Staying in is the new going out, so the rumour goes. As restaurants, cafes and pubs begin to re-open following months of uncertainty, there are some chefs with more unorthodox ideas. One such chef set up The Secret Supper Club Quorn in our native Leicestershire.
If you had said to me this time last year that a fine dining menu could be provided on a takeaway basis, I wouldn’t have believed you. However, times being as they are, this has become a reality with social distancing in place and many self-isolating still.
How does it work then? The Secret Supper Club Quorn announce set menus via Instagram (@secretsupperclubquorn) and through their Facebook page. Customers then simply text the number to confirm an order and the rest is taken care of. Sit back, relax and lay the table.
Menus currently offered include taster menus, pie menus and Sunday lunch. A wide variety for all. All this is cooked by a ‘secret’ chef who happens to have trained in kitchens that boast Michelin stars such as Sat Bains and local favourite John’s House.
With our order scheduled to arrive around 8pm the communication between us and The Club was clear. A text message when your food is on its way, details of what to do with the food on arrival and a menu included in the bag once the food has arrived. Social distancing with the delivery driver is also observed.
Everything is clearly labelled and includes potential allergens and recommended methods of storage. With our food ready to serve, it was time to begin our takeaway experience…
Up first, Malt Barley Bread with Yoghurt Butter. A touch of John’s house in our very own home. The bread is just as I remember it in the restaurant with a lovely rich malt flavour. Spread a generous amount of tangy yoghurt butter on there and it’s a magic combination.
Carrot and Orange Soup with Pumpkin Seeds hit the table next. Velvety smooth in texture and a subtle crunch from the pumpkin seeds. Carrot and orange don’t just match well in colour but flavour also. Another great dish that arrived still lovely and hot.
Baking a beetroot in honey is going to be a new method for me to try, because it’s bloody brilliant. The flavour combination with goats cheese and walnuts is a classic in many salads and it works flawlessly here. The tang from the balsamic vinegar offsets the sweetness and rounds the dish off nicely, this was one of our favourites.
The use of vegetables was becoming intriguing in the menu. How do you get a butternut squash to taste this good? Or a beetroot? So fresh and inviting was this next course we didn’t want it to end. Soft butternut squash paired with tomatoes, almonds and a coriander emulsion. It felt a little middle-eastern in flavour. Another knockout dish.
A fish dish entered the table for the next course. A Textured Salmon Mousse with Cucumber and Dill Ribbons, Chilled Cucumber and Mint Dressing. For me, the dressing drowned the dish a bit texturally. However, the flavours were all fresh, zingy and perfect for this time of year.
When you hear the words pork, apple and parsnip with ‘slow cooked’ added in for good measure, you know good things are about to happen. The shoulder just flaked into juicy strands. Apple puree is a natural choice with pork, are their roast dinners like this? We might just have to order one. A sprinkling of pork crackling for an additional texture is all that this dish was missing.
I can imagine taking the next course on a summer picnic. Basil and Parmesan Pesto Potatoes. Like a potato salad with an Italian accent. Simple but when done well like this it’s a lovely transition into the dessert section of the menu.
Deconstruction in takeaway dishes usually occurs when the lid isn’t on tightly enough. Thankfully this deconstruction of a lemon meringue tart is a planned one – and it’s brilliant. Piped meringue, lemon gel and biscuit base completes a new take on a classic pudding. Very good indeed.
If you happen to view the social media pages of Secret Supper Club Quorn, you will see the chef busily working away creating such delights as honeycomb. This made its way onto our final dessert – Dark Chocolate Ganache, Honeycomb and Malted Milk.
A malted milk crumb sitting on top of a rich ganache is heaven in a tub, I’d happily demolish three times the amount and not feel a trace of guilt. The honeycomb adds that little sweetness to compliment the bitter dark chocolate. What a way to round off a meal!
The final ‘petit fours’ were a handmade Strawberry and Champagne truffle in the shape of a heart, a lovely touch. With pretty much zero washing up to do and the containers to place in the recycling there’s little else to do but reflect on the experience with a glass of fizz.
Did we miss the restaurant experience? Well not as much as we thought. The huge advantage of the takeaway system is that you can go at your own pace. Courses remain either in the oven, fridge or microwave ready for when you need them.
The idea is genius and perfect for date nights, parents with children to look after or for those of you that like a drink without requiring the services of a taxi. In all honesty with food at this level I can’t see The Secret Supper Club Quorn remaining a secret for much longer…
The Secret Supper Club Quorn on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/secretsupperclubquorn/
#adgifted 10 Course Menu priced at £19.95 per person, check Facebook page for up to date prices.