A meal box from the “empire” of Michelin 2* chef, Simon Rogan. We’ve been to his flagship restaurant, L’Enclume, several times and really enjoyed the experience (although those long testing menu type meals are getting a little passé, nowadays).
The website offers two menus. One priced at £75 per person, prepared at L’Enclume and one prepared at Aulis, one of Rogan’s London places, selling at £45 each. We went for the cheaper one. As with the best of these meal box affairs, ordering was straightforward as were the nationwide courier arrangements. Everything is well packaged, insulated and clearly labelled. And there’s clear and very simple “finishing off” instructions. You really need nothing more than the oven and a couple of pans on the hob and you’re away.
The starter just needed plating (and I’m getting better at this). There’s slices of salmon cured with beetroot and orange, nicely cut a bit thicker than you’d get with smoked salmon. They are decorated with dabs of crème fraiche. But almost the star of the show were the mixed pickles that you scatter over. Beetroot dice, sliced cucumber, chunks of radish all provide a sharpness and crunch. I think this was the course I enjoyed most. There’s a really nice sourdough bread roll and butter to eat alongside.
For the main course, boned beef shortrib had been cooked sous-vide until it was very, very soft and is then heated through in the oven. Personally, I prefer my meat to have a bit more texture but the flavour was fine. Alongside, there’s a turnip puree which I found to be a little tasteless so, as I wasn’t a big fan, it wasn’t a problem that there wasn’t much of it. Confit shallot was fine, providing some welcome texture. And there’s a little “jus” – the beef cooking juices, reduced down to a sauce in a pan.
For dessert, there’s a generous portion of sticky date pudding – a light as a feather sponge, again warmed through in the oven. Caramel sauce is drizzled over and there’s a dollop of cream on the side. The accompanying poached pears would have been a success, had they been cooked more. As it was, they were quite crunchy which, I’m sure, wasn’t the intent.
And finally, there’s a lump of chocolate and orange cookie dough to slice, bake and enjoy with coffee.
Interesting as this was as an experience, I doubt whether we’d order it again. Is it better quality than I’d get for a similar sort of meal locally, from Sam’s Chop House. Well, yes it is. But is it worth twice the price. No, it probably isn’t.