If your favourite restaurant is closed or you’re self-isolating at home, have no fear. The recent shift in how restaurants conduct business has led to some inventive new ways to get top-quality dishes at home. We put restaurant recipe kits to the test to discover how easy it was to recreate popular meals.
Restaurant recipe kits come with everything you need to cook a professional quality meal at home. The amount of prep work and cooking is different for every kit. Some of the ones we tested simply required assembling while others were gourmet, four-course meals. We tried a range of dishes from pizza, pasta, curries and burgers. We also tried out some sweet dessert kits such as doughnuts and bake-it-yourself cookies.
A word to the wise – when deciding on the right kit for you, consider the price, portions, dietary requirements and cooking skills required for the right fit. We’ve included vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options for specialty diets so there’s something for everyone. Prices may add up for large families but they’re worth the money for an occasional treat.
The main pitfall our reviewers ran into was the environmental impact. Many of these boxes contain non-recyclable packaging which should be taken into consideration when ordering. These kits are available for nationwide delivery.
For more, visit our reviews section and find over 200 practical buyer’s guides offering unbiased advice on what foodie products and services are worth spending money on. Or, see our 春秋彩票:fakeaway recipes for more restaurant-inspired classics.
Hoppers Kalupol chicken meal kit
A flavour-packed, three-course Sri-Lankan feast, without the queue!
There’s no questioning the popularity of London-based Sri Lankan restaurant Hoppers – its original branch in Soho has had consistent queues out of the door since opening in 2015. Now, with its new meal kits, anyone can experience the restaurants’ high-quality Sri Lankan and South Indian-inspired sharing-style dishes from home.
The Kalupol chicken meal kit serves three-four people, or two plus leftovers. It comes with banana chips (to snack on while reading the instructions – a nice touch), followed by one of the restaurant’s most popular starters: deep-fried mutton rolls with a spicy dip. The real showstopper is the chicken and its accoutrements though – already spatchcocked and spice-rubbed, it just needs to be cooked following the simple instructions provided. The result? Perfectly tender meat packed with flavour. Add to that an aromatic curry sauce, a sweet onion and a hot chilli sambol, a fresh carrot & coriander sambol and enough dough to make 4-5 pol rotis and you’ve got yourself an extra-special feast. There’s even dessert!
The impressive feast can be on the table in about an hour and 15 minutes, but we recommend sharing the workload with a partner or housemate. Anna Lawson
Padella pasta kit
Silky pasta for two with a choice of four rich sauces
From just before noon every week day, there’s a queue round the block from Padella’s HQ at Borough market, such is the quality of the pasta. This is one of the best-value kits and easiest to put together, though it’s worth reading the instructions even if you think you know how to boil pasta and heat up a sauce; one clever tip will ensure your meal is every bit as good as served at the restaurant. We tried the earthy, deeply-satisfying pappardelle with eight-hour Dexter beef shin ragu and the lighter, mildly spicy fettuccine with mascarpone, lemon and cured nduja made by London charcuterie experts Cobble Lane (neighbours of Padella’s sister restaurant Trullo), £14. There is one veggie option, tagliarini, with slow-cooked Sardinian tomato sauce, £14, plus pici (like spaghetti, but fatter) with sausage, fennel, chilli and peppercorn ragu, £15. Butter and parmesan are included. Pure comfort food. Christine Hayes
Rosa’s Thai DIY pad Thai kit
Generous portions of authentic pad Thai ready in less than 30 mins
To really nail an authentic Pad Thai at home, you need a couple of specialist ingredients that can be tricky to get hold of, like palm sugar, tamarind and dried pickled turnips (the latter not essential but a popular addition which adds extra oomph). The new meal kit from Rosa’s Thai contains everything you need to make four extremely generous portions of authentic pad Thai, including noodles, beansprouts, dried turnips, lime, spring onions, Rosa’s pad Thai sauce (a mix of tamarind, vegetable oil, palm sugar, fish sauce and dark soy sauce), as well as large, juicy king prawns or tofu. All you need at home is a large wok or saucepan and some oil for frying, plus eggs, chilli powder and peanuts are recommended as optional extras (we think they’re integral to the finished dish).
