THERE are times when only a takeaway will do, and when restaurants and pubs are shut, those times are now.

Perhaps the fanciest takeaway in our area is Tomahawk on Yarm High Street. You can find it beneath a dramatic design of a red bull’s head, although really it is an upmarket KFC with suitably upmarket prices.

Petra, my wife, turned her nose up at the menu because it is all meat: rotisserie chicken, parmos, shawarma kebab and a couple of beefy bits culminating in an 8oz fillet steak for £24. I tried to tempt her with a side dish of halloumi fries, which featured chilli, pomegranate, spring onion and mint yoghurt (£4.50), to no avail.

So the rest of us booked some meat. It is, though, “Red Tractor” meat, so it was farmed within the UK with care.

The Tomahawk website was very simple to use: choose a 15 minute time slot for collection (or delivery within seven miles), choose your food, and enter your card details.

The outlet on Yarm High Street is small, but unmissable due to the large red bull’s heads everywhere, and, at 7.15pm on a balmy Saturday evening, there was a socially distant queue snaking out of its door.

Most other venues we’ve reviewed recently have delivered the food direct into your car to minimise any chance of contamination. In Tomahawk, you have to go in to the low-ceilinged shop, announce your arrival and wait – after 10 weeks of not being in a confined space with strangers it felt claustrophobic, even though everyone was at pains to keep their distance.

The food was promptly handed over the counter in a designer bag, featuring the said red head, and it kept warm well on the 20 minute ride home.

Theo, our son, had chosen a Yorkshire Pudding Wrap, at £5.95 one of the cheapest items on the menu although he augmented it with a portion of “Ziggy fries” (£2.95). The pudding around the outside obviously couldn’t have any crunch, but it kept its shape well, and was packed with shredded rotisserie chicken.

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The menu said it included “the ultimate rooster gravy”, which was almost entirely absent. It certainly could have done with it, although it did contain tarragon and onion stuffing which was superbly fragrant.

Genevieve, our daughter, had chosen the peri peri chicken breast for £11.95, which was just a butterflied chicken with some chips in a tinfoil tray with a plastic container of perfunctory green salad and two pots of mild sauce.

It didn’t look much, but the chicken was nicely cooked, tender and juicy, and the sauce was really pretty good. Everyone’s crinkly cut chips were fine.

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I had chosen the “Chicken Coop Box” which was described as the “ultimate boneless box” (£10.95). As well as my Ziggy fries, it contained three croquettes, which were tasteless and pointless, some mini fillets and popcorn chicken, plus a southern fried fillet. All of the chicken was nicely cooked, and had none of the finger-licking grease of a KFC which can even dribbled down to your elbows.

I really enjoyed the spicey kick and peppery taste of the southern fried fillet.

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I thought I’d ordered some medium Tomahawk Chicken Sauce to go in my box, but it came with a pot that was suspiciously similar to the peri peri dressing. However, the added kick of the medium heat raised the rating of the sauce from really pretty good to addictively great – I liked it a lot.

Apart from the ordinary green salad, the food was all very beige – even the sauces were orangey beige and Theo’s Tomahawk Ketchup was reddy beige – and lacked vegetables. Perhaps we should have added a spicy slaw side dish to our order.

The bill was £33 for the three of us, which in pre-pandemic times would certainly have been more than a fish-and-chip takeaway or a KFC, but worth it in terms of enhanced quality, and certainly sustainable in a hipstery place like Yarm.

But the pandemic is changing pricing levels. Now restaurants doing takeaways have dropped their prices to these sort of levels.

As eating out has transformed into eating in, it has become much more affordable – you can get a three course gourmet for two with a very good bottle of red wine from a gastropub that would have been £80 or more to eat in for £50 now.

Will takeaways have to adjust their pricing to this new normal?

But Tomahawk’s meat is certainly hard to beat.

Food quality: 7

Social Distancing: 6

Logistics: 10

Value for money: 7

Tomahawk Takeaway,

89 High Street, Yarm, TS15 9BG

Website and ordering:

Info (but no phone orders): 01642 781 333