Gourmet Dining in Lockdown
Our (now not so) recent culinary experiences at River Cottage and Ynyshir Hall had us inspired to visit some other top UK restaurants. We had planned to visit L’enclume in the Lake District but lockdown put an end to that for a while. We’ve had a few gourmet dining experiences thanks to Ynyshir Hall takeways during lockdown, but it wasn’t quite the same.
Gourmet Dining by Post
Anna then came across Home by Nico from Home-X. Their gourmet dining experiences are mail order. They describe it as follows:
Come on a journey with us! From the creators of Six by Nico, Nico and his team have travelled the globe to bring you the very best in world cuisine. Home by Nico menus will deliver a restaurant experience that gives you a taste of culinary delights from around the world in the comfort of your own home.
As luck would have it the next monthly meal was called “Cooking the Hebrides” which seemed to fit me to a tee. The Outer Hebrides are one of our favourite places, and where we went on our honeymoon. The menu itself contained some of my favourite things too. Black pudding, Pork Belly, Baked Beetroot, Trifle, Mmm mmm.
We were looking forward to it for a while. Our anticipation came to an end this weekend.
A Romantic Mail Order Dinner
The experience started well when a well packaged and rather large parcel arrived containing our meal for the evening.
It came with two menus everything we needed for the meal itself, a bottle of wine and some well designed instructions. It was all fairly easy to put together. Essentially it was just a case of opening the various tubs, arranging them on baking trays and popping them in the oven for half an hour.
It was all very easy and a little different too. Maybe not quite the experience of visiting a Michelin starred restaurant and being waited on hand and foot but not too much of a chore either. While things were cooking we laid the table, lit a candle and perused the menu.
The meal had four courses and a bottle of wine. First up, was the starter – no surprises there. It was a lovely piece of gin-cured smoked salmon from the Isle of Harris. It came with a dill crème fraîche and a tasty sweet and tangy cucumber and apple chutney. Not a bad way to start. The wine was nice too. We’re not into wine so the details of it mean nothing to us. It was white and it tasted like wine!
After a while we moved onto the main course. This was a Stornoway black pudding and pork belly pressé with a scotch broth and white bean ragu. Unlike most gourmet dining experiences it was a huge plate of food and came with a couple of large side dishes too. These were a warm potato salad and shellfish rouille and salt-baked beetroot with Hebridean blue cheese and a walnut dressing. There was also a prune compote which brought out the flavours of the pork and some ‘crackling’ which as far as were could tell was broken up rice cake to add a little bit of texture.
It was all very nice and there was actually too much of it for Anna – so I helped her out of course.
All too soon we were onto pudding. This was a delicious ‘Tipsy Laird Trifle’. Stem ginger jelly, sea buckthorn and vanilla cream. Again, there was loads of it so we had some each and then saved another couple of small portions for the next day.
We were quite satisfied by now and the wine had been going down well too. I think Anna was in two minds as to whether to continue with the cheese course or not but I convinced her that we should.
Finally there was a cheese course. Water crackers and an onion and tamarind relish accompanied by mull cheddar. All very nice and once again we didn’t eat all of it but saved some for a lunch during the week.
As I said above, it’s not quite as good as a Michelin starred dining event but it was certainly a treat and was certainly very tasty. I’m sure it’s pretty much the closest you can get to such a gourmet dining experience whilst in lockdown. I don’t think we’ll do it every month but as a treat now and then it is well worth it.