Takeaway review, Patricia Sharman & Co: ‘The most perfect picnic lunch’
PUBLISHED: 19:30 11 June 2020 | UPDATED: 14:38 12 June 2020
Our food and drink editor tried out the new picnic service from one of Suffolk’s most trusted wedding and events caterers.
I’m the first one to admit that when it comes to afternoon tea, I’m fussy. And I mean seriously fussy. I hate the acidic bite of mayonnaise in a sandwich, I can’t stand butter and marg in a sarnie either (although I adore salted butter on crusty bread), and I have a raspberry allergy. Pretty much a nightmare customer.
So when I saw what Patricia Sharman & Co had on offer, without a stale slice of bread in sight, I knew it had to become next on my hit list of lockdown food reviews. I also know for a fact there are lots of people like me who can’t stand mayo. This one’s for you.
Based out of The Cookhouse at Suffolk Food Hall on the outskirts of Ipswich at Wherstead, Patricia’s catering company has been entrusted with providing food for hundreds, if not thousands, of weddings, celebrations and corporate events over 30 years. They, along with the rest of the country’s catering firms, will have had to down tools as big bashes were cancelled due to Covid-19. How great, then, that they’ve been able to adapt what they do, albeit on a smaller scale.
Currently they’re offering a picnic for two (£19), three (£27.50) or four (£36) for collection, or local delivery.
I opted to collect our picnic for two, comprising of a sausage roll, quiche, chicken skewer and cake each, as well as a selection of three salads – with several flavour options for each.
It wasn’t especially clear where I had to go (I missed a couple of calls from them which would have set me on the right path), but follow the path around The Cookhouse to the back, shout out a little “hello” and someone will appear with your pre-paid goodies.
In this case two bulging paper bags containing a multitude of heavy paper boxes.
Full disclaimer here- on the way home (us positively drooling from the scent of warm, freshly baked quiche in the boot) we did a pit stop at Mcdonalds to collect a takeaway for our kids (12 and 14) because apparently ALL their friends have had one since it re-opened. That came to £15, just £4 less than the feast my husband and I had picked up! Definitely food for thought.
Here’s what we thought of the takeaway from Casa in Bury St Edmunds
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Unpacking the cornucopia, it was evident a great deal of care had gone into the making and even the presentation of each element. The salads in particular, which they could have just thrown into the boxes, had been neatly displayed.
Once everything was in front of us we honestly couldn’t believe the value. There was easily enough for four. We cut one of the quiches and sausage rolls in half, had a chicken skewer each, divvied out a plateful of salad, and had plenty left for the following day...that’s not including the box of salad I took to a nearby veggie friend.
To start, the sausage roll. Ours flavoured with a smear of onion marmalade under the glossy pastry. It was juicy, crisp, and bursting with the flavour of good quality sausagemeat, flecked with mustard seeds. We were hooked.
But it got better. Oh. My. Days. We selected quiche Lorraine and it was cracking. A short, crumbly cheese pastry taken to the right side of golden, filled to the top with tender, creamy egg and smoky, savoury bacon. We took advantage of being at home, pressing our fingers against our plates to collect every scrap of pastry crumb. Absolutely the best quiche we’ve ever eaten.
To follow this, a tender chicken skewer cooked with citrussy Thai fragrances and covered in a hot (not for the faint hearted) glaze.
Next up were the trio of salads. Each was vibrant and fresh, layered with flavour and balance that only an experienced chef can truly master.
My favourite was a blend of wild rice, parsley, coriander and dill, currants and spiced chickpeas, finished with a scatter of fried onion. It was reminiscent of a Middle Eastern mejadrah and every mouthful exploded my senses – going from spice to sweet, to the mellow hum of olive oil. My only criticism here (and of the entire meal) would be there were possibly too many currants or barberries which overtook a little.
An Asian slaw was bound peppers, spring onions and onion in a moreish sweet and sour dressing with a touch of aromatic sesame oil.
And by the time we tackled the edamame, pea and sprouting broccoli salad with lime and fresh coconut, we’d definitely notched up more than our five a day, so guessed we’d earned our rich, fudgy, icing sugar dusted brownie.
Simply delicious. So much so we’re getting ready to order another selection. I wonder if any other catering companies in Suffolk have taken the same initiative? Make the most of the service this year before large gatherings are allowed again and we lose the opportunity to try the products of businesses like this. With no weddings on our immediate calendar, it’s definitely the closest we’re getting to a posh buffet any time soon!
Go to the Patricia Sharman and Co website. Collection is available Monday to Saturday, with all orders placed by 12noon available from 10am the next day.
Delivery within 10 miles of the kitchen is £5, with orders being delivered between 11am and 3pm the day after ordering.
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