TRAVEL FROM HOME • March 2021
As far as industries go, hospitality, where strangers united by a love of food and travel once happily mingled, has been especially hard-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. Here in the UK, hotels have diversified to stay afloat, delivering treats to those who can’t check in. The Club takes a look at the hotels still serving…
He pioneered the Lake District’s fine dining culinary circuit, knocked it out of the park in such TV competitions as BBC’s Great British Menu and, now, Simon Rogan is giving cooped-up gastronomes a chance to try his Michelin-starred food without so much as a car ride. The three-course ‘at home’ menu from his starry Cartmel restaurant is enjoying nationwide delivery, while Londoners in Zones 1-3 can book a delivery from Aulis London, one of Rogan’s capital spots. The former offers up two menus per week to choose from, different each time and featuring those little fine dining touches (think, herbs so delicate you’re best handling them with tweezers) that are otherwise nigh on impossible recreate at home. Luckily Simon’s step-by-step videos mean, finally, you can.
£45 per person plus £10 delivery; available Friday and Saturday
The Stafford London in leafy St James’s is usually a red-hot spot for American travellers doing business across the pond, so when the pandemic reduced transatlantic travel, the team took to home delivery to keep things moving. Thankfully, the upmarket bolthole (home to one of the longest surviving American bars in the capital, as well as a delightful al-fresco courtyard) has an exceptional restaurant, The Game Bird, which has nailed the art of a fancy delivery box. This spring there’s two to choose from: the Signature Dining Box – home to three decadent courses and a sprinkling of extras – and the recently launched Sunday Roast Box, with headlining acts of delicately smoked salmon, British grass-fed beef and fluffy sponge puddings. The Signature menu is subject to a monthly switch-up, but with either delivery you’re guaranteed a bottle of red from The Stafford’s famous cellar.
From £100 per box; available on Fridays
The exquisite breakfast buffet served up inside The Berkeley is out of bounds for the time being but, always an innovative hotel (The Berkeley had a rooftop pool back in the 1970s and was the first hotel in London to get aircon a century ago), it’s bundled up a thoughtfully designed series of three different breakfast packages for either delivery or collection. The warm pastries are a fluffy, sybaritic delight; the smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels (which come with the more expensive ‘brunch’ option) wouldn’t disgrace a New York deli and it all even arrives with a handwritten card and a copy of The Times.
From £15; delivers 8am-11am, daily
How well are Northcote’s Gourmet Boxes doing, you ask? “Each week we sell out in around 30 minutes – we could never have imagined how popular the boxes would become in such a short space of time,” says the restaurant’s executive chef Lisa Goodwin-Allen. She may be startled by the popularity, but alas, we are not. One of Lancashire’s biggest foodie success stories, Northcote’s grub has had epicures flocking to the Ribble Valley since the late 1990s, when the restaurant first received (and has every year since kept) its Michelin star. The boxes are further testimony to Lisa’s talent: course after course of elevated Northern produce (this spring it’s Lancashire chowder and blush pink lamb) plus delectable extras from the famed Lancashire hotel. If you don’t bag one on your first go, try again – you’ll thank us later.
£130 per box; available Fridays
It’s a rare upside of lockdown that, for the first time, the creations of Albert Adrià (yes, that Albert Adrià of the fabled elBulli) can be delivered directly to your door. OK, he’s not going to personally ring your doorbell himself, but that is easily compensated for by biting into his ridiculously beautiful cheesecakes – a highlight of this package that comes straight from his dessert-only restaurant on the ground floor of the Hotel Café Royal. The price point is high, but genuinely worth every penny for the bottle of crisp and velvety Sophie Baron Grand Réserve Brut NV Champagne, the immense ‘chocolate corks’ and, sorry, but did we mention the cheesecake?
£100; delivers nationwide 11:30am-8pm, daily
One of the statelier grandes dames on the London hotel scene is daring to charge a whopping £450 for its ‘Grand Hamper’. It might sting the eyes but, should you shell out, The Goring is actually giving you very, very decent value for money when you see what’s contained within. The list is far too long to go through here, but highlights amid the impressively weighty hamper are a bottle of Goring nine-year-old single malt whisky, a bottle of Ayala Brut Majeur Centenary Champagne, an extremely handsome Goring House Blend tea caddy, a generous selection of Purple Water Asprey London toiletries and a personalised luxury bathrobe. Eat, drink, wear and bathe in this lot, and you’re as close as you can get to actually having your own suite in The Goring itself for a couple of nights – at a fraction of the cost.
£450; delivers 9am-5pm (48 hours’ notice preferred)
Too many ‘at home’ delivery services come with excessive packaging and fiendishly fiddly instructions. So (top) hats doffed to Claridge’s for making its packaging plant based and for making its dishes absolutely effortless to prepare, then devour. Starting with the individually-bottled Aged Negroni (crafted by the hotel’s Fumoir bar), you get the feeling that indulgence is, quite naturally, the key to its at-home meals, with the highlight being a quite absurdly beautiful lobster Wellington. Full marks on the quantity, too, with a wonderfully soft, inviting and, frankly, giant, chocolate brownie. Not only this, the hotel also serves up a cracking Sunday Roast box (delivered Friday and Saturday) with a juicy Aberdeen Angus sirloin.
Average three-course meal, £60; delivers 2pm-6pm, daily.
This stalwart of the St James’s neighbourhood is, unusually, staying open for business to serve essential workers throughout the current pandemic. Its delivery service, meanwhile, is one of the lesser-known delights of the current ‘dine at home’ scene, with head chef William Drabble at the hotel’s Seven Park Place restaurant doing an admirable job of creating four different menus for enjoying chez vous. These include a lunch menu for just £35, which features an unctuous ox cheek slow cooked in red wine. The £95 ‘menu gourmand’ is an ambitious triumph, with the griddled fillet of John Dory (served with cabbage, Cumbrian bacon and cep) an almost indecently plump and flavoursome highlight.
Three-course meal, £75; call 020 7316 1621 for delivery times