The instructions are extremely simple to follow but you can also scan the QR code provided to watch an online how-to video by Rosa’s founder Saiphin Moore. Dinner is on the table in around 25 minutes, and with only one pot to wash up. Anna Lawson
The Wild Rabbit at Home
Three courses of seasonal dishes featuring best of British produce
As you’d expect from the Cotswolds restaurant with rooms in the chic Daylesford group, The Wild Rabbit kit is beautifully presented. Inside the sustainable packaging is a pristine menu and illustrated instructions, so you can plate up perfectly. Sauces come in neat piping bags for a cheffy flourish – Loch Douart salmon can be dressed with dots of both beetroot purée and wasabi and beetroot discs. Other dishes are on the hearty and rustic side. We tried the cheddar and onion tartlet; supplied as separate components and easy to assemble (warm up the onion mix and cheese sauce separately before filling the pastry case and adding walnut purée, candied walnuts, chervil and chives). Wootton Estate venison wellington is a cute individual portion (£15 supplement), as is braised lamb shoulder – both easy to finish in the oven and served with carrots, cavolo nero and a luscious potato dauphinoise. Pudding is a generous prune and almond tartlet with crème anglaise. Mix and match courses to your taste. The kit includes focaccia and a bottle of red, white or rosé from Daylesford’s Provencal estate Léoube. Christine Hayes
10 Greek Street
Two courses of hearty goodness
This lively Soho restaurant is known for its imaginative wine list, seasonal cooking and daily changing menus. As such, the kits are different each month, too. In winter, expect hearty comfort food such as lamb shanks, borlotti beans and cavolo nero. Our kit featured two rustic courses: slow-cooked short rib in glossy rosemary and red wine sauce, with garlicky kale, confit potatoes, carrots and parsnips and a punchy horseradish sauce. Cooking is minimal because chef Cam Emrali has done all the hard work for you; all can be briefly heated on your stove top. Poached quince, polenta and almond cake with crème fraîche is an equally satisfying pudding. The stuff of Sunday lunch heaven. Christine Hayes
Super Ya Ramen
Slurpy ramen noodles and sides
The ultimate comfort food, this box revolves around two-to-three bowls of deep-flavoured broth, with many elements in the kit to customise it exactly to your taste. Sold on Dishpatch, the menu changes each month. We tested a vegetarian version easily assembled within 30 minutes. While the tomato-based broth simmered, we roasted pre-cooked celeriac slices, warmed the fudgy egg in a mug of boiling water and decanted the sides (pickled cucumbers, pak choi with ponzu dressing, spiced turnips and buttered chilli corn). While the hand-cut noodles cooked (1 minute in boiling water) we mixed a spoonful of miso and chilli paste into the soup. Assembly is fun: start with drained noodles, top with celeriac and the boiled egg, pour over the broth then sprinkle on fried garlic, spring onions and any of the other ingredients. A warming, messy, slurpy treat. Christine Hayes
Antona at Home
Mix and match courses for a true restaurant experience
This box allows you to choose individual dishes, as well as set menus, and can provide a meal for one. Restaurateur Andreas Antona offers favourites from his Michelin-starred establishments, including Simpsons in Edgbaston, The Cross at Kenilworth and Stu Deeley. Every element of each dish has clear instructions on cooking or reheating and plating up. If you don’t have a sweet tooth, you might go for two starters, such as delicious salmon rillettes (£7.50) with wasabi buttermilk sauce, a doodle to assemble with almonds and cucumber balls, plus little drops of chive oil for extra zing. The mushroom gyoza (£7.50) in shitaki dashi with seaweed and tofu was generously sized and umami-packed. Ox cheek (£25) was the perfect winter dish, served with celeriac two ways, lifted by chicory, blue cheese and walnuts. This is cheffy food with all the hard work done for you. Christine Hayes
& Home box – James Knappett
A seven course tasting menu every home cook can make
