What a palaver. Saturday night, the sofa, a video and no intention whatsoever of setting one manicured foot inside either the kitchen or an unsuitable shoe. It is lovely going out, but it's so much nicer to stay home.
So, a take-away then. Nothing simpler if you're willing to settle for the local Thai caff, Indian tandoori, or formica-countered, Chinese take-away. But if none of these appeal, and you are lucky enough to reside within the perimeters of last week's Monopoly board, you can take your pick from just about anything. Irritatingly we live in the double digits between the Accident and Emergency rooms of two major hospitals, near one of Her Majesty's most popular prisons and amid numerous fundamentalist Baptist chapels with names like Little Roast Lamb of Emanuel. You can get resuscitated, arrested and saved, but you can't get delivered.
First I tried Room Service (020 7644 6666), a company that delivers only inside central London from a range of middle-market restaurants, from Arabic to Vietnamese. You can even order on-line at www.roomservice.co.uk. Unfortunately, my post-code was beyond the pale of their operations, so I rang instead, told them I was writing about it, and pleaded with them to deliver at whatever cost they were willing to levy. We're only five minutes from civilisation, or the W2/W11 borders, I begged. Lawrence Dellalio lives round the corner, Damon Albarne at the end of the street - I bet you would deliver to them. She consulted with despatch but returned to reply, curtly, no - we can't do it, and promptly hung up.
Restaurants Direct (020 8291 5376) was more promising. We really only do South East and South West London, they told me, but we'll try our best.
I really wanted sushi, but they only had a noodle bar in Brixton - about two light years from my front door, so it was back to Room Service, masquerading as a Holland Park resident by using a friend's address. I sat outside his door in my car and waited for the delivery. Far from perfect, but hey - posing as posh inner city dweller takes effort, though less than schlepping to the restaurant itself. And you can still wear your pyjamas.
I had wanted to try Itsu, owned by Julian Metcalfe (the man who brought Pret a Manger to a High Street near you) and which beat Nobu a few years ago for the Time Out Best Oriental Restaurant award.. So far there are two branches, the original in Draycott Avenue and now a new one in Soho fronted by Clive Fretwell (ex Manoir aux Quat' Saison). Currently only Draycott Avenue is (partly) served by Room Service, though you can also just walk into the restaurant, pick off the conveyor belt and transport it home yourself in a Bento Book. Soho hopes to introduce this option soon.
I don't mind the conveyor belt thing - it's perfect if eating alone whilst pretending that you are a thin, picky aesthetic women who counts the calories in the wasabi, despite the evidence of your bottom on the stool. But as a family affair it's too much of a faff - imagine all six of us lined up perched by the counter like birds flying south for the winter - and the subsequent pile of colour coded plates is prohibitive. Much better a hand-passed conveyor belt around the coffee table (which no one in living memory has ever drank coffee from - it should be re christened the ash-tray, wine-glass, novels I intend to read and Sunday-papers I never will, table).
I ordered what seemed like a large selection with only a little sushi as no-one except my husband really likes it. Sadly none of the noodles, dumplings or other hot dishes are available, for reasons made obvious by the super-chilled temperature of everything that arrived, including the sub Arctic spinach goma-ae with a heart colder than the tax-man.
According to the husband, the sushi was middling, according to the children everything else was 'really, really nice' which means they hated it but are trying to spare my feelings. I found the wraps, particularly the beef and crab absolutely delicious. The sweet omelette roll was also good - just as well as we had six of them. The hijiki chicken with seaweed was particularly tasty but all in all, it doesn't translate that well to the sitting room. You don't suddenly feel like you're a cast member of Friends and the excessive froideur of the food is off-putting and kills the taste. Nor does it stretch far - our portions would have served three, if not greedy.
Is that it? asked our suddenly, hulking six foot just/italics/ adolescent son. A quick trip followed to Dick's Fish Bar - a temple of grease and low-budget spare animal parts, deep-fried in batter thick enough to insulate your roof with. Oh chips - malt vinegar, HP sauce, chopsticks, sushi, a bottle of left over Christmas champagne and a mint Aero. Living it large in the suburbs, babe. Just call me Mazzer. And where is the bloody TV remote control?