2020欧洲杯网站

How we can dine like kings on Michelin-star produce - at low prices

2020欧洲杯网站Small-scale producers and family businesses that once supplied restaurants are now delivering. Our expert gives her guide to the best

How we can dine like kings
Cut-price caviar, dry-aged prime beef and lobsters are all now available for home dining Credit: Getty Images

Britain’s amateur chefs are keeping themselves busy in isolation. One minute, it’s sourdough, the next it’s a sashimi, homemade XO, a whole turbot à la Brat, or a handsome pie worthy of Calum Franklin. It’s not just that they have time, it’s also that, for the first time, they have the ingredients. 

When the Covid-19 pandemic shut down restaurants last month, it left independent suppliers struggling to place their produce and fearing for their survival. With Michelin star chefs out of action, who would buy their hand-dived scallops, Himlayan salt-aged beef, gooey cheeses and glistening caviar? There followed an industry-wide pivot from supplying top restaurants to home delivery. 

Suddenly produce that chefs always got first dibs – and the best prices – on is available to us at home, often at unheard of prices. The best part is, we can dine like kings knowing that we are supporting small-scale producers, artisans, generations-old family businesses and time-honoured regional food traditions for the future. There are too many suppliers to name individually (check out Cathy St Germans’ for those near you) but here are some of the finest.

Caviar 

King's Imperial caviar

Cut-price caviar? We’re in. For those with the means, there’s never been a better time to buy caviar. Before the pandemic, Laura King of , the largest importer of caviar into the UK and longtime supplier to the likes of Le Gavroche and The Ritz, ordered in some 80kg of Imperial caviar for her Michelin-starred chef clients in Paris. 

When the crisis took hold, she had no choice but to “slash prices to trade prices and under”. She’s now selling that very same caviar at £600/kg down from £1500/kg (i.e. from £30-£75 for a good-sized tin). Other offers include Oscietra (£900/kg, down from £1750/kg) and Siberian sturgeon caviar (£585/kg, down from £1500/kg). What’s been nice, says King, has been selling to new customers who wouldn’t be able to splash out on three different types to compare and contrast. 

2020欧洲杯网站Start your weekend in style with a luxurious brunch of soft-boiled or scrambled eggs with caviar, or make your own blinis for a birthday or anniversary dinner in splendid isolation. 

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British Cheeses 

Neal’s Yard Dairy's Save British Cheese box

sold 3000 of its first ‘Save British Cheese’ boxes within three hours of going on sale last week. But Jason Hinds, sales director at Neal’s Yard Dairy, insists there’s no ‘quick fix’. British artisan cheesemakers, whose sales have fallen around 70 per cent, need ongoing support. 

2020欧洲杯网站All face different challenges: those who produce soft, shorter shelf life cheeses have lost or discounted stock; others have stopped production; and those who make hard cheese are rapidly running out of space in maturing rooms. This isn’t just about Neal’s Yard Dairy – Hinds urges cheese-lovers to seek out their local cheesemaker or specialist cheese shop and support them. 

The latest ‘Save British Cheese’ box – £29.50 for a kilo-plus boxful groaning with cheese – includes Ogleshield, Pitchfork Cheddar and classic Colston Bassett Silton. True believers can even sign up for a subscription (£149 for three months). 

See also: ; ; ; and the

Lobster and oysters 

Lobster from Notting Hill Fish Shop

Chris D’Sylva at the has brought in a team of chefs from the Ledbury to create luxury convenience food with Michelin star swagger. Perhaps their finest service is prepping lobsters (ridiculously good value at £30 to £35 each) so we don’t have to: they’ll blanch, de-shell and pack the critters raw under vacuum sparing us the nightmare scene from Annie Hall. For maximum indolence, order the lobster pasta box (£60, to serve two) complete with lobster, bisque, fresh pasta, lemon and tomatoes. 

Since the Covid-19 crisis, the Notting Hill Fish Shop has morphed from local fishmongers to online one-stop-shop selling everything from its trademark seafood to H.G. Walter meat, Natoora vegetables and Hedone bread. D’Sylva’s brought in many new suppliers, one of whom – Adam Riley of Tynemouth’s famous Riley’s Beach Shack – is sending down 200kg of native lobster and 50kg of creel-caught live langoustines each week. “We now commission boats to go out exclusively for us and commit to the entire catch.” Same-day delivery service throughout London now available. 

