Why There’s Never Been A Better Time To Eat In
Photograph courtesy of Ando
Forget takeaway cartons of egg-fried rice and soggy pizza – here’s our edit of the best gourmet delivery options.
The modern diner’s dilemma: what to eat tonight. That trendy new pop-up? Prepare to queue. The open-air food truck festival? In the rain, forget it. The old Italian favourite? Fully booked. And who in their busy schedule has time to cook anymore? Thankfully, there has never been a better time to eat in. With the proliferation of on-demand food startups, it’s not just about ordering a burger through Deliveroo anymore. Arranging everything from Michelin-star food to gluten-free ingredient boxes has never been easier. So it’s no surprise that some enterprising eateries are now doing away with physical premises altogether and delivering mouthwatering, hot-off-the-pass plates from world-class chefs straight to your door. All you have to do is download an app, place your order, and queue up the next episode of Netflix’s Stranger Things until your meal arrives. (And remember to always tip the driver.) Here are three of the best examples of takeaway companies with a twist.
Established by Mr David Chang – of New York’s acclaimed Asian-fusion Momofuku restaurants – Ando currently only delivers to those living in the Midtown East area of Manhattan. But for those that do, there’s no better: the menu at Ando has been developed by head chef Mr JJ Basil specifically for delivery – taking into account ingredients’ perishability, how long they stay hot, even their pH level. “We are uniquely focused on leveraging technology and food science,” says Mr Hooman Radfar, co-founder and CEO. “Our food is literally designed for delivery.” Rather than ramen or ssam, expect unlikely, inventive takes on fast food: melting cheesesteaks (with fresh bread chosen, so it won’t go soggy on route), fried chicken, and cookies from Momofuku Milk Bar. Not within its East Side catchment area? Try Maple, also backed by Chang. Headed up by Ms Soa Davies, formerly of Le Bernardin, Maple offers healthy twists on takeaway food – the menu changes daily – and delivers across Manhattan in a speedy 30 minutes or less.
If you’re looking for something a little healthier on the West Coast, try San Francisco-based Sprig. Founded in 2013, the startup delivers thousands of meals across the Bay Area every day. The company’s research and development chef, Ms Jessica Entzel, previously worked alongside Messrs Wolfgang Puck and Gordon Ramsay, and it shows: dishes range from truffled quinoa with egg, asparagus and mushroom to lemon parmesan kale and quinoa salad. The menu changes daily: the company analyses data from previous dishes to develop new ones, which range in price up to about $15 (plus a variable delivery fee). However, it’s not been without teething problems: despite being a hit in San Francisco, the app recently pulled out of operations in Chicago to focus on its core location – reflecting the challenges in an increasingly crowded market.
Takeaway doesn’t have to be basic. London-based startup Supper lets you order Michelin-star quality meals to your door. Founded by Mr Peter Georgiou in 2014, the app has partnered with some of the city’s most renowned restaurants, including Benares, Tamarind, Tom’s Kitchen and Bar Boulud, to deliver freshly cooked dishes within central London. As you might expect, the options are exquisite, and even the delivery is luxe: Supper’s drivers use Japanese-built bikes with purpose-built thermally lined containers and excellent suspension to keep the food in perfect condition. Accordingly, it isn’t cheap – mains tend to fall between £20-30, and Supper says its average order tops £80 without drinks – but then, you are getting the best.