Review: What we thought of the food at Undisclosed as it takes over popular D'Acqua restaurant
Throughout the long lockdowns and the most challenging year many of us will ever face, takeaway food and drink, whether a coffee on the go or meal delivered to your door, has provided us with a much-needed dose of normality and comfort.
And amidst the great losses of the pandemic, one of the glimmers of positivity is a renewed appreciation for our local businesses, one which looks set to continue as the hospitality sector gets back on its feet.
It’s a level of support which has seen many new businesses open their doors in the city, from a deli and cakery at Mackie’s Corner to a host of new restaurants along the seafront due to open this summer.
Among one of the eagerly-awaited openings will be Undisclosed, the new venue currently transforming the D’Acqua site in John Street after the much-loved restaurant was put up for sale.
Many were sad to say goodbye to D’Acqua which had built up a stellar reputation over the years, but new chef Christopher Spence promises to continue its tradition of top-quality food with his colourful menu.
The former water board building is undergoing renovation works to give it a whole new identity, with a view to opening after May 17 when sit-in dining is permitted. In the meantime, takeaway, which proved hugely popular from D’Acqua in lockdown, is still available and features some D’Acqua classics as well as new Undisclosed dishes.
As a taster of the new venture, I ordered from the menu which offers takeaway food – but not as we know it. This is very much restaurant-quality food for your home.
It’s collection only, from Wednesday to Saturday 5pm to 9pm and Sunday noon until 4pm. We picked up after 6pm and were able to use the free evening street parking nearby as we collected our feast.
We chose two of the new starters, beetroot and apple terrine and chicken and mushroom terrine, both priced £7. I wasn’t sure how well delicate dishes such as this would travel, but the packaging did a sterling job of keeping it looking restaurant-standard as we plated it up at home.
My choice, the beetroot and apple terrine, was a perfect medley of flavours; the earthiness of the beetroot contrasting really well with the tang of the pickled apple and apple gel.
It was a light and refreshing precursor to a much meatier mains - pork belly with compressed apple, apple gel, black pudding bon bons and cider jus (£14).
It was still a good temperature as we plated up and felt like a real treat as I cracked into the bubbly crackling to get to the tender pork and its satisfyingly rich flavour.
It was beautifully done, but was almost outshone by the punchy black pudding bon bons and the sweet and savoury cider jus which I could have knocked back by the spoonful. It came with sides of vegetables too, which again retained their moisture well in transit.
At the other side of the dining table, my bubble’s face was almost blocked by the towering beef short rib in front of them. It’s the most expensive dish on the menu at £20, but you get plenty of meat for your pounds, served with a moreish truffle mash, silverskin onions and a sweet jus.
If you have space for pudding – the beauty of eating at home is that you can wear your stretchy waistband joggers to dinner – there’s some real lip smackers on offer.
I had the cheesecake of the day, on this occasion raspberry (£5.50), which was again beautifully presented. I don’t think food served at my house has ever looked this good, in fact. It was really well executed: a velvety cheesecake with a perfect biscuit base which was sweet and filling, but not sickeningly so.
Our other choice, the rhubarb and ginger tart (£6.50), was a tart that lived up to its name with a tangy blend of flavours and picture perfect contrast of colours.
Again, it was an impressive introduction to Undisclosed and if this is what they can achieve for takeaway treats, it will certainly whet appetites for what they’ll be disclosing for sit-in diners.
*To pre-order for Undisclosed collection Tel: 0191 565 1988.