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The compilation of the compilations
pictured: me at 40 maltby street approximately 5 seconds after this is all over
Initially I was going to try to compile a list of restaurants and resources myself, but then I realised this is a Sisyphean task. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been holed up at home over the last few days trying to catch some sun rays through the window and most information I have right now is through the internet rather than first hand. So instead of compiling, here is a compilation of the compilations that many excellent people have put together, with some additional thoughts from me.
Note: because of yesterday’s lockdown, some of this information is going to rapidly change
The sudden pivot to takeaway/delivery and the new menus that restaurants have fashioned with very little preparation time are a testament to the adaptability and ingenuity of the industry. When I picked up my order (two pigeon sausage rolls, crab and cabbage salad, brown butter cakes) from the traiteur-era 40 Maltby Street, Kit Hodgson told me how on the first day he realised how so much of what he does is unconscious routine, and how much of a disruption even the simplest of changes can be. I’m sure it’s the same with a lot of your routines at the moment. I want to support restaurants and businesses going through this as much as I can, but this does come with a few caveats.
The first is that as we start to hit that point of the curve where it starts to shoot up, like that terrifying ascent on a rollercoaster, it’s even more important to be as careful as possible. Getting takeaway or delivery is better than sitting in but it isn’t a zero-harm strategy. There are always risks, and if you’re getting delivery that risk is probably on the person who delivers more than anyone (and who has the least agency in the matter). You have to prioritise supporting restaurants or minimising risk down the line of more people getting ill. Of course there are risks - possibly as many risks - going out shopping, so just think carefully about your decisions and try to eat as locally as possible. If you can, do shop at places who are being responsible and operating one in-one out policies and enforcing social distancing in the queue (near me, both General Store and Italo are doing this).
With delivery there is also the spectre of delivery services. Now, this opinion isn’t shared by everyone, but to me companies like Deliveroo and Uber Eats seem akin to something like the mafia, giving restaurants shakedowns for protection on things which they used to be able to do themselves. The more restaurants who sign up for them, the more people rely on them and the higher commission they can charge. From what I’m hearing, Deliveroo are at capacity right now, but I fear other companies will use this as a way to charge predatory commissions on restaurants with little other choice. Many of the places doing takeaway are barely getting by right now (as Feroz Gajia said yesterday, “the chains didn’t close out of the goodness of their heart, they closed because the bottom line no longer added up”). So if you get takeaway, please consider phoning up and getting it direct: the apps were not your saviour then and they still aren’t now.
So if you are still eating out, here are some guides:
Rocket and Squash Guide to Eating Out
The ever reliant Ed Smith with a very comprehensive guide to the big names, helpfully divided into categories. Of especial interest are those restaurants prepping meal kits to take home and reheat. This is a new way of cooking for chefs (although it’s a mode every kosher deli in Golders Green could tell you about) - it suppresses ego and inclination to be clever, it forces a chef to think more about ergonomics and how best someone can be nourished. I’d love for a little bit of that spirit to stay in place after this is over to be honest (albeit with lower prices).
Eater London List of Restaurants and Closures
I know James Hansen has been working like a dog to keep up with the ever changing list of who is doing what.
Angela Hui is also putting together a series of maps divided by compass point for takeaways. First one up is north:
Clerkenwell Boy’s Spreadsheet
THAT spreadsheet. Thank you for your service Tim.
There are many people who already have dietary restrictions who are going to find it harder to shop and eat out (if anyone wants to write about halal/kosher businesses for me then let me know). Here’s a list of halal restaurants offering takeaway, some with discounts (please try to call when possible and avoid companies like Deliveroo and Uber Eats)
Eat Like a Girl List of Independent Food Producers
The brilliant Niamh Shields has put together this guide for independent farms, delis, producers and suppliers who are still open/delivering.
Rocket and Squash Guide to Ingredient Shopping
Ed has done a similar thing here. As supply chains are fucked, restaurants usually being the conduit that produce gets from supplier to our bellies, expect a lot more platforms to spring up allowing us to get fish, meat, vegetables directly. I’ve heard about some exciting things in the pipeline coming out of Cornwall.
Chinese Ingredient Shopping
I’ve compiled a Google Map of most of the Chinese supermarkets in London. Many of the big ones are still delivering, albeit with some delays. Will update with closures as and when.
Most of the focus is on restaurants right now but I thought this was a great resource for those who work in them, from law guidelines, financial help and mental health advice.
A lot of these going round but thought it might be good to highlight one you might not know about, the many halal restaurants who are offering discounts to NHS workers. If you are at UCLH, the Roti King deal looks especially good.
Food Systems and Coronavirus
This is a pretty extensive list of the articles related to food systems and coronavirus in the American media. There is a whole day’s worth of reading in here.
For those looking for articles/media related to the UK then I can recommend this interview in the Observer by Jay Rayner with Tim Lang (whose book is now simultaneously essential and completely out of date)
Also BBC Food Programme have been interviewing people at various points in the supply chain. It doesn’t make easy listening.
How to Stockpile with Professor Vaughn Tan
Ideally this would be a TV series, but if you want to know what responsible stockpiling look likes (nb: it is not wildly buying everything you can fit in one trolley like an episode of Supermarket Sweep) then do read the middle section of the 20th edition of Vaughn’s Uncertainty Mindset, which has been proven more or less correct over the last few weeks.
Vaughn also helped put together the Food and Beverage Covid Guide which is still being updated (and one for mobile takeaways is coming soon)
Supermarkets have been several degrees busier over the last two weeks yet that profit will not go to the employees who have only been given 10% pay rises. Given the work and the risk involved this isn’t enough. Please sign if you can.
Do consider joining your local COVID-19 Mutual Aid group if you want to help out local people in your area AND you are extremely well versed in hygiene practices. However, I am hearing from a lot of people that these are quickly being co-opted by people higher up with various agendas, so just be a bit wary about who is trying to organise.
Stay safe and eat well,