'Isolation Café'Lotte Brundle

After testing positive for COVID-19 two weeks ago, despite feeling unwell I was determined to keep busy. Being in isolation meant that for 10 days I had no access to the kitchen and so, for sustenance, I had to rely on a Deliveroo-esque service run in its entirety by the only chefs available to me: the other members of my household. In lieu of this I decided, for want of any genuine restaurants or cafes to review, to keep a food-diary and to write a satirical review for one meal every day.

Day 1

Day 1 Lotte Brundle

Dish of the day: Dinner — Salmon, mashed potatoes, vegetables, and apple juice

Today I tested positive for COVID through a lateral flow test; the initial reaction I had was one of disbelief. I did two more lateral flow tests only to have it confirmed twice more. Stage one: denial — how could I, at least a year in, be only testing positive for this virus now? A brief flare of anger followed, and then acceptance. So, to business: the dish I decided to review on Day 1 was dinner: a strong start, given Dad’s often reluctant attitude towards cooking. Despite perhaps needing a bit of salt and pepper, this dish was an instant winner.

Taste: 7/10 Presentation: 6/10 Effort: 6/10

Day 2

Dish of the day: Lunch — Tuna sushi

Days 2 and 3Lotte Brundle

COVID symptoms really started kicking in on Day 2, so in an effort to cheer me up, my boyfriend thoughtfully ordered me some takeout food. When the reliable knock came at the door I was surprised and delighted to find my favourite comfort food waiting for me.

Taste: 10/10 Presentation: 9/10 Effort: 7/10

Day 3

Dish of the day: Lunch — Tomato soup and toast

I felt really wiped out on Day 3 and spent the majority of the day in bed. My throat was really sore, so in true Dad style tomato soup was delivered for lunch. Not the most visually appealing meal of the week, but it got the job done.

Taste: 5/10 Presentation: 3/10 Effort: 2/10

Day 4

Days 4 and 5Lotte Brundle

Dish of the day: Dinner — Ham, egg and chips (and peas)

Day 4 was Dad’s turn again and he served up a British classic for dinner. Again, it wasn’t going to be winning any prizes for presentation but as dinners go when you’re feeling poorly, this one was another classic.

Taste: 10/10 Presentation: 3/10 Effort: 6/10

Day 5

Dish of the day: Lunch — Chicken, noodles, cucumber, spinach, and fruit

To give my dad a day off, my roommate took on the cooking burden for Day 5 and prepared an absolute feast — scoring her 10’s across the board.

Taste: 10/10 Presentation: 10/10 Effort: 10/10

Day 6

Day 6Lotte Brundle

Dish of the day: Dinner — Caramelised pork with rice, cucumber salad and fruit

Today’s dinner was something that took all day to prepare, the smell of it slow cooking wafted tantalisingly up the stairs from the kitchen all day, causing my mouth to water. My roommate used our isolation as an opportunity to cook one of her favourite dishes from home, thit kho — pork belly caramelised in coconut water and spices. Since she’s been living with us, it’s become a strong family favourite and is delicious every time.

Taste: 10/10 Presentation: 10/10 Effort: 10/10

Day 7

Days 7 and 8Lotte Brundle

Dish of the day: Breakfast — Avocado on toast with an egg and a cup of tea

My dad’s girlfriend was responsible for breakfast on Day 5 and kindly made me avocado on toast, my favourite; in my opinion it is the king of all breakfasts.

Taste: 10/10 Presentation: 7/10 Effort: 7/10

Day 8

Dish of the day: Dinner — Roast dinner with gravy

Roast dinner is one of my dad’s staple dishes and on day 8 it certainly didn’t disappoint — it was even delivered with gravy.

Taste: 8/10 Presentation: 8/10 Effort: 9/10

Day 9

Days 9 and 10Lotte Brundle

Dish of the day: Breakfast — Scrambled eggs on toast, a yogurt with honey, fruit, and a cup of tea

My roommate again took on Day 9’s breakfast and this one was a stellar offering; with fruit, yogurt and eggs, I was full up and ready for yet another day of government mandated solitude.

Taste: 9/10 Presentation: 10/10 Effort: 8/10

Day 10

Dish of the day: Dinner — Salmon with potatoes, tomatoes, and peas

The isolation dining experience ended poignantly: with the same meal with which it had begun — proving, once and for all, that my dad only knows how to cook several dishes and had, in 10 days, exhausted them all. Jokes aside, a very tasty offering indeed — thanks Dad!

Taste: 8/10 Presentation: 6/10 Effort: 6/10

“I was full up and ready for yet another day of government mandated solitude”

All in all, I was really lucky to be cooked for by my family every day. Although isolating with COVID wasn’t the time of my life, it certainly proved that everything can always be improved by some good home cooking. Overall ‘Isolation Café’ scored a 10/10 from me, but I just hope that I won’t be returning anytime soon, particularly as my dad has since stated that he is ‘sick and tired of feeding his adult daughter constantly’ because ‘it felt like having a toddler again’.


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