There are times when the only possible way to satisfy specific foodie cravings and pangs of hunger is to head out to a favourite restaurant, pub, or similar eaterie and lose oneself in the delights of a familiar menu – pretending that you are going to try something new when you know deep down that it’ll be the same order as the last time(s) you were there. It is a wonderful thing to do and something I try to indulge in as often as daily life (and my bank balance) allows.
Sometimes a home-cooked meal is the perfect solution, be it created by carefully following a recipe or by finding a selection of random and exciting things in the cupboard/fridge and exercising yourself in some kind of Masterchef-style invention test. But without the pressure of being mocked by John Torrode and Gregg Wallace. Or Marcus Wareing and Monica Galetti if you’re pretending to be in the Professional series. Not that I ever do that.
But it has to be said, there are many times when both of the above options are just too much like hard work and so the collection of creased and grease-stained takeaway menus is hauled out for perusal. Everyone has a favourite place to order from – the number of times friends say ‘We’ve got the BEST Chinese takeaway near us’ or ‘If you want pizza, you HAVE to order it from…’ and sometimes they are right. But sometimes (more often than not in my experience) it is the same gloopy, sticky, overly sweet, strangely rubbery mystery that is available in every average takeaway from any town in or city in Britain. And sometimes that is EXACTLY what you want.
Recently I have been unable to get out to Brixton to indulge at my favourite haunts in the Village (I won’t bore you with the details but it involved a long stay in hospital before Christmas) and this was beginning cause a certain amount of frustration. I toyed with the idea of asking friends to go and pick stuff up but that was a silly idea – mainly because I knew my friends had better things to do with their time but also because I didn’t necessarily trust them not to eat all the goodies before they got them to me. One of the many great things about the food community in Brixton is that it is made up of lots of small businesses whose focus is on quality and flavour. As a consequence, the expense of running a delivery service is too much for most people to able to do, although many places offer food that can be picked up and eaten elsewhere. So it seemed like I was going to have to wait before I could enjoy the tastes of the Village.
And then I discovered Deliveroo.
Deliveroo is an online delivery service for local businesses and operates on a postcode-based search engine – displaying all the restaurants within a small radius that you can order from. It’s like a scaled down version of Just Eat or Hungry House. But (in my opinion) much, much better. For I discovered that several Brixton favourites are using the service – The Joint, Yum D, Rosie’s, and Jalisco to name but a few – and so all of a sudden I could bring the flavours and the quality right to my own (tiny) table without having to leave the house. You pay for the order online and can choose a delivery time that suits – handy if you know you’ve got people coming later and want to get ahead. There is a minimum spend of £15 (not unusual for most delivery services) plus a £2.50 charge for each order which seems pretty reasonable given the fact the site can get food from places that don’t normally do delivery. You can even add a tip for the driver too!
The first time I used it we ordered from The Joint and I have to say we were blown away. The food came exactly at the time stated (18.43 on the dot) and was, amazingly, just as hot and fresh as if we’d been sitting in Brixton itself. I was expecting for the coleslaw and lettuce in the pulled pork buns to be wilted, slightly warm, and a bit sad but it was cool and crisp – the pork itself as brilliantly smoky and flavourful as ever. The wings were covered in BBQ sauce but still crispy and moreish (and yes, we had ordered enough for pudding) and the whole lot was gone within minutes. Brilliant.
So when a friend was visiting who fancied a bit of Thai for dinner, out came the laptop and in less than an hour we feasting on amazing green curry, coconut rice, and the most outrageously brilliant Pad Thai I think I’ve ever had – all from the fabulous Yum D. And again, the food was hot, the flavours fresh, and the delivery service flawless.
Deliveroo is a great tool for local and small businesses – it allows them to reach out a bit further and to get their food to people who may not have had the chance to try them before, and hopefully more places will sign up to the service in the near future. Anyone who wants the delights and variety of cuisine available in the Village but can’t get down there can now get it delivered right to their door (provided they live within a couple of miles of course). Fantastic.
Trying to find an excuse to use it again tonight but I think I may be overruled….
James blogs at www.butisittasty.com and tweets @cradlefish