Lanched a month ago, the high street chain’s new app could herald a no less than a change in the way we dine out. As well as expected functions like showing you the menu, telling you where your nearest Pizza Express can be found and enabling you to book a table, the app allows you to pay directly for your meal. Instead of fiddling with chip and pin cards or cash, simply enter a code on your bill into the app and pay via a PayPal account. The app links directly to the till system, meaning that your bill will immediately show up on the screen of the till. Free from iTunes. www.pizzaexpress.co.uk
GREAT BRITISH CHEFS
This smart, well-designed app brings together recipes and tips from an impressive number of leading, multi-starred chefs working around Britain. These include Marcus Wareing, Nathan Outlaw, Tom Aikens, Nuno Mendes of Viajante and Pascal Aussignac of Club Gascon. The dishes are all from the chefs’ menus – not things to knock up in half an hour on a work night, but beautiful things to impress your mates at a dinner party. There’s also useful video hints on things like filleting and gutting fish, removing meat from a crab and preparing artichokes. The app will also compile your shopping list for you from each recipe. From a practical point of view, it’s easier to use on an iPad than a phone, but it works for both. The app designers are planning further releases and more chefs over coming months. For more information see www.greatbritishchefs.com. £4.99 from iTunes.
PROJECT OCEAN FROM SELFRIDGES
We all know fish stocks are under threat from over-fishing, but how many of us really know which fish are okay to buy and which are endangered? Well, Project Ocean, launched by Selfridges in conjunction with a number of chefs to shine attention on the matter and encourage ethical sourcing, has produced an app with a very helpful guide. It shows (for example) how dover and common sole should be avoided but trawled lemon sole is fine, skate and ray should always be avoided but dabs and flounder are fine. It also has a sizeable list of fish restaurants and plenty of fish recipes from chefs including Angela Hartnett, Jun Tanaka, Bruno Loubet and Mark Hix. Free from iTunes. www.selfridges.com/projectocean
This is the perfect app for impressing your friends with your knowledge as you peruse a wine menu – but it’s principally a useful, easy-to-use guide to the wine world that’s relatively free of pretentious jargon. It divides wine types easily by style (aromatic, crisp, fruity, smooth etc) and by grape, explaining muscadet from trebbiano, malbec from montepulciano, and also suggesting wine types for matching with different foods. You can also create your own taste profile to record your preferences, and there are useful tools like a glossary of wine terms and a regional listing. This app is a probably a little basic for seasoned oenophiles – there’s an excellent Wine Society app for them – but for those wanting a little extra help with their wine choices, it’s spot on. £2.49 from iTunes.
SQUARE MEAL AND URBANSPOON
There are plenty of apps providing listings for restaurants, and the well-known food guides, including Harden’s, Zagat and Micheline, each have their own apps. These are our two favourites. Square Meal’s pithy, intelligent reviews are among the best around, while Urban Spoon is great at finding the restaurants near wherever you are. Both free from iTunes.