[at home ] Haworth at Home

Another one of them there boxed up restaurant offerings for the cooped up.

Inauspicious start. Box was delivered with very prominent ‘Haworth at home’ wrapping/livery but no ’ This way up’ or ‘fragile’ markings. Consequently box was given to us upside down and some of the contents ( hummus, egg wash ) had leaked. Scraping your hummus off the inside of a cardboard box is not really the ‘fine dining experience at home’ I was hoping for when unpacking it. You can imagine the fun of dealing with the eggwash.

Once we were all rinsed, however, things looked up.

The hummus was ‘served’ ( by me ) with sourdough bread ( a mini loaf ) and caramelised onion butter. Lovely jubbly.
This was eclipsed by the second course of salmon loin wrapped in butter puff pastry ( sort your own eggwash ) with smoked leeks, caviar cream and pickled cucumber with dill. This really was like being in a restaurant. Proper ‘well, we couldn’t do this if we tried’ territory. It was just lovely. All of it. Even the cucumber was transformed.

‘Main’ course was free range ( obvs ) chicken breast, truffle butter, braised leg meat, hen of the woods mushroom and red emilie potato. Flippin eck, it was lip smackingly lovely. Not as pretty on the plate ( I blame the waiter ) as the salmon but just comforting in that ‘everything in its right place’ kind of way that is a perfect late winter meal. If Id been drinking it would have gone lovely with a good beer. The hen of the woods and the leg meat ( with gravy ) in particular were a lovely flavour which pulled the whole thing together ( as they say on the telly ) in a wonderful meaty way ( as they don’t say on the telly ).

We moved on to a pud of rhubarb and rosewater meringue, white chocolate and blood orange. In the ( very easy to follow ) instructions this is stacked in a beautiful delicate way. Our presentation was a touch (okay, a lot ) more agricultural but again this really did remind us of what we have missed in not being able to eat out. The right amount of zing from the rhubarb and orange, the right amount of aaaaah and ooooh from the chocolate .

There were a few artisan chocolates to finish. They were nice in an artisan chocolates kind of way.

The portions were decent ( we in fact ate this over two evenings to eke out the pleasure ) and for 90 quid for two it was good value. Have just ordered another for next week, but price has already gone up to 110.
Will be interested to see if that is down to posher ingredients or just popularity/ extra money making. Hopefully the former, probably the latter. Nevertheless- recommended.

May also try Reid at home after reading John’s review this morning.

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Morning, mate.

I think we’re going to have to give this one a try. Not tried Northcote’s but I’m a big fan of Haworth. Frankly, I don’t think Northcote is now what it was when he was cheffing there. Still good - but not as good.

The household authorities made a quick decision and one is ordered for next week.

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Excellent ! Let the comparison of notes commence :slightly_smiling_face:

This may be a rather enjoyable “first”, mate.

I don’t think I’ve ever been able to compare eating notes with someone eating exactly the same meal on the same day. It’ll be almost as though we were at adjacent tables. Should be fun.

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The authorities in your household appear to make very quick, yet very good decisions. Maybe they should consider replacing the actual authorities?

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Sadly I wont be able to do the full thing live as we’ve got other Zoom commitments on Friday :frowning: so will probably only have a couple of the courses on Friday. I will keep an eye on your posts though so we can compare notes as we go. That will make it even more weird as I will see your reviews of things I am going to eat the next night… :slight_smile:

It IS always nice to know whether one ought to like something before one tries it, rather than having to wait to find out. :smiley:

I know. Especially when John will be telling me far more eloquently than I can muster, whether or not I should be liking it :upside_down_face: .

Emlyn - our plan is to eat the three courser for Saturday dinner. So after you. Still weird. I’ll be able to tell herself that my virtual foody mate says we should enjoy the XYZ. And I probably won’t get round to writing anything till Sunday.

I’d been wondering what Nigel Haworth was up to since he stepped down from his principal roles at Northcote (one of our favourite restaurants). I knew he was still an “ambassador” for the restaurant and still organised the annual “Obsession” festival there. But, otherwise, it seemed as though he might be in semi-retirement. But seemingly not. He’s joined a number of high end chefs adapting to the Covid situation by supplying meal boxes, delivered by nationwide courier. The food is ready prepared and all but cooked, just needing warming up.

And this is a very reasonably priced meal box at £110 for two people. Delivered by courier first thing on Friday morning, we planned to eat it on Saturday. It’s well boxed, with everything clearly labelled, and well insulated (with ice packs and fully compostable wool wraps). Instructions for the final preparations are clear and even include plating instructions. We did have one concern which needed some thought. That was about oven temperatures. Three items need the oven and all three have different temperatures – the bread at 200, the fish starter at 150 and then it needs cranking up again to 180 for the main course beef. In the event, we decided that was just too much a pain in the arse – dinner is supposed to be fun, innit. So, to avoid overtly long gaps between courses, while we waited for the oven to cool down and then heat back up again, we cooked everything at 180 and adjusted timings.

In the event, we also found timings of all the elements a bit challenging. If I had been more organised and, to the point, more arsed about it, I would have rewritten the instructions into a timeline. But, it all worked out in the end.

