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 Rishim Sachdeva, the chef and owner behind Tendril — one of London’s most exciting vegetable-forward restaurants — currently open for bespoke deliveries across London. Below, he shares some of his favourite takeaway tips, tricks, cocktails, and regular stops.
Name + Title: Rishim Sachdeva, Chef-Patron
Tendril opened during the pandemic, but you’ve mostly been focusing on preparing meals for delivery during various lockdowns. Can you tell us about how you’ve adapted your dishes from the restaurant for guests at home?
Tendril officially started in October 2019 with multiple supper clubs and pop ups across London in various neighbourhoods such as East Putney, Bethnal Green, Tottenham and Islington. Our most awaited outpost at The Sun and 13 Cantons, Soho, “launched” on 14th March, with a great weekend opening. Unfortunately, just two days later the pandemic advice to avoid going out to restaurants was given. Bookings dried up that week and uncertainty built!
We quickly reviewed our holding stocks, finances and realised that we needed to adapt and revisit our whole business approach. We reached out to our regulars and began offering weekly reheat-at-home, meal subscription plans. Word spread very quickly and we were fortunate enough to get immense support from everybody. By week 2 we had maxed out our capacity in terms of deliveries and storage, serving about 28 families in different London neighbourhoods.
Our supply chain was very reliable and totally undisrupted throughout the lockdown, which allowed us to change menus every week and offer bespoke options. The best part was getting to know the families, building those relationships and supporting each other in these uncertain times. We would (and still do!) deliver the same meal to different members of the family, living in different neighbourhoods, so that they can have virtual dinners together. We’ve had people gifting meals to their friends and family on special occasions. I still remember one of our regulars ordering a surprise Easter meal for their kids, cooked to exact specifications of their liking.
What dishes from the menu are you most proud of?
That’s a tough one! I personally can eat through my menu every single day, however I would definitely take a second serving of our oyster mushroom dish which we confit in chipotle oil and chargrill for the perfect texture and smokiness, served with pickled mushroom parfait and stir-fried dried black trumpets. This dish has taken over 4 months to crack and I totally see why it’s a customer favourite, with people always coming back for more!
Along with others, I think of Tendril as a great restaurant first, and vegetable-focused second. Have you been getting many guests ordering who aren’t strict vegetarians and vegans?
Oh, the answer is an absolute big “yes”! 70% of Tendril’s guests are “flexitarians” — those opting for more plant-based options in their diet, with the flexibility of meat now and then. In all fairness it used to surprise me to see so many guests like this at the restaurant in the beginning, but now it’s such a regular occurrence that it doesn’t anymore. Also, through the first lockdown, out of about 30 families who signed up for our weekly meal subscription plan, only one family was vegan.
If the Tendril team is getting a takeaway staff meal, where are you ordering from and what are you getting?
I’m spoilt for choice in my Soho neighbourhood! There’s the incredibly consistent Pizza Pilgrims right next door. I’m also pleasantly surprised by the incredible texture of the vegan sausage at Dishoom by Chef Neil Rankin. A little to the east, the eclectic menu at E5 Bakehouse, which is always a winner, plus the masala chai at Darjeeling Express with a quick chat with Asma is always my personal pick-me-up.
Do you have a personal go-to move to spruce up a takeaway?
I do love textures, so just a quick herb salsa (chopped broccoli stalk with leek oil) or even a little spice dusted cracker. Oh and that simple but much needed squeeze of lime!
What’s your favourite place for cocktails and drinks to go?
What single restaurant dish would you walk miles for? And which restaurant are you visiting first when lockdown eventually gets relaxed?