With the recurrent temporal closure of restaurants due to the pandemic, many establishments have had to adapt their business to survive preparing ‘meal kits’. Simon Rogan and his team have done an extraordinary job transforming their cuisine and ideas to this format.
A different menu is proposed for every week consisting of bread, two courses and a dessert. The dishes lie well on the grounds where cooking at home and sourcing the ingredients single-handed would require too much of an effort and time. Besides, the flavour combinations are exciting and refreshing for anyone who has been cooking at home for weeks or months during lockdown. A simple way to turn dinner into a special occasion.
Through these months we have been trying different versions of ‘meal kits’ from restaurants around the UK. In fact, we are considering collating our experiences in a list once the pandemic ends. I wonder how we will look back at this record years away from now…
We will surely remember this particular one. The execution of this one was the best we have seen. The components of each dish were well packaged into separate boxes and labeled thoroughly. Concise and precise instructions guided you through the process step by step, including suggestions on how to store the food before cooking, plating and even how to dispose of the abundant packaging responsibly. To this, video instructions by Simon himself were accessible through a QR code, making the experience more personal.
The quality of the food was exceptional. We started to nibble small, individual Sourdoughs with Whipped Butter. The butter accompanying the sourdough bread was delightful. Creamy with tangy flavours reminiscent of parmesan cheese. Winter Tarn’s dairy (@wintertarn_dairy) is a great discovery!
As a starter we were proposed a Velouté of Cep Mushroom, Smoked Yolk and Stout which played between being hearty and refined. The ceps were not that noticeable, but the overall combination of mushrooms was delicious. Crème fraîche gave some acidity while the croutons provided some needed texture. We loved the smoked yolk, packaged in a pastry bag ready to serve with elegance.
The main dish consisted of Stuffed Shoulder of Herdwick Lamb, Lamb-Fat Potatoes, Caramelised Onions. The lamb was stuffed with a mixture akin to lamb sausage. The preparation was reduced to simply searing it and the proposed plating was very elegant. We took advantage of some fennel and nasturtium sprouts leftover from other projects, to add a bright and colourful touch to the dish. The baby potatoes were creamy and buttery. The pickled onions had some refreshing acidity and crunch while the caramelised onions’s sweetness was to die for.
To finish, Simon Rogan presented us with a Paris-Brest. The wheel-shaped dessert was well executed and thoughtfully planned to be finished at home. We were pleasantly surprised by the use of already-filled pastry bags to allow for a professional presentation. The gianduja filling was delicious, but we found the chocolate sauce glazing was too much for the dish.
We were positively surprised how well prepared this meal kit was. From the quality of the ingredients, through the almost effortless preparation to the comforting exprecience.
Simon Rogan and his team adapted very fittingly and we hope that they will continue their ‘At home’ venture.