by arena, food delivery service, review

| gifted |

This was a new one for me. I’ve looked at the likes of Hello Fresh and Gusto a number of times but the price point has always put me off. So when Arena of By Arena got in touch* to ask if I wanted to trial her Spanish food delivery service I was intrigued…!

A local service to Edinburgh, everything is homemade and the dishes are all traditional, homely Spanish meals.

As Brits, I think we’re probably quite ignorant of Spanish food (or maybe it’s just me) – we know the cliche paella and tapas but the real Spanish food that isn’t just for tourists? That’s what By Arena cooks. Homely, comforting, cosy food.

She kindly updated her website so that egg & dairy free options can easily be searched for – in addition to vegetarian options – so I could easily see what was suitable for my dietary requirements.

When I ordered, the majority of my options were soup-ish dishes and whilst limiting, there were enough dishes to have a different meal each night. The weekly box is just £23.00 for five meals.

Asturian Fabada

Asturian Fabada

Cocido Madrileño

Creamy vegetable soup

Sea bass in salsa verde with king prawns

Lentil soup with chorizo

The stews and soups had beautiful, expert, depth of flavour made with stocks that I could only hope to aspire to myself! Due to the limitations with no eggs or dairy, there were a lot more dishes on the website which looked delicious that I would have chosen had I been able to, such as the Iberian ham croquettes, the Spanish pie or the veal cheeks with tagliatelle.

The dish I was least looking forward to was the vegetable soup, but it was the best vegetable soup I’ve ever eaten. It was so creamy and tasty we couldn’t get enough!

The sea bass dish, which I was most looking forward to came in what was described as a salsa verde on the website but it’s not a salsa verde as I know it, it was a delicious broth with peas.

The cocido madrileño was a chickpea stew with a chicken consomme on the side – you can either pour the consomme over the stew or eat them separately (we did a bit of both!)

For £23 including delivery it’s brilliant value, taking away all the hassle of shopping for ingredients, preparing it and cooking it all. All you simply need to do is choose your dishes, pop them in the online basket and hit order before Wednesday evening for delivery on a Sunday night. You can either take the dish out the night before to thaw in the fridge and microwave for 3-4 minutes or microwave from frozen for 5 minutes.

I was going to do a list of pros and cons but there aren’t many cons that I’ve found. The dishes that I chose were all lovely, homely meals. Some felt like more like a full meal than others. I’d recommend having some nice crusty bread in the house if you order the dishes we did as we needed some fresh sourdough to have with the soups and stews. The sea bass dish perhaps needs a carbohydrate element. With bread, all the dishes were sufficient for two people. Just remember to lift the lid slightly on your boxes before putting in the microwave – we had a seabass explosion one night!!! Perhaps some of the dishes could contain more meat, but others were more than sufficient. New dishes are being added all the time.

The dishes come in reusable and recyclable tupperware boxes like you get from the takeaway – we kept half and recycled half. If you were using the service long term perhaps they could offer to take some of them back and reuse them for orders as it is a lot of plastic to keep using week in week out.

You don’t need to do the weekly box like we did – you can just select which dishes you want and pay accordingly. It would be great for a dinner party taking away all the hassle and stress!

By Arena is now also available on Deliveroo depending on your location in Edinburgh.

Having had a baby myself now, I would always recommend getting your friend who has just had a baby some ready meals or doing some cooking for them – this is PERFECT for that!

They offer a great, local service of tasty homemade food for reasonable prices. What more could you ask for?


* I was gifted a weekly box free of charge for the purposes of a review but all thoughts, opinions and writings are entirely my own as always!

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