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Tired of spending your lunch hour cooped up in the office when you could be catching a few rays, or at least getting some fresh air? Pick up a picnic hamper or posh takeaway from one of London’s top restaurants and enjoy a spot of fine dining al fresco. Alternatively, treat yourself to gourmet food to go during a festival, road trip or another of this summer’s events.
Albion’s wicker picnic hamper is packed with British deli produce such as Trealy Farm charcuterie and Neal’s Yard cheeses, as well as home-baked bread and pastries. The hamper also includes English strawberries, clotted cream, shortbread and artisan chocolates. It feeds up to four people and costs £140. Pick one up in person or request delivery 24 hours in advance (call 020 7729 1051).
Boisdale of Canary Wharf
The Scottish restaurant has launched a takeaway burger menu for time-starved City workers. Made from finest Scottish beef, the burgers come with condiments including truffle mayonnaise, spicy avocado relish, and Bloody Mary ketchup, plus a side order of hand cut, skin-on chips. Order a burger before 11.30am and it will be ready for collection at 12.15pm; delivery to Canary Wharf is offered for an extra £5.
Carluccio’s (picnic pictured, right)
With alfresco being an Italian word, it’s no surprise that Carluccio’s knows how to pack a good picnic. Its ‘classic’ hamper includes stuffed focaccia, pork-and-wild mushroom terrine, and poached salmon with a new potato, beetroot and watercress salad, plus chilled wine or prosecco. Look out for vegetarian and kids’ options, too. Available until 30 September 2011.
This Pan-Asian stalwart’s bento boxes are available to eat in or to take away. The boxes are filled with signature dishes including Vietnamese prawn salad, Thai green chicken curry, and vegetable tempura.
Gelupo (pictured, left)
For all of you who are deskbound but desperate for a summer treat, this award-winning gelateria in Soho has the solution. Gelupo has launched a nationwide online delivery service (excluding the Highlands). Choose from flavours such as burnt caramel and toasted pecan, bonet (chocolate with coffee, egg yolks, rum, caramel, amaretti biscuits and vanilla) or grapefruit, delivered direct to your door (or desk) within 24 hours of ordering.
Tempted by afternoon tea but don’t want to miss the sunshine? Take tea in picnic form with The Langham Hotel’s afternoon tea picnic hamper. Highlights include poached Scottish salmon-and-cucumber sandwiches and homemade scones with Champagne-soaked raisins. The hamper costs from £85.00 for two.
Mount Street Deli
Create a personalised picnic lunch or dinner by choosing from the salads, meats, breads and cheeses on offer at Mount Street Deli. Add organic fruit juice or a bottle of Champagne, then set off to your favourite picnic spot, such as nearby Hyde Park. Hampers for four or more people must be ordered 48 hours in advance (call 020 7499 6843).
For the ultimate gourmet packed lunch, look no further than Nobu’s takeaway bento box. The bento boxes cost from £45 and must be ordered 24 hours in advance (call 020 7447 4747).
York & Albany
This north-west London gastropub offers three-course picnics that are perfect for taking to nearby Regent’s Park. Choose a main course from the picnic menu, to be accompanied by set side dishes and a dessert. The deli section of the restaurant also offers bespoke hampers so that you can mix and match your favourite ingredients.
If you do manage to escape the office and jet off on your hols from Heathrow Terminal Five, Gordon Ramsay’s gourmet Plane Food picnic (pictured, right) should save you from the horrors of an airline meal. The carry-on bag contains dishes such as tiger-prawn salad with watercress and soy sesame dressing, roasted rump of Hereford beef with green-bean salad and mustard, and chocolate-and-pecan brownie with Chantilly cream. Order in advance and pick yours up at the airport.