How to shop during Covid-19 Lockdown 2.0

This is Part 1 of the Lockdown 2.0 directory series. This time it’s ingredient shopping. Part 2 is ‘How to Eat Out, In’, covering meal kits.

Hello. Here is an update of the delivery directory I originally published back in March 2020. It’s been trimmed and refined for Lockdown 2.0; I suspect you’ve got your systems in place now, and there seems less of a panic this time round. But still, perhaps there’ll be something here that helps. It’s actually a great time for consumers, and worth considering changing shopping habits in the medium-long term …

Should be fairly self-explanatory, alongside the notes that:

  • sorry, it’s not exhaustive — it just can’t be and still be useful. But by all means add your suggestions in the comments if they’re truly recommendations of which you have first hand knowledge; and also
  • sorry, it perhaps a little London / South-East centric. Largely because that’s my reference-point; you’ll know where’s good near you, and should definitely start there! However, nationwide delivery options are starred, and in fact there’s quite a few of them, particularly butchers and fishmongers.

Related to both points, really I’d just emphasise that in the first instance support your local and already favoured butchers, fishmongers, green grocers and delis, and keep an eye on the restaurants you like as they may well be promoting their suppliers, or working on a grocery option.

I will also shortly re-publish a separate post covering restaurants now offering delivery / assemble at home kits. Head over to that if you’d like a night off cooking from scratch, a bit of a treat and / or to support independent restaurants at this difficult time.

If you need more, Niamh at Eat Like a Girl’s list of independent shops and producers is extensive and excellent.


Fruit and Veg

A mix of (normally) wholesale costermongers now delivering to homes, and an increasing number of veg box schemes: 

  • Natoora* — specialist (really superb) fruit and veg, particularly strong on seasonal Spanish, Italian and British produce. You can shop completely a la carte via their app (rather than veg box format). Now delivering nationwide. With deli items available too.
  • Pale Green Dot— farm fresh produce delivered from Sussex to your door (Sussex, London, edge of M25). Also have meat and dairy boxes, as well as pure fruit and vegetable options.
  • Odd Box — the excellent wonky veg box delivers across London and South East England postcodes (new orders paused for the moment but I’m sure they’ll reopen).
  • The All Greens family — Clifton Greens, Parkway Greens, Clocktower Greens, Newington Greens and Panzers Deli — open for socially distance shopping and now home delivery too. Fruit and Veg boxes, with deli, bread, dairy and meat items available for addition too.
  • The Tomato Stall (Isle of Wight tomatoes) bit out of season now, but let’s be honest we all eat tomatoes through the year. So may as well get them delivered to your door by the 3kg box load. Check out the per kilo price at the supermarket/your grocer (for everything other than the tomatoes that taste of nothing and are pointless). This is good value…
  • A number of New Covent Garden wholesalers have announced veg box / delivery schemes to anywhere with a London postcode within the M25 [there are LOADS on the NCG list now, so do browse this].
  • First Choice Produce — have an online shop with veg boxes, also eggs (eggs!), milk (milk!) and more. London and Henley-ish.
  • Chegworth Valley — sending vegetable boxes nationwide (free delivery London and Kent, a charge elsewhere), although not their brilliant mixed leaf salad bags which is a shame (the sorrel leaves are great, though).
  • Ashdown Organics — specialise in veg boxes but also meat, bread, dairy and deli. Organic and regenerative farm produce. London and South.
  • Farmers markets are open this time round, and of course if you feel able then visit / liaise with your local greengrocer (please).

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. Some require fairly advance purchasing. For delivery fees and to ensure you’re always well-stocked, best to make a sizeable order (so sort your fridge and freezer out).