Until recently, Kitchen Table was a unique ‘hidden’ restaurant at the back of hotdog-and-champagne bar Bubbledogs, with room for just 12 diners to sit around the kitchen counter and interact with chef James and his brigade. The at home box is filled with produce from the restaurant’s top-drawer suppliers. It’s a doddle to assemble, but has some cheffy flourishes for a special occasion. Kick off with warmed milk rolls with truffled crème fraîche. Then comes a quick celeriac salad topped with pear, pickled rains and hazelnut dressing. Flash scallops – served in their shells – heated under the grill until the XO butter starts foaming. There are options for the main course; we tried Cornish brill with leeks en papillote and braised fennel, ready after 8 minutes in the oven – careful plating tips for the wild and black garlic sauces provided transform this simple fish. The next two courses had a sweet/savoury element: neat rounds of goat’s cheese with fig and caramel sauce; warm parsnip and honey cake with apple compote and a cold chamomile custard. Serve canelé, the small French baked-custard infused with rum, alongside coffee. The final touch is a square of chocolate and Tahitian vanilla fudge. Instructions are clear and the smart box itself is reusable. One for a big birthday or anniversary treat. Christine Hayes
Dishoom – bacon naan roll kit
Chai and a banging bacon naan roll for breakfast or brunch
This kit (for two) includes a very generous amount of smoked streaky bacon (matured and smoked over applewood and beechwood), three ready-proved naan doughballs (just in case one goes wrong), tomato-chilli jam, soft cheese and fresh coriander. We also added fried eggs to ours, because why not? You currently order for same day delivery, full postal service is coming soon, and the kits will hold in the fridge overnight. Cooking instructions are easy to follow, and there’s a video on the website if you need help. You also get a delicious chai mix of loose-leaf Darjeeling tea, spices and fresh ginger slices so you can make ‘Chef Naved’s much-loved masala chai’ – just add your own milk. This is an easy kit to use, the instructions are pretty failsafe and it’s a joy seeing your naans puff up under the grill. You feel like you’ve learned a skill when you sit down to eat. The whole meal makes a cracking start to the day – in just 20 minutes. Lulu Grimes
Sabor en Casa – Asador menu box
A Spanish feast on the table in 20 minutes
Nieves Barragan and Jose Etura’s London restaurant comprises a tapas counter just for walk-ins and El Asador, the first-floor space where Castilian and Galician specialties are cooked in the asador (oven). The at-home kit contains everything you need for a good time, bar the cava or vermouth served on tap at Sabor. Let’s start with the highlights: arroz negro – black rice in prawn bisque and squid ink which requires minimum cooking skills (add stock a little at a time, stir) and churrasco de cordero (milk-fed lamb ribs) with chimichurri sauce, which is oven-roasted for 10 minutes. Most of the other components can be fried while these are cooking. In separate pans or one after the other, gently fry prawn croquetas, and gambas al ajillo (garlicky prawns) and the tortilla (tip: you’ll need a small frying pan for this). Pulpo a la Gallega (octopus) should be briefly simmered in its vac-bag and the beetroot salad and horseradish cream can be assembled at the last minute. Since we tested the kit a Basque cheesecake and pigs cheeks have been added. Serves 4. Christine Hayes
Gunpowder – Kashmiri lamb chop DIY kit
Fiery lamb chops
Gunpowder’s restaurants in Spitalfields and Tower Bridge are best-known for their lamb chops, which taste even better eaten with your hands. This is one of the easiest kits to assemble, and while it claims to serve 2-3, we think it’s generous enough for four. Everything arrives marinated and ready to cook in your kitchen or on the barbecue, including Kashmiri ghee roast lamb, a Welsh, French-trimmed rack of lamb in a fiery marinade, which takes 15 minutes on the barbie or under 25 minutes in the oven. Veg includes broccoli with mustard malai (mustard and coconut milk) to be grilled and topped with creamy tomato makhani sauce and ready to roast Tandoori new potatoes. Just add your own beer – or a cooling lassi as it’s big on heat. Christine Hayes
Santo Remedio – Remedy Kit
An authentic Mexican feast to enjoy with a friend or two
While it claims to only serve two, Santo Remedio’s at-home meal kit is an incredibly generous, sharing-style Mexican feast, which we think could serve up to four (unless you’re very hungry).
