Named after Charles Harrison Townsend, the architect of the Whitechapel Gallery where it is located, Townsend opened its doors on 5 February 2020 with director Nick Gilkinson and head chef Joe Fox (formerly of Launceston Place, HIX Soho, Petersham Nurseries) at the helm. Just five weeks later, the pandemic meant the restaurant had to close and Fox and his team had to rethink the way it could bring its carefully constructed refined British fare to diners. The result is Town-Send, an online shop selling fresh produce, drinks and delicious recipe boxes. The menu is pared back yet creative, highlighting the beauty of simplicity using the finest ingredients.
The Meal Kit
Available for nationwide delivery, the new Town-Send Spring menus will build upon their popular format of finish-at-home set menus and now include vegan and vegetarian options designed and formatted by Joe Fox. We opted for the vegetarian option which included potato dumplings, oyster mushrooms, glazed carrots and pickled pink fir potatoes, almond cream and two slices of baked chocolate cheesecake with crème fraiche and rum-soaked raisins.
How many does it feed?
The ingredients came prepped and ready to heat in individual recyclable containers stored in a large simple, pared-back brown paper bag.
Each course had its own sheet of easy-to-follow instructions and included a full ingredients list and list of tools required. We used two medium sized pans and a baking tray to heat and mix the dishes. The process was easy and quick and there were even plating up tips, which meant it all looked the part, even on our (substandard) crockery.
Kick-starting the meal on a high, we tucked into a generous portion of doughy potato dumplings with creamy grilled oyster mushrooms, which despite being notoriously meaty in texture were tender and moreish. For our main, a smorgasbord of vegetable favourites: pickled pink fir potatoes, smooth glazed carrots and purple sprouting broccoli. Although simple, this dish showcases the best of each vegetable’s natural sweetness and flavour with a complementary boost from the subtle spiced almond cream and the welcome crunch of a scattering of pickled walnuts. The perfect ending came in the form of the mouth-wateringly delicious baked chocolate tart with crème fraiche and rum-soaked raisins – an ideal amount of food for a satisfying Friday night dinner in.
The vegetarian set is £38 for two. Visit the website to see more meal options, including special set menus.
Proof that simple is often the way forward, Townsend’s dishes helped to rekindle our love of simple vegetables and think about new ways of enjoying them. The quality of the ingredients and uncomplicated instructions meant the dishes looked almost too good to eat on the plate, bringing the full restaurant experience to our dining table with an effortless charm.
Order recipe kit, produce, drinks and roast dinners at townsendrestaurant.co.uk