Michelin-star dining at home – did it deliver?
- Credit: Archant
How does a Michelin-star delivery dinner compare with the restaurant experience ? We check out Tommy Banks’ ‘Made in Oldstead’ boxes
Mondays and Tuesdays are never the most thrilling of days but when the Made in Oldstead email hits your inbox with weekend treats in store, there’s something to look forward to.
A cheery email from Tommy Banks, of the Michelin-starred The Black Swan, Oldstead and newly reoponed Roots in York, is as chatty and engaging as you’d expect from the likeable chef who is now a TV regular, not least for his appearances as a ‘veteran’ judge on Great British Menu.
Despite the perils of the pandemic, Tommy and family are celebrating an exceptional placing of their restaurant with rooms in Olstead as fourth in the world in the Tripadvisor’s 2020 Traveler’s Choice Best of the Best Awards. Within the Fine Dining category in the UK the restaurant came first while securing fourth place in the world, accompanied by only
two other UK restaurants in the list of 25, the esteemed The Fat Duck and L’Enclume.
Obviously delighted, Tommy said: ‘We’re thrilled. We work so hard to provide our customers with the best possible dining experience, and it’s always such an honour to be
recognised for it. We’re now gearing up to re-open again on 12 August, and we really can’t wait to welcome back our wonderful guests.’
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If you’re itching to see what all the fuss is about, ‘Made in Oldstead’ deliveries bring some measure of this famous dining destination.
Each week you can take a pick from two menus – a food box with two different three course meals for two people (£75), or a Signature box which offers a five-course ‘tasting menu’ for two including wine (£120).
Deliveries can now be made across the UK as well as collected from the two restaurants and they have been a smash hit over the lockdown period for special occasions and foodie treats.
Delivery is spot-on in terms of notifications and timings. Wine arrived a couple of days prior to Friday’s food box. A bottle of Walker Bay pinot noir from South Africa was the pairing for our pork en croute main and tomato and goat’s curd terrine starter. Sent in advance of the food it was recommended to be kept in the fridge then taken out about an hour before server – cooler than a usual red.
Box day is exciting. Parcels are always lovely but the Made in Oldstead bounty gets your mouth watering from the off. A menu card is packed with information and plenty of advice about your prep and cooking. All the ingredients are well marked arriving in chilled box and in packaging that appears to be eco-friendly - and initially rather overwhelming, but then this is hardly your regular weekend takeaway.
In reality the labelling and very thorough re-heating instructions make it simple – and great fun. You get your best tableware out, the poshest wine glasses and even the wedding present cutlery and candles. Obviously, you can dress up if you’re making a date of it - and chill the bottle of fizz that’s the price of the taxi cab you’re not paying for.
Our amuse bouche was brill bouillabaisse, a classic that was rich and delicious – heated up and served in little bowls and enjoyed on the patio. It came with Hafod Cheddar custard, a velvety cheese spread loaded up on warm Black Swan country rolls.
Next we moved inside for a terrine of tomatoes – some 15 varieties from the Black Swan garden make their way into this - and goat’s curd served room temperature with pickled fennel and rye crackers.
The show-stopper of the meal was a pork en croute – salt-aged tenderloin wrapped in herby sausagemeat and rich buttery pastry. This was the main bit of cooking but only in as much as washing the lattice pastry with egg yolk (provided), and keeping an eye on the oven. Boiling some Charlotte potatoes – picked hours before – and warming up a mustard sauce were the other skills required. Not too Masterchef at all. The dish was finished with some rich apple butter and spiky glazed kimichi. It looked impressive – but the presentation skills and table service are the obvious things you miss from the restaurant experience.
Pre-desert was a refreshing, zippy jelly of foraged spruce tips in apple jelly and this was followed by a mind-blowingly good moussey chocolate and blackcurrant pave from the Roots’ stable, which came with chef’s homemade rye and dark chocolate biscuits.
The Signature box a memorable treat for a special occasion or for devotees of Banks. Also, a great gift idea thanks to excellent delivery service nationwide. The regular boxes good value for four three-course meals – for a dinner with pals (now that it’s allowed).
Upside: Good fun creating at Michelin-star experience and really good food, and the journey home is easy.
Downside: The treat of being in a restaurant and its surroundings, service and pampering – and someone else clearing away and loading the dishwasher!