Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Fine Dining Takeaway Part 1: Roganic At Home

With further lockdown being implemented territory-wide and we were stuck in work-from-home mode since mid-July, we resorted to cooking at home or takeaway a lot more than we normally do. And facing the adversity, restaurants have upped their game in the quality of takeaway meals. 

One of the more impressive ones we had recently was from the team at Roganic. Their UK-based chef Simon Rogan has started a venture for home delivery a few months ago from his home-base of England’s Lake District (called Simon Rogan at Home) with much acclaim and they tried to replicate the same business model and success in their Hong Kong restaurant by Chef Oli Marlow's team recently. 

The 3-course meal changes every week and was announced through their newsletter or social media channel. Just sign-up on-line to arrange the delivery date/time and pay, and we were good to go. One could also order add-on in addition to the standard menu, be it wines and drinks, or their signature soda bread which was perfect for breakfast the next day. 

The meal came nicely packed and hand-delivered at our door by one of the staff in their front-of-the-house team at the pre-scheduled time. All the components were packed and wrapped in little boxes (my only complaint was some of them are plastic and not exactly the most environmental friendly) and labelled with numbers. With the package was the printed notes on how the food is to be assembled, and the QR code for the video with the same information should one prefer the instructions be more visual. 

Unlike the ordinary food delivery when one could open the box and start eating, the Roganic at Home meal does require some light cooking and assembly. The instruction was very clear and easy to follow, but I did go a little bit elaborate to try resemble a proper restaurant meal as close as I could. And I appreciated the fact that they did think through the dishes taking into account the need to travel and completed the final preparation at home by customers, and adjusted accordingly. (there were so many other restaurants just threw whatever they normally serve into their takeaway menu which often led to horror stories I saw from many friend’s Instagram feed)

We started with the soda bread, which as I mentioned, one of the favorite items on their menu (let’s just say it didn’t go all that well when they attempted to take this off the menu at one point). All it needed was a quick reheat in the oven (180C at 10 minutes) – easy-piecey and with the whipped brown butter that went along with, they were as good as taking fresh out from the restaurant oven. 

Our first course was the beetroot-cured salmon and whipped crème fraiche. The thin slices of salmon was already done and packed in individual portions. All it took was to lay them nicely on a plate (or formed into a nice flower like our friend Deb did with hers), topped with salad greens and diced beetroots and completed with a spoonful of beetroot dressing and crème fraiche. A little under-seasoned in my opinion but all I did to fix it was a gentle drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. 

The pork belly main course did take a little bit more work. The slab of pork belly was cooked (a la sous vide) and chilled but it did require grilling on a pan for the charred surface and finished in the oven to heat through inside (could have done it in microwave I suppose but it won’t taste as nice I reckon). Likewise for the potato terrine. On the side was the onion puree and meat jus, both of which I reheated gently on the stove. And 15 minutes later all were ready to be plated and served. The pork was amazingly tasty, well brined and seasoned and the sauce was excellent also, working well with the sweet and smooth onion puree. I should have added a few more minutes to crisp up the potatoes a little bit more but they were good as is. 

Before dessert, we did add a bonus course with cheeses from our fridge – not that the original 3 courses were not enough for us but just because we wanted to. The Smoked Cheddar went right along with the British theme (though the cheese was made in Australia but you know what I meant). Dessert was apple tart, another signature dish by Chef Oli. Again, just pop it in the pre-heated oven and ready in 10 minutes, serving with the hot toffee sauce sand preserved blackberries. And with the meal, we went with the Muscadet on their menu to start which was the perfect summer table wine. Light-bodied, some citrus and mineral notes with just a touch of acidity. For the pork we went with the Rosso di Montalcino opened the day before. Medium to full-bodied, mainly red fruits, not very complex but very easy-going start to finish. Both decent, everyday type of table wines. 

All at the comfort at our own dining table with pajamas on. We just have to adopt to the new norm. 

(Meal based on a special menu from the restaurant and available for limited time only)

When? July 27 2020
Where? Kitchen at 17A, featuring food from Roganic at Home
Menu Highlights? Pork Belly, Potato Terrine, Onion
2018 Clos La Cariziere Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie
2016 San Filippo Lo Scorno Rosso di Montalcino

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