A first-hand review by Patrick Stuart of Vila Vita Parc’s Home & Away service
During the last lockdown, which is almost a year ago now (where did that year go?), my wife and I did not order a single takeaway. We love to cook at home and generally prefer our own food to most of what is available from restaurants offering takeaway and, what’s more, working from home most of the time these days, we have more time.
In this lockdown however, my heart went out to the restaurants that have gone to the effort of staying open for takeaway after having suffered the effects of the drop in tourism last year. So, we have made a point this time around of ordering one takeaway a week, usually on a Friday evening.
And so it was that for our dinner last Friday, we decided to give Vila Vita’s rather posh service a try. Rather than a takeaway as such, this is a home delivery service which is actually more in keeping with the “Gourmet Box” concept that some fine dining restaurants have been promoting very successfully in other countries. In fact, so popular has this concept become that I fully expect those that made a success of it, Vila Vita Parc included, to carry on with this service after lockdown.
The menu can be viewed online, and orders should be placed at least 72 hours before the planned delivery. The selection is quite vast, drawing on the great resources of a hotel that has a truly impressive selection of restaurants and a veritable army of chefs. Our order was delivered right on time to our door by a smartly uniformed member of the hotel staff, attractively packaged in custom-designed cardboard boxes.
Included in our order was the Beef Wellington, which is one of the few dishes that actually needs some cooking after delivery. Most of the main courses and accompanying sauces simply need reheating and are delivered vacuum-sealed in bags with instructions to immerse in gently boiling water for an indicated number of minutes.
As for our Beef Wellington, this had been prepared ready to pop in the oven for 40 minutes, with precise instructions provided. A truffled potato purée and the red wine sauce for the meat were supplied vacuum-packed to heat in water, whilst our vegetables were similarly packaged ready to be reheated with a knob of butter in a pan.
We started with a small selection from the “Asian bites” page of the menu, comprising Japanese chicken gyoza dumplings (delivered still warm) with kimchi mayonnaise, an eight-piece Nigiri Sushi combo and Bao buns stuffed with freshly-picked grab. All were outstanding and enjoyed whilst we waited for the Wellington to emerge from the oven.
Duly rested and carved, the beef was cooked to perfection with the foie gras in the middle just starting to melt into the meat. This is a richly flavoured and quite decadent take on a Beef Wellington; the quality of the pastry was beyond reproach and encased the beef coated in a mushroom pâté and wrapped in ham and cabbage leaves.
This, along with our starters, was more than enough food for the two of us and we were glad not to have ordered dessert. But to make sure we did not miss out on the skills of Vila Vita’s pastry chefs, we opted for a mixed box of seven macaroons to enjoy with our coffee.
With lockdown looking to last quite some time longer as far as restaurants are concerned, I am already thinking about my next order, but this is not something to be enjoyed too regularly as, understandably, it is not cheap.
Next time, as a main course, I plan to have either the roast pork knuckle from the Bavarian corner of the menu, a dish I have often enjoyed at Vila Vita’s Biergarten in Porches, or perhaps the slow-cooked Black Angus beef short rib.
But whatever I order, I can be sure to get as close as realistically possible to a premium dining experience at home without all the work.
Vila Vita Parc’s Home & Away service is available every day of the week with free delivery included in the menu price within a 50km radius of the hotel based on a minimum order of €55.