First there was that bread. Delish, with a lovely crisp crust. It comes with caramelised onion butter and a black pea “houmous” (which was Reet Lanky, as you might expect from Haworth). We ate that along with the fish starter which was our favourite course. A small fillet of arctic char sat on a slice of long cooked fennel and a slick of wild garlic mayo. New season’s asparagus, samphire and wild garlic leaves were artfully (I thought) scattered over and around, before a warm citrus dressing was drizzled around to perk everything up. This was a light and seasonal a starter as you’re likely to come across.

Then there was a beef fillet from an unspecified rare breed animal. Now, fillet is never going to be your most flavoursome bit of meat and this was no exception. But it was fine – and the cooking instructions brought it to a little past the perfect medium rare. To accompany, there’s a slab of gratin potato. And a couple of slices of eryngi mushroom – cut thick enough so that they had a bit of texture. And baby heritage carrots. Small that they look pretty on the plate but small so they really have no flavour. And, finally, there’s a knockout sauce to pour round – based on a classic Bordelaise, there’s also some confit oxtail and, to add at the last moment, a little bone marrow for extra richness. Its flavour made up for anything lacking in the steak.

And finally, to one of the richest desserts we’ve come across in a while. It’s a macaroon, topped with a thin slice of chocolate sponge, drizzled with salted caramel sauce. Mascarpone cream is then added. The idea was that a thin chocolate “leaf” was stuck in the top – but this had broken in transit, so the bits were just scattered around. Finally, slices of honeyed poached pears are added. The plating instructions tell you to “eat very, very quickly”. So we did. Really good.

There’s also “artisan” chocolates to have later with coffee. Use of “artisan” is such a recent word and seems increasingly popular in food circles. It sets my teeth on edge. Whatever was wrong with the words we used until, literally, a couple of years or so back. There used to be craft bakeries, now they have to be artisan bakeries. There used to be farmhouse cheese, now there has to be artisan cheese. Rant ends – and the choccies were lovely.

We’d consider ordering one of these again but, in the meantime, roll on Good Friday when we’ll be eating the meal box from 2* chef, Simon Rogan.

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As ever, hard to improve upon Harters’ exemplary description.
So, I will start with a confession instead…

We’ve taken a shameful approach to our box.

We’ve ‘deconstructed’ it.

So far we’ve had the bread on Saturday ( not sure what reet lanky means but I loved the hummus) and last night we had the char and the beef. This was due to excessive cookie making on Saturday afternoon/evening ( a Zoom thing with friends ) which meant we weren’t really hungry.

Not big and not clever, but it also helps avoid oven rage, John :slight_smile:

The was char definitely the better of the two courses we had last night. Citrus sauce was heavenly and sent us back to the kitchen for more bread to mop up the remnants and the fennel was subtle, which is just as well as I’m not a big fan.

We were a bit disappointed with the beef - my other half particularly so, but then again she was the one in the kitchen bringing that one together so perhaps she had cookers ennui or over familiarity, or something. We just felt the beef itself was a bit lacking in taste and texture, albeit all of the bits that came with it ( apart from the carrots which I agree were decorative but not much more ) were lovely.
So that which should have been the ‘star of the show’ ( as they say on the telly ) was not. Though the sauce was bob on again. You can say what you like about Mr Haworth, but he definitely gives good sauce.

We’ve saved the pud til tonight but it looks quite rich as John says and what we really ( really ) liked about the last one we had was how vibrant and none choclately it was. We shall approach that with some trepidation as well as anticipation.

So, all in all, and with one course left to go we are less impressed than last time. Plus it was twenty quid more expensive this time around.

Not sure we’d go back for a third box. Perhaps you should ‘never go back’ after such a stellar first offering ?
Perhaps we deconstructed it too much ?

Will be interested to see how you get on with Simon Rogan ( copyright everywhere ), John. We ate at L’enclume in December and I was very disappointed indeed. Not least by the fact that your menu no longer said L’enclume it now said Simon Rogan (? WTF ?! ). It was no longer sealed with wax but just in a paper sleeve. It kind of went from there. Little things a little bit ‘off’ / not as special seeming and ego overdrive in evidence. Perhaps its just me. Maybe I should just never go back to places.

Roll on Easter !

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Absolutely Lancastrian.

Reassuring to know that we’re both pretty much on the same page on this meal. Disappointing to hear about your trip to Cartmel. We’ve been to L’Enclume three times now and enjoyed every visit.

As for the next meal box, Mrs H has discovered one from Hickory’s - a mini-chain that originated in Chester and tries to replicate an American chain BBQ restaurant. Not your “down & dirty” independent pit BBQ but deffo a chain. There is talk of it being dinner on Wednesday. I deffo see pulled pork in my near future.

“This here hummus is reet lanky” needs to be something that John Wayne said in a movie. (He would only have understood the words “This”, “here”, and “is”, which is exactly why he needs to have said it.)

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Speaking of John Wayne, and going totally off-topic:

Sounds good, once one gets past the convention that the word before “casserole” normally specifies a featured ingredient. :smile:

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold