Luxury Fine Dining
2020 has been a challenging year for the hospitality sector, but Northcote ensured their customers could still enjoy restaurant quality creations, writes Gail Bailey. Photography: Kirsten Platt and Allen Markey
Michelin-starred Northcote, a Stafford Collection hotel headed up by Lisa Goodwin-Allen, has long been known for its adventurous menus and high-class cuisine. During these difficult times the team have worked hard to ensure customers could continue to experience fabulous five-star gourmet menus in the comfort of their own home.
October saw the launch of Northcote’s Home Delivery and Click and Collect Gourmet Boxes, and following their success, the deliciously festive Winter Box was introduced. which proved equally popular. The highly sought-after boxes use the finest seasonal ingredients and are lovingly prepared and packaged, complete with simple instructions for diners to easily finish off and enjoy at their own dinner tables.
“Northcote, as with many other businesses in our industry have been forced to close their doors,” says Northcote Managing Director Craig Bancroft. “The hospitality sector has always been resilient, and over the past 36 years, myself and the team have come through some huge challenges, but 2020 has been the biggest challenge so far. There have been tough decisions as you await the next government announcement, but Northcote has, and will, see this through to when we can open the doors fully for all our guests to return. In the meantime, the Gourmet Boxes are a way we can bring a taste of Northcote to your home.”
Lisa and the team worked hard to sort everything logistically and were full steam ahead within weeks. Sustainable packaging that could keep food at the right temperature was sourced, efficient packaging so dishes would not be damaged in transportation was also sourced along with additional fridge space, and recipe instructions were created for diners. Lisa, supported by her senior chefs, spent time developing menus which were inspired by Northcote dishes, but which could be perfectly cooked at home.
“Lisa wanted to make sure she brought a true reflection of Northcote to the Gourmet Boxes, and she is as you would expect, a perfectionist overseeing every box that left Northcote!” adds Craig.
The Gourmet Boxes have been a huge success with the restaurant producing up to 250 a week initially with this rising to 500 leading up to Christmas: “It’s been a real team effort in making this work,” says Craig. “We are in a Covid world and the reality is that most of our staff are furloughed. There is a small team looking after Northcote and managing the Gourmet Box operation. Led by Lisa, along with other members of the Senior Management Team, plus key members of the brigade brought in to assist. It’s all hands on deck for three full days each week as they pack these wonderful boxes – there has been some midnight oil burned for sure!”
Given their success once restrictions are lifted, and Northcote are able to welcome guests back into their hotel and restaurant, they plan to continue with the Northcote Gourmet Boxes.
Some examples of the mouth-watering dishes included in the boxes have been starters such as warm juniper cured salmon, pickled cucumber tartar and butter sauce, sweet white onion soup, Lancashire bomb cheese raviolis and chestnut crumble. With main courses to delve into including Waterford Farm salt aged beef, marrowbone crust, smoked pancetta, mushroom Bourguignon, before ending on a sweet note with the very festive Valrhona chocolate ‘Yule’ log, smoked nuts and salted milk ice.
Christmas Day Feast for Four and New Year’s Eve Celebration Boxes for Two have been hugely popular. In the New Year there will be new Winter Boxes available, with all the details on the website, and the option to sign up and be first to receive all the details.
“I have been absolutely blown away by the dedication of the team here at Northcote,” says Craig. “They really have gone above and beyond in these difficult times – it has been emotional but worth it!”
If you are interested in trying a Home Gourmet Box you are advised to book early!