SLAP-UP meals in fancy restaurants might be off the menu this Valentine’s Day but why not recreate the romance at home?
With restaurants delivering dishes direct to the door, you can still impress your other half on February 14.
Claire Dunwell and husband Ian tried six of the best dine-at-home dinners
For an eye-watering £220, you could tuck into truffle-crusted turbot or Japanese black beef from London’s Connaught Hotel.
If that’s out of your budget, there’s a dine-at-home dinner to suit every pocket, from three-course meals to meaty grazing boxes.
Each package comes with all the ingredients and instructions on how to prepare and cook.
Priced at £75 or less, nationwide delivery AND bottles of plonk thrown in, Claire Dunwell, 42, and husband Ian, 56, sampled a selection and gave each meal a fork rating out of five.
Norma’s boozy box is a good choice if you’re looking for a lighter option
To eat: Focaccia; Sicilian salumi; organic cheeses and caperberries; borettane onions in balsamic vinegar; pickled artichokes and green peppers stuffed with sheep’s cheese; Sicilian marmalade with saffron.
To drink: Bergamot Negroni to share and a bottle of San Marzano “Talo” Salento Malvasia Nera, 2019.
Verdict: Not your traditional Valentine’s Day meal but this boozy box is a good choice if you are looking for a lighter option.
We were squiffy after the delicious pre-dinner cocktails . . . and that was before we opened the wine.
If you want to wow your loved one with something different, this could be the box. Unfortunately, the buffet style didn’t do it for us.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a three-course meal as good as this for less than £50
Starter: Fougasse (leaf-shaped garlic bread) and chicken liver parfait.
Main: Fillet steak with frites, peppercorn sauce and French beans.
Dessert: Chocolate and almond fondant.
Extra: Box of 4 Champagne truffles (2 white champagne and 2 pink Champagne and strawberry).
Verdict: Steak is a favourite, and the generous starter plus sides made this one excellent value for money.
You would be hard pressed to find a restaurant serving a three-course meal like this, all for under fifty quid.
If you want to push the boat out, try CC Supper Club’s kit
Nibbles: Bread, olives, parmesan shortbread hearts.
Starter: (choose one per person) Asparagus velouté, quails egg, shaved fresh truffle; OR smoked salmon, dill-mustard dressing, pickled cucumber, caviar, watercress.
Main: (choose one per person) Flat-iron steak with brandy peppercorn sauce; OR pearl barley Parmesan risotto with sorrel pine nuts and roasted beets. Dauphinoise potatoes and buttered vegetables.
Dessert: (two share) Chocolate mousse with pistachio and raspberry olive oil cake. Baked Camembert, walnut bread, truffle honey.
Extra: White chocolate fudge with cranberry and champagne and peach macaroons.
Verdict: The ultimate fine-dining experience. It’s perfect if you want to push the boat out.
Chateau’s two-course option was ‘out of this world’
Main: Treacle-cured Chateaubriand, colcannon potatoes with pancetta, savoy cabbage and baby leek, and four-cheese macaroni.
Wine: Montresor Urban Park Appassimento, Veneto, Italy.
Verdict: Even the posh packaging had us drooling and the food was incredible. This was our first Chateaubriand and it was out of this world.
We were tucking into macaroni and tiramisu leftovers the following day. This one is guaranteed to get you in the mood for love.
With a bottle of wine included, this one has to get five out of five.
Lima’s dine-at-home experience does not disappoint
Snacks: Peruvian bread with acai berries dip.
Starter: Tuna tartar with avocado mousse, mango and tiger’s milk.
Main: Slow-cooked short ribs with corn puree, aubergines and criolla sauce.
Dessert: Pistachio cheesecake.
Verdict: Lima was the UK’s first Peruvian restaurant to get a Michelin star and its dine-at-home experience does not disappoint.
Every little detail has been considered when it comes to the ingredients, which arrive in a cool box.
If you’re after something a little exotic, this is for you. It certainly heats up a chilly February evening.
Rick Stein’s £45 offering is perfect for fish lovers
Starter: Smoked mackerel pâté with sourdough bread and mixed salad leaves.
Main: Grilled hake piperade with serrano ham, minted potatoes and a lemon and pimenton mayonnaise.
Dessert: Sticky toffee pudding with Cornish clotted cream.
Verdict: A great choice for fish lovers, and at such an affordable price for three courses from one of the country’s best-known chefs, you get a lot for your money.
The portions are generous, and the sticky toffee pudding melted in the mouth.
This one came out top for quality and price.
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