Revolution in takeaways for St Albans district

Deliveroo drivers

Deliveroo drivers - Credit: Archant

This column might be really bad for your health – just imagine, lying on the sofa, and with a few pokes of your phone, you can order freshly baked brownies, delivered to your home. You have been warned…

Brits are very used to being able to order takeaway food on a Friday night, so when I was told about Deliveroo, a nationwide delivery service starting in St Albans, I was curious to see what they were offering; could it really be better than the options we already have?

What makes this company stand out, is that they offer delivery from independents, as well as the big chains, meaning you can order puds from The Pudding Stop, sandwiches from Hatch, cakes from The Bakehouse, burgers from Relish and The Meating Room, and drinks from The Beer Shop and Zefino. Delivery for small companies can be too complicated and costly, so I am delighted that this is now available, meaning locals can compete with the chains.

To use Deliveroo, download the free app, but my phone is too old, so I used the website, which was very user-friendly. You can see which places deliver in St Albans, if they are open, and how long your order will take; they aim to deliver in around 30 minutes. Delivery is £2.50 per order, and there are some minimum orders, so if you really only want one sandwich, it will cost more in delivery. If you want dinner from one place, and drinks from another, you pay a delivery cost for each.

We don’t tend to think of ordering takeaway for lunch, and I think this is where Deliveroo could be useful for local business. I liked The Bakehouse menu, which included falafel on flatbread with hummus, slaws and sweet potato fries. Hatch are offering a range of sandwiches (including bacon baps), and seasonal food such as soup and chilli.

If you want pizzas, why not try the Beech House? They offer interesting toppings, such as salami, nduja and mozzarella. For burgers, Relish offer lunchtime delivery, and they have a very good local reputation having won last year’s most family friendly award in the Food and Drink Festival.

There are more options available in the evening, including The Meating Room for burgers, and Zaffran for Indian food. The salmon tikka and welsh lamb cutlets with papaya sound delicious. The new Panko on Holywell Hill plan to join in a couple of weeks, so look out for them too.

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This could be a useful service if you are holding a party, as parking near the Beer Shop and Zefino is not easy, so you save this hassle. It is a fairly limited range from Zefino but it covers the most popular options. I had a little difficulty with my pud order from The Pudding Stop; they rang on the day to say they had run out of custard tarts, and I could have another brownie or cancel. I thought offering to cancel the whole order was a bit hasty, but when my order arrived, they had added freebies as an apology, which we liked.

All my orders were delivered by friendly drivers, and well within the promised time. Food was hot when it was meant to be, and carefully packaged. Deliveroo is “open” from 12 noon until 11pm every day, although your options depend on which businesses are open.

I think it is a professional, well-organised service, which will improve as more local companies sign up, and I would definitely like to see more vegetarian and healthy food options.