Eating in, in the time of COVID-19 — ingredient shopping

This is Part 1 — cooking ingredients and ready meals; try Part 2  for cooked to order takeaway / delivery

Strange and unsettling times.

Below I list a variety of options that might help you to (a) eat well at home during the social distancing / isolation period; and (b) support the suppliers, independent food sellers and restaurateurs that have helped create such a vibrant food scene over the last (let’s say) two decades.

This isn’t comprehensive and will grow — as much as anything it’s a repository of things I have or will mention on instagram, which people have asked me to put in one place.

Other caveats:

  • Things are changing rapidly. So please consider this a working document. By all means add suggestions in the comments and I’ll update when I can. And ultimately go to the source for fully up-to-date info as to whether and how they’re still operating (I link where possible).
  • This isn’t comprehensive, it’s not a ‘best of’ list, and no doubt there are glaring holes. Let me know if you want to be added; we’re in this for the long haul.
  • But it is long. Which is why it’s split into things to cook; and cooked to order delivery / takeaway pages.
  • Many of these are delivery. Others are ‘local’. Sorry, it’s London-centric. But really the point is to nudge everyone to support locals and independents. Find a source of information for your area: there are hyper-local social media accounts and individuals to suit every zone, town and taste.
  • On which note, the most useful way to organise this list would have been by postcode. But I’m not well-placed to do that. If there’s nothing near you, perhaps the suggestions will still remind you of somewhere similar.
  • For other sources, look at: Niamh Shields’ Eat Like a Girl blog, as she’s probably now keeping a much longer and more up-to-date list than me; this restaurant spreadsheet by @ClerkenwellBoyEC1; Eater London; Hot Dinners; @remedy_london, a restaurant industry hub started for these times; sign up to CODE Hospitality‘s newsletter; and browse the feeds of people like @rosiefoodie, @hollow_legs, @EllyPear, @georgiepuddingnpie; @chefcalum, who, like so many, are sharing loads.

Shopping

With restaurants pretty much closed, there are some fantastic suppliers trying to get their produce to retail customers. Plenty of long-standing independent retailers still there for us as well.

General delivery and food boxes

Some national, some London. They’ve all had high demand over the last few days, but assuming this is around for weeks and months to come, keep checking back rather than assuming supermarkets are the only way.

  • Farm Drop — collator of quality independent farmers and producers. Nationwide(?)
  • Food Chain — collator of restaurant suppliers, now serving London retail
  • Borough Market — is open, quiet and open air. So if you are within walking or cycle distance, maybe one of the best places to shop at a social distance? They also have Good Sixty, an online shopping and mobile delivery hub (waiting 10 mile radius, possibly expanding to within the M25). Good Sixty also have hubs in Bath and Bristol serving local artisans.
  • Field & Flower — free range meat, sustainably sourced fish, quality deli items already in existence prior to this and doing it well.
  • Riverford — full of customers right now, but keep an eye on it.
  • Abel & Cole — also busy, but also keep on eye on how things develop over the next few weeks.
  • I bet there are a load of other farm boxes out there (and local). Google.

Fruit and Veg

At the moment there are a number of wholesale costermongers seeing how delivering to homes will go.

  • Natoora — specialist fruit and veg, particularly strong on seasonal Spanish, Italian and British produce. On Ocado but opening their wholesale app to retail and delivering in their vans. Stores in Spa Terminus and West London too.
  • Pale Green Dot — farm fresh produce delivered from Sussex to your door (Sussex and London). Have recently added meat and dairy boxes to the vegetable options.
  • Odd Box — the excellent wonky veg box delivers across Great London postcodes (new orders paused for the moment but I’m sure they’ll reopen).
  • Flourish Produce, dropping veg boxes at the sites of a handful of East London and Cambridge restaurants
  • A number of New Covent Garden wholesalers have announced veg box / delivery schemes to anywhere with a London postcode within the M25 [update 1 April: there are LOADS on the NCG list now, so do browse this].
  • Nature’s Choice — like Oui Chef, one of the many NCG wholesalers now turning to home delivery.
  • Oui Chef Veg — £35 veg and £25 fruit boxes to all London postcodes.
  • Solstice Food — restaurant suppliers, now delivering.
  • Entremettier — restaurant wholesaler now shifting veg boxes on the Northcote Road
  • Primeur.co — £25, £35, £45 and so on boxes, around London. Text 07768231931.
  • First Choice Produce — have an online shop with veg boxes, also eggs (eggs!), milk (milk!) and more. London and Henley-ish.
  • Puntarelle — Bermondsey. Now opening Thursday, Friday, Saturday for the foreseeable.
  • Chegworth Valley — sending vegetable boxes nationwide (I think), although not their brilliant mixed leaf salad bags which is a shame because that would tie to them if added.
  • The All Greens family — Clifton Greens, Parkway Greens, Clocktower Greens, Newington Greens — open for socially distance shopping and now home delivery too. 
  • The Tomato Stall (Isle of Wight tomatoes) are about to get into their ‘season’ and will have lots of 3kg of boxes to deliver. Good value for what you get and worth keeping an eye on.
  • Outside London you’ll see lots of F&V wholesalers are delivering, too, like West Country Fruit Sales
  • Or, my Mum says her local farm shop guy, Clive, is arranging a no contact click and collect service in the car park … basically, visit your local greengrocer.

Butchers

Think of all the farmers and butchers who usually send vans to demanding chefs across London (and the country)…

I’ve used quite a few of these now. All good. Tend to need to order for delivery in 7-10 days time. And best to do that in a large order (so sort your fridge and freezer out).

  • Philip Warren — legendary Cornish butcher to many of London’s best restaurants. Now delivering.
  • Warrens on the pass — same butcher, with specific cuts that had been reared and aged for specific restaurants (who can no longer take it). I’m currently working my way through half a hogget previously destined for Kiln. It’s spectacular.
  • The Ethical Butcher — online curator and distributer of meat farmed in a responsible way. 
  • Swaledale Foods — another whole carcass butcher whose native breed meats are often the named highlight in London’s restaurants, now sending meat boxes by post. 
  • Cabrito — boxes of goat meat, delivered — with a free copy of the award winning ‘Goat’ book! Can also get this from Combe Farm Organic (see below).
  • Fosse Meadows — buy top tier chickens straight from the source.
  • Gothelney Farmer — very special Tamworth pigs who lived their absolute best life. Now available direct from the farmer in monthly pork boxes.
  • Combe Farm Organic — organic meat meat, frozen and couriered nationwide (so either wait to defrost or move straight into the freezer). 
  • Turner and George — Islington butchers with established home delivery capabilities (national).
  • The Butchery Ltd — Brilliant London butcher with shops in Spitalfields and Forest Hill, now opening their arch in Spa Terminus for retail, and starting out on home delivery too.
  • HG Walter — next day delivery across London, Monday to Saturday (they do Patty & Bun burger kits too…)
  • Parson’s Nose — delivering around Fulham, Putney and South Kensingston in maybe the cutest (chicken-topped) delivery van of all.
  • Pipers Farm — established free range meat box sender (national).
  • Cobble Lane Cured and Tempus Foods for deliveries of cured and dried meats.
  • Field & Flower (see also above in ‘general’ and below for ‘fish’).
  • And again, walk to your local butcher — or call, they’re probably delivering. In London, as well as those mentioned that’s The Ginger Pig, Flock and Herd, Hill and Szrok, Moen and Sons, Godfreys, James Elliot, … there’s many. Use them.
  • Or Google ‘Meat Box’ (not that one).

Fishmongers

Your local fishmonger is your starting point. Most now seem to be operating with good social distancing practices (and easier to stay distanced here than at a supermarket). 

