Thyme 2 Dine


I’M getting this out there right away: the Yorkshire puddings made in Casa Mackenna are always exemplary; wonderful, effortlessly airy yet still deliciously gooey inside and therefore utterly beyond reproach.

When rival Yorkshires appear on telly, say, in cookery shows, they’re scanned, debated and always dismissed with a snort.

I’m saying this not just because it’s true, but because Mrs Mackenna makes hers using a recipe handed down from her brilliant mother Biddy and while constructive criticism is occasionally tolerated at meal times there are certain lines which if crossed invite nothing more than a swift right hook.

And yet, here on our dining table, tonight, sit Yorkshire puddings that appear bigger, bolder and yet lighter, that challenge with a glowing self-confidence, that have us all rather nervously thinking: uh-oh, could these be even better?

Listen, we’re used to posh restaurant home deliveries by now. Even like most of them. And if they were available without the usual six weeks' advance notice and without having to navigate the internet ordering equivalent of Takeshi’s Castle we would probably have one every week.

But right from the get-go this evening? When Thyme 2 Dine arrived in a bespoke branded, er, cardboard box resplendent in Farrow and Ball colours, opening to reveal teensy waxy bags, lovely packages and touchy-feely tactile containers that may have been created by either a black-belt in origami or Steve Jobs himself, it is clear this is unusually professionally prepared stuff.

An Arbroath Smokie scotch egg is cut. The sections fall apart…look the yolk still runs! It is dipped in lime and coriander, dragged in curry emulsion. Ooh, this is very good.

A mini-pork wellington, an actual hunk of meat in pastry that has been coloured and bubbled at all the right places, is shared out with some scepticism about just how moist this filling can possibly be, I mean, it’s pork. But it’s been cradled in Stornoway Black Pudding, squired by a Calvados, bacon and sage sauce, and it parts effortlessly when faced with the slightest pressure from a knife. It, too, then is good.

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Those, gnocchi? Pan-fried with Kintyre Cheddar, laced with leek, cut with a white wine sauce to deliver rich, cheesy and comforting forkful after forkful. Okay, it’s at the kiss-me-quick end of the market but that’s where the fun sometimes is.

A feuille parcel crisply cracks to deliver not the usual vegetarian blandorama but sweet potato, basil, just the right level of goats' cheese, and a sweetly savoury basil and mint pesto.

At this stage I’m getting up from the table and checking how much this all cost.

There are oven roasted vegetables, an excellent garlic mash that manages to be smooth without being the highly fashionable texture of wallpaper paste and potatoey without feeling artificial.

There’s a cheeseboard included for goodness sake, crackers, chutney – the whole shebang. A loaf. A dark chocolate and black cherry tart with a tangy cherry compote and creme fraiche to finish.

I’ve found the receipt now. It’s £45 for two. Okay, we ordered the odd extra, didn’t expect anything in the least special given the name Thyme 2 Dine being a tad cheesy and they do advertise on Facebook. But £45? Crikey.

Those Yorkshires then? So light they almost float, perfectly coloured, crisp and crunchy on the margins. We taste, we nod, and yet…how have they made them? Injected with air, whisked with a speedboat propellor, some sneaky cheffy trick definitely?

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They are good but…they don’t have the inner gooeyness, that delicious soft bit in the middle, the treat at the end. Phew. We can almost feel the relief. Especially when the rest of the meal has been so up there.

Nonetheless Thyme 2 Dine has delivered a meal that is so professional it could easily, may well be yet, one of those hard-pushed days, proudly passed off by, er, me to visiting friends and relatives as made by myself in this very house.

Yorkshires aside.

Thyme 2 Dine


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Menu: Arbroath Smokie scotch eggs that still ooze yolk, mini pork wellington wrapped in Stornoway pudding, cheeseboards, desserts. Professionally put together and appetising stuff. 4/5

Price: Box for two £45. Excellent value. 5/5

Service: Box delivered to the door, text message pinged over confirming delivery, clear, crisp instructions. Slick. 4/5

Food: Full of flavour, lightly balanced, not a dish is included that doesn’t have something to contribute. Zingy Scotch eggs, succulent pork, even the veg was a cut above. Very god stuff. 8/10