Lockdown might be easing, but there are still a lot of good reasons — corona and non-corona — to embrace the Night In. Here's a handful of London's Christmas hampers to give you an excuse to keep your curtains drawn and your heating on high.
Tendril Kitchen - Vegan Christmas Menu
Tendril's standard deliveries are one of the most varied, effortless and straight-up lovely way to eat more plant-based food — without having to, you know, actually cook it yourself — that we've found in London. Chef Rishim Sachdeva's vivid, decadent, Asian-influenced, mostly vegan food brought a lot of (ridiculously good-value) joy to our first lockdown. Now they're back, with a vegan Christmas menu for delivery across this week, promising big portions, leftovers and things to snack on throughout the day.
Details: £35 per person, delivering from 21-25 December.
Chrissy's Kitchen - Christmas Gift Box
This is a nice, straightforward hamper from London caterers Chrissy's Kitchen, with nearly no prep involved — unless you count heating up the mulled wine or the brandy butter — with a nicely carby, pub snax slant: sausage rolls, spiced nuts, brownies, tiny mince pies, wheel of cheddar, cured meat. There are two small, cute golden crackers which are not, in fact, crackers (took them on a date, spooking both of us when they turned out to not bang, but just tear open to reveal little dark pats of fig(?) jam(?))
This one could be an afternoon's eating for two, or snacks for six. As with the Chrissy's Kitchen picnic hamper from earlier this year, the ingredients are sourced from small producers, the packaging's all recyclable... and the brownies are *chef's kiss* very sticky.
Details: £50, not including delivery — charges vary.
Smoke and Salt - Christmas Hamper
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Smoke and Salt's the new Tooting restaurant from chefs Remi Williams and Aaron Webster — and it's probably a thoroughly lovely one, based on their thoroughly lovely 2017 Brixton residency and 2016 Chapel Market pop-up. Their Christmas box is intended as a gift — though no rule says you can't make it a gift from you to you — and comes with a voucher for a tasting menu for two when the restaurant reopens, a Christmas negroni bottle for two, chocolate truffles and some mulled wine spices.
At £64 for two people, it's the same price as a tasting menu at their restaurant — so it's essentially a way to help support them in a tough winter by paying for your visit in advance, and getting some bonus gifts as a reward.
Details: £64 for two people, shipping on 14 December. Order here.
Hawksmoor at Home - The Festive Box
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The Hawksmoor Christmas box is heavily decadent in a Tudor banqueting hall sort of way: a lot of meat, a lot of alcohol, a lot of bone marrow gravy — all the Hawksmoor signature moves. This involves more prep and assemblage than some deliveries: instructional videos from chef Matt Brown are on hand to walk you through it, but you're advised to have a steak thermometer on hand, so this isn't a straight heat-and-eat delivery.
The box isn't noticeably cheaper than a blow-out dinner at Hawksmoor, though you do get a lot of lavishness in there, and an impressive amount of alcohol. The contents: smoked salmon, soda bread, cream cheese, fillet steaks, chips, creamed spinach, the makings of bone marrow gravy and sticky toffee pudding with clotted cream. And a negroni, bottle of red wine, bottle of champagne and beers. Would be very impressed with ourselves if we could use a steak thermometer after drinking even a quarter of that.
Details: £165 for two people.
Haven't tried this box out, but Rudy's has been a beloved staple of Londonist's lunchbreaks/after-work drinks/pre-gig stomach lining for years — mostly thanks to their talent for making vegan takes on US diner classics feel just as sloppily filthy as the originals.
Their Christmas box is for up to four people, including a ready-for-oven Christmas turk’y, meatloaf en croute, sprouts with fake-bacon, gravy and potatoes for the main event. Starters include puffed water lily seeds (nope, no idea), ham with olives, pastrami and meatballs. To be honest, we're not usually deeply into fake meat alternatives — especially turkey, a meat with all the charisma of a parsnip. But Rudy's? We trust them to make meat substitutes as or more gorgeous than the real thing.
Details: £55, and deliveries are Wednesday to Friday every week.
Aquavit - DIY Christmas Kit
A wallet-busting but elaborate delivery kit from Nordic restaurant Aquavit, twisting their Michelin-starred menu into a DIY dinner box. Expect relatively low-prep dishes like gravlax with dill and mustard sauce, along with slightly more labour-intensive mains like meatballs with lingonberry and pickled cucumber, trout with Sandefjord sauce — and Kladdkaka chocolate cake with lingonberries for dessert. Lingonberries are a motif.
Details: £160 for two people, available for delivery from 4 December.
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