If you can’t go to the big smoke, you’ll have Arabica at home!
2020 has been a challenging year, especially for a keen foodie. Restrictions and lockdowns meant restaurant visits were limited or out of the question. I shouldn’t complain too much, as I had my fair share of fabulous food this year. In January and February, I spend seven days in Singapore and travelled through Malaysia for two weeks. Every meal during this time was a feast! Memories of these have kept me going through the pandemic.
Last year’s foodie Christmas present
During the summer, reality kicked in. What was I going to do with our foodie Christmas present from Arabica? I was looking forward to returning again as we have had some fantastic lunches here and in 2015 we joined them for one of their excellent wine dinners pairing Lebanese wine with their delicious food.
The face behind Arabica, James Walters, has been around for quite some time. In 2014 he opened the doors of his first restaurant in Borough Market. Before he sold food and produce from the Levant ( Eastern Mediterranean) at markets and festivals across London and beyond for over 14 years. Last year they opened their second restaurant at Kings Cross in London.
James and his team have travelled a lot and continue to explore the sun-drenched shores of the East Mediterranean to keep them connected with their passion for the culinary traditions of this part of the world. The food development is an ongoing process inspired by ancient comfort dishes and thinking up inventive creations.
Arabica at home
In October, I hatched the plan to book a table at Arabica in November. Hoping everything would be fine. Unfortunately not! We’re back in the second lockdown. I’m not easily defeated, so I contacted them to see if they were doing home delivery. Many of my favourite restaurants, such as L’Enclume, MJP restaurants, Tommy Banks, Vanderlyle and Midsummer house, had to rethink their concept and have taken up home delivery nationwide. I was pleased to learn that Arabica would do the same!
When I checked out their website three weeks ago, they were about to launch their home delivery service. Keen to get their food on my plate, I placed my order soon after I received a call. “ Thank you for your order, but we are not quite ready. We’ll be starting next week.” The service of Arabica was excellent. Keeping in contact to make sure that everything was in order.
Excellent service and food
On Friday 13 November our order was delivered. I was very impressed. Not just with the food! Most of the packaging is recyclable, and I will be using these small containers for storage. Arabica uses Woolcool instead of plastic to keep its products cool. It’s made of 100% felted sheep’s wool which is washed in a natural process, scoured, and then sealed within recyclable industry-grade micro-perforated polyethene wrap and can be recycled for other uses. Mine will be used on my allotment to protect the plants from frost or as a slug repellent.
Our order included the Feast for Beirut, from which 5% of sale proceeds will be donated to Red Cross Lebanon, Lamb & Potato Boregi, various spices and a selection of Turkish delights as a treat for Christmas. The Feast for Beirut is very generous for 2, so the Boregi wasn’t needed. It froze well, so we had it for our Friday night supper the week after.
The food was easy to prepare following the instructions in the booklet. All containers are numbered, and it is best to put them in the right order as, after 2 glasses of Gin & Tonic, you might confuse the number 20 for 2! Tip: cook the rice whilst you are having your mezze, so you don’t have to start cooking again.
The Lamb & Potato Boregi is delicious and cooks whiten 40 minutes in the oven. I drizzled mine with olive oil, so you get a nice crispy top. We liked it so much that we decided to stock up for the festive season!