As Covid-19 bares its teeth and we all face the prospect of spending an uncomfortable amount of time on the sofa, it seems like the ideal moment to try and find the silver lining. Aside from providing space for all the housebound projects you never thought you'd be able to get off the ground, Coronavirus promises to open many more of us up to the exciting possibilities of the takeaway. Trust us, it’s so much more than tikka masala, prawn toast and Domino’s.
As London’s dining scene has developed, so too have the city’s takeaways. Now, not only are the options more expansive than ever, but they’re also infinitely more tasty. To help you navigate the next weeks and months as deliciously as possible, here’s our list of the best takeaways in the capital. Who said indoor dining had to be dull?
Few foods can deliver a deep-fried pick-me-up quite like chicken. The golden, crisp, award-winning examples at Butchies are, unsurprisingly, some of the best around and, unlike many of their competitors, remain just as delicious after a 20-minute trip tied to the back of a moped. The whole menu offers mouthwatering possibilities, but we recommend keeping it classic with the inimitable “Original”. Available in both East and Southwest London.
As the prospect of people leaving their sitting room looks increasingly unlikely, it could be a glorious time to be in the pizza business. While there are literally thousands of moderate to poor pizza vendors, there are a few that go above and beyond. Yardsale is one that delivers, in every sense. Blistered, chewy, stone-baked crusts form the base for an array of beautifully balanced toppings, such as “Spicy anchovies, caper berries and black olives” and “Cobble Lane pepperoni, regular pepperoni & spicy Nduja sausage”. Trust us, you’ll never want to eat out again. Stores across Northeast London.
3. Motu Indian
Britain’s veneration of the curry has been well documented, but few takeaways live up to the legend quite like Motu. Unlike other alternatives, Motu is a delivery specialist, providing customers with top quality Indian cooking in the comfort of their own homes all across the city. From customised “Feast Boxes” to a tantalising pick and mix of beloved favourites, Motu is the go-to for an authentic, genuinely delicious taste of the subcontinent.
4. Zing Zing
Chinese takeaways are often admired for their ubiquitous if occasionally enhanced deliciousness. Zing Zing is a restaurant that manages to keep the flavour, while dispensing with the chemicals. Proudly “MSG Free”, the restaurant specialises in “clean, high quality, wok fresh Chinese takeout,” offering an extensive “Green” menu as well as a mix of familiar favourites. With locations in Kentish Town, Highbury, Kensal Rise & Elephant & Castle, Zing Zing is a great alternative to your typical “Set Meal C”.
Despite everyone’s best efforts, burgers don’t tend to travel well. This makes the exceptional sandwiches from Patty and Bun all the more impressive, even ignoring the fact that they are already among the best burgers you’ll have anywhere. Classics like the “Ari Gold” cheeseburger pair perfectly with a selection of OTT sides, including “Beef Brisket Nuggets” and chips with “Chicken Skin Salt”. The fact that they also boast an entire separate plant-based menu is just an added bonus.
Awesome takeaways don’t have to be made by bearded, beanie-wearing, Bourdain-infuriating hipsters. As it happens, one of London’s best has been an institution since 1972. Lahore Kebab House on Commercial Road is one of the best places to sample authentic, no-nonsense Pakistani cooking this side of Islamabad. This restaurant forms a formidable duo with neighbouring Tayyabs, offering takeaway customers access to an awe-inspiring array of traditional treats.
Dine-in restaurants have a range of awards and accolades that they can point to as a mark of success. While such recognition in the takeout industry is slightly tougher to come by, there are people dedicated to finding the best of the best. In the opinion of the aptly named “British Takeaway Awards”, London’s best is delivered by Indian experts Chilli Tuk Tuk. Their award-winning menu boasts an eclectic mix of old favourites and exciting new dishes, including “Tuk Tuk Wings” and “Bollywood Masala”. Based in North Finchley.
Like burgers, delivering noodles without letting them disintegrate is a challenge that’s been baffling foodies for years. One kitchen that’s definitely cracked the formula is Spitalfield’s Dumpling Shack. The street stall serves up some of the best regional Chinese cooking in the city, delivering delicious shengjianbao dumplings and unbeatable dan dan noodles. There’s a reason why one of our chefs orders this at least once a week.
9. Voodoo Rays
When a normal pizza isn’t enough to keep morale up, you can always go super-sized. Serving some of the biggest, and incidentally most delicious, New York-style pies in the entire city, Voodoo Rays dominate the Dalston, Shoreditch and Peckham pizza scenes with mammoth slices from 22-inch disks. Flavours like “cumberland sausage, stilton, red onion” are available in either 12-inch or 22-inch orders, meaning there’s plenty of potential for a full-blown pizza party.
10. Twisted London
Feel like something naughty, but not quite sure where to begin? Fortunately, we have our very own delivery service designed to cater for diners who want a little bit of everything! Combining brilliant burgers, like the buttermilk fried chicken “Hot Swayzee”, with outrageous sides like “Dirty Vegan Fries”, Twisted London really does tick every box. If you ever wanted to enjoy Twisted’s signature style without leaving the house, there’s only one place to go. Available in East London.
Obviously, the very real prospect of months cooped up away from your favourite food is far from ideal for anyone. Things are going to get tough, for everyone. But, at least with this list, you can look forward to a few fantastic meals, even if you are stuck inside.