Customers and businesses alike can benefit, reports Sophie Morris
Marram Grass owner Ellis Barrie (c) Ioan Said at his Anglesey restaurant
Large numbers of restaurants and cafés around the country are trialling delivery services to ensure customers who are self-isolating or social distancing have access to fresh food and home-cooked meals.
Many are also providing information on the conduct for contactless deliveries to reduce the chance of transmitting the coronavirus for the benefit of both the customer and delivery staff.
Businesses from as far afield as Anglesey, Kent, the Isle of Wight and Edinburgh are among those trialling the idea from this week. Customers might not be able to expect the slickness of a Deliveroo service, but the hope is that anyone unable to leave the house can indulge in some restaurant-quality food at a time when morale is low, and continue to support their local businesses.
Ellis Barrie, chef and co-owner of The Marram Grass on Anglesey in northwest Wales, has announced a takeaway and delivery service will be up and running in time for Mother’s Day. “I want to keep my team going and to keep them energised,” he says, “but I also want to bring enjoyment through food to people’s homes.”
The Marram Grass is known for its innovative seasonal menus served in a potting shed, and Barrie, who appears in the new series of Ready, Steady, Cook, says he’ll offer whole turbot or shoulder of lamb with selections of sides to help families recreate the restaurant experience at home. He also wants to use this opportunity to help people enjoy cooking at home, and cook with their children.
Tim White is operations manager of Little Ships, an all-day bistro overlooking the Kent port of Ramsgate. His restaurant was busy while the sun shone on Monday, before the Prime Minister asked people to stay away from bars and restaurants, but from this week he’ll offer as much of the menu as possible for delivery, and have a few staff on standby to drive the food to its destination, leaving it on the doorstep if necessary.
Jayne Worrall, the landlady of Brakspear pub and restaurant The Bull at Wargrave, Berkshire, is asking for help from her regular customers to help her deliver food to those stuck at home.
Worrall says she’s set up the temporary service as a reaction to the news the over-70s will soon be told to stay at home, because she wants her customers to enjoy their favourite meals while minimising social contact.
“This is a time when we need to pull together as a community, I don’t have the ability to deliver all of these meals by myself, which is why I’m calling upon the help of locals,” she says.
The Goods Shed in Canterbury is a food market and restaurant offering home delivery of produce as well as an evolving menu of its popular dishes such as seafood chowder and wild garlic sausage and lentil stew.
Harajuku Kitchen, an award winning Japanese restaurant in Edinburgh, began deliveries yesterday. The owners Kaori and Keith Simpson are on standby to deliver the takeaway personally, though they will leave the order outside for anyone self-isolating.
Ren’s Kitchen, an all-day bakery café in Worthing, West Sussex, has announced an intention to do whatever it can to help locals to eat well during this time of crisis. “We are aware that it is a really difficult time for everybody at the moment and just want to let you all know that we are open as usual but also available and more than willing to deliver locally anything from a pint of milk to one of our daily specials to your doorstep,” writes owner Ren Patel on his Facebook page.
Ben Cooke, the chef and owner of The Little Gloster restaurant in Gurnard on the Isle of Wight, sent a newsletter to customers at the end of last week asking how they felt about ordering from a delivery service, and says the response was positive. If you don’t use social media and haven’t heard of local restaurants offering delivery yet, try calling your favourites - you may find they are happy to bring something your way.