Vicky Andrews tells us what do you get, how much it is and how easy to prepare
Restaurant dining is sadly not an option right now. So when many of our favourite chefs and restaurants - who had never previously offered delivery - began to do so, with some getting really creative in the face of lockdown, we were intrigued.
One of the most popular features on Liverpool Confidential has always been our honest, unannounced and impartial restaurant reviews. Our readers come to us for the lowdown, confident that we know our stuff and will tell it straight. Without restaurants, we've not been able to write restaurant reviews. But it’s what we do.
So we’re giving you the scoop on some of the many delivery options that have sprung up. We’ll buy it, eat it - cook it if we have to - and let you know how it was. We’re not going to be scoring these ‘reviews’ - it doesn’t seem right - but we’ll let you know what you can expect and where's worth spending your money.
Adapting to change has been crucial for businesses to survive under lockdown and Delifonseca has led the way when it comes to turning tragedy into triumph.
Back in March when the national lockdown was imposed, the Dockside restaurant moved quickly to launch an e-commerce site for both ‘click & collect’ and delivery. Starting with store cupboard essentials and veg boxes they added meat from Edge & Son butchers alongside their own specialities; salads, cheese boards, deli classics, charcuterie, pies and pastries.
It’s always nice to feel like a valued customer, even in a global meltdown
New lines have been added every week from local honey, chutney, chocolate and ice cream to ham hock Scotch eggs, samosas and smoked salmon. Oh and booze, plenty of booze. Recently they’ve also added a Friday to Sunday takeaway service including fish & chips, po’ boy sandwiches and menu faves like aubergine & lentil moussaka. Looking forward, they’re gearing up to provide limited customer access to the foodhall from Monday 15th June.
This is all fantastic news but what I’ve really missed most is dining out. They say that the best moments are the ones you didn’t plan, but since spontaneity has gone to pot for 2020, Delifonseca’s ‘Saturday Date Night’ package is probably the next best thing to a carefree meander through your favourite restaurant menu.
What do you get and how much does it cost?
Total cost for two people with a bottle of wine to share is £50.50 (including a handling fee of 50p). The menu changes each week and there are three different starters, mains and desserts to choose from, including veggie and gluten-free options. Pick the same thing as your dinner date or mix it up; the hardest part will be agreeing on white, red or rose wine. We chose a bottle of ‘Revenant’ Sauvignon Blanc Chenin Blanc, which retails at £8 - £9.
Online ordering was nice and easy and although local delivery is available for an extra fiver, I collected mine. Tom the restaurant manager called me to ask if I wanted to add any extra bits from the foodhall and confirmed my order would be ready to pick up after 1pm on Saturday. It’s always nice to feel like a valued customer, even in a global meltdown.
What do you have to do and how difficult is it?
Everything arrives in its own container with serving instructions where appropriate so all you need to worry about is reheating, plating and setting your table all nice. Both of the starters and desserts were chilled so it was only the two main courses that needed heating up. Changing from lockdown pyjamas into going out clothes is optional but strongly recommended. Come on, it is date night after all! Who knows, you might even get lucky.
Is it any cop?
It’s harder than it looks to plate up food and make it look fabulous. Fortunately, my other half has experience of working in a professional kitchen, so you’ve got her to thank for the delicate presentation. I probably would have just eaten everything out of the box.
Starter One, a smoked salmon, beetroot and crab terrine, was fresh and vibrant with a mixed vegetable salad on the side including aubergine, asparagus, chargrilled peppers and capers.
I was especially made up with the inclusion of samphire which is exactly the sort of thing I’d never think of buying from the shops to prepare at home. Starter Two sounded fairly run of the mill on paper but the grilled melon with Serrano ham was a proper gourmet treat, served with pomegranate seeds and fresh mint leaves for a burst of summer.
Instructions for the marmalade roasted gammon chop were idiot-proof. “Pierce film several times, place on a baking tray in the centre of the oven and cook for around 18 mins at 180 C.” Post oven appearance didn’t really do it justice, but it tasted amazing and the gammon was really tender, accompanied with a creamy mustard sauce, crunchy green beans, Dauphinoise potatoes and Romanesco.
Main course number two was seafood, chorizo and butterbean ragu. The rich, slow-cooked tomato broth was microwaved and transferred to a warm bowl without any drama, paired with an earthy side salad of spinach, samphire, pine nuts and sundried-tomatoes. A warm hunk of bread on the side was all that was missing.
Raspberry jelly with a kick of rhubarb gin was a simple and refreshing end to the meal, but white chocolate and raspberry profiteroles was an ingenious seasonal take on the classic retro dessert. Plates in the dishwasher, feet up, job done. That’s my kind of Saturday night takeaway.
At £25 per person for three courses and half a bottle of wine each, it’s really good value for money and well under what you might pay for the equivalent in a restaurant. It’s unlikely you’ll be ordering this package every week, but it’s ideal for a special occasion or a once a month treat to keep you sane while we can’t go out in the real world. And for that I’d say it’s worth every penny.
Delifonseca, Brunswick Dock, Liverpool L3 4BN
Value for money
The creative skills of a professional chef are well worth the price tag.
Packaging and collection
Collection was simple with plenty of on-site parking and social distancing was easy to stick to, with marked collection points outside the front entrance. Be great to see less plastic used in the packaging.
Even Joey Essex could pull this one off.
Quality and quantity
Spot on with the portion sizes for a three-course meal, so we had no waste at all. Fresh, quality ingredients and an interesting variety of dishes to choose from. Excellent.