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Review: LEA from Maison Bleue, Bury St Edmunds: ‘One of the best takeaways we’ve ever had’

20 November, 2020 - 09:16
Maison Bleue have launched a new takeaway brand called LEA - our food reviewer Mark Heath was very impressed!

Maison Bleue have launched a new takeaway brand called LEA - our food reviewer Mark Heath was very impressed!

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With eateries once again closed by lockdown, food reviewer Mark Heath and his wife Liz tried the LEA takeway offering from popular Suffolk restaurant Maison Bleue. Here’s what they made of it...

Mark and Liz tried the LEA takeway offering from Maison Bleue in Bury St Edmunds - here are their starters. Left, smoked salmon and cucumber tzatziki and, right, black tiger prawn and taboulé salad 
Picture: LIZ HEATHMark and Liz tried the LEA takeway offering from Maison Bleue in Bury St Edmunds - here are their starters. Left, smoked salmon and cucumber tzatziki and, right, black tiger prawn and taboulé salad Picture: LIZ HEATH

Food

Ah, Lockdown 2, the worst sequel in the history of sequels. For the hospitality industry, just starting to get back on its feet after the first shutdown, it’s a hammer blow.

But, while many restaraunts and eateries are closed, many more are getting creative with their offerings as a way of staying open and, in many cases, staying afloat.

Step forward the massively popular and hugely respected Maison Bleue in Bury St Edmunds, and its owners Pascal and Karine Canevet, who have created and launched a new takeaway brand – LEA, food to go a la Francaise – during the pandemic.

The starters from LEA - left, smoked salmon and cucumber tzatziki and, right, black tiger prawn and taboulé salad. Picture: LIZ HEATHThe starters from LEA - left, smoked salmon and cucumber tzatziki and, right, black tiger prawn and taboulé salad. Picture: LIZ HEATH

Named after Pascal’s mother Lea, the concept is incredibly simple - five starters, five mains and five desserts, all at the same price, all available as takeaway, all continuing the Maison Bleue tradition of fine French food.

So, what’s it like? Firstly, the process. You can order your meal via the Maison Bleue website whenever you want, and say when you’d like to collect it. As an example, we ordered ours on a Tuesday, and asked to collect it at 4pm the coming Friday.

Then you head to the restaurant - face-masked and having used the hand gel provided at the door – to collect and pay. It really is that simple and, it has to be said, that it’s all rather fun. You get your wares in a lovely little LEA bag, with all the food packed inside high-quality glass jars which you can eat directly from.

Your server at the restaurant will give you heating instructions - ours was just two minutes in the microwave for both mains – and voila, as they say in France.

The main courses from LEA - left, chicken and mushroom pasta and, right, duck confit, potato and red cabbage Picture: LIZ HEATHThe main courses from LEA - left, chicken and mushroom pasta and, right, duck confit, potato and red cabbage Picture: LIZ HEATH

I felt like part of a cool and exclusive little club emerging from Maison Bleue with our treats all packed away in the fancy bag.

Anyway, to the eating. I started with smoked salmon and cucumber tzatziki, which was cracking. Great quality, meaty chunks of salmon with the most superb rich, smoky flavour, offset against the freshness of the cucumber and dill in the tzatziki.

Rather like a fine Islay single malt whisky, the smoky aftertaste from the salmon was a joy which stayed with me for a good few minutes after finishing the dish. Delicious.

Liz went for the black tiger prawn and taboulé salad, which was wonderfully fresh and zingy, with meaty sweetness from the prawns. The whole dish made you feel like you were pumping healthy vitamins and minerals directly into your body.

The desserts from LEA - left, chocolate mousse and salted butter caramel and, right, a tiramisu Picture: LIZ HEATHThe desserts from LEA - left, chocolate mousse and salted butter caramel and, right, a tiramisu Picture: LIZ HEATH

A fantastic start then, with the mains up next. They couldn’t have been easier to prepare - just stick the glass jar in the microwave for two minutes, pull the rubber tab around the seal to pop the lid, grab some cutlery and dig in!

Dig in we certainly did. I loved my chicken and mushroom pasta - a rich creamy sauce with hunks of meat and mushroom throughout, plus the added bonus of a goodly hit of parmesan. Given it had been microwaved, I was worried that perhaps the chicken would dry out or the pasta would wilt, but no such issues. A wonderful, tasty dish.

Liz, meanwhile, was tucking into the confit duck with potato and red cabbage. There was plenty of that classic Frenh duck to enjoy - again, not dried out by the microwaving process - plus welcome crunch, moisture and sweetness from the cabbage.

This is really good eating, made so simple by the takeaway concept. The only issue we had with the mains is that we both could have happily eaten twice as much - some will definitely find the portions small – but in the context of a three-course dinner, and for the price, it’s understandable.

Maison Bleue is one of the best restaraunts in Suffolk, and the UKMaison Bleue is one of the best restaraunts in Suffolk, and the UK

Finally then, to dessert. I’d gone for the classic tiramisu, while Liz chose the chocolate mousse and salted butter caramel.

Continuing the theme of this review, these were cracking too. Both were rich, indulgent and packed with flavour, be it the deep, smooth chocolate mousse, or the coffee-infused goodness of the tiramisu, topped with cream.

After we’d finished our meals - and believe me, the jars were spotless - we both had the sense that we’d eaten incredibly well. Fine dining made simple, at home in Suffolk. Fantastic.

Pascal Canevet, chef patron of Maison Bleue in Bury St Edmunds Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNPascal Canevet, chef patron of Maison Bleue in Bury St Edmunds Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Think green

Those aforementioned glass jars are great, and many will add them to their kitchen tablewares with some degree of excitement.

But, collect 24 and return them to Maison Bleue, and you get a free main course!

Chef patron Pascal and Karine Canevet of Maison Bleue Picture: LUCY TAYLORChef patron Pascal and Karine Canevet of Maison Bleue Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Value

Unbelievable. To get two three course meals of such quality for a total of £39.90 feels a little bit like robbery.

I’d be amazed if you could find similar value elsewhere in Suffolk or beyond.

Highlight

Both our mains were a joy, in a meal packed with it.

When we return - and we definitely will – I suspect we’ll have the same again!

Summary

One of the best takeaways we’ve ever had. Fine dining at home made simple.

Rating: 9/10

Our food reviews are always independent. They are the opinion of the reviewer based on their experience of the venue when they visited. The establishment is not aware of our visit, is not informed we intend to write a review and bills are paid by the reviewer. The choice of places reviewed is also independent and is not based on venues which do or do not advertise in our publications.


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