Savouring the tastes of the sea with a DIY fish hamper delivered to your doorstep

If the lockdown blues haven't kicked in for you yet then I'll admit, you're a stronger person than me.

Monday, 15th March 2021, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 22nd March 2021, 12:06 pm

The Government s 'stay at home' order has been tough for many, especially during the cold winter weather and dark dreary months since Christmas.

What makes it equally as hard is that spring is nearly upon us, which is a time when people are even more eager to get out there and enjoy what the big wide world has to offer.

And it's the simple things like restaurants we are missing the most. Extreme as it sounds, but I have almost forgotten what it's like to sit at a table, peruse a menu and be asked the question 'Would you like any starters?'

Contents of the Aquavit DIY fish hamper.
Contents of the Aquavit DIY fish hamper.

Of course, the restaurants can't wait to open up too, but in the meantime many have been busy ticking over with takeaway services and delivery boxes, which have been a godsend to people who are not only fed up of cooking at home, but just want something that bit more special.

For my wife and I, a DIY food delivery kit from London-based Nordic restaurant Aquavit provided the perfect lockdown pick-me-up and was a rare treat that revitalised two sets of taste buds which had been craving quality food for so long.

There are three sumptuous seasonal menus to choose from - meat, fish or vegetarian - all created by Aquavit London's Head Chef Jorjon Colazo and delivered nationwide.

We opted for the fish hamper, which was not as big as I had expected, but once opened I saw the neatly vacuum-packed ingredients were about quality, not quantity.

The delicious Houghton spring trout with Sandefjord sauce and trout roe. Image: Ludovica Decimo

Following the instructions was easy as all the intricate prep work is done for you, so the only 'DIY' to take on was cooking the fish in the oven and heating up the sauces.

Presenting each dish together as as sharing plates, with the addition of a loaf of crusty bread and salted butter, it transformed the dining room table into a pescatarian banquet.

And that was proven in the taste as we savoured the fishy flavours of gravlax with mustard and dill sauce, lovely soft langoustine bao buns with coleslaw, pickles and seaweed mayonnaise, and tasty Icelandic cod papillote with smoked mussels, Atlantic prawns, hayselden potato and samphire.

The star of the show was the already de-boned Houghton Springs Trout with Sandefjord sauce, which was so deliciously rich and creamy it more than justified the addition of the crusty bread, which was used to mop up every last drop.

Gravlax, mustard and dill sauce. Image: Jodi Hinds

For an extra option there are a selection of wines, beers and soft drinks available to order, but for us a bottle (or two) of our crispest white was the perfect accompaniment for the fish.

The whole experience was a long-awaited treat and Aquavit certainly delivered - no pun intended. Next stop is a visit to their London restaurant when we are finally allowed to travel again. Bring on the summer!

FACT FILE

Price: Meat box (£80), Pescatarian box (£90), Vegetarian box (£60)

Langoustine bao bun with coleslaw, seaweed mayonnaise and pickles. Image: Jodi Hinds

Orders: Sent out each Wednesday to arrive on Thursday and can be made online from www.aquavitrestaurants.com or via Slerp, and must be placed before 11pm on Tuesday for the Thursday delivery

Restaurant: Aquavit London, St James’s Market, 1 Carlton Street, London, SW1Y 4QQ