Dispatch and Ottolenghi

I’ve never been a “Take Away” kind of Gal, but during Lockdown I gave it a whirl and I have to say with mixed results!

For Himself, a recent birthday gift was 4 cooking classes complete with a home delivery of all the food stuffs along with a video course. As he loves good Indian food ( not your corner shop type of curry) this seemed the perfect answer. The only problem was, well there were a couple, a) upon ordering the course one had to choose the dates, so these were picked at random by me, and b) fitting it in with our not so busy schedule. I say not so busy, but nonetheless it seems difficult, compounded by the fact that I got carried away and found another “Take Away” that we just had to try !

Yotam Ottolenghi who grew up in Jerusalem, with a German grandmother and an Italian one and learnt to cook by way of London and his partner Sami Tamimi a Palestinian who grew up also in Jerusalem, so a complete melange of Arab, Jewish, German and Italian and a mutual love of food. Both of them arrived in London in 1997 and realised that they both wanted the same thing. Looking at their list of restaurants and takeaways, it was an obvious step to do a Cook It Yourself type of menu. This was ordered via a company called Dispatch, one of many which sprung up during our various Lockdowns.

Since then, they have opened 7 restaurants/deli’s/ takeaway venues.

They are :-

  • Rovi in Mayfair
  • Nopi in Soho
  • Spitlefields, which is their largest, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Islington
  • Belgravia, which is small and mostly a takeaway
  • Notting hill
  • And the last is Marylebone my neighbourhood, which is small but open for breakfast and lunch. Must make a mental note to try it for breakfast.

Our Takeaway menu was for starters copious, it was meant for two, but we actually had it over two nights. It consisted of lamb and Portobello mushrooms, Flatbreads, caramelised onions with green herb dip, Smokey marina feta cheese, burnt aubergine with tomato and tahini, smooshed carrots, coriander and pistachio pesto and pickled onions, Chaat masala, chickpea and polenta chips. Dessert was Muhallabieh, burnt honey orange syrup, with Kataifi and pistachio sugar. Phew that was a lot and even better, everything, was extremely well labelled, or rather numbered so the instructions very easy to follow. This has not always been the case with the Atol Kochar. For example in the first delivery there were no instructions to keep the spices for the following weeks ( not a problem here as I waste not want not). Ottolenghi even provided the skewers and rubber gloves.

So as yet, I have not delved into my various books and recreated this menu, bottom line, it was indeed simple to do but 18 packages of this and that, means that one needs maybe a sous chef as well, one negative , and a little on the greasy side !

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