Along with a snack of totopos (tortilla chips) with salsa roja and a bottle of margarita (enough for two glasses), the kit comes with a choice of three slow-cooked meats – bone-in short rib, Barbacoa lamb shank or duck carnitas – plus corn tortillas; a vibrant, crunchy slaw; a generous portion of house-made black beans; a zingy lime & jalapeño-dressed potato salad and various garnishes – including pickled red onions, lime and coriander – so you can build your own tacos. We opted for the short rib in a rich mole negro sauce, and the meat was impressively tender, falling straight off the bone – great for loading into tortillas.
Despite the kit having many elements, the prep is very simple, thanks to a colour-coded instruction manual. It’s also very quick and can be ready in around 25 minutes. Anna Lawson
Honest Burgers – ‘Honest at Home’ burger kits
Top-quality burgers for 4
Inside this kit, you’ll get step-by-step instructions to help you recreate Honest’s deeply meaty burgers in your own kitchen, and pickled cucumbers that take them to the next level. Fry each patty (made from a mixture of chuck steak and rib cap) for 5½ mins on each side for well done, or just under 4 mins for a slightly rarer, juicy burger. Toppings include mild cheddar slices, dry-cured smoky bacon and a powerful red onion relish – go easy on that one! If you want chips, you’ll have to make your own, but rosemary salt is included for seasoning them. Plus, there’s a handy tote bag. Gluten-free buns are available on request. Christine Hayes
Burger & Beyond – bacon butter burger kit
Super-meaty burgers made from top-quality beef
Food truck turned Shoreditch restaurant, Burger & Beyond serves up decadent burgers and over-the-top sides. Their bacon butter burger kit comes with everything you need to recreate one of their signature dishes: 35-day aged minced beef blend, pancetta, brioche buns, American cheese, burnt butter mayo and pickled onions. It’s simple enough for beginners to cook: form the beef into patties, fry to your liking and assemble. It comes with four generous portions but we wish a side dish was included in the price. We’re so glad we added the to our order – they were the stand-out favourite. Think crispy potato tots covered in indulgent truffle mayo, parmesan and fried sage leaves. Burger & Beyond certainly knows how to take street food to the next level. Emily Lambe
SpiceBox @ Home – the tikka masala box
Seriously generous veg-friendly curry kits
This vegan-friendly curry kit has everything you need to make a creamy roasted cauliflower masala, complete with all the extras expected from an Indian-inspired feast. Follow the simple step-by-step leaflet instructions, or watch the online video tutorial, then tuck into a moreish dhal, delicately spiced tikka masala, samosas, kachori, naan and a deliciously sweet date and tamarind chutney. It takes around one hour to make, but it’s more of an assembly job with some light chopping and stirring involved. The leaflet states it serves ‘4-6 generously’, we got around 7 chunky portions from our box – no one went hungry. At just under £40, it wouldn’t be a weekly purchase, but it’s ideal for a special night in or entertaining a crowd. If you’re looking for a satisfying Saturday night curry that’ll please the whole family, with leftovers, then look no further than SpiceBox’s @ Home boxes. Georgina Kiely
Hawksmoor at Home
Super-luxe steak including all the trimmings plus cookbook, martini and wine
While £125 might seem expensive for dinner for two, we shared this between three and had leftovers. The book and quality of the meat justify the price, too. Hawksmoor restaurant group is known for its impeccable sourcing, so no surprise that the porterhouse, a T-shaped cut, was butter-soft. Everything about the meal was big on flavour, from the martini aperitif (stick the bottle in the freezer for an hour before pouring) to the gentleman’s relish butter to dress the broccoli, and bone marrow to scoop into the pouch of rich Madeira-laced gravy supplied. Three Koffmann potatoes cut into smallish wedges and cooked in goose fat were reminiscent of the restaurant’s famous chips. Assembling the meal is very easy – about the same effort as a small Sunday roast. Considering there’s a bottle of Argentinian malbec and two lagers thrown in, this would make a perfect special occasion dinner or gift for a steak lover. Christine Hayes
The Cheese Bar – cook at home cheese fondue kit with bottle of wine
A cheese lover’s dream night in
