Take-away …but not as we know it

Culinary Causerie with Lesley Williams

The hospitality industry has been hit hard by the pandemic. So, it was heartening to hear just how many of our local restaurants and cafes had diversified. The standard of food available to pick up or have delivered has improved exponentially.

So many of our restaurants that previously only offered an in-house dining experience, have stepped up to the plate – pardon the pun – and have given us the opportunity for restaurant quality food, in our own homes.

My first experience of this was a birthday celebration meal from the Pantygwydr. Ordered and paid for on line and then collected from the restaurant at a previously agreed time, this was a roaring success. Each course came with explanatory notes on how to serve it and with which sauce – and the presentation in the recyclable kraft packaging was so good that we didn’t even need to plate up.

Many more restaurants, cafes and private chefs have joined in this innovative way of bringing great food to us while adhering to the govern-ment guidelines on keeping safe during lockdown.

A quick trawl of the social media sites gave me a pleasant surprise in just how many of my favourite cafes and restaurants had branched out. The Secret Bar and Kitchen has long been a go-to destination for a leisurely breakfast following a walk along the beach, but now I discover that they are delivering Sunday lunch as well as offering fish and chips, mac ‘n’ cheese and sweet treats from its beachside kiosk.

If you prefer Oriental food then Gigi Gao’s in the marina is the place to go –simply log onto their website and place your order – or for Japanese inspired cuisine Yosei in Uplands can sustain you with sushi, teriyaki, noodles and much more. We tried this last month and from order-ing to delivery was just 30 minutes.

They say breakfast like a king, to set you up for the day, and Uplands is the home to some of the best places to break your fast. The weekend is the perfect time to take a leisurely brunch, and at The Optimist you will find food fit for a king – vegetarian, vegan or carnivore.

Across the road at Crumbs Kitchen they specialise in vegetarian and vegan cuisine. I have embraced the new appreciation of the avocado – the creamy flesh mashed onto crispy toast and topped with a poached egg is a fabulous combo.

Having a private chef come and cook for you may sound very grand, but it would seem that here in Wales we are very much behind the times. It is commonplace in the USA and is becoming more popular in England. Here in Swansea we have several chefs offering the fine dining experience in your own home. During lockdown this is a little more difficult, but once this is lifted it will be something to consider if you’re planning a celebratory meal. The concept is simple, you work with the chef to design your perfect meal and then leave it up to them to do the shopping, cooking and very importantly, do all the clearing away!

The expense of engaging your own chef can be easily offset by the saving on the cost of wine in a restaurant. It’s something to take into account when we are able to entertain friends and family in our own homes again.

Christos Georgakis is a highly experienced chef who not only provides a private fine dining experience but will also deliver everyday meals for the family. What could be better than authentic Greek kleftiko or Italian lasagne ready to pop in the oven made by an award winning chef?

Food Anarchy are already offering the private chef service – they cook outside your home in their purpose built van, and then serve each course – socially distanced of course – to your front door. Everything is plated ready to eat – so they even do the dishes for you.

Sunday lunch is such a British institution, it’s so often cited as the nation’s favourite meal, and the ultimate comfort food.

Food by Sean delivers a complete Sunday lunch that is ready for you to pop in the oven and reheat. Perfect if you are like me and prefer to eat in the evening – this way you can decide on lunch or dinner.

Another option for a celebratory treat is to have afternoon tea delivered. Again, Food by Sean has several options and even caters for those that prefer savoury over sweet treats. What better way to celebrate Mothering Sunday if you can’t actually be with mum?

These are just a few of the many restaurants and cafes that have diversified during lock down. I’m sure you will have found others. What is important is that we support the hospitality industry in every way that we can, until they are able to open their doors and welcome us back.





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