June 16, 2015

Gourmet Dining at Home with La Belle Assiette


Do you remember the last time you ate a meal that made you feel so blissful that you couldn't stop smiling for ages afterwards? This happened to me a few weeks back.

I'm not overly familiar with authentic Portuguese food, and with all new food experiences for me, I was keen to learn. This meant using my taste buds of course!

I was invited to dinner by La Belle Assiette*, who were celebrating their 100th Chef to join their team. Chef Miguel Mesquita is the 100th chef and certainly knows how to cook exceptional food. La Belle Assiette offers a private dining experience from the comfort of you own home, so if you fancy hosting a dinner party but not the cooking, La Belle Assiette is the perfect solution. They have just over 100 chefs to choose from, different price ranges and can accommodate different party sizes. 

The chef you choose will take care of everything:
- Bring fresh ingredients
- Cook in your kitchen
- Serve each dish
- Talk about the food they have created with cooking tips
- Clean up before leaving

So the only thing to worry about who you want to invite! This is also a brilliant idea for Hen/Stag parties especially if you have booked a nice cottage and want to enjoy your time there rather than go out for dinner. 

There were 10 of us for dinner, and we started off the evening with some drinks and admiring the pretty table settings!


Chef Miguel's menu, full of mystery. I honestly though I would be getting a banana with lime coulis drizzled all over it haha!


Pea and truffles turned out to be a pea cream with asparagus, and the faintest hint of truffle. I have never ever eaten peas that tasted this good! 

The cream was silky smooth and the peas were so sweet with a delicious savoury hit to it. The truffle was only gently perfumed into the dish which I loved, as I find truffle too overwhelming most of the time. The asparagus's crunch added the perfect contrasting texture to the cream.


Beef roughly chopped and marinaded in raw form topped with a parmesan tuile. The salad was dressed with pomegranate, pine nuts and the beautiful saba. We learnt from Chef Miguel that saba is a reduction of the grapes left over from making wine, and cooked for hours until it turns into a sweet syrup. On it's own, saba is intensely sweet but it paired well with the salty cheese disc and beef. The pops of pomegranate were so satisfying and the play on texture is brilliant.

A side of toasted bread that had been sprayed with olive oil and sprinkles of sea salt were so simple but so good. 

The absolute star of the evening had to be the sensational octopus! Just looking at it's curling glory sends tingles down my spine. 

Never have I eaten octopus served this way before, and I savoured every bite of it. The innards were so tender yet retained a bouncy and incredibly meaty texture. The grilling on the outside meant it was crispy too and the coupling with chorizo was just perfection. The smashed potatoes and crispy kale was a hearty accompaniment to the octopus and chorizo. This was good honest food done exceptionally well. Wow.

Chef Miguel was fantastic with food knowledge and I especially loved learning how to make octopus this tender. The secret is to freeze the octopus for at least 5 days which will help tenderise it. When ready to cook, defrost fully, submerge into a saucepan of water, bring to boil and them simmer for around 40mins. When it's finished cooking, allow the octopus to stay in the pan of water until the water was cooled, and this is how you get super tender octopus!

We were all very full by now but how could we skip on dessert? So, banana and lime was not what I had imagined... It was a deconstructed banana cheesecake with thick lime drops. 

The intensely tart lime drops cut right through the rich and sweet banana cheesecake discs and harmonised the two. The crumble added crunchy buttery goodness and the banana creme ensured the dessert was not too dry with the other 3 elements.

All of our wine pairings with the meal were provided by Your Sommelier who offer private sales of French wines at affordable prices.

With such good food and good company, the evening was filled with laughs, great conversations and very full bellies. Every single guest enjoyed the evening and we all left on a high, a great memory for months to come.

If you fancy trying this service out for yourself, readers of Lucy Loves To Eat can get £40 off the first booking by using the code: 100CHEFS. La Belle Assiette is available in 6 countries, not just the UK!


Will you be trying out a Private Chef for parties?


*I was invited by La Belle Assiette as a guest. All opinions are my own and unbiased in any way. 



6 comments

  1. Wish we could do it all over again!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That would be so fun, we all had such a fun evening! x

      Delete
  2. I love eating squid/octopus, I know that some people think it's scary or strange but I've always grown up with it. I've mostly only had it cooked in a Korean way so I would love to try that massive one in a new way :) Looks delicious!

    Characters & Carry-ons

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think perhaps being Asian, we are definitely used to all sorts of seafood. The Portuguese way of making octopus is so so good!

      Delete
  3. The octopus looks fantastic! I've only been to Lisbon but absolutely loved the food there so I suppose I am a fan of Portuguese food hehe the one thing I would definitely associate with it is bold flavour!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The octopus was so good Connie! I've been to Lisbon before, but we ended up eating at typical tourist traps. Will have to go lisbon again!! =D

      Delete

Leave me a comment and make my day =)

© LUCY LOVES TO EAT
Maira Gall