Farmyard in Norwich delivers the perfect restaurant experience at home
- Credit: Nick Richards
It's still possible to eat in with restaurant standard food at your own dining table as Nick Richards discovered with a Farmyard dine at home meal
While popular Norwich restaurant Farmyard remains closed to dine-in customers for now, they continue to offer their dine at home experience which certainly makes for one of the more interesting takeaways currently available in the city.
At £25 for a three-course meal this may not be your idea of a cheap takeaway to eat in front of the telly. Then again I don't think it's supposed to be.
It's a well-thought out three-course meal that you prepare at home in the style of Hello Fresh or Gousto.
But it's on a local level with East-Anglian sourced ingredients and you can order in advance and collect on a Friday afternoon from their St Benedict's Street restaurant (or from The Dial House in Reepham) just in time for some end of the week fun in the kitchen.
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The menu goes up a week in advance and usually consists of a choice of three starters, three mains, three desserts and three sides. You can choose one of each for £25 so a meal for two would cost £50.
Next Friday's selection includes all these dishes below but in addition has a starter of a pumpkin veloute, a main of fish, a side of seasoned potatoes or salad and a dessert of pistachio cake. There are a couple of extras such as flatbreads (£5), ham and figs (£4) and a cheese board (£10).
I tried salt cod cake, pickled chilli salsa and coriander.
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Despite looking like a heavy fishcake it was actually fairly light with fluffy mash potato and cod chunks and a few capers chucked in inside a golden crumbed coating.
The accompanying salsa was nice and any over saltiness in the fishcake was perfectly toned down with the bright green coriander sauce.
My wife tried the barbecue lamb shoulder with za'atar, sumac onions and aubergine. It was served on a flatbread and was a little like an open kebab.
This may sound like a very sad cultural reference and that's not to downplay it at all for it had a nice smokiness to it, that wasn't at all overpowering.
I decided to be a little braver and swerved the meat and fish choices for the veggie option, gnocchi with asparagus, morels and smoked Lincolnshire poacher.
I've never got on with gnocchi, it's usually been home-made and very pappy but this was a pleasant change.
Yes it was soft but it was rich and luxurious with an ultra cheesy sauce - the good old Lincolnshire poacher packed a powerful punch and went well with those salty morels and crispy asparagus.
My wife had chargrilled bavette and glazed short rib of Swannington beef with asparagus and wild garlic. The meat was tender and cooked medium rare, the rib was so soft it came off the bone and came with a tasty wild garlic dip.
We ordered two sides, beef dripping potato wedges with black garlic aioli which were massive and tasted like roast potatoes, especially with a hint of chopped rosemary on them.
We shared those and the spring greens with a miso mustard dressing, which was a buttery sweat heart cabbage split in two with a delicate charred flavour.
Given that I'd ordered gnocchi, the wedges made for a carb-heavy meal, so perhaps it wasn't the greatest combo!
I had a dark chocolate mousse with candied pecans and brown butter shortbread which was so rich and luxurious I could only eat a third of it.
The mousse was indulgent in the extreme and topped with the pecans and shortbread made a massive dessert. Really nice but too much for me.
My wife had a passionfruit tart with compressed mango and meringue which was equally gargantuan. It wasn't too sweet, it had bursts of passion fruit with an amazing meringue that came in a piping bag and had a soft marshmellow feel about it.
£25 per person seems bang on the money if you wanted to do something special rather than just have a greasy takeaway that leaves you feeling bloated. Preparing it yourself actually makes you feel like you are on Masterchef!
There is a choice of four bottles of wine, starting at £18 a bottle.
Order online at www.farmyardrestaurant.com by Thursday afternoon and collect on Friday.
All dishes are chilled in containers that can be heated and come with instructions.
While Greta Thunberg would burst in to tears at the amount of plastic containers your meal comes in, it's all recyclable. You can collect meals from Dial House in Reepham between 2-4pm on a Friday or from St Benedict's Street between 2pm-6pm.
All the food was good, my fishcake starter was great but the desserts are massive, very indulgent and despite the self-assembly nature, a real winner.
A takeaway with the wow factor. Clearly it's not like eating in a restaurant, but the quality of the food was top class. Emptying the large paper bag out with all the pots and trays labelled clearly was a bit like looking at a new Lego set that just begged to be built.
Nice food, fun to make it and a great all round experience.
Our food reviews are always independent. They are the opinion of the reviewer based on their experience of the venue when they visited.
The establishment is not aware of our visit, is not informed we intend to write a review and bills are paid by the reviewer.
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How you can support your favourite restaurant in the pandemic
Takeaways - While dozens of places have now reopened outdoors, plenty are still closed until May and offering takeaway meals for delivery or collection.
Vouchers - A valuable way to help businesses, you can buy yourself - or a loved one, as a gift - a voucher now to enjoy when it's safe to do so down the line.
Shop local - Make sure to support restaurant and pub suppliers, including beer, cheese and fruit and vegetables, by shopping local.
Social media - It's not an easy time for many people financially. A simple like on Facebook or follow on Instagram shows support for traders, though, and can help them build exposure.
Don't forget them when they reopen - Get those bookings in when they reopen!