Lordy! The landscape of the takeaway has changed enormously since the arrival of COVID-19. We were quite happy with our intermittent curry, the occasional Friday fish and chips and perhaps a cheeky chain burger. But, as the virus rumbles interminably on, so do our stomachs – for something more adventurous.
The team at one of the Island’s top restaurants, the superlative Smoking Lobster, has necessarily re-purposed the venue into a collection kitchen. And, one Saturday night, we masked up and picked up a couple of brown paper bags full of top quality takeaway.
Not only did the meal make the twenty minute journey from Ventnor to Matt’s dining table in Ryde intact, but the main course was also still piping hot (the other two courses were ambient, as the chef intended). As we peeled the two layers of foil from the black dishes, Asian aromas insinuated their way into our nostrils. Ahh! Miso!
It’s possible that the generous platter of sushi was our starter, but we tucked into the hot dish first; succulent roasted pork belly, flavoured with summat called gochujang – a type of chilli paste – plus the more familiar honey. For seasoned meat-dodgers, there was also a cauliflower version which Cat rather fancied the look of. The stir-fried greens were pleasingly nutty; flavoured with sesame oil and dotted with seeds of the same. You could almost imagine that the stringy noodles were threads of pulled pork in the rich and surprisingly meaty-tasting glass noodle spring rolls. Delicious.
We manipulated an astounding twelve pieces of sushi EACH from the container. Anyone familiar with these Japanese delicacies will know that each one is a work of art. From the melt-in-your-mouth scallop nigiri, to the more familiar smoked salmon (plus bonus caviare topping). Our favourite was the pickled cucumber and hoisin maki; plummy sauce and sweet veg gave the tongue a good tingle, and the toasted breadcrumb coating imbued this sushi with the unexpected suggestion of scotch egg! Alongside was a twirl of palate-cleansing pickled greens. An astoundingly good course.
Dessert was one of our favourites; passion fruit and stem ginger cheesecake. Studded with crunchy seeds, this intensely fruity pudding offers an sparky citrus-style burst, well-matched with its smooth creamy layer and a very short-crumb base. It looked beautiful, glowing in the light on the table, and tasted divine.
We can’t enthuse enough about the Smoking Lobster takeaway. It’s been far too long since we had dinner in this stylish seafront restaurant, and it may be a while yet til we return for an eat-in meal. The takeaway was as creative and flavoursome as you might expect from the talent at the SmoLo.
Takeaway currently available Fridays and Saturdays. Find out more at Smoking Lobster.
This is an article, not a review. We would like to thank the Smoking Lobster for inviting us to try their scrumptious takeaway.