In non-lockdown times, given the happy chaos of our jobs and personal lives, we invariably eat out several times a week and lunch is usually on the go and eaten al desko. So lockdown is the first time in a decade that our meals have been almost 100% homemade. As restaurants and other vendors adapt to the new normal it’s great that we can now get restaurant quality food for those special occasions. Like Saturdays.
With several previous restaurant heat-at-home meal successes under our belts, we were excited to have a go at the new offering from city stalwart and one of our favourites, Opus Restaurant. The team at the two AA rosette awarded restaurant have just started ‘Opus to You’, offering weekly heat-at-home meal kits including everything you need for a special night in. As well as complete meals their delivery and collection service is also offering wine by the bottle and case, beers and spirits, and plenty of produce from fruit and bread flour to cured meats.
We got in early and ordered on their inaugural weekend, with a vegetarian three course menu of beetroot textures with goat’s curd, mushroom wellington, and lemon tart. We did wonder whether we’d be able to do justice to the food or whether it would look like someone had thrown it on the plate, however I’m pleased to report that having followed the preparation and plating guide provided I think we did a good job and I’d have been happy to have been served it at any restaurant.
The starter of beetroot textures included golden and pink beets, lightly pickled and spiced noodle style beets, and cubes of bright purple beets. These were complimented with creamy and slightly sharp goat’s curds. To finish the dish, there were sweet and crunchy candied walnuts, and watercress dressed in a vinaigrette with a light onion flavour (maybe chives?). It made for a beautiful looking plate of food, and was plentiful. The textures were interesting and for me the onion of the watercress dressing really brought the dish together.
For mains we’d chosen the vegetarian option of mushroom wellington. Again we had some trepidation about cooking at home a wellington style dish, given the risk of the pastry collapsing, but it couldn’t have been easier and turned out great. The pastry was burnished gold and crispy, and the mushroom centre was earthy and moist. It sat on top of a silky onion puree and was served with blackened hispi cabbage which had been cooked in some delicious stock which had a very subtle note of maybe fennel. Again this dish plated beautifully and was perfectly sized.
We ordered two bottles of wine to drink with dinner. The first was, unusually for us, a rosé. A light Italian Bardolino Chiaretto provided just enough tang for to counter the lightly pickled beetroot and the creamy goat’s curds. With our mains we drank a light Napa Valley Pinot Noir which had the right body for our veggie option.
The pudding was the easiest of the courses to plate. The lemon tarts had crisp pastry, despite a day in the fridge, and had sharp and creamy centres. Raspberries were ripe and fragrant and the Chantilly cream wasn’t too sweet. We found the dregs of a bottle of limoncello in the cupboard and polished that off with dessert.
If you’ve not done any heat-at-home nights yet then do make sure you read the instructions from the restaurant you’re using as they all differ. There are clear instructions on the ordering website for Opus, here: https://www.opusrestaurant.co.uk/opus-to-you/. In short, you need to order by Monday 7pm for delivery or collection the following Friday or Saturday. The meals are currently £35 per head, or £30 for the veggie option.
We loved our Opus to You dinner and will doubtless repeat the experience, perhaps with other friends once the lockdown rules are sufficiently lifted to allow it. Well done and good luck to Opus and all the other entrepreneurial venues that are working out how best to keep us fed over the coming months!
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