"Necessity is the mother of invention" English proverb
"our need will be the real creator" Plato
In Eltham we are blessed with a fine dining restaurant, which I now see has been there for 23 years. The food is just wonderful, cooked by Stephen Mercer in the kitchen. His wife Ute is one of the best front of house people around. And it's not outrageously expensive - expensive yes, outrageously so no. In fact expensive enough for it to be a real treat and not so expensive that it would have to be a truly significant celebratory event to indulge in. And I suspect my husband wouldn't anyway. But he would indulge in Mercer's - and we now do. This is where we go when we have our almost joint birthdays and also for our anniversary. We have also been known to go there when we have international or interstate visitors to entertain. I have been feeling so sorry in general for all the restaurants and cafés that have had to close, but it was a more personal feeling for Mercer's. We literally only go there on rare special occasions - maybe three times a year, but Ute greets us by name and finds time to chat. Yes, I know she probably has a database, and has carefully looked it all up, but full marks for that too.
So I was quite delighted when I got this email from them. And this is what it says (well some of it) - you probably can't read the text on the image.
"Mercer's Cooks with You" - take away a little bit different. This Friday 27th March and Saturday 28th of March we are offering the following Take-Away Mercer's Style ...
The fun bit is that you are able to cook your dinner with Stephen by simply going to our facebook page looking at our photos and watching our video."
So I went to the Mercer's Facebook page to see what was on offer. This week's menu - I am assuming this will change from week to week - is as follows:
Entrée: Quail and walnut terrine with celeriac remoulade and capsicum relish Main Course: Spice glazed duck breast with braised red cabbage, duck waffles and orange jus Dessert: Chocolate and hazelnut pave with our peach sorbet
Two Courses $38.00 per Person, Pick up from Mercer's Three Courses $45.00 per Person, Pick up from Mercer's $10 delivery in 3095 postcode only
Plus their little amuse bouche, their stunning bread roll and special butter. And they have a limited range of wines to choose from too, although you can only have one bottle of those. But then, I guess almost exclusively these meals will be for just two people. After all you can't invite your friends round can you? I suppose if you had adult children living with you it could be more.
And this is the before and after shots - on the left what you get in your package and on the right, what it will look like when you've finished the preparation. For yes you have to do a tiny bit of preparation - finish the cooking of the duck, warm up a couple of things in the oven and microwave, and plate it.
But the bonus is you get a mini cooking lesson - and also a lesson in plating. How to make it look professional too, so that you can have the full experience. I watched the video and it was pretty clear and informative, even if it was probably just Ute filming it.
So take their advice:
"Turn off your tv, set your table, dress for dinner and enjoy a slice of Mercer's fine dining at home. ..."
For a mere $45 each for a three course + fine dining experience.
There are already 37 comments in response - the email only came yesterday - many of them people planning to take advantage of this.
Such a good idea, and I'm pretty sure it will only be the first of many, many more. Of course if you don't live in or near Eltham, Mercer's little experiment is no good for you. But I believe other fine dining restaurants are looking at various takeaway options. People tend to get creative in tight spots, and this is a once in a lifetime tight spot. Look what came out of WW2 - nuclear power (yes and the bomb, so a bit iffy but still ...), radar, computers, superglue, penicillin, instant coffee, rockets, photocopies, biros and jet planes. Just think what those things did to change the way we live. I'm sure there were many more things too - I just got those from an article I found. So who knows what is just around the corner. All those techies and entrepreneurs holed up at home are working on it. And there's always somebody looking to make money out of a disaster - often it not very admirable ways, but sometimes in completely unexpected and life-changing ways. Let's just hope that some of us help the people who are really suffering in all of this - and I don't mean by being ill.