This is a devastating time for London¡¯s bars, restaurants, caf¨¦s and food shops. But even in the middle of one of the country¡¯s worst economic and social crises, the capital¡¯s hospitality industry has shown incredible resilience and ingenuity ¨C lots of places have switched to delivery, opened online stores or launched vouchers to compete with Covid. The situation is changing rapidly, but we¡¯ve put together a list of London¡¯s best venues and what they are doing right now. If you can support them, please do.
Order a delivery
For now, a handful of London restaurants are still operating their own contactless doorstep delivery systems, although those with team members not living within walking distance are generally shutting down to keep staff from travelling unnecessarily. Bao¡¯s new offshoot, Rice Error, will be up and running soon, delivering roast chicken and rice boxes that make use of Taiwan¡¯s chishang rice to Soho, Fitzrovia, Southwark and Hackney. Snackbar has rice bowls that look as good as they taste for Dalston locals, while Larry’s in Peckham has South London covered for brilliant breakfasts of babkas and sausage rolls in the morning and lunchtime treats of focaccia sandwiches. Mediterranean opening Oren will deliver across East London and Yard Sale and Pizza Pilgrims are both still dropping off pizzas, with a 50 per cent discount for all NHS staff. With online shopping becoming increasingly unpredictable, restaurants are also turning themselves into stores, offering a to-the-door service: Top Cuv¨¦e in Finsbury Park has bike couriers on standby ready to deliver everything from store-cupboard essentials and fresh fish to cases of wine; Salon Brixton and Passione Vino in Shoreditch are also delivering wine, and The Cheese Bar is touring London with its vans to drop off cheese, charcuterie and wine (pre-order only). Meanwhile, deli-slash-wine-bar Provisions on Holloway Road is sending out orders costing more than ¡ê60 with free delivery across the city.
Browse more takeaways from London’s best restaurants
Buy a voucher
For bars and restaurants struggling with cash flow, receiving money upfront is a lifeline. Many places are selling vouchers that can be redeemed at any time with a bonus attached. Quo Vadis has one for ¡ê1,200 that covers as many feasts, drinks and parties that customers may want throughout the year, either at the Soho spot or sister space Barrafina. It costs ¡ê1,000, with ¡ê200 on the restaurant (email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more). Legendary elegant Italian joint Bocca di Lupo has launched a food voucher scheme for once it reopens, as has Hackney wine bar and small-plates specialist The Laughing Heart. Crispin has tokens for ¡ê100 that will only cost customers ¡ê60, to be redeemed on food over the next three months. And for those who buy a Kricket voucher for ¡ê250 or more, the restaurant will add 20 per cent of the value for free, as will much-loved Peckham Italian place Artusi on vouchers of any amount. For burger fans, Hach¨¦¡¯s gift cards last 12 months, and Mac and Wild has a discount of more than 40 per cent on many of its gift cards. Meanwhile, top coffee shops have similar offerings: City favourite Rosslyn Coffee is selling vouchers for everything from five to 100 coffees that can be redeemed at any time; plus, it¡¯s selling the pretty South London-made ceramic mugs it uses in-store and beans ground how you like them, which can be popped in the post. Contact your favourites to ask if they¡¯re doing the same.
Buy a kit
A growing number of top London restaurants are putting together dish kits for customers and delivering them. As well as giving people a helping hand while the availability of from-scratch ingredients is unpredictable, these offerings are great for creating a sense of occasion at the end of the day. We love Patty and Bun x HG Walter¡¯s kits filled with buns, burgers and all the extras; Bodega Rita¡¯s ready-to-pour cocktail pouches; Ombra and Nonna Tonda¡¯s fresh-pasta boxes and Chin Chin¡¯s DIY hot-chocolate kit. And if you¡¯re a fan of pastrami, salt beef and bake-at-home bagels, Monty¡¯s Deli is delivering them through its online store.
Find out about other cocktail kits and delivery options with our round up
Support hospitality workers
Its restaurants may be closed for now, but Lina Stores has raised more than ¡ê26,000 in a week through its appeal to support vulnerable Londoners, including hospitality staff who have lost their jobs due to closures. They¡¯re putting together thousands of kits containing enough food to make 10 separate feasts of fresh, handmade pasta with accompanying sauces and cheese. Donate here.
If you¡¯re a restaurant and doing something similar, please do get in touch with us via our instagram at @condenasttraveller.
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