ kitchen is led by Owen Sullivan, who has previously worked as executive chef for Gordon Ramsay at Michelin starred Maze, the Maze Grills and the Savoy Grill restaurants, as well as managed glittering A-list events, including Elton John’s Oscars party. So now we trust the chef knows what he’s doing…
With cooking off the agenda, I signed on to Noble House Prepared to peruse the menu of frozen feasts that are exactly what I’ve been craving at this time of year. I made an order for the salmon wellington, using sustainably farmed Scottish Loch Duart fish baked in an excellent pastry (which is really the crux of a salmon en croute) and a lamb tagine, delicious with dates, apricots, chickpeas and tomatoes, gently roasted and slow cooked in a rich sweet broth. To make this process even easier for food weary shoppers, with each main there are suggested matching side dishes to eat alongside, ensuring you get the full experience. With the salmon I had ready buttered and herbed new potatoes and a cauliflower and spinach gruyere. With the Moroccan lamb (which, I’d like to confirm, I ate on another evening) was honey and five-spice roasted Chantenay carrots – tiny and very sweet, with rice. The pudding menu includes some traditional British favourites; apple crumble, sticky toffee pudding and steamed vanilla sponge, as well as cheese cakes and chocolate pots.
Noble House also specialises in (and of course delivers) quality wines sourced from all around the world. Pick by colour, type (vegan or organic) style or country, of which there are more than 10. Go all in and check out the coffee beans, grounds and pods to add to your order. Christmas packages are now available, along with regular roasts and all the trimmings. Noble House Prepared has you covered on the gastro front.
Be assured with the fact that Noble House has made its packaging recyclable, biodegradable and compostable wherever possible. Food containers are made from recycled plastic, delivery boxes made from sustainably sourced recycled cardboard, insulation is the completely natural, sustainable and biodegradable wool. The Woolcol product can be put in your garden compost to completely break down within 6-12 months or you can use it for something at home: cushion stuffing, pet baskets, hanging baskets, pipe lagging, protecting plants from frost, feeding roses, keeping slugs off plants…
To order see noblehouseprepared.com. Delivery: All over the UK
Makan Malaysia – Bringing the taste of Malaysia to your home
I definitely haven’t eaten enough Malaysian food in my life. This home delivered package packed full of ready cooked curries and fritters is simply delicious. Malaysian cuisine is the ultimate fusion food, say owners and chefs Kat & Sue, who grew up in Malaysia together. With Chinese, Indian, Tamil, Portuguese, Dutch, Arab and Javanese influences, to name a few, think bold flavours with complex spice combinations and sambal – a spicy chilli sauce that is served with just about every dish. I ordered the Malaysian feast bundle, which came beautifully packaged, compact for delivery (no surplus plastic or cardboard), but perfectly chilled, ready to heat up and eat. A Chicken Kapitan curry, a Tempeh Kapitan Curry, Beef Rendang, Prawn Fritters (oh yes!) and Veggie Fritters. Added in, the essential jars of Sambal and a Sambal Belacan, with the salty undertones of fermented shrimp paste. I’m set. The Rendang is buttery, nutty, sweet and aromatic. The Kapitan curry is coconut creamy but so full of fresh flavours – ginger, lime, lemongrass (I’m guessing), and likely much more to make it this good. The crispy fritters were even better than they looked – perfectly golden, plump, fried. A real comfort food to which I dipped into some more chilli Sambal.
Just as exciting as the delivery – my proper intro to real Malaysian food – are the recipes shared on the Makan Malaysia website. I can’t wait to get stuck into these in what I can tell is already a new found obsession with the cuisine, using my Sambal pastes. Maybe this is what I need to rediscover my interest in cooking that I lost somewhere along the line this summer? Crispy baked Sambal chicken wings, a very easy but game-changing recipe for eggs and a tomato-rich tangy baked aubergine dish – Brinjal Assam Jawa – are what I’ve got planned for the weekend. I’ve already shared the leftovers with a sister and another order has just been made. Makan Malaysia: a very happy discovery.
To order see www.makanmalaysia.co.uk.