Bored of cooking? And washing up? Constantly find yourself staring into the depths of your fridge and wanting to cry at the thought of having to create yet another meal from scratch? Yep, we know the feeling.
Well, if you fancy a change of pace, a restaurant meal kit could be just the thing. A step up from self-catering, they are slightly fancier than your usual takeaway (and still a great way to support the hospitality industry).
We checked out seven DIY dinner packs (they deliver nationwide – UK mainland). Here’s what we think…
1. Homeslice Take & Bake (feeds 4), from £17.50 + shipping
The Homeslice Take & Bake offering doesn’t deliver the same colossal 20 inch pizza experience you get in the restaurant, but you do get a 12 inch pie that has all the flavour punch of the original. We tried the Homeslice x Jameson kit (£25) – it comes with two pizzas and four Jameson, Ginger and Limes cocktails.
After a 10-minute blast in the oven, the pizza dough isn’t all that thin and crispy, and doesn’t quite turn golden, but the toppings make you feel forgiving. The crunch of pumpkin seeds and chilli flakes on the mushroom and ricotta pizza is ridiculously good.
2. Le Gavroche At Home (feeds 2), £130 inc. delivery
This kit might be on the pricey side, but it is really quite spectacular. Delivered in lovely, recyclable packaging, the quality truly reflects the 2-star Michelin stars Michel Roux Jnr’s Le Gavroche possesses.
The menu shifts depending on the week, but we had perfectly pink gravlax tarted up with sharp beetroot and horseradish sauce; venison in a rich sauce with creamy mash, cavolo nero and ceps; and for pudding, a smooth but crunchy chocolate concoction with a ruby raspberry compote. And the portion sizes are big – there were leftovers the next day.
3. Dishoom Bacon Naan Roll Kit (feeds 2), £16 + shipping
This kit is so much fun. Dishoom is famed for its bacon naans, and they’re pretty straightforward to master at home – especially as the dough has already been made for you.
You’ll learn how to roll out the naan dough, and get it to puff, bubble and char under the grill, before piling it high with cream cheese, an insanely moreish tomato-chilli jam, and smoked streaky bacon from Ramsay of Carluke. Immensely tasty and you pick up some skills, plus the kit includes the flavourings to make your own Dishoom chai too. A total winner.
4. Stein’s At Home – The lobster menu (feeds 2), £100 + shipping
The amount of plastic tubs involved in this kit is a little alarming, but the produce itself is reassuring. Scallops are grilled with a hazelnut and coriander butter; then you heat up a thermidor sauce with pre-picked lobster meat, before slotting the lot back into the lobster shells, topping them with parmesan and grilling until golden.
The lobster is slightly intimidating at first – definitely check out the accompanying how to YouTube tutorial. The pudding – a slab of dense chocolate pave with Cornish clotted cream on the side – is a little disappointing, but the seafood was always going to be the star.-
5. Pizza Pilgrims Pizza In The Post, from £13.95 + shipping
There are two major issues with take-out pizzas: firstly, you need to live within delivery distance; secondly, they arrive soggy and cold. This kit, containing everything to DIY the Neapolitan discs, presents a solution. Springy and chewy, the dough is a triumph, cooking perfectly in a frying pan. Toppings are a tad disappointing though – especially considering two small margheritas on a Saturday night costs £24. Although most packaging is recyclable, the stack of plastic pots plus courier service does leave a dirty carbon footprint. Is it a frivolous expense all round? Certainly. But as guilty pleasures go, it hits the mark.
6. Patty & Bun DIY Kit (makes 4 burgers), £25 + shipping
A good burger is a thing of beauty, guaranteed to perk up an evening locked down at home. Patty & Bun’s do it yourself kits are super generous and a doddle to throw together, with excellent domed brioche buns.
Even better, they have a vegan option, and do mixed kits – handy if your household is a 50-50 split of carnivores (who’ll enjoy the HG Walter beef) and herbivores.
7. Rosa’s Thai Cafe, Pad Thai (Prawn) For 4, £40
Very much a ‘throw it all in a wok together’ style kit, true Rosa’s Thai fans will appreciate being able to access the brand’s sauces at home, and the prawns are plentiful.
However, if your local Thai takeaway is a long-time favourite, Rosa’s might not be able to entirely compete – and you have to provide your own crushed peanuts.
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