Takeout: It's a little bit guilt-inducing, a little bit Bridget Jones. We’ve all had those moments when our Chinese for one arrives with four sets of chopsticks. But in London, the standard takeout menu is undergoing a makeover, thanks to a host of companies and chic start-up restaurants that are making it more fancy than functional—and perfect for visitors who need a break from dining out during their stay.
Rose Lloyd Owen created PearDrop out of frustration—she simply couldn’t find healthy, satisfying, tasty lunches in central London. The business has grown from a lunch delivery service to more of a catering company, but it’s worth noting the name, a nod to the fact that it focuses on natural, unprocessed, top-tier ingredients to make such favorites as seared tuna Nicoise salad, grilled vegetable pizzas, and gluten-free salted caramel chocolate tartlets.
New to the take-out game, Bonnie Gull Seafood Shack has just launched an outdoor kitchen, offering takeaway beer-battered North Sea haddock every Wednesday through Saturday. Sizzling fresh from the fryer and served with thumb-thick, beef-dripping chips, you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped out of London and onto the Cornish coast. They’ll also be offering draught beer, Prosecco, oysters and small plates on the takeaway menu.
September sees the launch of Supper, the first-ever delivery service culled from Michelin-starred sources. Well-dressed employees will weave through London on state-of-the-art Japanese bikes to deliver food from London’s chicest Michelin-starred restaurants. The focus is on bringing clients a comparable dining experience to what they’d expect in the city’s well-starched dining rooms. Already on board is the one-starred Indian restaurant Tamarind, and Mayfair’s Benares. Also on offer, though not bearing a Michelin star, are woodfired pizzas from Bocconcino, succulent steaks from M Restaurants, and Japanese thanks to Matsuri and Tsunami.
You can’t talk about delivery service without referencing a great Chinese option. Firecracker was named the top of the lot (beating out 10,000 opponents) by online delivery service Hungry House. Located in Westminster, the restaurant has built its reputation serving London’s political elites, and the food is perfect for late-night cravings.
Bridget Arsenault is the associate editor, print and digital at Vanity Fair UK. and the co-director of the Bright Young Things Film Club. She covers the U.K. beat for Travel + Leisure; follow her on Twitter at @bridget_ruth.
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