  • Swaledale Foods* — whole carcass butcher with a network of farms in the Yorkshire Dales. Their native breed meats are a named highlight of many of London’s top restaurants. Now courier that same meat to homes nationwide.
  • 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). Spectacular.
  • Gothelney Farmer* — very special Tamworth pigs who lived their absolute best life. Now available direct from the farmer in monthly pork boxes.
  • Lyons Hill Farm* — another supplier to great restaurants (notably Phil Howard’s The Square/Elystan Street) who’ve shifted to deliver their meat straight to our homes. This one’s Dorset-based. You’ll find their website compelling in its championing of rare breed beef (White Park), pork, hogget and chickens that take more than times to grow to maturity than a commercially bred flab monster.
  • The Ethical Butcher* — online curator and distributer of meat farmed in a responsible way.
  • 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.
  • 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 (my favourite) London butcher with shops in Spitalfields and Forest Hill, and Spa Terminus for retail, with home delivery near those sites too.
  • HG Walter — delivery in London and M25 radius. Some excellent burger/hot dog collaborations too.
  • Hill House Farm* — Surrey farm delivering rare breeds locally and sending nationwide.
  • Pipers Farm* — established meat boxes featuring grass fed, free range animals.
  • Cobble Lane Cured*, Tempus Foods* and Billy Franks for deliveries of British-made cured and dried meats.
  • Field & Flower* (see reference in ‘fishmongers’).
  • Again, walk to your local butcher — or call, they’re probably delivering. In London, as well as those mentioned that’s The Ginger Pig, Northfield Farm, Wild Beef, The Parsons Nose, Flock and Herd, Hill and Szrok, Moen and Sons, Godfreys, James Elliot … and many. Use them.
  • Or Google ‘Meat Box’ (not that one).

Fishmongers

Use your local fishmonger! Most now seem to be operating with good social distancing practices (certainly much easier to stay distanced here than at a supermarket … and the fish and shellfish will be much, much fresher).

However, there are also a number of wholesale fishmongers and day boats whose restaurant accounts have diminished or disappeared:

  • Henderson Seafood* — Brixham (Devon) day boats straight to you
  • Wright Brothers* — very good (and consumer friendly online shop) fresh fish and shell fish to your door.
  • Pesky Fish* — buy direct from the fishermen. A daily market place.
  • Fresh Cornish Fish* – landed in Newlyn (Cornwall), then to your door, nationwide
  • Field & Flower* — free range meat, sustainably sourced fish, quality deli items already in existence prior to this and doing it well.
  • Sole Share — regular fish box subscription with pick up points across London
  • Bens Fish Mersea — popular supplier of East Coast landed fish to restaurants, now delivering to homes in Essex and London. 
  • Bethnal Green Fish — another well-regarded restaurant supplier, now delivering to homes London (order via instagram / orders@bgfishsupplies.co.uk)
  • Secret Smokehouse* — East London Smokehouse, selling excellent quality smoked fish and fish pie mixes from its smokery, and by next day courier delivery nationwide.
  • Go to fishmongersfederation.co.uk to find one near you – many of whom will deliver locally. Or for delivery:

One stop shop

  • Coombeshead Farm* — wonderful farm to fork provisions (meat, cured meats, honey, dairy and preserves) from one of the absolute best restaurants and country breaks around. Limited availability — you’ve lucked out if you get it.
  • Spring to Go — veg boxes from biodynamic farm Fern Verrow, dairy, cooked goods, bread, larder provisions and bottle shop from Skye Gyngell’s Spring restaurant. Delivery within 12km radius of central London.
  • 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 (7 mile radius). Good Sixty also have hubs in Bath and Bristol serving local artisans.
  • Joy at Portobello — similar to Spring, really nicely curated (and cooked) grocer, bakery and deli from Stevie Parle’s West London pop up. Sweet pies and sunday lunch boxes look especially good. 10 mile radius of the restaurant.
  • Knock Knock by Smith and Brock — restaurant suppliers turned home delivery of veg boxes with add ons. London. From afar they looked like they were a great offering through Lockdown 1.0.
  • Farm Drop — impressive collator of quality groceries from independent farmers and producers. Includes recipe kits and frozen meals too. London only.
  • Food Chain — London chef platform for artisan producers and suppliers. Gathered together by an app, contact them for home delivery.
  • Taylor’s of Maltby Street — Bermondsey Greengrocer that became a delivery hub for many of its neighbours in the Spring. Not sure they’re currently home delivering, but keep an eye on instagram as many of you got in touch to say how good they were.
  • Riverford* — you probably know of Riverford already? Great network. Long established. 
  • Abel & Cole* — you probably know of Abel & Cole already? Great network. Long established

