‘A real lockdown treat’: What did our reviewer make of Benedicts’ Dine at Home menu?
PUBLISHED: 08:18 13 November 2020 | UPDATED: 08:28 13 November 2020
Just as rumours began at the end of October of a second lockdown, an email arrived in my inbox to ease us into the first weekend of fresh restrictions - it was Benedicts’ Autumn ‘Dine at Home’ menu.
The Norwich restaurant is very popular with the city’s foodies and has won many plaudits, but could we recreate some of its culinary magic in our own kitchen?
The menu is changed frequently by owners Richard and Katja Bainbridge, who love experimenting with local, seasonal ingredients. There are three set menus to choose from - costing between £24 and £27 - one is mainly meat, one fish and one vegetarian.
We ordered a few days before and picked up from the doorway of the restaurant on St Benedict’s Street.
Once at home you are faced with an array of small plastic pots, but each is clearly labelled and the hard work has already been done.
All we need to do is follow the instructions on the menu which can be summed up as - heat things up and get it onto a plate.
But can you recreate the restaurant quality?
Everything has been well prepared and it is fun to try to arrange the food on your plate in the way Benedicts might.
I start with Norfolk mussels which are cooked with diced vegetables and cider. Cream and herbs are added at the end, just before you take it off the hob. The cider gives the sauce a fantastic flavour and the mussels are plump and juicy.
My wife had a wild mushroom terrine - a very autumnal flavour - elevated by a tangy beetroot ketchup.
While we are enjoying that, the mains are roasting in the oven. We have a partridge crown and a shallot tart, along with potato terrine and fresh seasonal vegetables.
The Norfolk partridge comes with a carrot puree and a light sauerkraut, served with a jus heated in the microwave. The textures and flavours are heartening and fantastic.
The shallot tart is full of powerful flavours with a nice crunch. It is served on top of an excellent parsnip puree, and with a salad and blue cheese dressing which was not to my taste.
For dessert there is a sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce, which needs a minute in a microwave. It suits my wife’s sweet tooth.
I have a “set vanilla cream” - similar to a panna cotta - with passionfruit jelly. It looks and tastes beautiful.
This is the point where we normally tell you what the atmosphere, toilets and service were like. Unless you want to know great detail about my kitchen, we’ll skip this.
It is about half the price of a set menu in the restaurant, so at £25 each is good value for three courses.
Serve yourself as much as you like!
You need to drive to Benedicts to pick up and park outside. Allergens are all marked on the menu.
The partridge and accompanying sauce
This is the way to create top restaurant quality food in your own kitchen without any hassle. It is effectively a posh version of a takeaway and a real lockdown treat.
Our food reviews are always independent. They are the opinion of the reviewer based on their experience of the venue when they visited. The establishment is not aware of our visit, is not informed we intend to write a review and bills are paid by the reviewer. The choice of places reviewed is also independent and is not based on venues which do or do not advertise in our publications.
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