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The Top Takeaway That Chefs Are Eating In Lockdown

We asked six chefs about the meals they love in lockdown

By Alex Carlton

Let’s face it, there are few upsides to lockdown.

But one of the precious pleasures available to those of us under stay-at-home orders is the rise of restaurant-quality and gourmet delivery meals.

So, we asked the experts – some of the country’s best chefs – for their take on where to get takeaways. (And we’ve added some of the PRIMER team’s faves at the bottom of the story too.)


Matt Moran (of Aria, Chophouse, Crafted by Matt Moran, Chiswick and more, Sydney) recommends: Frank’s Deli, Charcoal Fish and Totti’s

I recently went down to check out Frank’s Deli. To have the balls to open in a pandemic, I really admire that. I had the best bloody eggs and brisket sandwich and got a toastie for my daughter – they were fantastic.

I’ve also checked out Josh Niland’s new place, Charcoal Fish, for his genius Murray Cod and gravy roll – really good stuff – and I also had Totti’s the other night which is always excellent.


Natasya Soetantyo of Salt & Palm. recommends Do Dee Paidang

Do Dee Paidang’s ‘Doo Dee Lava Spicy Tom Yum Noodle’ level three – large one, please!

It’s a spicy, sour, kick-in-the-face tom yum based noodle with pork bits, fish balls and crispy wontons. It has different spice levels (up to level seven if I’m not mistaken) but for me level three is enough. You can get one that’s not spicy that’s cheekily named “Do Dee Nursery.”

Like many Indonesians, spicy food is my comfort food. And as a restaurant owner having to face the agony of a prolonged lockdown in Sydney I need a LOT of comfort food to cope. I love how the spicy broth makes me feel ‘alive’ and I can get all sweaty with it. In Indonesia we have a saying: “If you’re not sweating while you eat, your food is not good enough.”

Jarrod Walsh and Dorothy Lee of Hartsyard Sydney  recommends Cafe Paci

We like to get an ‘at-home box’ every week and the one we keep going back to multiple times is from Café Paci.

It’s such great value and it’s exactly like eating in their restaurant. The one we liked the most was black garlic roasted chicken, and their entrees are amazing too; like the smoked kingfish we had the other week. Their boxes serve two but when you order online you can also include add-ons like their famous oysters and desserts.


Alejandro Saravia of Farmers Daughters recommends Taquito 

My go-to specially after walking – exercising – with my family is Taquito in Carlton. In my humble opinion they have, hands down, the most authentic tacos in Melbourne. They’re best paired with a cold beer or perfect margarita to calm the heat from the extra chilli I always pour on. They offer take away pick up or delivery. The Carne Asada Taco and their Taquito’s Masa Fried Chicken are a must.

Scott Lord of New Quarter  recommends The Pita Man and Tuck Shop Takeaway

The Pitas at The Pita Man in Caulfield and Bentleigh are freshly baked and the fillings are vegetarian which a great reprieve from a meat-heavy diet during this lockdown. I always order the Cauli-Bomba, which is Tunisian spice cauliflower, pickled cabbage, hummus, tahini and amba, with shoestring fries and za’atar seasoning.

I also love Tuck Shop Takeaway in Caulfield North. Everything is made in-house: classic burgers (I get the Major Burger), SodaStream lemonade, ice creams and the best tomato sauce.

Jesse Gerner of Anada, Bomba and Nomada, recommends Cibi

 What a crazy time we are in at the moment. I miss restaurants and eating out dearly but it’s definitely stepped up my takeaway game.

One of my favourites has been Cibi in Keele St, Collingwood. I’ve always loved their Japanese breakfast and now it’s available for takeaway. It’s a piece of crispy and well-seasoned salmon with rice, miso-pickled broccoli and beans, potato salad, sweet omelette and greens.

The whole experience of picking it up and looking through all the amazing collectable homewares, groceries and especially their Japanese knives is a real treat. And you always feel great after starting the day with this wholesome meal.


Anna, co-founder of PRIMER, loves ordering the iconic (and iconically rich) spaghetti carbonara from Buon Ricordo, not to mention – for a special treat – a meal from Sake via Providoor.

Mel, PRIMER’s art-director on speed dial, recommends JOVI’s burger kit from DRNKS. (Anna concurs that they are the best burgers she’s ever had)

Tara, our regular stylist for PRIMER (whose fiance is a trained chef) suggests the uber-trendy and tasty Fabbrica Pasta Shop for easy, delicious pasta.

Beauty editor Lucy Adams recommends Alma in Avalon for tasty tacos and burritos (and equally tasty margaritas). PRIMER co-founder Felicity Robinson loves Atta for its flawless execution of all her favourite Indian dishes.

Stylist Lucy Wood loves Tacos Muchachos (“100 per cent tastes like Mexico”), the takeaway spanner crab pasta from No 92. Glebe, the delicious dinner kits from Rukus cafe in Sydney’s Northern Beaches (they deliver over the bridge) and the pasta and sourdough bread from Kindred.

Writer Daniela Elser loves Spice I Am.

Writer Hannah-Rose Yee is enjoying 10 William St Saturday offering (picnic supplies, pastries and more) and Bar Suze’s fish burger (“SO GOOD” she tells us).


Got any other recommendations? Drop them below. 


BY Alex Carlton

Alex is a journalist who has written about food for a number of magazines. She loves the pipi banquet from XOPP - and the homestyle Sri Lankan chicken curry from The Fold in Dulich Hill

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