The best restaurant meal kits to try at home
Missing your favourite restaurant while at home? We put DIY meal kits to the test to see how easy it is to recreate popular dishes in your own kitchen.
If your favourite restaurant is closed or you’re unable to travel, have no fear. The catering industry is devising increasingly inventive ways to achieve top-quality dishes at home. Restaurant recipe kits come with everything you need to cook a professional quality meal in your own kitchen. We tested a range of dishes from pizza and pasta to curries and burgers, in addition to sweet dessert kits such as doughnuts and bake-it-yourself cookies. All kits are available for nationwide delivery.
Tips for choosing a restaurant meal kit
- When deciding on the right kit for you, consider the price, portions, dietary requirements and cooking skills required.
- The amount of prep work varies for every kit – some simply require assembling while others are gourmet, four-course meals.
- 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 spend for an occasional treat.
- The main pitfall our reviewers encountered was the environmental impact. Many of these boxes contain non-recyclable packaging which should be taken into consideration when ordering.
For more, visit our reviews section and find over 400 practical buyer's guides offering unbiased advice on what foodie products and services are worth spending money on. Or, see our fakeaway recipes for more restaurant-inspired classics.
Jump to section:
- Special occasion meal kits
- Weekend feast meal kits
- Comforting fast food kits
- Family feast kits
- Vegan meal kits
- Dessert kits
- Brunch at home kits
Special occasion meal kits
Tom Kerridge’s ‘With Love’ Valentine’s Dine at Home Box
Valentine's Day Feast
Love is... a hamper from Tom Kerridge. Available for delivery on 11 February only, this is a substantial kit that only requires a little assembly rather than full-blown cooking. Cute canapes include delicate lobster tartlets, addictive Tunworth cheese gougères, and four pork belly skewers with black pudding and crackling. Warm sourdough rolls and cultured butter makes a course in itself. A starter of treacle-cured salmon with celeriac remoulade, Avruga caviar and sea salt crackers is light and packed with flavour. Tom’s famous beef Wellington has to be the most impressive centrepiece for the least amount of effort: 20 minutes in a pre-heated oven and the same amount of resting time. A rich onion and truffle purée and caramelised Hispi with Caesar dressing as its accompaniments mean you won’t miss potatoes (though you could always add Tom’s magnificent roasties). Sticky toffee pudding with clotted cream provides a traditional finish with passionfruit spiked fudge as a luscious last mouthful. While it’s naturally portioned for two hungry people, judicious serving could make it stretch to three or even four. An expensive but worth it treat for true restaurant-quality cooking at home. Christine Hayes
Surf and turf for two
A great-value kit from chateaubriand aficionados Chateau-X that comes with a bottle of rich red wine to complement the meal. Instructions are given via a QR code, so watch the video before starting. Flavours are big and the main course is very generous for two. Side dishes of whole carrots cooked in beef fat and new potatoes with a punchy nduja butter accompany the cep-marinated steak and prawns & tarragon butter. The chocolate-orange fondants bake in 12 minutes. The kits change each month, so check which sides and desserts you’ll receive before you order. Christine Hayes
Available from Home X (£75)
Modern Californian cuisine
Californian dreaming is made reality in American-born chef Victor Garvey’s smart, sunny, six-course menu. Choose from omnivore, pescatarian or veggie options which require a little cooking, but nothing too taxing. The kit we tested was given a Sicilian spin, starting with a blood orange and rosemary negroni, little bites of smoked swordfish topped with salsa verde and caviar, and octopus carpaccio with blood orange salad and truffle mayo. Next, a whole scallop to bake in its shell – inside is a parmesan fondue with more truffle and pancetta. Braised lamb neck in a rich, glossy sauce with polenta cake comes with a little serving of caponata, and dehydrated black olives provide a cheffy flourish. A very fancy Manjari chocolate croustillant with honeycomb, rosemary and sea salt, plus homemade chocolates, completes the restaurant at home experience. Christine Hayes
Cocinando con COYA
