Dishpatch delivers meal kits from the UK’s finest restaurants. Now it wants to cater your Christmas – but does it beat home cooking? Olivia Palamountain reports
Dishpatch is one of a number of posh food delivery services to have sprung out of lockdown. Offering “finish-at-home” meal kits from the UK’s best chefs, some of London’s top restaurants are represented – from Bubala to Cafe Murano – and all available for delivery nationwide.
With the festive season looming, Dishpatch has released a series of DIY feasts aimed at reducing the time families spend in the kitchen and letting them get into party mode.
I never jumped on the lockdown meal delivery kit trend. Why? Because I love cooking and there was sod all else to do. But I also love eating. And with the demands on my time now back to pre-Covid levels, the promise of a night in with one of Britain’s best chefs is a seductive proposition. But who to choose? The Dishpatch festive menu line-up is as follows:
Cafe Murano Italian Celebration (from £100): Angela Hartnett’s famous risotto milanese and osso bucco takes centre stage, alongside the likes of porcini and truffle arancini and a one-off panettone bread and butter pudding.
Parsons Sea Trout En Croute (£85): From seafood specialists Parsons comes a festive fish supper made with the finest, sustainable British produce – think steelhead sea trout en croute with lobster bisque and avruga sauce, plus Scottish scallops and ratte potatoes.Ottolenghi Thanksgiving Menu (from £80): Choose from either rolled turkey or roasted celeriac served with trimmings such as miso mushroom gravy, sweet potato with pecans and maple spring onions, brussel sprouts with balsamic and kale, and dried apricot and fig stuffing.
All menus are available for pre-orders from November 14 for first delivery on December 3. A one-off Christmas Day Beef Banquet from 10 Greek Street (£120) will be delivered on December 23, featuring six courses that include braised beef shin stuffed with onion, sirloin steak and spiced ginger cake.Ohh, and you can even pimp your order with add-ons: exclusive St John wine pairings and a cheese board from Neal’s Yard Dairy are just some of the additional treats.
Angela Hartnett? In my kitchen? Well, that’s a no brainer: it’s the Cafe Murano Italian Celebration Box for me. I’m given a rough delivery time with the promise of a text on the day to confirm my slot.
I’m away for the weekend when handover happens on Saturday, so a neighbour takes charge: I’m told it’s smooth and timely. I’m also told that the meal will stay fresh until Monday – which is when I plan to cook it.Opening the box is like Christmas really has come early. There are endless boxes of all sizes, neatly labelled – cicchetti, second, dolci etc, and a handy, illustrated guide that details the cooking method of each course and the appropriate way to store each item.Packaging is smart and largely recyclable (yay!) with clear instructions on how to recycle each component, from the compostable trays and vacuum packs to the ice packs and wool insulation.
There is a generous amount of food – enough for two hungry people or three elegant appetites – and a really vibrant variety of flavours.Antipasti features mushroom and truffle arancini and a tomato focaccia, neither of which need much introduction. Warm carbs, cheese and truffle? Delicious, obviously.There’s also a paprika-cured monkfish carpaccio with a fennel dressing, which, while yummy on paper, seems to have developed an alarming whiff after a couple of days in the fridge. Sadly, we skip the fish.
This being Italian food, there’s a sneaky extra course before the main: a salad of chicory and radicchio with roast squash, gorgonzola and a vinaigrette, plus a ball of mozzarella served with hazelnut pesto.My dining companion reads the instructions while I do the “hand tearing” of the various elements. Either this is really easy or we’re an excellent team. Or both. Both dishes are a hit, good enough to scrape the plates clean and bother soaking up the juices with leftover focaccia.
Next up is osso bucco, a Murano winter classic, made with veal on the bone from HG Walters, which is braised in chianti, stock, and various herbs until “meltingly tender”, says Angela. And she’s not wrong. In just 20 minutes, we’re eating a stellar slow-cooked dish that would have taken at least a morning to prepare.It’s the business. Plonked – sorry, delicately placed – on a bed of the accompanying saffron risotto and suddenly we’re in Italy. Buon appetito! Don’t forget to suck the marrow out of the bone. It’s possibly the best thing about this dish – or maybe it’s that there’s enough leftover for me to polish off the next day?
I’m not shy of gluttony but after this course, even I am nearly done. Just as well that everyone has a pocket spare for sweet stuff, right? Angela has us covered with a panettone bread and butter pudding made even more decadent with candied pistachios and a pistachio crème anglaise. Phwoar.The combination of all these elements is banging. Stodgy stuff doesn’t usually do it for me but by the time I’ve eaten more than half of the bread and butter pud, I have to admit that perhaps I don’t know myself as well as I thought I did. Pistachio custard? It’s now on my death row menu. Oh, and a quartet of outrageous chocolate truffles are included, too.
Would I order from Dishpatch again? Absolutely. It’s a fantastic service, brilliantly executed, and complete with all the garnishes and extra details you’d expect from a restaurant experience.
Plus, let’s face it. While I love cooking, I think it’s fair to say that Michelin-starred Angela Hartnett does it does it better.