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Luxury Fish Boxes 

Fish from Henderson To Home

Shaun Henderson reinvented his business in 48 hours, going from Henderson Seafood, purveyor of sparkling British Isles seafood to St John, the River Café and Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, to doing twice weekly drops of ‘Luxury Fish Boxes’ (£30 to £50) to homes across London. 

2020欧洲杯网站Now’s a great time to hone one’s seafood cookery skills, says Henderson. The wild sea bass season started on April 1st and the quality is “amazing” (£40/kg), while lemon sole, turbot and brill are fattening up nicely. Prices are not much changed: Henderson stresses that though prices may have dropped at the markets, he’s still paying his fishermen the top price they 

deserve. A good news story: business is going so well in fact that Henderson’s ‘clam man’ in Dorset who’d stopped fishing altogether has gone back to work thanks to a 150kg order from Henderson. 

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Aged Beef 

Aged BeefCredit: Getty Images

In a restaurant, you would pay three figures a steak. Now has prime ribs of dry-aged Galician beef imported, as served at Chiltern Firehouse, Beast, Bibendum and Borjanovic’s own Lurra at Txuleta, currently at £35/kg – “the cheapest we’ve ever been in retail”, says founder Nemanja Borjanovic. 

Since the Covid-19 crisis took hold, requests from customers for just “a steak or two” have multiplied and inspired Borjanovic to switch to home delivery across the UK. The intensely flavoured richly marbled beef comes from older animals (at least ten years) and can command anywhere from £45-£100 per kilo. Order via Lurra (lurra.co.uk) and you can make a Spanish feast of it with jars of ‘tortilla mix’ (£10), Basque cheesecake (£6) and bottles from the Lurra cellar (£16-£25). 

2020欧洲杯网站If you want to buy British, choose Txuleta’s retired dairy cow beef (£30/kg), a small-scale way of supporting dairy farmers at a time when milk is literally being thrown down the drain. 

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Rare breed meat 

 Philip Warren ButchersCredit: Tom Barclay

2020欧洲杯网站 is a brilliant initiative by The Cornwall Project’s Matt Chatfield () and Philip Warren Butchers that connects incredible Cornish meat (lamb, mutton, beef, duck and guinea fowl), selected and aged for top restaurants, with new buyers. 

2020欧洲杯网站The likes of the Ledbury, Brat and Casamia may be temporarily shuttered, but that doesn’t mean the produce originally intended for them should go to waste. Currently available, half carcasses of ‘cull yaw’ (mutton), raised on silvopasture on Chatfield’s 450-year-old family farm and dry-aged for six weeks (from £124.58) – a favourite of Ikoyi’s Jeremy Chan. It sells out fast so register now to be first in line for new stock. 

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Fruit and Vegetables 

Natoora delivery

2020欧洲杯网站Consider picture perfect fruit and vegetables an investment not only for your health but for your next envy-inducing Instagram post. You’d be amazed how many likes you can get for a plate of sliced tomatoes. Take your pick from , the purveyors of pristine produce from small farmers across Europe who made an overnight pivot from restaurant to home delivery, signing up 75,000 new users to their app in the process. 

2020欧洲杯网站This month’s highlights include traditionally grown white asparagus from Veneto (£30/kg) which, this time last year, might have gone to the Clove Club, the River Café or Petersham Nurseries. This year, it’s going to, well, you. 

Serve simply steamed with ham, hollandaise or brown butter, or roasted with olive oil. Also in peak season are loquats (£11.18/kg), a floral-tasting stone fruit grown for Natoora in Alicante, which would usually end up at restaurants such as Nopi or Rochelle Canteen. 

Eat raw or bake in a galette with frangipane (a lockdown obsession). Later in the month, you can look forward to bull’s heart tomatoes from the slopes of Mount Vesuvius and sweet melons from Mantua. 

See also: ; ; and for produce from Fern Verrow in Herefordshire. 

Ten more suppliers to try now 

  • Milk, cream, eggs and high end basics from  
  • Meat from 
  • Stoneground flour from heritage grains from 
  • Pulses, beans and grains from 
  • Fruit and vegetable boxes from 
  • Rare breed pork and beef from 
  • Free-range chicken from 
  • Chinese and Asian speciality ingredients from 
  • Fine-dining hampers from 

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