After launching their own dine-at-home service, Julia Bryce lifts the lid on it to find out if the proof is in the pudding….
Dine-at-home has been one of many new expressions that hasn’t left my lips since the start of lockdown.
While ordering takeaway food has very much been one of the only things many people have had to look forward to during this pandemic, this new, more luxurious experience of dining in your own home while enjoying fine dining-esque dishes is all the rave, and I for one hope it’s here to stay.
I love eating out, it is a real hobby of mine and I’ve missed experiencing restaurants and hospitality in general, so when I hear or see the words dine-at-home, I’m all ears.
Based in Westhill, Aberdeenshire, Entier is one of Scotland’s biggest independent catering firms, operating divisions which look after office catering, wedding catering, and even offshore catering all over the world. However, when the pandemic first hit and many weddings were cancelled and offices shut, the company had to try and diversity to keep their business going.
Getting my hands on one, I decided to try it out to see what the experience was like.
My box arrived on a Friday morning, which was perfect as my boyfriend and I had planned a nice evening in and were ready to get stuck into cooking once we’d finished work.
There’s four three-course menus to choose from on the website and I had opted for menu one which features lobster thermidor, beef wellington and lemon meringue pie.
On opening the box, the first thing I noticed was everything was individually packaged and there was a set of instructions included, too. One side features a food disclaimer while the other boasts advice on how to access a presentation video by Orry on YouTube, and heating instructions.
The Scottish lobster was up first. All I had to do was place it in the oven in the container for eight minutes and cook at 200°C. I fixed the salad and dressing and plated that, then added the two half lobsters to the plate once cooked.
The thermidor sauce on top of the lobster meat was incredibly creamy and rich, and the lobster was so juicy and soft. It peeled away from the shell beautifully and melted in my mouth.
My boyfriend, who isn’t the biggest seafood fan, also adored this dish and we both polished it up in no time. Even the micro salad with mango and tarragon dressing was gone.
We cleaned our plates away and decided to tackle the main event – the beef wellington. Having not cooked a wellington before I was a little anxious I wouldn’t get the meat the desired colour.
Checking the instructions, we followed them to a T. The wellington was popped in the oven at 200°C for 22 minutes and as that cooked away I got the pots and pans ready for the sides which included creamy pommes Anna, celeriac puree, which came in a piping bag, roast hispi cabbage and a red wine jus.
The wellington also needed to rest for 15 minutes, so it was a game of clock watching. The puree in the bag was placed into a pan with hot water and gently heated, as for the potatoes and cabbage, they were both cooked in a pan with oil until they were golden brown on both sides. All I needed to do was warm the sauce in the pan, so all of this was done as the wellington was resting.
Plating was easier than I thought, and although I tried to channel Orry’s chef flair in constructing the dish, it didn’t look quite as good as his plated piece of art on their website. However I was pleased with it.
The beef was cooked perfectly, a little more pink in the middle and heated through. It was huge and actually fed us the next night too, as we only wanted one thick slice each. The beef was wrapped with a layer of chicken mousse and mushroom duxelle underneath the crisp, golden layer of pasty.
I am a big lover of truffle so the truffle and celeriac puree was right up my street. It was very fragrant so the softer, creamy potatoes matched it well, as did the cabbage. The red wine jus was also extremely delicious, and a tad watery which is where I think my plate art took a turn for the worst.
We took a breather as the main was extremely filling. The lemon meringue pie only needed plating which suited us well as we were starting to feel rather full. I started with the sable biscuit, topped it with the set lemon curd, then added some blackberries on top of it and balanced the meringue on top of that. I then took some of the blackberry puree and spooned it around the biscuit base to finish it off.
Like the two courses before it, dessert was lovely. The lemon curd wasn’t too sour, although the blackberry puree was rather tart, and there was plenty of it to work your way through. The meringue was crunchy on the outside and softer in the middle and the fruit added a rougher texture into the mix with its crunchy seeds which was rather enjoyable.
This deconstructed version of a lemon meringue tart was a towering structure which, when serving, wobbled away manically. Luckily I managed to ensure the meringues on top were pretty secure, although I don’t think my boyfriend would have minded had they toppled. It’s all about what it tastes like over style for him.
For those in the Aberdeen area and are within 40 miles of Entier’s headquarters in Westhill this dine-at-home experience is definitely worth checking out.
The food really was incredible, with attention to detail of each ingredient very apparent with the care taken in packaging the box together.
There was also a complementary helping of homemade fudge included, too, which went down a treat the next day – as did our leftover wellington.
The box is priced at £49.50 per guest which included a £2.50 donation to the charities Entier supports. It is a minimum of two guests per box and I would say this box is worth its price tag due to the quality ingredients and the added touches such as the how to videos etc.
For more menus and information click here.