By the time we reached lockdown part III we had become more accustomed to takeaways as the go-to alternative for those special occasions.
But for those of us who still occasionally hanker after something that cut above – and whose mastery in the kitchen falls seriously short – it’s refreshing to see a rise in the trend of fine dining deliveries.
One such business on hand to step in and salvage my birthday and Valentine’s Day plans (same weekend!) was Bramble Dining, based in Radford Semele.
Chef Richard Bramble, who has over 19 years’ experience of working in professional kitchens and the catering industry, launched the business with his wife Claudia just one year ago.
They offer a bespoke menu, catering for all tastes as well as a personal chef service where you can be waited on in your own home.
But while the business never really had the chance to get going – and we find ourselves still waiting for the COVID restrictions to ease up, Bramble has been innovative in its approach, by offering banquet boxes for home delivery.
My husband and I pre-selected from a Valentine’s menu which arrived at the advised time with every ingredient clearly labelled.
Accompanied by simple-to-follow instructions for final food prep and plating up, it proved even simpler than I had imagined to complete the culinary process to the required standards. Brushing the Beef Wellington with egg and warming it in the oven and heating some jus on the hob. Even I couldn’t come unstuck with that!
The biggest challenge I found – and I’ll never underestimate the artistic skills of a top chef ever again – is the final presentation of the dishes.
With a desire to do the food justice, I thought I’d done a decent job – only to later see the photos Richard sent me of how he plates up the food! My slight failings in the finesse department, happily did not, detract from the overall dining experience.
The stunning flavours and textures in Richard’s menu made this, far from a forgettable lockdown Valentine’s celebration. In fact it is one of the most delicious meals we’ve enjoyed a in a very long time.
Our banquet box (you have to choose the same meals for ease) contained four courses consisting of. . .
Appetiser: Roasted figs wrapped in prosciutto and finished with Warwick honey, crumbled feta cheese and red amaranth micro herb. (Warmed up for just a few minutes in the oven)
Starter: Smoked duck breast with celeriac puree, cubed beetroot, pickled radish and popped broad beans, finished with pea shoots. (Slice and serve cold)
Alternatives were: Roasted scallops with roe velouté and Provencal breadcrumbs finished with dill oil and pea shoots or Roasted beetroot with goat’s curd, apple jelly and roasted walnuts, finished with red wine vinaigrette and red aramanth micro herb.
Main: Classic Beef Wellington with parsnip puree, purple sprouting broccoli and crispy parsnips, finished with red wine jus. (Heat the beef in the oven for 15 minutes, warm the broccoli and parsnip puree in the microwave and heat the jus on the stove.)
Alternatives were: Classic half lobster with garlic herb butter, mussels Provencal, watercress salad and buttered new potatoes finished with a side of light truffle mayonnaise or Tomato consume and popped broad bean risotto with tomato salsa infused with garlic and basil finished with rocket salad.
Dessert: Chilli and chocolate tray bake with fresh raspberries and cardamon Chantilly cream. (Just serve!)
Alternatives were: Lemon drizzle sponge with crème Anglaise finished with pistachio crumb and rose petals or Vanilla-infused baked yoghurt with rhubarb, confit orange, caramelised crushed pecan nuts and rose petals.
Then chocolate truffles to share.
These are just some mouthwatering examples and three more menu options – at varying price points – can be found on their website at: https://brambledining.com/
We are all looking forward to a return to the restaurants, hopefully soon – but in the meantime, Richard’s fine dining brought to our doorstep is doing a great job in filling that void, especially on birthdays and anniversaries.
Even afterwards, Bramble’s services also extend to events and weddings.
And for the summer there are plans to provide BBQ packs too.
So, if you have a special occasion coming up – or you’re a foodie just looking to lift your spirits in lockdown, you won’t go wrong here.
A fine dining experience in almost every sense. – I say ‘almost’ because unfortunately I still had to do the washing up!
But make a booking post-pandemic and the team will even do that for you too! – For a small extra fee, the waiter service is also provided – the promise is they will leave the dining area and kitchen exactly as they had found it – maybe even better!
So if, like me, your love of good food does not match up to your own culinary ambition – or you’re just yearning for a bit of luxury at home – give Bramble a call.
You’ll quickly remember what it is you’ve been missing! A genuinely ‘fine’ dining experience.
- Bramble Dining also last year teamed up with Winchcombe Farm in Upper Tysoe to offer the additional service of a private chef for guests staying in any of their lodges.