September 25, 2022

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Simply The Best Food

‘Best Italian’ restaurant in Coventry’s fine dining at home boxes – we deliver our verdict

Fine dining in a box, it’s all the rage. As well all know, restaurants across the country remain closed due to the global pandemic.

Some establishments have diversified to offer click-and-collect services, or kits to finish off yourself at home. It’s a compromise, but it goes some way to bridging one of the gaps in our lives.

But there’s an operation in Coventry that has been delivering fine dining to homes in the region long before anyone on these shores had heard of Covid-19.

Earlsdon Supper Club has operated from secret locations as well as private dining options since June 2019. It has proven extremely popular, with positive reviews seeing them rise to the number one rated Italian restaurant in Coventry on TripAdvisor.

During the latest lockdown, their ‘at home’ menus have been snapped up with sell-out weekends the norm, so we ordered one to find out what the fuss is about…

How does it work?

Each week, Earlsdon Supper Club posts menus on its Facebook page. You can also order via their website.  Collection and delivery options are available, with the cost varying from £25 to £30 per person.

Inside the giant box are all the ingredients you need for the meal along with printed instructions on how to complete the dish. Images are available on social media so you know what to aim for presentation wise and the chef who created the dish, chef Tobias is also on hand to message if any extra guidance is needed.

What was on the menu?

It’s important to note the menu changes regularly. Our order was for myself and my wife who is a pescetarian – so there was an alternative main option, the rest was the same.

Milk bread – black pepper butter

Passatelli – pecorino, broad beans, cavolo nero

Pork cheek/Jerusalem artichoke brik parcels – pomme puree, cranberry gel, pickled radish

Lemon verbena posset – amaretti biscuit

Chamomile apricot fizz 

What were your first impressions?

It looked very professional. The box is gigantic and everything inside is packaged and labelled clearly so there’s no confusion. What’s more, it is all recyclable, which made me feel a lot less guilty about the growing mound of waste during the cookery of the dishes.

Each dish also has a full list of ingredients on it and the instruction leaflet was foolproof, even for a novice like me.

Was it easy to cook?

Crisping up the brik parcels

I’ve had more complicated microwave meals! But this was far more fun. The passatelli came in foil parcels ready to place into the oven and the dessert was ready to eat.

The only challenge came with the brik parcels which required a delicate touch as the pasty was so thin when crispening it up in a pan over a low heat before finishing off in the oven.

Armed with an image of the finished product, trying to recreate them yourself was enjoyable. I found myself paying plenty of attention to detail when finishing the dishes and feeling a little chef-like!

It was an element of this experience I thought might bring a modicum of stress, instead, it was another layer of the enjoyment.

How good was the food?

I’m finding it hard to write about while referencing my notes and photographs, as I just want to do it all over again!

The passatelli (pasta) was creamy with citric notes, encased in the cavolo nero which held its structure perfectly. It was a sophisticated but unpretentious start to the meal, with the bread roll mopping up the cheese sauce perfectly (here’s where not being in a restaurant environment really becomes beneficial!).

Lemon verbena posset with amaretti biscuit and chamomile apricot fizz

My pork cheek main was melt-in-your mouth good. This balanced perfectly with the crispy pastry layer and the cavolo nero that encased it. The pomme puree was deliciously smooth and creamy, with the cranberry gel and radish offering intriguing shifts of flavours and textures. Then there was the rich, boozy red wine sauce to plunge into. It was a special dinner to consume at home.

Standing back and look at the plate, like with most fine-dining experiences, it doesn’t appear to be enough to fill you up (speaking as a front row rugby player here), but I was full and content by the time the plate was scraped clean!

The lemon verbena posset visually was a simple looking dessert, not too dissimilar from what you can pick up on the chef at a supermarket. But you’ll struggle to find anything like this down any chilled aisles in the near future. The posset captured the zesty appeal of lemon within its luxurious creamy texture. The amaretti biscuit sat like an island within it, begging to be picked up and nibbled or smashed down with a spoon.

Like the first course, it was refined and expertly crafted.

The chamomile apricot fizz was a bit of a non-event, so subtle were the flavours it was a little like ordering a lemonade from a pub (in the good old days) and the syrup not mixing to leave an unsatisfying soda. But it was a tiny accompanying drink that this experience wouldn’t live or die by.

Final thoughts…

This was a really professional, refined and engaging experience that struck the right balance. It offered something most of us would struggle to cook at home (from scratch)  and for a few hours on a Friday evening, we could pretend we were at a restaurant and I could claim a little sense of satisfaction  having provided the finishing touches and plated the food.

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