There are also a number of wholesale fishmongers and day boats whose restaurant accounts have gone down, who are still trying to operate and need custom. Please get in touch with any other links to restaurant suppliers now delivering to homes or a drop-off point —whether London or elsewhere.

So:

  • Go to your nearest fishmonger (sooner rather than later, so they decide it’s worth staying open and keep the supply chains intact). Rex Goldsmith on Chelsea Green, Jonathan Norris in Pimlico, Hackney and Tufnell Park, Moxons in Clapham, Dulwich and Angel, Steve Hatt, Fin + Flounder, Prawn on the Lawn in Highbury, plenty more … they’re out there. Go to fishmongersfederation.co.uk to find one near you – many of whom will deliver locally.

    Or for delivery:
  • Henderson Seafood — Brixham (Devon) day boats straight to you
  • Pesky Fish — buy direct from the fishermen. Starting next week. Super
  • Fresh Cornish Fish – landed in Newlyn (Cornwall), then to your door, nationwide
  • Trelawney Fish — also Newlyn fish, also to you
  • Bens Fish Mersea — popular supplier of East Coast landed fish to restaurants, now shipping fish to homes
  • Sole Share — fish boxes to pick up points in London
  • Field & Flower — free range meat, sustainably sourced fish, quality deli items already in existence prior to this and doing it well.
  • Secret Smokehouse — East London Smokehouse, selling from its smokery and by next day delivery.

Bakers

(At time of writing) open and baking their elbows, wrists and fingers off:

  • The Snapery, Bermondsey
  • E5 Bakehouse, London Fields — order ahead and choose collection time
  • Pavilion, Broadway Market, Victoria Park, Columbia Road (8-3pm, delivery coming)
  • Bread Ahead, Borough Market
  • The Dusty Knuckle, Dalston – also delivering locally 
  • Bread by Bike, Camden
  • Darby’s, Battersea Nine Elms have a bread (theirs) and deli hatch
  • Margot Bakery, East Finchley (pre-order – 72 hour notice)
  • Little Bread Pedlar, Spa Terminus (every day for foreseeable, not just Saturdays)
  • and if you don’t live round the corner from a sourdough bakery, or aren’t going out, try Paul Rhodes Bakery – formerly with a load of restaurant customers, now delivering within 6 mile radius of Greenwich
  • and Ben Glazer of Coombeshead Farm’s bakery (see below) is doing an 8 x loaf package, delivered nationwide — find 6 or 7 neighbours and team up?

Dry goods

Your local delis, corner shops and restaurants trading as shops are a good bet. Also:

  • Shipton Mill — flour. Deliver nationally.
  • Gilchesters — unbleached flour from heritage grains. Busy, back online next week.
  • Wessex Mill — also flour. Also busy. Deliver nationally.
  • Sous Chef — pastas, flours, rice, vinegars etc, deliver nationally.
  • Hodmedods — British grown pulses and grains, deliver nationally.
  • Belazu — grains, beans, flours, rice, oil, vinegars, deli treats, pastes, spices etc (includes fresh pasta from La Tua)
  • Rooted Spices — for your spice cupboards
  • Spice Mountain — for your spice cupboards. Some dried beans and pulses too. Online but also Borough Market.
  • SeeWoo — Chinatown’s Oriental and Asian supermarket, now delivering central London
  • WaiYeeHong — online Oriental and Asian supermarket — Bristol-based, nationwide delivery
  • Restaurant suppliers that you’ve not previously heard of have superb deli-style stock and are trying to start home deliveries, like HQF London. Best way to find these (other than those I’m able to list here) is to check the Social pages of your favourite chef – many are mentioning.

