Takeaway at its finest is what’s on offer from LÉA, the brainchild of Pascal and Karine Canevet of award-winning restaurant Maison Bleue. Kevin Hurst takes a bite. . .
It’s 5.40pm on a Friday and I am rushing up Churchgate Street in Bury St Edmunds. . . to collect a takeaway.
Now, the reason I am near on running (which for passers-by must have been a sight to behold) is that this is not your average paper-wrapped, cardboard-boxed weekend treat.
Oh no, this is from the multi-award winning restaurant Maison Bleue and its fast food à la Francaise venture LÉA.
The concept, which owners Pascal and Karine Canevet came up with during the first lockdown, has a three-course offering with a mix of delicious choices, including duck confit, crème caramel and chicken liver parfait.
Each dish is encased in very stylish glass containers that can be heated (if needed) and eaten straight out of.
After reaching the restaurant and collecting my order in a rather lovely orange bag embossed with the logo, I am back outside and excited to get it home.
I was also given a loyalty card – by bringing back the glass dishes (clean and complete with their lids and rubber seals) I could eventually earn myself a free main meal, which I thought was a really good idea and a nice touch.
But now the terms and conditions are out of the way, on to the tasting. . .
From the very first bite I took of my Ham Hock Terrine starter, I could tell this was going to be a great night in.
The shredded salty goodness of the pork coupled with the acidity of the capers was just electric – there had been so much care taken in making this soulful wholesome dish that I felt quite bad in wanting to wolf it all down so quickly, but it was just so good.
In contrast to the density of the meaty terrine our other starter decision showed lightness and freshness – the Black Tiger Prawn and Tabbouleh Salad.
The prawns had that perfectly cooked soft crunch backed up with finely diced peppers in the salad and with a squeeze of the accompanying lime segment on top, it was so refreshing and delicate.
Now, with both of our mains they could have either gone in the microwave or been warmed through in the oven (heating instructions are explained on collection), but either way I can tell you the smells coming out of the kitchen from our Cod Brandade (a French-style cod and garlic pie) and Beef Bourguignon were immense.
With the brandade, that gorgeous almost sweet fragrance of garlic was partnered with the luxurious and decadent tastes of cod combining with the leeks, peas and pomme purée.
The bourguignon aroma smashed through the room like a bull in a china shop and on the fork it was packed full of beefy deliciousness, red wine and bacon.
Truly two wonderful dishes.
All that could be heard at the end of each course was the clanking of spoons or forks against glass where we hoped we could find one last flavoursome morsel.
But unfortunately we had completed two out of three and now it was time for dessert.
These came in the form of one of my personal favourites, Tiramisu, and a Chocolate Mousse with Salted Butter Caramel.
For the latter, a layer of beautifully created caramel across its top hid the most sugary sweet, smooth and near aerated chocolate mousse.
With the Tiramisu, it had everything this classic should have in bundles – a deep coffee flavour all the way down to the soaked sponge layer with hints of chocolate and mascarpone married in.
Our little bag of goodies we brought home had truly given us so much joy and we hoped, like Mary Poppins’ carpet bag, it would never end offering more and more delights. But sadly for us our cutlery hit glass for the final time that night.
What Pascal and Karine have created with LÉA and its fuss-free good food vision is quite simply brilliant and there is even talk of them possibly opening LÉA food boutiques in the future.
Well, after what we had here, sooner rather than later would definitely suit me down to the ground.
Maison Bleue is an intimate fine-dining restaurant serving a modern French menu in Churchgate Street, Bury St Edmunds
Call 01284 760623