East London Food & Culture

DabbaDrop: what’s Leyton’s most ethical vegan takeaway like?

An entrepreneurial female duo are serving up some of the area's best plant-based food at weekends only

Here’s the elevator pitch: DabbaDrop is London’s first plastic-and-emissions-free takeaway. Better still, they prepare plant-based curries direct to your front door. And best of all, they’re based in Leyton. Woop.

Founded by two bezzies, Anshu Ahuja and Renee Williams, the duo’s meals are delivered in Mumbai’s distinctive reusable stainless-steel tiffin boxes (known as dabbas​), with added extras packaged in compostable paper bags and pots.

The result? Every dinner is single-use plastic free. Old dabba tins are swapped on delivery with fresh ones filled with dals and curries, homemade roti and rice. They’re all refined sugar and preservative-free and packed with fresh vegetables, protein-rich pulses and spices. And – you guessed it – it’s push bikes and e-bikes all the way, with an online pre-order model meaning there’s a huge reduction in kitchen waste.

Anshu and Renee. Photo: PR

But who exactly are this pioneering pair? Anshu is a Mumbai-born home cook who, in 2014, following a career in TV production, launched an acclaimed pop-up Indian tapas concept, Pao Wow at Stevie Parle’s Dock Kitchen.


Meanwhile, New Zealand native Renee has done 12 years in restaurant operations and design, as well as events production at Soho House, Caprice Holdings and Caravan.

And so to the food. The other week we roadtested the Kashmiri menu (they rotate weekly). It kicked off with a fresh salad of grated carrots, currants, fennel, chickpeas and almonds, the textures and flavours – sweet, earthy and with a real citrus freshness – balanced perfectly.

Next up was a deliciously tangy sweet potato rogan josh, with sticky onions and Kashmiri red chillies. Possibly tastiest of all, however, was the dhaba-style keema muttar, the jackfruit strands as convincing as pulled pork (if you’re carnivores like us), with peas and onions, plus notes of turmeric and cumin. And saffron and cinnamon pilaf is so good you’ll want to scoff it all yourself.

Generous portions. Photo: PR

There are also innumerable extras, including punjabi potato and black chickpea samosa, crisp poppadoms, spicy ginger jam, mango and pineapple chutney and avocado raita. And while you’ll certainly have enough for two, you won’t feel that slump you so often experience after a curry. Afterwards the bloke and I perkily watched a two-hour movie – with, atypically, neither of us slipping into post-carb slumber. Result.

In short, it’s probably our most memorable (not to mention healthy) takeout in recent memory. And the shrewdsome twosome are about to roll out the delivery to loads more postcodes, including – E10 and E17 aside – the Leytonstone part of E11 (ie not Wanstead), as well as E15 and E20, E2, E3, E9, E20, N1, N5 and N7.

From this month onwards, delivery takes place on Thursday and Saturday nights too, as well as the usual Fridays. So you can now ‘drop’ three times each weekend, if you so wish.

Prices start at £28 for a meal for two. DabbaDrop operate subscription-based weekly or fortnightly deliveries, with option to pause at any time. The Ready-to-Heat option allows customers to choose a safe place for delivery without being at home. More info here.

Photos: PR

Leytonstoner ate as guests of DabbaDrop. For more on our food reviews policy see here. If you own a business, food-based or otherwise, that you’d like us to road-test please email info@leytonstoner.london

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