During the pandemic a lot of things changed, but one of the few unexpected benefits was the widespread adoption of a whole new genre of dining – the takeaway dinner. And by dinner we don’t mean the usual fish supper or pizza; no, we’re talking about Sunday roast with all the trimmings. Whatever trimmings are. Prior to 2020 the very idea of ordering a full roast dinner to be delivered to your door would have caused consternation in most of the United Kingdom – now it’s definitely caught on, and although lockdown is no longer with us, the concept of the Sunday roast delivery is alive and kicking.
Isle Eat That & Esmé’s Sweet Treats is a burger van which previously traded in Trafalgar Street, Newport, and this summer moved to Monkton Village in Ryde. As well as burgers (and sweet treats) they also do a Sunday roast. Word reached us that this was of notable quality, so we went online and ordered lunch. With islandwide delivery included, the food arrived promptly at our doorstep on Sunday lunchtime, neatly packed in a bag and ready to be heated. For the ‘Sharer Roast’ we had chosen pork and chicken. The meat and veg came in one vast foil tray, and alongside were some fresh Yorkshire puddings, a tub of gravy and a tray of cauliflower and broccoli cheese. Some we put in the oven, some in the microwave, and after a short interval we were sitting down to what certainly looked and smelled like two magnificent Sunday lunchtime platefuls.
The meat, of course, is the focus of the meal, and it was splendid. Moist, fresh, and tender, both the pork and chicken met with our approval. The crackling for the pork was a nice touch – light enough to eat without cracking a tooth, but resilient enough to make you feel like you had to earn it. Of the huge range of vegetables, the honey parsnips particularly stood out – the best parsnips we have enjoyed for a long time, possibly ever. So perfectly roasted as to be almost translucent, yet still retaining a crispy edge and bite, the sweet roots had us scrabbling for every fragment.
Sharer roast for two: £29
For once the roast potatoes – excellent and plentiful though they were – were outshone. The cauliflower and broccoli cheese was also a stand-out feature of these meals. There was more than enough for the two of us, and the cheesy sauce mixed audaciously with the rich gravy to soak into the light, fluffy Yorkshires. And the trimmings? All there. Each of us had a little ball of doughy, herby stuffing, and a full-sized pig-in-a-blanket.
You’ll get the idea by now that this lunchtime was a wholesome, warming, hearty and cheery success. Isle Eat That has got the art of the roast dinner perfected. This meal would not have been out of place at a high-end gastropub, and the skill required to get the whole thing to us on time and in such good condition should not be underestimated. So get your orders in. Comfort food is not just for Covid. This is the sort of pleasure that buoyed us up through lockdown, and is still just as much needed today.