As the post-holiday afterglow stretches into a seemingly endless January, with lockdown likely to remain in force for the foreseeable future, the winter blues will have returned for many. Thankfully, plenty of London’s finest restaurants have stepped up to provide warmth and comfort, just a few taps away. Restorative comfort food abounds across the city, from slow-cooked barbacoa and warm tortillas to Italian-style roast chicken and dripping potatoes, showstopping biryani and pies to warm up the darkest nights. Behold, 12 classic comfort dishes and winter warmers – and where to get them delivered. And if you’re looking for a lighter start to the year, we have that too.
2020 was destined to be the year of the humble roast chicken’s resurgence in popularity, but instead of the upscale birds pioneered across the pond, its popularity came courtesy of its accessibility, affordability, and comfort factor during lockdown. East End institution Bistrotheque somehow managed to make even Tier 4 seem less dreary, and its Chic Hen delivery brand does one of the best. Delivering more widely across London is Sidechick (from the guys at Patty & Bun) which offers juicy birds in peri-peri, herb, or za’atar crumb, no-nonsense sides, plus craft beers and cocktails via Deliveroo. For the best sides, seek out Arrosto, which come courtesy of Quality Wines’ Nick Bramham; as well as beautifully burnished Italian-style chicken, expect chicken fat potatoes, dreamy gelato, impeccable skewers, and a tribute to the legendary Zuni Café chicken salad.
Ombra chef Mitshel Ibrahim said he started this Hackney restaurant’s Sunday lasagne deliveries to recreate a tradition for his fellow Italians who had become homesick during the pandemic. Grabbing an order of his traditional lasagne alla Bolognese or artichoke pasta will automatically end any week on a high (throw in a cheeky bottle of Ciello Rosso, too. And tiramisu). Meanwhile, Larry’s in Peckham are dishing it up as part of a Friday night set menu, with recent variations including ‘nduja and chicken liver, or a Mei Lin-esque take with a tingly Sichuan pigs head ragu.
For many, a stack of just-warm tortillas and a centrepiece of slow-cooked lamb or beef is about as comforting as it gets. Tacos Padre, the Borough Market eatery from ex-Pujol chef Nick Fitzgerald, has a fleet of excellent at-home offerings to accompany their hand-pressed tortillas and traditional (and non-traditional) sides; meltingly tender beef shortrib suadero, a deeply flavoured lamb barbacoa, and a punchy Yucatan-style pork cochinita pibil are all available for delivery via Big Night. Meanwhile, Soho’s Corazon is delivering carne asada DIY kits, with taquera corn tortillas, Chipotle-marinated hanger steak, and all the sides. Order here.
A well-made savoury pie is a beautiful thing. The Clarence Tavern in Stoke Newington offers excellent ones to heat in the oven via Big Night; a chicken and bacon pie is a no-fuss centrepiece for a weeknight dinner, while a pumpkin, sage, and Vacherin filling makes for a luxurious treat. Master butcher Hill & Szrok has delicious pork pies to take away from its Hackney storefront; meanwhile, the venerable St. John continues to offer its legendary pies for collection from its Spitalfields restaurant.
A world-class centrepiece to rival any, the biryani has a decorated history and is traditionally served at celebrations. The version served at Darjeeling Express is one of the best, and Asma Khan and her all-female kitchen have painstakingly recreated their chicken biryani to enjoy at home. Running a spoon through the hot, saffron-scented rice is a joy, with chicken and potatoes providing plenty of comfort. A trio of sides – raita, tomato chutney, and onion gravy – add a flourish and an extra sense of ceremony. Get it delivered now.
Even pre-COVID, the then-newly opened Oren had quickly made a name for itself as one of the best Mediterranean restaurants in the city. During lockdown, its Tel Aviv-influenced cuisine – colourful mezze, melting kofte in a slow-cooked tomato sauce, uncannily balanced hummus swiped through with just-warm pita – has been a standout, and an order from this tiny Dalston restaurant feels like a hug and pep talk combined. Get it delivered via Slerp.
