Restaurant meal kit review: A Spanish feast in the comfort of your own home
The set menu for two from Uno Mas is the perfect restaurant mi casa experience
With the Uno Mas kit the starter is what chefs call an assembly job, beginning with organic beetroot, pickled beetroot and blood plum placed on top of smoked ricotta
The main course: a great lesson in how to serve confit duck
The tortilla: all the ingredients for the dish come in a vacuum-packed bag
If you’re in search of a silver lining, look no further than the now ubiquitous restaurant meal kit, because this really has been one of the breakout greats of 2020. Not only have I seen fit to outsource the food, I’ve also managed to outsource the labour, so preparation duties have been delegated to the 18-year-old in our house, my reasoning being, it will give a good indication of the difficulty level. It was, of course, a very bad indication of my negotiating skills and was met with a look of disdain that said “thanks very much, I’m well able to cook actually”.
Uno to Go it is then: the set menu for two from Uno Mas (€62) with added gildas (€6), and, for a signature bake challenge, I’ve ordered the potato and onion tortilla mix with its own special little tortilla pan (€18).
The only way to improve the experience is by having a glass of Manzanilla to hand, which I don’t, but all is well with the world
So, in case you’re new to this, the rules of engagement when you get a meal kit back home are as follows: set every little ingredient out on some available surface; read the full manual before you start; and arrange your edible Airfix kit in order of menu course.
With the Uno Mas kit, planning is easy. The nibbles and the starter are cold. The nibbles include smoked almonds and salchichon Ibérico bellota, a deeply flavoured, dry-cured sausage made from acorn-fed Iberian pork, and there’s Le Levain bread, which, in my case, the help has warmed up in an oven and served with a beautifully fruity Hojiblanca olive oil.
As an extra nibble, we also have the gildas, which come perfectly formed in a vacuum pack. I’d recommend you include these in your order. A cocktail stick spikes the pickled heat of a guindilla pepper, with a large, briny green olive wrapped in an anchovy. The only way to improve the experience is by having a glass of Manzanilla to hand, which I don’t, but all is well with the world.
Not rocket science
I have advised the chef that she should consult the restaurant’s Instagram to see how everything should be plated. This is well worth doing, as it’s not rocket science – so I tell her, always encouraging – and it just adds to the experience.
The starter is what chefs call an assembly job. Salt-baked organic beetroot, pickled beetroot and blood plum sit on top of smoked ricotta, salad leaves are tossed in the dressing – notes of vinegar, lemon, a touch of sweetness and bit of oil – and strewn on top, and this is finished with a hazelnut pesto which is chunky with nuts and Parmesan and bright with lovage, which adds a splash of neon green to the dish and aromas of celery and parsley.
Then there is the tortilla challenge. All the ingredients for the dish are in a vacuum-packed bag, the instructions are to heat the tortilla pan and cook for three minutes on each side. With one side done, the tortilla is niftily tipped on to a plate, then returned to the pan to cook the other side for a restaurant-quality tortilla. The slices of potato can be clearly defined and a whisper of thyme comes through.
Crisp the skin
The main course sounds like it might be a bit of work, but in fact it is a great lesson in how to serve confit duck. The duck is already cooked, and just needs to be finished in a pan.
The advice is to put it in a heated frying pan, place another pot or pan on top to act as a weight, crisp the skin for four or five minutes and finish in the oven to warm through, glazing it with the Pedro Ximenez glaze. The other elements of this dish – the lentils, celeriac and cabbage – can all be heated in a microwave and plating up is simple.
This is a beautiful, earthy, autumnal dish. The savoury flavours of the morcilla (black pudding) in the lentils work beautifully with the crispy, salty duck and nutty celeriac.
Dessert, a pear and sherry trifle with a gentle kick of ginger, takes no preparation and is a fresh end to this beautiful meal. Now all that is left to be done is the washing up. Help, please.
Dinner for two with nibbles, a bottle of wine and a tortilla kit was €122.
Verdict: 9/10 Portions are generous and it really does replicate the Uno Mas restaurant experience
Difficulty factor Very little cooking is involved and the instructions are excellent
Food provenance Not listed, but careful sourcing from top quality producers is a given
Vegetarian options Vegetarian option is available, with textbook agnolotti
Delivery Click and collect, with delivery in Dublin. Uno Mas, 6 Aungier Street, Sublin 2, unomas.ie