Cheese lovers, listen up – this is the kit for you and your social bubble. The team behind the Cheese Bar in London are now delivering – in addition to their make-‘em-at-home toasted sandwich offering – DIY fondue kits, to bring apres-ski in the Alps to your kitchen. Each two-person kit comprises of a grated Irish gouda-style cheese called coolea and Gloucestershire Alpine-style kingham cheeses (quick and stringy melters), a bottle of Frangy Alpine white wine (100ml for cooking, the rest for drinking), a lemon, garlic clove, nutmeg and pot of cornflour (for thickening, if necessary – it wasn’t!). For dipping, there’s crusty bread, new potatoes and cornichons, plus two shots of Kirsch cherry liqueur. There’s also a stand for a pan and a tealight to keep the cheese at its stringy, gooey best. An accompanying leaflet gives you all the history, etiquette and instructions for a romantic evening, as you cheesily declare to your loved one, ‘I’m very fond-of-due!’ Keith Kendrick
Treats Club Dessert Bar – DYO hot donut sundae kit, Oreo
Easily create freshly fried doughnuts at home along with a selection of toppings and sauces
Everything you need for a decadent dessert, aside from the frying oil, is in this kit. It comes with first-proved doughnuts filled with Oreos, chocolate and caramel dipping sauces, extra Oreos, sprinkles and marshmallow fluff to make a sundae with. It removes the hassle from making doughnuts, you just have to leave them for their last prove then fry them – instructions about timings and oil temperature are included. It makes for a fun family activity, as children can decorate their own doughnuts. They were delicious, light and fluffy. Liberty Mendez
Patty & Bun – P&B DIY kit (P&B x HG Walter ‘the meat kit box’)
Make your own top of the range burgers at home
This kit makes four burgers, two ‘Ari Gold’ and two ‘Smokey Robinson’, and includes brioche buns, HG Walter patties, smoky mayo, freshly made pickled and smoky onions, bacon and cheese slices. The instructions are easy to follow and there’s an Instagram video if you get stuck. The whole thing takes about 10 minutes to prep and cook, so it’s an easy win on a Friday night or over the weekend (the price tag is more of a treat than an everyday meal). The ingredients are very high-quality and the finished burger is much better than anything you could get delivered because it’s so fresh. A vegan version is also available. Lulu Grimes
Côte Brasserie – Côte at Home
Everything from premium meats to simple ready meals
High street staple, Côte Brasserie, is offering a wide range of products for home delivery, including bread, cheese, meat, mains and desserts. The mains require little to no cooking, more in the style of a ready meal than a DIY kit. The standout favourite was the fish parmentier which comes fully assembled – simply bake in the oven. The haddock, salmon and prawns taste incredibly fresh and tender in a creamy white wine and leek sauce. The is also great value for money – packed full of sirloin, fillet and other cuts of beef. The is delightfully light with fresh raspberries and gavotte wafers. Most mains contain two hearty portions and range from £9.95-£13.95. They come in attractive sage green packaging, making it feel more upscale than a typical supermarket ready meal. Overall, the quality of the ingredients is top-notch but this may not be right for you if you’re looking for more of a challenge. Emily Lambe
Monty’s Deli – sandwich pack, ‘the Reuben’
Everything you need to make a Monty’s Deli Reuben sandwich at home
In the box is a whole piece of pastrami (salt beef is also available). You can either cook it whole, in the vacuum-packed bag it comes in, or carve it up and steam it in slices. You also get their signature toppings and condiments – sauerkraut, cheese slices, Russian dressing, mustard and a loaf of sliced rye and caraway seed bread. The delivery and packaging keep everything cool for transport, but you need to make sure you’re at home to receive the delivery as most elements need to go in the fridge immediately. In the box is a beautifully produced card with an illustration of the Reuben on one side and reheating instructions for the meat on the other. There are no other instructions of how to build the sandwich, but that is pretty self-explanatory. The kit serves six very generously – you can really load up the sandwiches and have a proper deli experience at home, all the elements taste like they’ve been honed and perfected. We loved the flexibility – you could easily cook the joint whole and lay everything out buffet-style, or make up the sandwiches to serve. This would be a fantastically low-stress, good value and delicious way to serve a crowd. Miriam Nice
The Vurger Co. – Vurger meal kit for two
The ultimate vegan fakeaway for fast food cravings