Having introduced London to cacio e pepe and carbonara swirls last year, the team behind beloved neighbourhood restaurant Trullo recently entered the at-home game with some genuinely exciting comfort dishes. Chief among them, slow-cooked osso bucco with a classic risotto Milanese, only requiring a simple reheat; likewise, a Chianti-braised featherblade of Longhorn beef arrives with potato and sage, plus aioli. It’s click-and-collect only for now; pre-ordering through the restaurant’s website is a must.
For many, nothing can beat a steaming bowl of fluffy, white rice topped with slow-roasted meat. Brixton’s Sarap has some of the best, with absurdly good Filipino lechon (pork belly) stuffed with lemongrass, ginger, garlic and chilli, and slow-roast to perfection. It comes with pickles, comforting white rice, and lechon sauce – order for click-and-collect, or delivery via Deliveroo.
Fried Chicken Sandwiches
Make no mistake – London is very much a fried chicken town, with the humble chicken shop providing affordable sustenance and comfort for plenty of Londoners. Arguably, the jewel in the crown of any good fried chicken restaurant is its fried chicken sandwich, and excellent restaurant renditions include Chick’n’Sours legendary General and K-Pop (via Deliveroo), while award-winning chef James Cochrane of 12:51 offers his very own fried chicken sandwich delivery service with Around the Cluck, with buttermilk chicken burgers pepped up with scotch bonnet jam, chicken gravy mayo, and outstanding sides.
Few things are as comforting as a roast dinner, resplendent with trimmings, condiments, and plenty of gravy. The Clarence Tavern’s roasts for two or three remove the guesswork and just need to be heated at home – think fork-tender lamb with a comforting dish of creamy dauphinois potatoes and root vegetables. Meanwhile, the Quality Chop House’s feasting meal kits are still the capital’s gold standard, with shortrib and bone-in sirloin options offering arguably the finest beef in the city. South of the river, chef Shane Marshall’s roasts have been going down a storm, prepared for collection from Hatched, his neighbourhood restaurant in St John’s Hill. Beef and chicken with all the trimmings and proper Yorkshire pudding are exceptional, with pescatarian and vegetarians available too.
A great burger and chips is about as satisfying as it gets. One of London’s very best is from Burger & Beyond, whose penchant for perfecting the fundamentals pays dividends in faultless burgers with dry-aged beef, melty cheese, and seeded bun – the bacon butter burger is tough to beat, and the regular cheeseburger is a masterclass in simplicity. Order from Camden or Shoreditch via Deliveroo. Also delivering across the city are Patty & Bun, whose classic burgers and confit wings are as good delivered as they are at their restaurants. Last but not least, Goodburger (from the guys behind Coqfighter) have stealthily created one of the city’s best delivery burgers, with a simple smashburger of two dry-aged patties, melted cheese, house sauce, and pickles providing a massive hit of flavour and comfort. Order via Uber Eats.
Sticky Toffee Pudding
A classic sticky toffee pudding is a wonderful thing, and while Smokestak still leads the BBQ delivery game, its sticky toffee pudding is also justifiably famous. Those lucky enough to live within local delivery radius can order it as-is, with delicious clotted cream to pour over; it’s also available for nationwide delivery as a sticky toffee pudding loaf, with the added bonus of a jar of salted caramel that makes for an excellent accompaniment, but is equally good spooned straight from the jar.
- London’s Best Restaurants for Vegetarian and Vegan Takeaway and Delivery
- Margaux Aubry of Naughty Piglets Knows the Best Wines to Order (And Where to Get Them Delivered)
- Resy’s Guide to Wine and Cocktail Takeaway and Delivery in London
- When It Comes to Takeaway, Peckham Cellars’ Luke West-Whylie Is Ordering All the Bao and Tacos