Whether you regularly order takeaway or not, cooking from scratch at home every single night under lockdown is a tall order. If you are missing eating out at fine restaurants, one answer is to order in food prepared especially for you by expert chefs. But will it deliver the same experience? Well, there is nothing to stop you getting out your best table linens, crystal and bone china but a new venture aims to deliver ‘fine food for casual eating’ at home, wherever you are in the UK.
Noble House Prepared has thought of everything. The menu offers a wide range of freshly prepared restaurant-style dishes from a king prawn curry to lasagne, or a Moroccan tagine to shepherd’s pie. There is also an extensive world wine list, just as you would expect from a top restaurant, including an excellent range of sparkling wines, such as Ruinart, Laurent-Perrier and Taittinger.
English wines are also well represented with some excellent wines from Nyetimber, Gusbourne and other estates. To complete the dining out experience, select from a menu of ethically sourced beans, ground or pods for a quality cup of coffee, and to support the growing community around the globe with fair prices.
Food glorious food
The Noble House menu is listed under the headings of mains, side dishes, desserts, children’s meals and meals-in-one. There is also a vegetarian, vegan, gluten and dairy free range. The Christmas menu offers everything you need to celebrate, ready to cook and delivered to your door, right down to the turkey gravy and award-winning Christmas pudding. Seasonal main dishes range from a stuffed joint of Holly Farm Bronze turkey with all the trimmings, to a Scottish salmon wellington. Unpacking your order is like receiving a gift hamper full of delicious treats.
Menu Chez Moi
The slow braised beef bourguignon with smoked bacon, chestnut mushrooms and petit onions was tasty but would have benefitted from a little more of the red wine sauce. The Swedish meatballs with mash and lingonberry jam was deliciously rich and comforting. Of the side dishes ordered, the cauliflower and spinach gruyere cheese bake was creamy with a good cheese flavour. The broccoli and green beans were useful to have although frozen vegetables often seem to collapse, regardless of how they are cooked.
For dessert, the dark chocolate fondant pot was agreeably rich with a gooey centre and the no-cook British cheesecake was topped with a lovely, sharp passion fruit jelly. The recommended fruity Mount Brown Estate Pinot Noir (2014) complemented the rich meal, and was followed by a cup or two of freshly ground Roman coffee. The serious pudding eater will be pleased to see not one, but three steamed puddings on the menu, as well as a sticky toffee pudding.
Each dish has clear cooking instructions. Dishes are prepared to be either microwaved or oven cooked. As I don’t own a microwave I popped everything in the oven with any necessary adjustments for timings, except for the green vegetables. Besides, taking the time to savour the enticing aromas wafting from the kitchen with a glass of delicious wine in hand is one of the little pleasures in life.
While home delivery is a new venture, the Noble House brand started in 2008. Conrad Baker and Emma Noble-Baker have worked in the food industry for over a decade in fine dining events, weddings and high-end bespoke contract catering sectors, supplying high profile private clients and leading multi-national companies.
The Noble House Prepared kitchen is led by executive chef Owen Sullivan. Sullivan previously worked as executive chef for Gordon Ramsay at his Maze, the Maze Grills and the Savoy Grill restaurants. He also played a key role in the opening of Ramsey’s restaurants worldwide, including Las Vegas, New York and Doha and has managed events for A-list celebrities, for instance, Elton John’s celebrated Oscars Viewing Party in LA.
The Noble House dishes are frozen for freshness, maximum flavour and taste, and to optimise the nutritional value with no need for preservatives. Individual containers are made from recycled materials and are themselves recyclable with the sleeves made from paper.
Although the containers are intended to put straight into the oven or microwave, I prefer to decant into glass or china containers for cooking. The orders are delivered in a large sustainably-sourced cardboard box with natural insulation made from biodegradable wool to keep your meal frozen. This can be added to the compost heap, recycled or used in different ways at home.
Ordering in has never been so good. Restaurant quality food delivered to your home works on a number of levels whether you like to have a something a little special in the freezer or simply take a night off from cooking. It would also work well as a special New Year’s supper as a reward for the annus horribilis of 2020. A Noble House Prepared delivery would also make a wonderful gift, especially for someone vulnerable this Christmas.