Review Meal Box: A Michelin star meal direct to your door
Food can be twice as good when chefs collaborate
Seafood Suppers at Home is a collaboration between Mickael Viljanen, holder of two Michelin stars, and Niall Sabongi, one of the top fish suppliers for restaurants around the country.
Any views on the word “collaboration”? In a culinary sense that is? While maybe not quite eye-roll inducing, in my book, if it’s followed by the word “curated” all bets are off. Thankfully, 2020 seems to have been a curation-free year but the collaborations are coming in thick and fast.
But this time they’re different. Before “all of this” collaborations involved an intense level of globe-trotting, navel-gazing, world-saving chef manifestos, surprise pop-ups and kitchen swapsies. Now, there seems to be a real purpose to them and they’re bringing a new energy to the whole meal kit thing. It’s hard to keep up. You need to be glued to Instagram to catch the here today, gone tomorrow one-offs.
Andy Noonan is a serial collaborator in the best sort of way. He has just followed his Baste x Lil Portie barbecue box with a Sprezzatura venture, bringing his sultry, smoky meat flavours to their pasta, and there is talk of this partnership continuing beyond its two-week stint.
Temple Garner of Bresson and San Lorenzo's has teamed up with London-based Yann Florio, a finalist in last year’s MasterChef: The Professionals, for a Back to Dine seven-course meal box, a new concept in top-end dining at home.
Mickael Viljanen, head chef at The Greenhouse and holder of two michelin stars, is collaborating with Gráinne O’Keefe of Bujo burger joint to “build” – as they say in the burger business – a decadent, limited-edition burger, which will be available in early December.
Viljanen is also bringing his two-star skills to fish dishes, a collaboration with his mate, Niall Sabongi. It’s serious stuff. Niall is one of the top fish suppliers for restaurants around the country, including his own Klaw restaurant, and letting these two loose in a kitchen to come up with creative ideas is a thing of meal kit dreams. The Seafood Suppers at Home change weekly, with a €35 mid-week option and more elaborate weekend dish for €69. So, not cheap but they feed three to four people. There are optional add-ons which are the same week to week. Skip right to the crab for €25. It is the difference between a crustacean plucked fresh from the sea and the horribly bland stuff that is usually served. I can honestly say, it is the best crab I have eaten in a very long time. Sweet pieces of yielding flesh, exquisitely fresh, are dressed on a bed of lettuce with microplaned discs of radish, long strips of cucumber and a creamy Marie Rose sauce which has a touch of acidity and a nip of heat. It’s as perfect as this starter could possibly be.
Making my weekend even more joyous is a “deluxe fish pie” in a white ceramic dish, enough for four greedy people, which is heated through in the oven before a warm truffle butter is poured over. The earthy, nutty black truffle pieces speckle the buttery vin jaune potatoes, which have been piped to make the dish look even more appealing. As if I need convincing. Beneath the potato, a refined white sauce is studded with chunks of lobster, turbot and sole. Balanced and cooked precisely so that every piece retains its integrity, this is luxurious, yet wonderfully comforting. The green salad, of truly beautiful leaves with rocket and filigrees of magenta and green, is the perfect accompaniment.
While this dish was a one-off, there are already requests to have it featured again, and the crab cocktail is a staple. The upcoming one-offs sound every bit as delicious: up next is a haddock lasagne with pasta from Rosa Madre and later, a roast turbot. With two of the country’s most talented chefs, yes, “collaborating”, you can bet that while the specific dishes may change from week to week, this will remain a tasty and high-quality option for seafood lovers until our restaurants can reopen.
A starter for two and a main course dinner for four, plus delivery, was €102.50.
Difficulty factor: All the hard work has been done, just reheat.
Food provenance: Exquisite, wild Irish fish and crustaceans that are spectacularly fresh.
Vegetarian options: None available.
Delivery: National delivery for €8.50, Wednesday and Friday.
Sustainable Seafood Ireland
Unit 9 Willsborough Business Centre,
Clonshaugh Business & Technology Park,
Dublin, D17 T854 (01) 847 2376
Three to try
Órale Street Food pop-up
Food truck at the Bonobo Market, Smithfield, Dublin 7. Friday and Saturday. Instagram: @orale_street_food
Dishes at this food truck change weekly and have included cochinita pibil (slow-cooked pork shoulder rubbed in achiote paste), masa-fried chicken with pickled daikon and gochujang and a vegetarian option such as carrot tinga, a smoky carrot stew. Tacos range from €12.50 for two to €16.50 for three. Quesadillas are €11.50-€14.50.
Liath to go
Blackrock, Co Dublin. Queue for takeaway, no delivery.Wednesday to Saturday.liathtogo.com
Damien Grey is doing it old school. He’s moved from click and collect to a takeaway service and you’ll see some of Dublin’s top chefs in the socially-distanced queue for his weekly street food specials which have included spicy Korean chicken wings, lamb kebabs, Thai fish soup and barbecued pork, priced at €9-€16.
Montys of Kathmandu
Temple Bar, Dublin. Click and collect, delivery up to 5km radius. Available daily. montys.ie
If you’re missing the famous momos from Montys, the Nepalese steamed dumplings which are filled with chicken or vegetables and served in a tomato and chilli sauce, you can now order them and any of the menu items online, with a 20 per cent discount on all dishes. The discount also applies to the wines.