Pour a margarita, nibble on tortillas, shrimp crackers and guacamole as you read through the instructions for this glamorous meal. Dishes are colour coded so it’s easy to see which dressing works with each one. Truffled hiramasa (yellowtail) is eaten with shiitake mushroom and the citrus hit of tiger’s milk. Seabass and salmon ceviches need a similar tiger’s milk and lime bath. There are two mains, pork belly with pineapple and chicharron (crunchy skin) topping, and seabream with corn and tomatoes, plus spiced roasted potatoes and broccoli to accompany. Pudding is tres leches, a light, vanilla sponge topped with cream. Christine Hayes
Seasonal ingredients with thoughtful extras
Highly seasonal boxes from the Richmond restaurant and kitchen garden packed with some ingredients you might never have cooked before. In the Feb box, England meets Italy and Sicily’s Tema artichokes are the central dish in a pasta sauce to accompany a tagliatelle starter, along with anchovy, chilli and garlic. Main course is a wonderful porchetta served with rustic lentils with a herb and mustard dressing; braised endive and radicchio with sultana, capers and olives; and cavolo nero. Winslade, a camembert-style cheese with Petersham’s own honey and a steamed date pudding make for a very British finish. Candles for the dinner table are thoughtfully provided. Christine Hayes
Traditional Japanese food with luxury ingredients
This steak and sushi restaurant specialises in ‘omakase’ – let the chef choose the menu for you. A second branch opens in Fitzrovia, London, after lockdown ends. In the meantime, this is as near as you can get to watching master chef Padam Raj Rai at work. The 24-piece omakase box comes with traditional Japanese furoshiki cloth and includes nigiri with luxury ingredients such as scallop or fatty tuna with truffle and caviar; and sushi rolls with wagyu, tuna and salmon. Five-year-aged soy sauce and fresh wasabi make it very special. Other add-ons include Nepalese dishes such as alu dum, a spiced potato dish; and sweet yomari, steamed rice dough filled with molasses and sesame.
Add cocktails such as a lychee martini or sake old fashioned to your order and make sure you have plenty of ice on the go. Christine Hayes
Upmarket Japanese food, no experience required
This upmarket Japanese restaurant’s kit requires very little skill to create an exquisite treat. Read the instructions in advance as a couple of dishes will benefit from being brought to room temperature first. You’ll need a few small side plates and chopsticks are provided: photos show you how to arrange each dish but nothing is tricky. The first of five courses is seabass ceviche with a piquant yuzu sauce, with tiny, skinned heritage tomatoes and a little ikura roe. Next is wagyu carpaccio with ponzu jelly, truffle salsa and a truffle ponzu sauce you will want to drink on its own! Lobster sliders add a little bulk: steam or microwave the little buns, and stuff with lobster cocktail and pickled chard. The main course is the only cooking required: sear in a pan then briefly roast (four minutes) salmon; heat the chard and add a moromi miso dressing and a teriyaki sauce. Dessert are two mochi per person: salted caramel, and matcha and white chocolate ganache, though you might save one for tomorrow’s breakfast. Check out Dinings SW3 chef Masaki Sugisaki’s recipe for cold soba noodles. Christine Hayes
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
Antona at Home
An Easter-themed feast
A very intuitive kit from the Birmingham-based restaurateur. Start with warmed-through bread and Jersey butter and a silky mushroom soup spiked with pickled Japanese mushrooms, wild garlic and croutons (there will be a bowl or two leftover for tomorrow’s lunch). Roast rump of Cornish lamb should be quickly fried then popped in the oven on top of braised lettuce while you reheat tiny lamb fat potatoes, and peas and asparagus à la Française (a microwave is advised but a pan on the stove works, if you prefer). Warm, individual treacle tarts with lemon crème fraîche makes a satisfying finish. Two small artisan Easter eggs are an extra treat. Christine Hayes
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
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
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
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
Weekend feast kits
Stein’s at Home – Indonesian Curry Box
A generous seafood feast
In 1975, Rick Stein opened a small seafood restaurant in Padstow. He now has 10 restaurants and cafés across Cornwall and the UK, and last year launched the Stein’s at Home boxes to meet a lockdown demand for restaurant-quality food and a little indulgence. The Indonesian curry menu for two has a starter of mussels with spring onion and cider, restaurant-favourite Indonesian seafood curry (with sea bass, cod and prawns), pilau rice and green bean side salad, and for dessert a passion fruit Eton mess. Yes, it’s all very rich, but hits the right note for a special occasion.
