Ooh la la! Friday takeaway just got fancy
Desperate to sink your teeth into something french and fancy? Berkshire-based The Funghi Club's at home dining at your service! Check out my review and prepare to salivate.
There were very few positives to lockdown, but the elevation of the humble takeaway from fast food to fine dining was definitely one of them. It enabled us all to step off the hamster wheel of family meals and enjoy a special meal at home – and this culinary concept is going nowhere. Breathes a huge sigh of relief into her roomiest of joggers.
Whether it’s too cold to eat outside or you can’t get a booking, a posh takeaway means no babysitters or taxis required. So that second bottle wine will always be a good idea, and go on, have one for the road. Recently I tried three courses from Hungerford-based The Funghi Club – offering fabulous French food delivered to your door.
All the ingredients are prepped and packed into containers by the very talented chef Laurent – a man who has worked in Michelin star restaurants and cooked for Prime Ministers and celebrities alike. He provides an easy guide to finishing each dish, so all you need to do is open a bottle of wine, dig out your best china, light candles and sashay into serious date night territory.
The only thing I remember from GCSE French is how to tell someone my name and order a ham sandwich and a beer. Sort of useful when you’re on holiday, not so helpful now. The Funghi Club’s menu changes weekly and the dishes are all listed in French. It’s a bit of ooh la la to get you in the mood for your delivery. I like it. No need for Google Translate (*phew), all of the dishes are described in english and tell you if it is gluten free, dairy free, vegan and if the dish is suitable for freezing.
The best bit is the amount of choice: four starters, four mains, Sunday special two-courser, a section dedicated to mushrooms (Laurent’s great passion); fish dishes, puds, sides and a BBQ section. It’ll tempt even the fussiest of eaters.
SCOFF AND QUAFF
The instructions were super clear and even with the wine flowing we managed to keep up… To be honest, almost of of our dishes needed to be heated in the oven, it was just a case of keeping track of the timings to ensure it was all ready at the same time. This was an insight into the sort of military precision cheffing that means every dish is served at its peak of perfection.
First up were the crab gratin and tomato and mozzarella tart. They were popped into the oven to brown and puff up to restaurant perfection. Plating up was below restaurant standard in our house. The tart’s pastry was buttery and light and looked pretty as a picture with the fresh tomatoes and melted cheese. The crab gratin didn’t look that exciting on the plate, but don’t just a crustacean by it’s presentation – the crab was melt in the mouth delicious and had mushroomy surprise at the bottom.
For our mains, we ordered two fish dishes: Filet de flétan à la Monegasque and Filet de loup aux petit pois. Or Halibut in a tomatoey sauce and sea bass with peas, to you and me. We added a couple of sides – mash potato and broccoli with toasted almonds. If you are ever on the fence about broccoli, almonds are the answer. Yum. The timings were a bit tricker, as was the plating. But both were cooked to perfection. I’m not sure what wizardry goes on in Laurent’s kitchen but the ability to part cook food that tastes this good, travels well and tastes this good, with simple instructions in the hands of the gastronomically challenged, is a skill.
The final flourish? A seasonal steamed rhubarb pud with vanilla custard and and Marquise au Chocolat – a French classic that has layers of chocolate ganache and biscuit. The steamed pud was as comforting as cashmere and the chocolate pud surprisingly light, walking that fine line between rich and sickly. A stunning dessert.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
This was a meal a cut above gastropub, and most definitely in fine dining territory, justifying the price. It was beyond our expectations. The combinations of high-end ingredients and clear instructions meant we were able to reproduce something at home that would easily have cost over £50 a head in a restaurant.
GOOD FOR: A no hassle special meals at home, or anyone wanting tasty French food without the faff of getting dressed up to go out, booking taxis or babysitters. It’s a spoily night out at home. Kids with a slightly more sophisticated palate than fish fingers (*ahem, not mine then).
NOT FOR: Vegans will struggle a bit. French food is not known for holding back on the butter and cream.
THE DAMAGE: For the three courses we ate, plus two sides, the bill was a very reasonable £65.45. Delivery is free within a 30-minute drive of the Hungerford kitchenIf you’re outside that timezone, The Funghi Club may still be able to deliver subject to an additional charge.
Orders close Tuesdays at Midday if you are ordering lobster, or Wednesdays at midday. I particularly love that they ask for your ‘Three Word’ location, so even if you live in a hard-to-find area, they’ll still find you.
Have we whetted your appetite? Then click here for our latest features: