So what’s the story? One positive thing to happen in a bleak year for hospitality is the singular emergence of high quality food delivery services. As every good sybarite will know, most top restaurants now boast a DIY at-home kit, but One Fine Dine has perhaps a little more experience than most.
Who’s behind it then? Long established sister company, On Air Dining, provide haute cuisine meals to the private jet industry. So the team is well-versed in preparing Michelin-star style food chilled and ready for the final stages of prep. Chef-owner Daniel Hulme also spent a decade slogging it out in a succession of London restaurants before creating his award-winning menus for the rich and famous.
So is it a bit gimmicky? Absolutely not: all six plates we tried were serious food experiences which, in the end, exceeded our expectations. Sure, you pay for the privilege, but the final prep proved mostly straightforward, and the flavours as intricate as any top meal out in recent memory.
I’m peckish now. Therefore peruse the a la carte online menu, from strong plant-based options to more experimental fish and meat choices. We ordered a three-course lunch for two so we could take our time preparing each course, and sharing each plate. The boxes are a little daunting at first, packed with seemingly endless coloured trays corresponding to each dish. But, clearly marked, it’s not too overwhelming.
Some highlights? The trickiest to plate up was actually our first starter, but the Youtube video (see above) swiftly resolved any concerns about complexity. Parcels of Cromer crab came delicately flavoured with lime zest, chilli, avocado and dill, their smoothness juxtaposed with three textural pieces of roasted seaweed ‘coral’, compressed and sliced daikon, pickled cucumber, radish, and dill. Simpler to assemble was the rich duck and chicken liver parfait (below), with a duck bon bon, crisp discs of flatbread and a rather butch salad of bitter cornichons, shallot, leaves and radish. A tart red currant gel, which comes in a little squeezy tube, and the berries themselves, added sweet acidity.
And mains? Blackened miso cod was an easy reheat: I was worried the white flesh would dry out, but it was moist and opaque, just flaking away at the press of the fork. Underneath I built a tangle of sesame bok choi and pink ginger and, best of all, it was finished with a glistening umami-packed shitake broth. (You can even do a theatrical raised MasterChef-style pour as cute jugs, below, are included.)
The best dish? Undoubtedly the Denham Vale fillet. A huge rounded hunk of beef, rosily rare and butter-soft when carved, was the star attraction on a plate of tender braised smoked cheek, blackened king oyster mushroom, perfect fondant potato, bulbous shallots and a generous whorl of intensely savoury shallot puree. Madeira jus added depth, too.
Is it worth ordering dessert? Yes, and yes again. Our dense dark chocolate sphere more than fitted the bill, and by now this plating-up malarkey seemed a doddle – a swirl of salt caramel here, a sprinkle of chocolate soil there, a strawberry or two. It was also now nearly nightfall, and time for a long walk, before we tucked into the final round, a huge cheese platter: goat’s, cashell blue, vintage cheddar, pearl wen, quince and tomato chutney. Tomorrow, we decided, would be vegan. Ahem.
Overall verdict? It turned a very 2020 lockdown birthday into a brilliantly memorable special occasion: the dishes were a riot of flavours, the plating unexpectedly fun, and a bonus was that any leftover sauces and sides were reused in the days afterwards. Sure, it’s as expensive as a dinner in the West End, but you’re paying for complex processes, not to mention the ingenious ways the food is packaged to make plating as simple as possible. Unlike some posh food deliveries we’re tried, One Fine Dine’s eco credentials are also high, with containers all 100% made from plant materials and recyclable (as well as 95% compostible) and lids and other items all 100% recyclable.
Wine? Yep, head online for a full off-licence; our Fleurie worked a treat with both fish and meat. Or just pop to your local shop: no four or five times restaurant-style mark-ups needed.
Anything else we should know? One Fine Dine covers all areas within the M25 (and other locations upon request). It’s available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, delivered at a preferred time slot up to 12 hours prior to your at-home prep, and everything can be ordered simply via email or phone.
Gasholder ate as guests of One Fine Dine. For more on our food reviews policy head here.