The kitchen is not my natural habitat. In my lifetime, I've burnt everything from beef patties to chicken nuggets & fish fingers, so I've long learned to put down the pan, stay away from the stove & take my proper place at the dining table instead. But hearing about Urban Stove intrigued me - a new Malaysian-founded delivery service that enables customers to cook their own restaurant-grade dinners at home? Would it work for me - someone whose friends refuse to trust to prepare instant noodles?
An invitation to test out Urban Stove's promise ahead of its formal launch later this month was too tempting to resist, especially since a friend offered her home for the task. The uncooked food is delivered in a box that's sealed with cooling components inside - you can even have it sent to your office in the morning & bring it home after work, as long as you leave it unopened.
Unboxing! All the ingredients for a meal for two are pre-portioned & packaged individually; it turned out that I was meant to cook a steak with gnocchi - much more challenging than my most successful college-era effort of luncheon meat with fries.
It looks like a lot to work with - not only two slabs of grain-fed rib-eye & potato gnocchi, but roasted root veggies, baby spinach, Cafe de Paris butter, fresh thyme & sea salt as well! No panic about where to start though - the box comes with A-to-Z, easy-to-follow instructions to ensure that pretty much anyone can cook. It's no sweat pretending to be an expert chef.
It's steak this time, but Urban Stove is poised to offer a wide range of recipes crafted by a talented & experienced in-house chef - we've heard positive feedback about their pan-fried sea bass with miso sweet mash & passion fruit broth, as well as buttermilk baked chicken with couscous. Ambitiously complex, but Urban Stove does all of the thinking & most of the prep.
Urban Stove saves us the work of buying groceries & spending time marinating meat, chopping vegetables & storing leftovers; heat the pan immediately & reach the finish line within half an hour. Thanks to the instructions, I sidestepped a potential disaster with drying out the steaks. The gnocchi & root veggies both came partially pre-cooked, so they required minimal effort.
After only 20 minutes of cooking - voila, lunch is served. What sorcery is this, indeed? And it not only looks fine, it tastes terrific too; the beef is thick & tender, robustly conveying the flavourful juiciness we want from a steak. The gnocchi is firm but not stodgy, while the vegetables are satisfyingly fresh. It's a well-thought-out, memorable recipe that makes for a complete meal. And yes, it does taste better than some steak dinners we've had at various restaurants, though it costs a fraction of the price.
Urban Stove will begin its pre-launch period for orders this Wednesday, August 12 (before officially launching on August 17). From August 12 onwards, customers can start ordering on www.urbanstove.com ... you can enjoy a 30 percent discount off your order if you use this promotional code: EatDrinkUrbanStove20 - just key in the code when you reach the checkout page for your order, & 30 percent will be deducted off your order before payment. Note: This promotional code is valid only for the first 20 orders that apply this code starting August 12. A box containing SIX meals will cost RM115, which works out reasonably to RM19 for one meal per person (with free delivery anywhere in the Klang Valley). Sign up for Urban Stove's newsletter on its website to stay updated on its plans.
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