Dairy and delis

As with butchers, fishmongers and fruit and veg, there are some amazing cheesemongers who’ve suddenly lost their restaurant trade. They’re caring for loads of cheese at the moment. We should eat it. (See Jenny Linford’s piece on this)

  • Neals Yard Dairy — Spa Terminus HQ now has extended hours, shops in Borough Market and Covent Garden currently open. Their online delivery service was already one of the great underused services of the last decade, and now it’s doing its best to keep the British farmhouse cheese industry alive (having already done so much to build and curate it). 
  • The Courtyard Dairy — well regarded distributer of British cheeses with established online presence.
  • Mons — Spa Terminus and East Dulwich, online / delivery coming
  • Paxton & Whitfield — check their website and instagram for uptodate store and online detail.
  • La Fromagerie — Marylebone, Highbury and Bloomsbury. The first two are open, maybe local delivery too?.
  • The Estate Dairy — The milk that your favourite coffee shop used, now available delivered within 6 mile radius of Knightsbridge (via slerp.com). AND ALSO amazing eggs, butter, cheese. Comparable / better to supermarket prices. Incomparable product.
  • Kupros dairy — Cypriot-style cheese made in North London. You can get that in bulk, delivered to N and E London, and possibly Surrey too. They’ve also added an ‘essentials’ option for veg, eggs etc.
  • Your local bouji deli (Giddy Grocer Bermondsey, Provisions Holloway, General Store Peckham, De Beauvoir Deli, WeinoBiB, Panzers Deli etc etc). Need support. And taste great.
  • Also your local Italian Deli with pannetore in the window that you always mean to step into but don’t (it’s probably great)
  • And also NB Farm Drop and Food Chain and Go Sixty collation and delivery services mentioned at the top, plus Natoora’s app (for charcuterie and Italian dry goods etc)

Coffee

The demand for coffee roasters to serve the nation’s third wave coffee scene/industry has ground to a sudden halt. I wish I could mention more of them here, but for the moment am limiting to companies whose beans and coffees I’ve long drunk, enjoyed and ordered online from.

  • Roundhill Roastery — What I’m currently brewing (the Claude, and the Rimiro from Burundi, just fyi). Great UX and value.
  • Monmouth Coffee — Here before the whole artisan coffee thing kicked off. Covid-19 allowing, they’ll be here for many years more too. Have the relationships and buying power to ensure that your beans are fairly purchased and top quality.
  • Square Mile — For a long time the way you could tell a new cafe was going to serve you a decent coffee, was that you could spy kilo bags of Square Mile beans on the shelves. Not so ubiquitous now, but still a/the leader. So great to have them at home, no?
  • Colonna — Bath-based, very slick and thoughtful interface for ordering. Also do better than average coffee pods for nespresso machines.
  • James Gourmet Coffee — VERY good value, expertly roast coffee beans, from long-established roasters and trainers.
  • Origin Coffee — Cornwall-based roasters, but if you’re a Londoner you may have seen their cafes and concessions. Kind of interesting because even for filter beans they do blends (most others focus on single origin). Also, everything on their site is 20% off through April (gadgets as well as beans).
  • Caravan — single bags, subscription and / or tea are all available for delivery atm.
  • Kiss the Hippo — fairly new but highly regarded roasters. Free shipping atm.
  • Workshop Coffee — really like their espresso-based coffees from the cafes. Filter beans good too. Shop is easy to use and also a good source of hardware.

And for tea drinkers, the best loose leaf comes from Postcard Teas; their central London shop is closed for the moment, but they’re still dispatching Monday-Saturday.

Booze

I’ll do a full page later (once properly explored). Same situation, though: many wine importers now missing a restaurant customer base, all with vans; and a few who are already well set at home delivery.

