Saturday, 22 August 2020

Made in Oldstead food box review

I’ve got a lot of time for these top notch restaurant meal kits which have sprung up during lockdown.

So far we’ve enjoyed meals from James Sommerin, Leyli Joon, Matsudai Ramen, Kapow Ribs, Mr Croquewich and Chez Vous Grady.

And with national delivery available for places like Elite Bistros, Hawksmoor, Opheem, Bao and Bleecker Burger, I’ve got quite the to do list of some of the UK’s best restaurants.

Take for example Tommy Banks’ Black Swan at Oldstead, recently named the best restaurant in the UK and the 4th best in the world by T**tadvisor.

Last year, we made a pilgrimage to Yorkshire to visit the Black Swan and Roots to experience Tommy’s technically accomplished, seasonal-produce focused cooking. It was well worth the trip but it was a bit of a shlep. 

So, to be able to eat Tommy’s food without having to leave the comfort of my own home can certainly be chalked up as a win. And at £84 for two three-course meals for two (i.e. 12 plates of food) including delivery, it’s cracking value for the quality.

Made In Oldstead Food Boxes go on sale on Thursday afternoons with delivery on Friday the following week. Everything arrived beautifully packed, cold and well-insulated with exceptionally clear cooking instructions. All of the starters and puds were ready to eat straight out of the box whilst mains took a maximum of 20 minutes to reheat. 

On the first night, our meal kicked off with sweet and brilliantly tomatoey Black Swan tomatoes. Preserved in rapeseed oil, fragrant with lemon verbena, thyme and garlic, they were served with creamy curd, uber-crisp crackers studded with nigella seeds and Black Swan garden flowers. 

A seriously juicy brined and steamed chicken leg and thigh was served with epic golden-crusted mashed potato, heady with pokey Old Winchester cheese and smoked butter; I’d have been happy with just a bowl of the mash. A top notch glossy coq au vin-esque sauce made with senshyu onion, red wine, chicken stock, smoked bacon lardons and a smattering of herbs finished the dish.

Dessert didn’t look up to much but beneath it’s beige surface was a bevy of treats. White chocolate yoghurt glaze gave way to a sweet and unmistakably Douglas fir flavoured mousse, followed by citrusy lemon verbena gel and a crumbly biscuity base studded with big chunks of white chocolate. 

The second night’s menu was even better.

A coarse, creamy pate was loaded with big hunks of hot smoked salmon and topped with a citrusy and peppery nasturtium vodka jelly with plenty of zip and zing. 

It was delicious slathered over toasted hunks of Ty Melin's sourdough.

Comforting minestrone was packed with soft pasta and a mix of fresh vegetables including tomatoes, courgette, peas, fennel and broad beans. It was topped with a fall apart tender piece of slow-cooked lamb shoulder in a shiny meat glaze as well as a herb-packed, anchovy-twanged lemon balm salsa.

A ludicrously moist sponge was delicately fragranced with floral marigolds and topped with toasted almonds. Served with a thick dollop of cream infused with a note of toasty rye, it was a proper pud in a proper portion.

Technically accomplished, huge flavoured and good-value for money, we were seriously impressed by our Made in Oldstead Food Box. I really recommend it if you’re not planning a trip to Yorkshire anytime soon.

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