To-Go Takes is Resy’s regular feature wherein we quiz the folks behind some of our favourite restaurants about all things related to takeaway and delivery.
In this edition, we speak to Nick Bramham, head chef at Quality Wines — one of London’s outstanding wine bars, where his unpretentious, precise cooking style can take the form of fine handmade pastas and bakes, comforting braises, and a pig’s fat cannolo that’s worth a detour. Most recently, he’s been at the stove of Arrosto, a delivery-only endeavour focusing on fine Italian-style roast chickens, arrosticini, and homemade gelato. Below, he shares some of his favourite takeaway tips, tricks, cocktails, and regular stops.
Restaurant: Quality Wines
Name + Title: Nick Bramham, Head Chef
It’s roast chicken, gelato, booze and other bits delivered Thursday-Sunday dinner. Something to hopefully spread a bit of joy during lockdown 3. Myself and Gethin Davies (Clipstone GM) running the day to day with the support of owners Dan & Will, ‘fixer’ James Fryer and as many Woodhead Restaurant Group staff as we’re able to safely get involved.
What are you personally most proud of from the new menu?
The Arrosto Chicken itself. It took rather a lot of fine tuning to get the cook just right to ensure that when the chicken arrives it’s hot, juicy and seasoned to the bone with beautifully burnished golden brown skin. Really happy with how it has turned out and hope our customers will be too.
A few people have mentioned they’re really excited about the Zuni Café chicken salad. For those who aren’t familiar, what is it and is there a story behind your version of it?
I am obsessed with the Zuni Cafe Cookbook – it has been a major source of inspiration for me over the years and the roast chicken & bread salad is very much the jewel in the crown. We are following the warm bread salad recipe pretty much to the letter – the only deviation being we’re serving it with a jointed Arrosto bird and fried Quality Wines focaccia. It is spectacular, but frankly the credit is all theirs.
During the various lockdowns last year, you had been focusing on the hugely successful Quality Wines At Home. Do you often get takeaway staff meals, and if so what are you ordering?
GReat Grill House – the unofficial Quality Wines staff canteen. Souvlaki, gyros and faultless chips and dips from our neighbour on Farringdon road. A family run gem that for some inexplicable reason flies under the radar.
And at home: Decatur’s shrimp broil. So delicious, so much fun, totally transportive. One of the most purely enjoyable nights we had during lockdown 2.
Quality Wines also has a handy bottle shop for takeaway. What are your favourite bottles on the list at the moment?
Adega de Moncao Vinho Verde is an absolute smasher: bright, crisp, effervescent and slightly salty it is a wine for any occasion, any meal, any time of day and is a relative steal at just over a tenner.
Cathar(tic) Wines By Any Other Name Rosé – beautiful, elegant terroir-driven rosé from one of my favourite winemakers and people Richard Bray.
2NaturKinder’s ‘Weinschwarmer’ – a whip-smart blend of Pinot Gris & Riesling this is a skinsy, linear, juicy delight.
Do you have a personal go-to move to spruce up a takeaway?
If it’s pizza — blast it in the oven for a few minutes at 180c. It’ll revive even the saddest Neapolitan pie. Anything else: Crystal hot sauce.
What’s your favourite place for cocktails to-go?
What single restaurant dish would you walk miles for? And which restaurant are you visiting first when lockdown eventually gets relaxed?
And when lockdown is finally relaxed, I want to say The River Cafe will be my first meal out but I know it will actually be 01 Adana — my wonderful local Ocakbaşı — for grilled lamb ribs, stewed kidneys, lahmacun to mop up the juices, and a few too many Efes.
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