  • DropWineApp — same day (sometimes hour) delivery in London. Referral code fKsv047q gets you a tenner off your first order. I get something too if you use it — which I’ll redeem, but later spend the same amount in their Covent Garden restaurants The 10 Cases and Parsons. 
  • Uncharted Wines — nationwide delivery; and Rupert will even install a wine tap system in your home if you want it…
  • Fine Cider — we were, I think, about to have a restaurant-led ‘British cider and perry’ trend/movement/moment. Now there are some incredible drinks available nationwide via these guys.
  • Gipsy Hill Brewing Company — for consistently good London beer (and to buy NHS workers a pint)
  • Bodega Rita’s for wine and (quality) pre-mixed cocktails. 
  • Salon Wine Store Brixton for South London natural wine fans — email info@salonwinestore.co.uk
  • Top Cuvee for North London wine fans (actually can do national).
  • Bright (P Franco, Noble Fine Liquor, Peg etc) for East London natural wine fans.
  • WHO IS SERVING WEST LONDON?
  • See this comprehensive list of Independents who are delivering, courtesy of Wine Car Boot’s Ruth Spivey.
  • And Abbie Moulton’s piece in the Evening Standard — from back in March.

Restaurants selling produce / key ingredients by delivery and takeaway

  • Monty’s Deli — Mensch lumps of salt beef, pastrami, bagels. Love these guys.
  • Eat Lagom — (incredible) smoked whole chicken, meats and more, delivered within 3 miles of Hackney — watch Elliot’s stories for updates.
  • Coombeshead Farm — The brilliant farm-fork restaurant and rooms in Cornwall is about to launch a provisions (amazing home grown bread, honey, charcuterie) delivery service.
  • Brat is opening a farm shop and grill to sell wine and produce from key suppliers. Check their instagram for full details, but begins Sunday 22 March, 11am. Beneath them, Smoking Goat may follow with producer ingredients, cooking pastes and sauces(?).
  • A (growing) handful of East London and Cambridge restaurants will act as pick-up spots for veg boxes from horse-driven farm Flourish Produce — Hill & Szrok, Peg, Esters, Jolene and Pavilion in Hackney, Vanderlyle, Thirsty Cambridge and The Linton Kitchen in Cambridge. follow Flourish for details.
  • Loyal Tavern, Bermondsey — essentially operating as a deli for the time-being, selling the food of their producers (mostly small 
  • Lots of others are beginning to open as delis / greengrocers, as an outlet for their suppliers. Check in on the social media outlets of your favourites and locals (or walk past during your one exercise of the day).

Restaurants now prepping meal kits / food to reheat at home

[ed. note 6 May: to be updated shortly]

  • Pophams — fresh pasta and sauces (and croissants?) for pick up and delivery, 1 mile radius London Fields.
  • Sorella — fresh pasta, anti pasti and sides, for pick-up Clapham
  • Ombra — fresh pasta, sauces, produce, tiramisu. Pick-up and delivery (set times) Hackney.
  • And for not quite as fresh but still fresh pasta kits delivered nationwide, Pasta Evangelists.
  • Honey & Spice — the deli from the lovely team already did hampers and catering, now pushing out more of their Middle Eastern deliciousness.
  • Quality Chop House — family-sized pies, vac packed stews and braises, deli items, for collection (Clerkenwell) and delivery
  • Clipstone — anti pasti, delicious things to warm up, and desserts. Collection (Fitzrovia) and delivery
  • The Laughing Heart — from next week, ‘comfort’ (but going to be classy) ready meals and natty wines.
  • Top Cuvee Shop — North London wine bar doing well thought through offer of starters, fresh pasta and a daily dessert (plus wine) by bike.
  • Forza Win Road — banging starters and fresh pasta to cook / reheat at home. Peckham, and around South London.
  • Pidgin – clever 3 courser (plus focaccia) for home re-plating/cooking. Changes daily. Pick up from Hackney restaurant.
  • Eat Eight is the frozen ready-meal — from a catering company now without events.
  • Patty & Bun and Pizza Pilgrims are selling cook at home burger kits and frying pan pizza respectively (obviously) via HG Walter (the butchers, mentioned above).
  • I will add more as I find them, along with a separate page on restaurants pivoting to cooked to order delivery / takeaway (in meantime see Hot Dinners / Clerkenwell Boy’s spreadsheet)