During our sad little locked-down lives, getting a delivery was the highlight of our day – or often week. Plus it allowed us to rebrand ourselves from ‘too lazy to cook’ to ‘virtuously supporting local businesses during this difficult time’. That philanthropy doesn’t have to stop just because we’re at liberty to eat out again. It’s easy to rely on the big dogs when ordering in, but there are plenty of alternative food delivery services, many with ethical business models, offering restaurant dishes, meal kits, provisions or delicious ready-to-discover surprises from up-and-coming chefs. Here are six key players aiming to fast-track your breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The community one
What’s the deal? Started by Depop founder Simon Beckerman and Natalie Lee-Joe, former owner of the now-closed yakitori restaurant Jidori, Delli is the new kid on the food-delivery block. It’s a community-focused app for small businesses – even home cooks – to list their wares and build relationships with their customers. There are ‘drops’ when each seller releases small-batch products – hot meals, recipe boxes, groceries – for a limited amount of time, which helps put sustainability first, manage ingredients and tackle food waste.
Why is it good? Delli’s aim is to support the restaurants that were forced to pivot to retail during the pandemic and to highlight the care and attention that goes into making their food and drink. The app allows shoppers to read the chefs’ stories and find out about the concepts behind what they’re selling – kind of like a new social network for food fanatics.
Who’s on there? Taco don Sonora, Decatur (creator of those shrimp boil meal kits), Asian cake-maker extraordinaire Lil Wong Bakes, Smokehouse master Ruben’s Reubens and more.
Delivery area varies by seller. www.delli.market
The ethical one
What’s the deal? Slerp, aka the ‘anti-Deliveroo’, takes less of a cut than its delivery-service rivals and gives restaurants more control. Created by Crosstown Doughnuts founder JP Then, it provides software that can be plugged into a restaurant or retailer’s website to allow customers to order directly rather than go through a third-party delivery platform.
Why is it good? It’s cheaper for its sellers, as Slerp operates on a leaner basis, charging a small basic commission, while offering optional services, like advertising and promotion, for additional fees.
Who’s on there? Plenty of London faves, like Josh Katz’s shawarma bar Berber and Q, modern Mexican restaurant Santo Remedio, swanky Indian grill Brigadiers and Malaysian-Singaporean hawker-style joint Rasa Sayang.
Delivery area varies by seller. www.slerp.com
The special-occasion one
What’s the deal? Launched by Charlie Mellor (who runs The Laughing Heart in Hackney), Big Night came on to the scene during the first lockdown with all guns blazing, offering meal kits, provisions and hampers from the city’s best chefs and restaurants, shipped straight to your door.
Why is it good? It works with independent traders and charges low commission rates, so you’re supporting small businesses.
Who’s on there? Indie foodies, from Michelin-starred chefs to up-and-coming brands. Meringue Girls does a birthday hamper, fancy Italian Bocca di Lupo’s meal kits are anniversary-ready and Le Swine’s bacon butty kits will cure any hangover.
Nationwide delivery. www.bignight.app
The crowd-pleasing one
What’s the deal? Great Food 2 U does what it says on the tin, bringing great food to you, in the form of DIY dishes from the brands you love. It’s the failsafe option that even your risk-averse parents will love.
Why is it good? All the kits are assembled in the Great Food 2 U prep kitchen using the same ingredients as in all the restaurants.
Who’s on there? High-street favourites from burger connoisseur Patty & Bun and pizza legend Franco Manca to Filipino canteen Bong Bong’s and even Burger & Lobster.
Nationwide delivery. www.greatfood2u.co.uk
The cheffy one
What’s the deal? Think of Dishpatch as an extension of your favourite restaurant. It’s a delivery platform that offers slickly packaged DIY feasts straight from restaurant prep kitchens to your dining table.
Why is it good? Dishpatch does its restaurants a massive favour by handling the complex logistics of the whole meal kit thing, and its ‘spotlight’ series supports up-and-coming chefs.
Who’s on there? Cult London favourites like Roti King, Gunpowder and El Pastor, plus menus from rising stars Jenny Phung of Ling Ling’s and ex-Dusty Knuckle head chef Paris Rosina.
Nationwide delivery. www.dishpatch.co.uk
The luxe one
What’s the deal? High-end food delivery app Supper London was on BBC’s ‘Dragon’s Den’. Founder Peter Georgiou walked away with no cash, but that hasn’t stopped this upmarket courier from delivering premium eats with great success.
Why is it good? Ever had a takeaway pizza arrive upside down? Or a lukewarm curry? There’s no chance of that with Supper. It uses ‘gyroscopically stabilised’ three-wheeled motorbikes, designed to deliver food and drink in peak condition and at the correct temperature. Your dinner gets the silver-service treatment.
Who’s on there? A constellation of starry restaurants and shops, including Roka, Dinings SW3, Park Chinois, Sushisamba, Fortnum & Mason and Nobu.
Delivery in Zone 1 and 2. www.supper.london
Hungry for more? These are the top London restaurants doing home delivery.
Here are the best tried-and-tested restaurant meal kits.