The Vurger Co. is an all-vegan London-based restaurant specialising in fast food classics. Their vurger meal kit for two comes packed with everything you need for a timeless burger, including patties, vegan brioche buns, plant-based cheese slices, lettuce, gherkins, tomatoes, a jar of burger sauce and skin-on fries. We particularly loved the burger sauce – we added quite a few generous dollops. We chose to cook our fries in the oven and they still came out perfectly crispy. The kit is very simple to cook and we enjoyed customising our burgers with a variety of toppings. A gluten-free version is also available. Bonus points goes to the compostable, eco-friendly packaging – a rare find in restaurant kits. We’d definitely recommend cooking on the day of delivery as our produce wilted slightly a couple of days later. With two portions coming in under £19, this is excellent value-for-money for vegans and meat-eaters alike. Emily Lambe
Townsend – fish pie
Luxurious family classics with high-quality ingredients
Townsend is a London restaurant based in the Whitechapel Gallery – it was only open for a short time before lockdown began, at which point they quickly reconfigured their offering to nationwide meal kits. We tested the trademark fish pie – a bestseller – which came in a well-insulated cardboard box with mainly recyclable paper and card packaging (only the pouches for the wet ingredients and cool packs couldn’t be thrown in the recycling). The ingredients were kept to a minimum to streamline the labour required to assemble the pie. We followed the simple and clear recipe to combine the sauce and fish, before putting into a baking dish and topping with mash (which is cooked from scratch) and a crunchy cheese crumb, which adds welcome texture and an umami tang. The quality of the fish was clear on tasting the pie, with the rich, smoked haddock particularly delicious. The sauce is expertly seasoned and the fish plump and juicy. The pie has a good balance of flavours and luxury feel, at the same time being a real-crowd pleaser that would have mass appeal to the whole family. The portion was generous – ideal for a rainy evening on the sofa with a glass of well-matched white wine, which can be added your order. Natalie Hardwick
Le Swine – DIY kit for two
‘The best bacon butty in town’ is quite a claim, but Le Swine deliver
Without wanting to sound like an advert for ‘that’ supermarket, this isn’t just any bacon bap. The perfect bacon and egg roll is much contested, and purists out there might have their doubts about the milk and onion roll, fresh sage and duck egg offered by Le Swine. Assemble with an open mind and let the food convince you – it’ll only take a few bites. The buns are cloud-soft, the bacon is gossamer thin, so the fat crisps up easily, and the rich, runny yolk of the duck egg brings it all together. If that wasn’t enough, some twisted food genius whipped bacon into butter to spread over the bun. All that for £6 a bap, delivered to your door – their bold claim rings true. Barney Desmazery
Flank – short rib shawarma kit
Street food-style BBQ meat with bags of flavour
The clue’s in the name when it comes to Flank’s specialty. The nose-to-tail ethos that guides their carnivorous restaurant menu is evident in their new mail-order offering, which includes a DIY shawarma kit. Included is beef short ribs from H G Walter – a highly-rated West London butcher that’s a favourite with the Good Food team – that are put in the oven for five hours. Thankfully, while you will need time to create this meal, you won’t need much in the way of labour expenditure, although the flatbreads are made from scratch. The beef is also finished on the barbecue with a sticky sweet glaze, so you will need to take to the garden for the best finished results. The meltingly tender meat is set off with the excellent choices of garnish – coriander, fresh chilli, picked onion, crispy onion and garlic mayo. Serving sizes are generous and all ingredients were of a high standard. At just less than £10 a head, this is decent value for some premium meat – make sure you crank up the barbecue heat to get the desired crispy edges and serve with a mandatory cold beer. Natalie Hardwick
Adam Reid’s Great British Menu
High-end restaurant food for cooking aficionados
If you love a challenge and are looking for a two-person menu to really impress, this luxury restaurant kit from chef Adam Reid is an absolute showstopper. It offers fans of Great British Menu the chance to recreate Adam’s four-course meal in their own kitchen – featuring tatar’ash, almond poached cod with smoked roe sauce, a garlic and herb roasted chicken main course and a treacle tart to finish. Each dish is assembled from pre-prepared ingredients of the finest quality and the results – if you follow the detailed instructions correctly – will make you feel like you’re dining in a high-end restaurant. The ingredients for each course are clearly divided into boxes, although it’s worth noting that you’ll need to separate the chilled ingredients on arrival and the individual packets aren’t labelled. You’ll need some existing foodie knowledge and kitchen experience, too, as the techniques include deep-frying fritters and cooking several components at the same time. Deliveries are on Fridays for use by the following day. Rachel Beckwith
