2nd November 2018

As the weather took a frosty turn, and inspired by the Great British Bake off Final, we held our first: THE GREAT ARC SOUP OFF.

Jamie’s Verdict

What a week! Lunch has never been so tasty. I started the week thinking I’d do a meagre leek and potato soup but as bowl after bowl of fancy soup was served up I knew I had to try and up my game.

After unfortunately missing Andrea soup, I came in on Tuesday and was very impressed with Andy’s effort – a beautiful Pea and Mint soup. Just delicious. He even went to the effort of making parmesan crisps…who even knew they were a thing?!

I was then met during the next couple of days by pure Indian culinary delight from Helen and a great vegetable soup from Joanne. I then served up a sweet potato and red lentil soup, I’m not sure how it went down but for me, it was overshadowed by the Pea and Mint soup.

In fact, I’d name Andy’s soup the dish of the week, closely followed by Helen’s Curried Tomato and Lentil. A great effort all round by the A team.

Andy’s Verdict

Not having tasted Jamie’s soup and carefully considering all the efforts this week, it has been a very difficult decision.

Andreas while a very nice soup and extremely tasty was not really my taste.

Joanne’s TRADITIONAL ROUTE was indeed a delight to the stomach with a very nice flavour, a little more seasoning for me.

Helens hot and spicy soup had a nice mixture of texture with flavour very pleasing to the pallet, and the nan bread just worked.

A very close call especially as mine was delicious but Helen gets my overall winners’ badge, it was filling but also have a lovely flavour and texture.

Joanne’s verdict

ARC had a very interesting Lunching this week. I have tried 4 Soups I have never had before. With me being a traditional person I like my traditional home cooked meals, but this week I have been pleasantly surprised!

Andrea. Butternut squash & Red Pepper. Andrea’s Soup was a wonderful twist to my favourite vegetables, Peppers! To be honest I have never had butternut squash before, so this was a great way to taste it for the first time. It had a nice sweet’n’spicy kick to it which warmed me to my toes.

Andy. Pea, Spring onion with Mint & Parmesan Cheese Crisps. When Andy told us this is what he was making it made me very nervous! Pea Soup! I don’t like Peas. Giving Andy the benefit of the doubt I tried it. With my first sip I was shocked! It was nice, so I tried more and dipped in the Parmesan Cheese Crisps and fell in love even more. With subtle hint of the Spring Onion and Mint It was a pretty perfect Pea soup.

Helen. Curry Lentil & Tomato Side of Pitta. This Soup I was looking forward to the most! And boy Helen did not disappoint. After years of smelling her soups every lunch I finally had the pleasure of tasting one. The texture was amazing, and the spicy kick was perfect! Not to hot and not too mild, Just Right, with the tomato after taste complementing perfectly. The pitta bread side was perfect with the spices giving it a very oriental taste and feel overall.

Jamie. Sweet potato red lentil with coriander & lime & Belfast Bap. Sweet potato soup is one I will try to recreate myself. It had the perfect sweetness with a great wee hint of lime just tingling at the back of my throat after every swallow. With a slice or two of the buttered belfast bap was the perfect dipping companion for this soup.

My overall Favourite must be Helen’s. Nothing beats Hot’ n ‘Spicy Tomato Twist for me.

Helen’s verdict

The week started off on a high with Andrea’s spicy butternut squash and pepper soup, a delicious winter warmer soup.

Andy’s Pea, Scallion and mint Soup with Parmesan cracker, was something completely different and had an oriental flavour. Although I am not a fan of cheese, so opted out of the parmesan cracker, it was very impressive.

Joanne went back to Basics with a traditional Irish vegetable soup. Sometimes you just can’t beat an old favourite, but with a secret ingredient. mash potatoes.

The week concluded with Jamie’s Sweet potatoes, coriander and lime soup. It has 5 Stars on BBC Good Food for a reason, and a fresh Belfast Bap buttered…Delicious.

Although a very tight competition for me the winner is Joanne. It would get my Holywood Handshake!