Review: Dine Delivered
A three-course, restaurant-quality meal to cook in your own home?
We have, as a species, become preternaturally lazy. We can get fast food delivered to us with the tap of a button or even by sending a single pizza emoji to a certain telephone number. We no longer have to walk to taxi ranks, or stand outside in the cold waiting for a car to pick us up, because of apps like Uber. There are even on-demand massage apps and services that will pickup, clean and return your clothes for a fee.
Dine Delivered initially seemed like one of those services: a company designed to make us lazier by delivering a fully prepared three-course meal that you needed to heat up; the millennial equivalent of M&S’s Dine in for Two bung-it-in-the-oven-and-enjoy mastery. But it’s much more.
The service describes itself as ‘not just another takeaway or ingredients box company’ and it’s true. An offshoot of Dine, an award-winning catering and event management company, it’s a halfway house between getting staff in to cater and doing it all yourself. If you’ve got a large event with a long guest list, or you’re hosting a dinner party and can’t be bothered to cook, then Dine Delivered will do most of the work for you, while still allowing you to claim you made it all.
And it’s good. My delivery (a meal for two) arrives on a Friday morning in its own, large box. The food is perishable, but thanks to careful packing and insulation can be kept out of direct sunlight perfectly safely. (The bulky box wouldn’t have got anywhere near fitting in our pokey office fridge.) When I eventually manage to navigate the bus journey home – getting it up the stairs proved difficult – opening the box produced a pleasant surprise. My three-course meal was incredibly fancy.
As I bunged the porcini chicken, tarragon cabbage parcels and heritage and Chantenay carrots with orange butter in the oven as per the simple instruction cards provided, I unpacked the starter, oak roast salmon paté, served in martini glasses. Though it looked oddly retro, the cocktail glass of food was moreish and fresh, and the perfect set-up to the main, which was accompanied by creamed potatoes and a thyme jus, which you put in the microwave to reheat.
Although the chicken took a little longer to cook in my un-preheated oven than the 20 minutes suggested on the instruction card, it was full of flavour and, when served on the bed of buttery mash and slathered with the thyme jus, the match of a restaurant-standard meal.
But the dessert, slowly getting to room temperature, was the cap on the meal. A salted caramel slice – better described as a slab, it was so big – was indulgent and decadent, and incredibly filling. By the end of the meal, which took little more than half an hour to prepare from stepping through the door, I was satisfyingly full.
For more information on Dine Delivered, visit www.dinedelivered.co.uk