Shoryu Ramen – DIY Shoryu Kit
Large bowls of authentic-tasting tonkotsu ramen
Making authentic tonkotsu ramen at home is a time-consuming process – it involves boiling pork bones for many hours (usually eight or more) to create the rich, porky broth. This DIY meal kit from the Shoryu Ramen restaurant chain allows you to recreate its signature tonkotsu at home in less than 30 minutes. The kit contains Shoryu’s 12-hour tonkotsu soup stock, as well as ramen noodles and toppings – char siu BBQ pork belly, spring onion, beni shoga red ginger and kikurage mushrooms. A leaflet provides step-by-step instructions, with handy accompanying images. Although it requires a few different pots and pans to heat the various elements (one for the broth, one for the noodles and one for the meat), the ramen is generally really easy to put together.
The kit makes two large bowls of ramen which taste just like it does in Shoryu’s restaurants. The broth is well-flavoured with rich pork, a good level of saltiness and a hum of garlic, while the toppings are generous. We added a soft-boiled egg to ours – it’s recommended as an added extra in the leaflet – but the ramen is filling and flavourful enough without. At a tenner per bowl, this is great value for money when you consider the time and effort it takes to create authentic ramen at home, not to mention the harder-to-find ingredients, like the bene shoga red ginger and kikurage mushrooms. Anna Lawson
HAME by Adam Handling
Luxurious, restaurant-style meals that require minimal effort
When award-winning chef and restauranteur Adam Handling was faced with lockdown and the temporary closure of his five restaurants, he wasted no time in launching HAME, a sophisticated delivery service of exquisite starters, mains and desserts that can be cooked at home. The food is cleverly coordinated with colour coded ingredients. He’s recorded videos for each of the recipes, which were incredibly helpful, giving it the feeling of a cook along experience.
We particularly loved the fresh crab, grapefruit and radish starter – an excellent flavour combination that took two minutes to throw together. The beef wellington main with clotted cream mash, spring greens and roast carrots was beautifully prepared and very generous. We were responsible for the fun part of decorating the wellington with additional pastry shapes and heating the food, but everything else was assembled in advance. This would be perfect for a birthday or anniversary, as everything from the delivery of the items, to the finished meal, feels very special. Lily Barclay
Mac & Wild – Venimoo burger kit
A meat feast of a stacked double burger combining highland beef and venison
With a best burger in Britain award, expectations were higher than the tower of juicy beef and venison patties, cheese, pickles, lettuce, caramelised onions and rich Béarnaise sauce, all stacked like a scooby snack in a brioche bun. This burger was epic – easily the best burger to be assembled in our home kitchen and one of the best burgers we’ve had the pleasure of sinking our teeth into. It’s proof that good meat makes all the difference, with even the venison shy in our house declaring it a triumph. Mac & Wild was founded by the son of a Highland cattle farmer and butcher as a way to sell directly to the customer – this background shows in the quality of the meat. The box contains everything you need except optional bacon, which wasn’t missed in the slightest, plus there’s also a video tutorial to help you put it all together – the kit feeds four and comes in at a very reasonable £7 per burger. Barney Desmazery
Blondies Kitchen – ready to bake cookie dough roll
Delicious cookie dough delivered straight to your door – ready to slice and bake
This cookie dough comes in two flavours – ‘milk & white choc chunk’ and ‘dark choc & sea salt’. It arrives as a long roll covered in paper – all you need to do is unwrap, slice and bake for 10-12 minutes. Easy-to-follow instructions and cooking temperature are included on the wrapping. The result is a batch of beautiful, buttery cookies studded with generous amounts of chocolate. We found 10 minutes in the oven produced cookies with a soft, chewy centre and crisp edges. £12 may seem pricey, but the quality of ingredients and end result make them worth considering for a treat. If you don’t want them all at once, the dough can be stored in the fridge for a few days or frozen for up to three months. They won’t last for long though, these cookies are highly addictive! Alice Johnston
Passo To Go – pasta kits
Generous portions of restaurant-quality pasta at home, in five minutes!