Dairy and delis

As with butchers, fishmongers and fruit and veg, there are some amazing cheesemongers who’ve suddenly lost their restaurant trade. They’ll have loads of cheese at the moment. We should eat it (see Jenny Linford’s piece on this). Normally I’d note that cheese is for life, not just for Christmas. But this time round maybe we go with the “Christmas begins in 2020” line? 

Shop locally if you have a cheesemonger or good deli nearby; but if not, or if not comfortable doing that in lockdown, then many of the following deliver nationwide. 

  • Neals Yard Dairy* — 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* — Superb French cheeses. Click and collect from Borough Market, Spa Terminus and East Dulwich, but also now deliver nationwide.
  • Paxton & Whitfield* — Quality, long-established cheesemonger now sending cheese nationwide.
  • La Fromagerie — Many people’s favourite. Shops in Marylebone, Highbury and Bloomsbury. Multiple London delivery options (see website).
  • 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. It’s really good… so also good that can get buy it in bulk, for nationwide delivery. They’ve also added an ‘essentials’ option for veg, eggs etc.

Dry goods

Try:

  • Sous Chef* — really super online supplier of pastas, flours, rice, vinegars and other specialist condiments. 
  • Belazu* — grains, beans, flours, rice, oil, vinegars, deli treats, pastes, spices etc (includes fresh pasta from La Tua)
  • Hodmedods* — British grown pulses and grains, deliver nationally.
  • Gilchesters* — Unbleached flour from heritage grains. Low stock but keep on checking as it’s excellent.
  • Shipton Mill* — Wide range of flours. 
  • Wessex Mill* — More flours. As with Gilchesters, low stock but they will keep milling, so keep on checking as it’s excellent
  • 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 have listed here) is to check the Social pages of your favourite chef – many are mentioning.

Coffee

DO NOT run out of caffeine. The roasters I order online from (and so vouch for) are:

  • Roundhill Roastery* — Great roast, great UX, and great 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 Herefordshire roasters who have trained many of the people who now run the other places mentioned here.
  • 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. I like.
  • 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.

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

Same situation: many wine importers are now missing a restaurant customer base. Most have vans or have now worked out a courier system. In no particular order:

  • Uncharted Wines* — nationwide delivery of future classics; 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.
  • Berry Brothers & Rudd* — treat yourself. Generally caters to old world wine fans, though I really enjoyed a newer-style dry riesling selection recently. 
  • Newcomer Wines* — skin contact, reds with attitude, lots for fans of dry riesling, weissburgunder &etc. Nicely curated selections too.
  • 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.
  • Gipsy Hill Brewing Company* — one of the best and most consistent (and not yet massive beverage company owned) and my favourite craft beer brewer. Here’s a 20% discount code for you (with no kick back to me): sam-famfriend-2020.
  • Salon Wine Store Brixton for South London natural wine fans — email info@salonwinestore.co.uk
  • Renegade Wine* — premium wines made in London (but good! always very drinkable). 
  • Shop Cuvee — masters of pivoting and marketing, mostly natty modern wine bar turns both local and national delivery option.
  • Bright (P Franco, Noble Fine Liquor, Peg etc) for East London natural wine fans (3 mile radius London Fields).
  • 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.

Was this helpful? I hope so. Now your ingredients are sorted, you’ll need a side dish focused cookbook to keep your meals varied through Lockdown…