Oh dear. I suppose it had to happen some time. Over the last fourteen months, we have sampled seven ‘meal kits’ from different restaurants, and they’ve all been very good. We’ve missed eating out, of course, and are keen to get back to it as soon as we’re both fully vaccinated, but – for now – the ‘at home’ experience is what we’ve got. And Roast’s chicken dinner looks like a winner, winner.
Sadly, it just doesn’t work for us. It’s too complicated, and – unlike the other home kits we’ve had – we have to work out the timings ourselves. Confusingly, we’re supposed to roast the chicken at 180˚ but the potatoes and veggies, we’re told, need 200˚. How are we supposed to arrange that? It seems a bit much to assume that everyone has a double oven available. We certainly don’t, in our tiny tenement kitchen.
I’m not sure why we’ve been sent batter instead of pre-cooked Yorkshire puddings. We have to cook them in advance because of space and temperature considerations. They emerge from the oven looking all golden and puffed up but, by the time we come to eat them an hour and a half later, they’re stodgy inedible lumps. I can make a decent Yorkshire pudding; I’m beginning to wish we’d just ordered a chicken from the butcher’s and done it all ourselves. (The reason we didn’t was because this was supposed to be both easier and more luxurious. Like the roast from Kyloe that we had just six short weeks ago. It can be done.)
It’s not all bad. The starter – a caramelised cauliflower and apple veloute with croutons and an apple and curry dressing – is absolutely delicious, silky and creamy and packed with flavour; the curried apple really makes it zing. And the pear and vanilla custard trifle we have for pudding is rather lovely too, particularly the almond crumb.
But there’s no getting away from the fact that the main course – the roast itself – is a let down. There’s a rich chicken sauce that is indisputably wonderful. The roast potatoes and the vegetable ecrase are both… okay. But the honey glazed root vegetables are dry and flavourless; the cauliflower cheese is nondescript – and the Yorkshires are a disgrace.
Following the instructions to the letter also means that our chicken is cold. It has to be. It’s supposed to rest for ten minutes, but we have to let it sit for much longer, because – once it’s been removed – we have to wait for the oven to heat up to 200˚ before we can pop in the rest of it (and the cauliflower cheese needs twenty minutes). It’s a good chicken, tasty and succulent, but I’d much prefer to eat it hot.
All in all, this is a disappointment. Luckily, we have laid in a few decent bottles, and we’ve got an Oscar-winning film lined up to watch, so our evening isn’t quite lost. Still, it feels like a missed opportunity. And £55 is a lot to pay for that.