There is so much pressure not to go out these days. Every big supermarket delivers to your door, everything you need to survive.
Some mystical loophole in the economic system allows televisions to get bigger and cheaper every year. On those screens, crime reports monger ever more fear, the advertisements to watch sport/films/reality shows get ever more persuasive, while the next ad will remind you that the sale at DFS is somehow still on, so you've got no excuse to be sitting on the floor.
And then there are the takeaways, which I normally steer clear of, as past experiences could, in general, have been summed by the words “tepid”, “rubbery” and “MSG-overload”. So I didn’t have particularly high hopes this week when I visited The Cedar in west London, a Lebanese venue, which has been voted the UK's best takeaway. The voters, who chose it ahead of 9,000 other outlets, came from a takeaway website. I am just amazed that people have the time, energy or the brainpower to sit down after a cardboard box meal and type an online review - perhaps it's with all the energy they save by never going out.
I can’t say what the takeaway experience was exactly, as I chose to eat inside the unremarkable restaurant area. But the menu is the same, and so too are the 10 chefs, who can produce between 80 and 100 meals to go a night. It’s a serious restaurant operation run by the ambitious Sami Khoueiry - a man who turned down a job in the kitchens at the Dorchester to run The Cedar.
I brought my very highest standards to dinner, but was sold the minute the first bit of freshly made bread left its basket, made a detour via the hummus, and arrived at my mouth. It was, my dining companion and I agreed, a worthy winner. And with the rise of hipper companies with flexible menus and high standards, fashionable food delivery is surely one of the next big things.
But I’ll be going out to eat it. At least until I get a big, new TV, that is.