Passo To Go offer six types of fresh pasta including pappardelle, malloreddus, spaghetti and gluten-free gnocchi, plus five Italian sauces, including arrabbiata, fennel sausage ragu and amatriciana, which all serve two. Along with the pasta and sauce, you’ll also receive small pots of basil and parmesan and an instruction booklet. The meals really couldn’t be simpler or quicker to make – just cook the fresh pasta for four minutes in salted boiling water and, in a separate pan, heat the sauce with a good chunk of butter. Once the pasta is cooked, add it to the sauce, along with a couple of tablespoons of pasta water, then serve, topped with parmesan and fresh basil. The result is fantastic – two really generous portions of perfectly al dente fresh pasta coated in exactly the right amount of flavour-rich, silky sauce. The finished dish looks, feels and tastes restaurant quality.
We tried the malloreddus with fennel sausage ragu, which was full of flavour. The rich, meaty ragu combines soft, salty sausage and perfumed nibs of fennel seed with a tomato and red wine sauce, while the pasta itself tastes authentic, with a satisfying al dente texture. We also tried the amatriciana sauce (made up of pork cheek, fresh tomato, garlic, chilli and basil), which was equally flavour-packed – heady with garlic and salty pork cheek, although a little heavy on the chilli. Anna Lawson
Made in Oldstead by Tommy Banks
Produce led, field-to-fork cooking you can feast on without leaving home.
Tommy Banks was the youngest ever British chef to win a Michelin star and his tiny restaurant in the sleepy North Yorkshire hamlet of Olstead is famous for only serving a no-choice tasting menu. There are no choices because Tommy wants to grow, gather or buy from the closest sources possible. A meal at The Black Swan is one of the most seasonal and local you can get in the UK – the windows of the restaurant look out onto the fields growing the produce you’re eating. And then, lockdown happened. As well as the worries every other chef faced, Tommy also had his home-grown produce to use up, so he decided to treat the rest of the country to a taste of his little fertile corner. The box comes on a Friday and would feed two people over two nights as a weekend treat. Highlights included a velvety pea and ham soup, sticky braised brisket with macaroni cheese and a strawberry and cows milk pudding. Inevitably with anything that’s remove-film-and-place-in-the-oven, there’s a ready-meal feel about it, but there’s definitely a lot of thought gone into what travels and reheats best and everything was, most importantly, full of flavour. Barney Desmazery
Smokstak – DIY Bun Box
Comfort food for barbecue lovers
Meat lovers get misty eyed at the mention of Shoreditch-based restaurant Smokstak. The man behind it is David Carter, who takes his barbecues cues from the southern states of the USA. The DIY beef brisket bun box (£28) is simple but special: meat, four buns, hot sauces plus sticky toffee pudding – enough for two very hungry people or four if you add your own sides. First up, wrap the brisket in butcher paper or foil before roasting for 35 minutes. Buns need a very quick flash under the grill, barbecue sauces can be microwaved or warmed on the hob, as can the beef dripping which gets slicked over the buns for added oomph. Top the sliced meat with pickled red chillis – the generous jar leaves plenty for use on everything from breakfast eggs to noodles. The sticky toffee loaf serves four – heat the salted caramel sauce gently or give it a very short blast in the microwave. Christine Hayes
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This review was last updated in November 2020. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews, or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.