Published 4 December 2020
Various, The Dorchester Winter Garden
From Hackney to Hoppers. Here are the best things the CODE team ate this week
Outside dining during the winter months was never going to be fun in this country but as always with hospitality, many restaurants have thought outside the box when it comes to letting their guests enjoy a meal outside. The Dorchester have placed two ski lift pods on their front lawn for their Winter Garden restaurant. The hotel’s executive chef Mario Perreira, along with the The Grill’s Tom Booton, have created a menu with a festive twist including a whole roast Aylesbury duck and a grilled dry salt-aged côte de boeuf with a New Forest mushroom Wellington and sprouts.
Adam Hyman, founder
Henry Harris has had plenty of projects since the sad closure of his restaurant Racine, but it’s a delightful development that he has brought it back for a collaboration with one of our very favourite butchers, HG Walter. The Racine meal kit features cote de boeuf, pommes anna, bone marrow, sauce bordelaise and spinach, with classic celeriac remoulade and ham as a starter and some exemplary comté with crackers (a delightful change from a sweet pud). The very clear instructions minimise the fear of messing up the magnificent cut.
Lisa Markwell, editor
I am not going to go so far as saying I will never have a takeaway ever again, but I have frankly had too many lukewarm, slightly squished disappointments over lockdown to leave me reaching for Deliveroo any time soon. Thank goodness for restaurant meal kits. The Ceylon chicken curry feast from Soho’s Kolamba filled the house with the most amazing smells of Sri Lanka and was on the table 10 minutes after it arrived through the door. Highlights included, well, all of it – beetroot curry was a welcome first for me, and I could quite happily have tucked into a whole tub of their toasted pol sambol.
Will Lake, COO
Add a large helping of truffle to pretty much anything and I’m sold, but this cacio e Pepe with truffle from Ekook was particularly impressive. The pasta delivery service is new to the UK, and I would recommend being one of the first to try it out. With plenty of options to choose from and less than five minutes to make, the dishes are both tasty and convenient in equal measure. The spaghetti with lobster and cherry tomatoes was also a highlight. All that was missing was the Italian sunshine… and an aperol spritz.
Harriet Prior, editorial assistant
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the biggest fans of meal kits but, of course, they have been a valuable lifeline to many restaurants over 2020 and no doubt into 2021. However, if there was one that I’d be sure to have again and recommend it was QV at Home that was delivered by Big Night. Jeremy Lee’s festive feast for home started with baked salsify and parmesan – the perfect snack to enjoy with a negroni – followed by a turkey and bacon pie in a proper ceramic pot that if you take back to the Dean Street restaurant you get a negroni on the house!
Adam Hyman, founder
I wasn’t sure that the pared-back aesthetic and exacting standard of Lyle’s food would work in a meal kit, but I was delighted to be proved wrong. The menu, devised by James Lowe, is a superlative five courses: from a rich, powerful pumpkin soup to quince cakes with the silkiest custard… via crab and barley porridge and amazing Dexter beef with slow-cooked beetroot. Yes, there are a lot of containers but they’re sturdy enough to wash and use again (ie for storing spices) and for a very grown-up date night, it’s hard to beat, although nothing is better than actual Lyle’s itself!
Lisa Markwell, editor
Feeling very lucky to get a last-minute table after the confirmed news of lockdown lifting, we went to Hopper’s Marylebone to celebrate our renewed freedom. There’s a menu glossary for those not so well versed in Sri-Lankan food and a Taste of Hoppers option for the indecisive. Being both of these, we went for latter and with no regrets as it means you get to try almost everything on the menu. The hot butter chilli paneer and devilled squid were excellent and are essential ordering for those who love spice. I had my first ever dosa too and my god it certainly won’t be my last!
Molly Wade, partners & memberships