Big Game: Lionfresh's Super Meats In Minutes
|Article by Supriya Nair for Brown Paper Bag|
Before he answers any of our questions, Bharat Singh, founder of online meat delivery service Lionfresh, says he wants us to try the goods on offer. “Dispatch in 20 minutes,” he assures us, when we give him our address.
Over the last month, Lionfresh has been sending Delhiites string-tied, brown-paper-wrapped cuts of choice in just about the time it takes to order takeout. Starting this week, he’s also taking orders from Gurgaon.
We have to scamper for our own hamper, a bag full of ready-to-cook meats that appears on our doorstep barely half an hour after we’ve said goodbye on the phone. We repay the favour by taking these to the best home chefs in our neighbourhood for feedback, literal and otherwise.
Result: for the last week we’ve been eating restaurant-style meals made by fussy cooks, receiving completely undeserved thanks. A cosy Sunday night dinner at House number 6 is dominated by pork belly, which requires only defrosting and a light sear. The pulled pork takes about fifteen minutes to curry up with barbeque sauce, jalapenos and onions, which we devour in sourdough bread sandwiches.
House number 35 sounds a genteel caution when presented the American-style bacon. “It looks like it’ll be good for flavouring,” she says politely, putting it in her freezer. Since her idea of an informal lunch consists of a terrine whose recipe she’s rescued from 1930s France and probably took a day to make, we know it’s tough to meat her standards.
35’s eyebrows fly up at the sight of the chicken chorizo sausage (which, Bharat emphasises later, is chorizo-spiced chicken), a no-no for any sort of purist. Once they’re fried up and served with French mustard, though, general opinion at the terrine-laden table accepts that they’re fine examples of their type.
For a weeknight dinner party, House number 21 glazes Lionfresh’s generous lamb rack with a mix of honey, salt, red chilly powder, black pepper, herbs Provencal and balsamic vinegar before bunging it into the oven for fifteen minutes at 200 degree celsius. The results receive near-universal acclaim from a party of ten, with compliments to the tenderness of the meat and how beautifully it comes off the bone.
Bharat blushes on being presented with the results of this survey, but isn’t surprised. He imports much of the meat - all of Lionfresh’s pork comes from the UK and Ireland - and has all but eliminated the hazard of time and skills required to prepare them. As house number 6 says, being able to put a succulent pulled pork on the table in 20 minutes instead of eight hours (at least seven given to slow-cooking the meat) is a huge convenience.
His secret sauce is a factory from the future, full of gleaming machines and high-tech freezers in Manesar, from where the meat travels to delivery units closer to your home. The bacon in House number 35’s freezer was smoked with beechwood chips specially imported from Germany, Bharat says. There’s also a Swiss master butcher he’s stolen away from a large company in Australia. “He knows everything there is to know about production techniques, so we’re totally covered on food safety, hygiene and so on.”
The converts are (lamb) racking up as we speak. PCO just inaugurated a Lionfresh menu, and a food consultant has whispered to us that Bharat’s Swiss butcher is a “world top ten.” There are also a bunch of home cooks in BPB’s own neighbourhood who are signing up to be part of the pride. Did we just hear a squeal about some fresh Cumberland sausage, or is that crackling on the line?