Musings (more like rambling thoughts) of a Cardiff based lawyer obsessed with food and wine
Readers of the blog we know of my love of a Sunday roast, with multiple post in that subject having featured on the blog. In Cardiff, we are blessed on the Sunday lunch front with the likes of Bar 44, Asador 44, Heaney’s and the Heathcock (to name but a few).
Whilst it is something that can be done well at home, if (and it is a big if) you are able to source top quality ingredients and can be arsed, I rather enjoy someone else doing all the hard work.
With the last bank holiday in May, I thought a leisurely Sunday (wasn’t going anywhere – again – and no work on the Monday) was in order and J had put me on to the Sunday lunch offering from Cardiff based Caterers, Clever Chefs.
Can’t say I had ever heard of them, but it seems they are very well regarded and J raved about their “delivered to the door” Sunday lunch. As J and I are generally of like mind, food wise, a thumbs up from her is usually a very good sign. As a result I checked out the website.
At first blush the Sunday lunch offering looked mightily impressive, with a positive cornucopia of stuff
coming with the roast beef centre piece, as well as a nice sounding pud.
This was a very easy process, with a pretty simple to navigate website – once you find the “shop” in the scroll down menu.
I do think there should be a direct link to the online shop on the homepage rather than having to access it (currently) via the drop down menu.
Once you are “in” the shop, however, it is a very simple process to order and pay.
They send you a text with a delivery window, which is quite a wide window of between 10.00 and 13.00.
Fine in these lockdown days, but I think it should be a little more focussed (i.e. in a one hour slot).
We have dogs to walk and walking them (they get one 2 hour walk each day) to get back before 10am (to give us a bit of leeway to be back in good time) would have meant getting up at 7am on a Sunday 😱 and walking them after 13.00 is a non-starter.
As a result the plan was for Mrs. SF to stay in and for me to walk the dogs. As it happens it was delivered as 09.30. Good job we didn’t decide to do the early walk to get back for 10.00.
Good social distancing protocols were observed, with the doorbell rung and the box of goodies left on the doorstep (deliverer having retreated down the path).
It was all nicely packaged up,with clear instruction in terms of heating up.All looked extremely promising and I went out with the dogs in good cheer, with this to look forwarded to later in the day
Taken out of its packaging (it easily slide out) made it all look even better
Certainly looked a good portion size for two for the price tag (£36 in total).
Heating it all up was easy and rather clever with stuff required to be put in the oven all at the same temperature (180°) at intervals of 3 minutes (cauli cheese – 15 mins, roasties and parsnips – 12 mins, beef – 9 mins, Yorkies – 6 mins).
Results were a nicely browned and very cheesy cauli. cheese
and still pinkish beef (personally I would put it in for 6 mins. max rather than the suggested 9 mins.).
The veg, with a block of herb butter, went in the microwave for 3.5 mins
leaving it nicely al dente, bar from the courgettes which went a bit mushy (not a big fan of courgettes generally – bit nothingy, water bags).
A good gravy
worked to bring it all together (could have done with a touch more of it, as I like to swamp my roast with gravy – but that is a minor quibble).
All in all an excellent roast, with good quality meat and a nice mix of accompanying veg. and carbs.
Nice little touches made this meal, such as the honey applied to the parsnips (can’t say I got the promised polenta crust), the breadcrumbs atop the cauli. cheese (and the kale that lay within) the fresh thyme sprigs with the roasties, the rub on the beef (together with the quality of the beef) and the herb butter with the veg.
It is these little touches and attention to details that elevates a roast dinner from a good one to one that is very good indeed. This was a very good dinner
My plate was testimony as to how much I enjoyed this meal.
On to the dessert, in the form of a sticky toffee pudding (20 mins required in the oven – we left this for a bit after the main meal, as it was a big dinner, to let it go down)
Very light sponge and a good salted carmel sauce (as with the gravy a touch more would have been ideal – it seemed to get soaked up in the sponge during the reheat process..
All in all very nice, with my only real quibble being that the supplied clotted cream would not have been my first choice. Too heavy as against this dessert, which I think would have been better served by a standard pouring cream or, even better, a custard. Regardless it was a quality pudding that went down very well.
With a roast beef dinner you need, a full bodied wine (generally a red, as most whites will be swamped, but read on regarding a non red pairing) and I chose a cabernet sauvignon, garnacha and monastrell blend from Bodegas Sierra Salinas in the Alicante DO.
Needed decanting as it threw a lot of sediment and at 17 years old the primary fruit flavours (blackcurrant, blackberry and plum) had taken a back seat to more tertiary notes of singed meat, liquorice and cocoa nibs. Nice wine, which worked well with the beef . As a 2003, it is probably one to drink up.
Whilst still in the drinking fine zone, I am not sure for how much longer it will stay there.
Someone on twitter (can’t remember names, but wine questions always stick in the brain) was asking the other day about pairing white wine and steak/beef. To me that would be an utter no brainer – Oloroso all the way.
Get your best bit of dry aged beef and pair it with a top notch oloroso like this beauty from Bodegas Urium
Curado Bar and Producto del Marco in Cardiff both have a fine section of oloroso (the later stock the above Urium) and both deliver.
Pretty close to the perfect combo – so whoever says you need a red wine with red meat ain’t tried an oloroso with it.
and the pairing of an oloroso with a chuleton (top left in picture below) worked outstandingly well.
I thought the Clever Chefs’ roast dinner offering was excellent in terms of quality, quantity and value for money. Can’t really ask for much more than that can you.
Would I order again? Absolutely – really good. Some may think it a bit warm at present for a roast (having eaten roast suckling lamb in Haro in La Rioja, when it was 41° outside Haro, I don’t see the issue personally), but weather is set to cool down next week anyhow.
I have also been eyeing up some of their other offerings, including their American Feast box (£44.95 – looks very good value)
Address: Unit 13, Pacific Business Park, Cardiff, CF24 5HJ.
Tel: 0345 521 0123