Jimi Famurewa reviews Artusi Home Delivery: Box brimming with promise offers a burst of freewheeling Britalian

Jimi Famurewa
·2-min read
<p>Stylishly presented: Artusi’s attractively put together box is full of pasta and  neatly labelled sauce pots</p> (Sam Harris)

Stylishly presented: Artusi’s attractively put together box is full of pasta and neatly labelled sauce pots

(Sam Harris)

One defining thing I’ll remember about the age of restaurant meal kits will be the sudden anarchic decadence of our fridge. Where once, I would peer in and see cheese, milk and the customary museum exhibit of open pickle jars, now it is stray pots of Sparrow’s rabbit rillettes, a bottle of Quality Chop House mustard dressing and, oh wow, some Patty & Bun mayonnaise that I’m pretty sure has been in there since Barnard Castle was just a nice market town.

A clear-out is (obviously) long overdue. But I like the way these restaurant-grade comestibles hang around, incongruously nuzzled up beside the Frubes and baked beans, lingering like totems of happy eating memories. And the latest of their number is a pot of anchovy aioli, from a mostly very impressive finish-at-home dinner, ordered from sibling south-east London Italian restaurants Artusi and Marcella. It was a briny, heavily garlicked wonder (and I may have even dipped some cold chips into it the following day).

Things were a bit more mixed to start with. Left on the front doorstep, the “Feast For Two” brought a hefty white box, brimming with neatly labelled pots, printed cooking instructions and a sheaf of the unbinnable ice pack bags that we now apparently collect. It’s good value (£55 for four courses) and attractively put together, but it had been a little while since my last one of these luxe ready meals. And, I think, remembering my last interaction with Marcella — an

Aperol-drenched group birthday dinner in The Before Times — I couldn’t help but feel reassembling dinner components was something of a downer.

Sam Harris
Sam Harris

Burrata — served with a wet mix of dressed winter tomatoes and pickled cucumber — was well-sourced and tart, if lacking in a little dynamism (and accompanying bread). Ox cheek ragu was more like it; a dense, dark, wine-rich swamp of warming comfort, messily tossed in with fresh egg tagliatelle. Then came the main: a beautiful XL middle white pork chop, seared in a furiously hot pan, accessorised with king cabbage, thickened jus, and the saline hit of that high-gloss anchovy aioli.

A carb — some crispy potatoes, maybe — wouldn’t have gone amiss. But Artusi Home Delivery (which also features lasagnes used as a blank canvas for the adventurous likes of spinach, walnuts and golden beetroot) is a cool, uncomplicated burst of freewheeling Britalian, thoughtfully conceived and stylishly presented. Two intensely rich, walnut-sprinkled chocolate mousse puddings — eaten hours later in the sort of elasticated loungewear that is generally frowned upon in actual restaurants — only hammered that feeling home. The new world is not without its benefits.

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