Food review: Michelin stars at your doorstep with a Michel Roux Jr lunch box

Roux at home, ingredients

There is no contest when it comes to naming the most important and influential family in the history of British gastronomy. They are the Roux brothers, pure and simple.

Albert and Michel were the Beatles and the Stones rolled into one. Pierre Koffman, Marco Pierre White, Gordon Ramsay, Heston Blumenthal and others helped shape what was to come, they were Oasis and Blur, The Sex Pistols and The Smiths. Good yes. Incredible, certainly. But not the band that defines – just the band that defines their era.

The Roux brothers, however, were everything and their influence extends to this day. They remain the non-pareil, our own version of gastronomic royalty.

Albert and Michel are the men who brought the great French culinary tradition to these shores. We have them to thank not just for decent restaurants, but for using good ingredients, for greater innovation in our supermarkets – more simply, for just about everything. Without them, we return to a world of tasteless puddings and overboiled vegetables, gray food devoid of love and imagination.

Their two sons – Michel Roux Jr, whose father is the late Albert, and Alain, whose father is the late Michel Roux Snr – carry the flame. While, in the case of Michel Roux Jr, his daughter, the brilliant Emily, also carries on the family tradition.

Michel Roux Jr cooks at Gavroche, an unrivaled, two Michelin-starred London restaurant where classic dishes remain. It was opened in 1967 by Albert and Michel Roux Snr and was the only French restaurant of its type in London at the time. There is also Roux au Landau, which is due to reopen in the spring following the horrors of the pandemic.

But for those who can’t spend a day at Le Gavroche — and, let’s face it, that’s pretty much all of us — there’s the brilliant and perfectly executed at-home dinner kit, Chez Roux Classique. Run by Dishpatch, a fully trusted company behind many of the UK’s best delivery kits, it offers the kind of in-your-own dining experience that would have made Albert and Michel proud.

The menu offers an array of classics, the cuisine is sensational and the end result truly spectacular.

Considerable thought has gone into each course, how it moves, and to deliver a standard restaurant experience at a decent price.

The menu is supposed to serve two, though there’s plenty for a third – or even a fourth – hungry mouth.

With excellent handmade French sourdough and butter, a satisfying French onion soup with bitter leaf salad, a memorable beef bourguignon and an elegant rum baba to finish, it’s a dinner and a half of a chef who remains one of the best, biggest and most popular in the UK.

Thank you, Monsieur Roux Jr The dinner was magnificent.

Ordering was easy, delivery straightforward and at £75 the price more than fair. Assembly was guided by the kind of easy-to-follow, step-by-step and clear instructions that customers have come to expect from Dishpatch.

First, a delicious sourdough bread with a rich and gourmet Isigny butter.

The sourdough was baked for 10 minutes, then rested for four, before being opened and buttered in a very elegant dish. Great. It was as good as one would expect at Le Gavroche.

Delicious sourdough with French butter

The first course was splendid. A French onion soup with thin and crispy sourdough croutons, Comté and cheddar cheese was a hug in a bowl.

There is undeniably something comforting and nutritious about a good French onion soup that comes with a hint of sweetness from onions that almost seem to melt. The cheese was full of flavor, like a cannon atop a castle rampart exploding in the distance. The croutons were more than a little special; thin, clean and with a perfect snap.

French onion soup

There was nothing not to like and it could easily have served as a very luxurious main course.

This was not the case thanks to Michel Roux Jr’s celebratory piece, a sensational Boeuf Bourguignon.

The classic beef cheek stew featured meat so tender that it fell apart under the knife, as the gelatinous residue from the cheek melted away.

The little bacon bits were salty and had a tender, flavorful fat, the carrots were perfectly al dente while the baby onions were deliciously sweet.

Beef bougignon

One beef sauce was truly memorable – we gradually reduced ours until it was sticky and intense, with an almost molasses-like texture and delivering a huge umami kick.

Buttered Anna potatoes were served with it and winter bitter leaves were served in a bowl alongside. The latter added texture, lightness and contrasting flavor while the Roux house dressing completed the dish.

Dessert was a rum baba with whipped cream and caramelized oranges. The baba came with a little tot of rum and was sweet and light. It was a boozy, delicious, and filling pud – and there was enough left to enjoy the next day.

Not all in-home dining boxes are as cleverly thought out or brilliantly executed as Michel Roux Jr.’s.

One of the most prominent cooks in the country, his offering sticks to the comfort food people love to eat. It takes humble meals to the next level with great pre-cooked ingredients, simple heating instructions, and an easy-to-follow assembly guide.

The results are outstanding, with food that would sit comfortably at the level of a Michelin Bib Gourmand or a restaurant with two AA or three AA rosettes.

The box also reminds us of two important things. First, the love the nation has enjoyed with dinners at home is here to stay. They are too good not to take advantage of them once in a while, even if Covid is once again in remission.

The second is the importance of the Roux family. A much-loved national institution, they changed the way we eat and the way we think about food. They’ve introduced the delights to generations – and boy, is it good.

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