2020 was a hugely challenging time for hospitality around the world. With lockdowns forcing the closure of the dining industry, in order to survive, chefs and restaurateurs had to think creatively about how to continue to trade in this new era.
Home delivery and takeaway options were the natural evolution, with food prepared by chefs in restaurants delivered to diners in their own homes, including instructions to help them prepare and serve the meals.
Reduced prices typically reflected the fact that customers aren’t having the full dine-in experience, so as well as bringing in essential revenue, this new way of serving customers also arguably opened up fine dining to an audience who previously may not have considered it. As restaurants open again, the hope is that this new set of customers will be drawn in for the full experience.
Here we take a look at some of our favourite fine dining establishments that pivoted to a home delivery model during 2020, and have continued to provide the service as normal life resumes in August 2021.
At our Michelin-starred restaurant Opheem, by chef Aktar Islam, we created ‘Aktar at Home’, a concept that was tested and proven during the past year, but is continuing as an additional service offering. The Birmingham-based chef and our team create restaurant-quality traditional Indian meals, delivered to customers all around the UK from around £70.
Aktar summarises the food as ‘simple and traditional, but the processes and flavours are complex.’ As an example of what you can expect, a Michelin-star level curry box provides a generous banquet for four, several meals for two, or a whole week of dinners for one.
Not only that, but Aktar at Home helps Opheem support the Birmingham community by allowing it to continue to provide hundreds of meals each week to charities across the region.
Link: aktarathome.co.uk/shop – you are already here!
The Elephant by Simon Hulstone was the first Michelin-starred restaurant in Torquay (which it has held for 15 years and counting) run by Simon and his wife Katy.
With all ingredients proudly sourced locally, the restaurant creates takeaway food at an incredibly reasonable price – with 3 courses at £29. The restaurant has kept its offering elegantly simple with one option available on a Thursday (at the time of writing duck as the main) and an alternative menu (monkfish) on a Saturday.
The Black Swan is set in the North York Moors National Park and is a Michelin-starred restaurant helmed by chef Tommy Banks (Britain’s youngest Michelin-starred chef in 2013).
‘Made in Oldstead’ is the restaurant’s premium at-home dining experience, providing UK-wide delivery of their 3 and 5 course menu boxes. With boxes for 2 people and prices between £59 and £135, it’s well priced. An example menu box has duck and cherry terrine to start, brown butter confit cod as a main and cheesecake flavoured with tangerine marigolds to finish.
‘Taking pasta to a whole new level’ is how Michelin-starred chef Phil Howard describes the offering from Otto Pasta. He’s taken his years of experience and honed his recipes to create simple yet superb pasta suppers, delivered to west and south-west London.
A really lovely touch on the Otto site is the inclusion of a ‘how to’ section with video guides for preparing the meals.
Meals start from £8 up to £50 for 2 people, and if you spend at least £13, delivery is free.
AKA ‘Peel’s On Wheels’, Peel’s Restaurant at Hampton Manor, Hampton-in-Arden, embraced the lockdown delivery-style service in 2020 and has continued to offer its Michelin-star quality food as we move back to normal life in 2021.
Peel’s delivers on a Friday, and has the facility to deliver nationwide. They’re often sold out a couple of weeks in advance so if you’re looking for a special meal for date night or an anniversary, make sure you order in good time to avoid disappointment.
The menu is fixed, as many of the delivery services are, and a typical selection is scallops and pancetta to start, pork loin for main, with buttermilk panna cotta to finish. The 3 course meal is £45 (with shipping calculated at checkout). You’re able to add a bottle of wine to match the food for an additional £35 to £40, and if you feel like you can manage it, a cheese course is also available for £8!
The Hawksmoor bills itself as the best steak restaurant in the UK and through its ‘Hawksmoor at Home’ service, is giving customers around mainland Britain the opportunity to experience its food in a home setting.
Prepared by the restaurant team under Executive Chef Matt Brown, before being delivered and finished at home by you, the site also has ‘cook with the chef’ videos that help you serve your meal to perfection.
As an example of the selection, the restaurant’s Porterhouse 3 Course Box (serves 2) is £105 to £135, depending on whether you include alcohol.
‘The Porterhouse Box celebrates the most tender cut, the Fillet on one side and Sirloin on the other with a thick piece of fat running down the side. Start off with Old Spot belly ribs & pickled slaw. Then with the steak there’s creamed spinach, Matt Brown’s Ultimate Oven Chips (cooked thrice), a creamy peppercorn sauce and garlic mushrooms, finished with a sticky pudding for two.’
The restaurant delivers nationwide on a Thursday and Friday each week.
Dean Banks and his team at Haar at Home in Perth started the delivery operation for their superb luxury boxes during the national lockdown, and have decided to continue to offer the service even though the restaurant is operational again. A crowdfunded cash injection has helped enhance the set up, with improved sustainable packaging, a refrigerated van and expansion of menu options.
The seafood-based luxury boxes start at £40 and go up to £90, and the restaurant delivers to a number of postcodes in and around Scotland.
Simon Rogan at Home delivers award-winning 3 course meals (made using seasonal ingredients and sent in eco-friendly packaging) nationwide. They have their meals set a couple of months in advance and advise you to order early as there is limited availability and a weekly newsletter enables you to keep up to date with upcoming recipes and plans. Videos take you through the finishing of your meal, step by step, to help you get the best result from your fine dining experience.
The meals have meat or vegetarian-based options. An example of one of the meat-based meals has dry aged short rib of Dexter beef as its main, while the vegetarian equivalent is terrine of artichoke. Delivery is just £10 nationwide (or free for orders over £200).
Stein’s at Home is the delivery option from legendary chef Rick Stein. The food boxes cover an astonishing range of meals including afternoon tea, barbecue boxes with cocktails, breakfast boxes and a wide selection of fish dishes and Indonesian curries. Prices range from around £50 for afternoon tea, to £160 for a barbecue box with cocktails – and delivery is free if you spend over £100.
It’s clear that Michelin-star level home deliveries and takeaways are here to stay. The provision has shown to be a superb way to introduce a new audience to fine dining in their own home, and there are plenty of options available to suit all budgets and tastes.