A QR code takes you to video instructions from Jack Stein, which were easy to follow, and some pre-cooked ingredients made the cooking time a matter of minutes. Disappointingly, many of the mussels were damaged in transit, but that’s somewhat to be expected. The crowning glory was of course the Indonesian curry, tasting exactly the same as the restaurant dish, generous yet elegant. The dessert of meringue, double cream, vanilla sugar and two passion fruits felt a bit simplistic for the price tag. Amanda Nicolas
Goila – butter chicken
Speedy curry with all the extras
Mumbai chef Saransh Goila’s take on this popular restaurant curry is a little lighter on dairy and heavier on tomato than the usual butter chicken recipe. Best bit? It’s ready in just 15 minutes. Sourcing is thoughtful and it scores high on sustainability, too. Yorkshire chicken is slow-grown and eco-friendly charcoal is used to give it that smoky edge, and all packaging is compostable. Inside the kit you’ll find dal makhani, pickled shallots, sourdough naan, coriander chutney, extra cream and Jeera rice. Perfect Friday night in. Christine Hayes
Berenjak – Ghormeh sabzi meal kit
Iranian stew complete with traditional clay dizi pot
Not only does this kit supply you with the ingredients for an Iranian stew made from lamb, kidney beans, fenugreek and dried limes, it also includes a traditional clay dizi pot to make the stew in. This round pot narrows at the neck, has a little lid to seal in all of the flavour, and will fit neatly into any oven. Sella rice with instructions for making a tahdig, fresh cucumber, onion and tomato for shirazi salad and some herbed yogurt are also included. The beans need soaking overnight, the fenugreek leaves need rehydrating and then the stew needs four hours slow cooking before it’s ready, so this is one to plan ahead for. Ghormeh sabzi is one of the most well-known dishes from the region – if you’ve never made it before, this kit leads you through its creation very well with extensive, well-written instructions and the correct ingredients. The fragrant, rich stew, buttery rice with a crisp base and fresh, herby, crunchy salad makes a complete feast that is well worth the wait. There’s plenty of rice so you’ll have leftovers and the pot can be used again and again. Lulu Grimes
Gaucho – beef wellington box
Ready-made meal for a weekend treat
This box will supply you with a ready-made meal for a special occasion or weekend treat. There’s a choice of starter: cured salmon, beetroot tartare, pickled cucumber and horseradish cream or spiced butternut squash soup, which is easily assembled and served. The main course, a beautifully finished beef wellington, is ready to go in the oven along with neatly portioned carrots, parsnips and squash flavoured with garlic and thyme, and a tub of whipped provolone potatoes ready to reheat. The wellington cooks beautifully and the timings give exactly the right outcome for golden pastry and a medium-rare centre to the beef. Slices of flourless chocolate torte come with piping bags of espresso cream and dulce de leche so you can decorate your desserts with a cheffy flourish. Lulu Grimes
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
Bubala mixed mezze
A vibrant vegetarian mezze selection for two
Looking for a veggie-friendly weekend treat to impress your partner or housemate? East London restaurant Bubala specialises in vegetarian Middle Eastern dishes, designed for sharing. Their meal kit for two includes an impressive selection of both hot and cold mezze, including fluffy laffa flatbreads, silky smooth hummus with chilli chickpeas, labneh with confit garlic, zingy pickles, mushroom skewers, roasted squash with amba brown butter (or hispi cabbage, tahini and crispy chilli oil, as pictured above), plus two of the restaurant’s most iconic dishes: salty baked halloumi coated in black seed honey and, our favourite, crispy layered potato latkes with zingy toum (a punchy garlic dip). Plus, there’s even a pot of four rich, squidgy chocolate truffles to finish.
Although there are many different elements, each one is clearly numbered, corresponding to the accompanying instruction booklet, and as most dishes only require plating up or gently heating, it couldn't be simpler to put together. The end result really does feel like being in a restaurant, with a satisfying array of mezze dishes spread out on the table, ready to be shared. There's also a handy leaflet explaining exactly how to recycle or compost each element of the packaging when finished – bonus points from us right there! Anna Lawson
Blacklock Sunday roast for two
An epic Sunday roast with all the trimmings, ready in half an hour
One of the most comprehensive and well-thought-out restaurant meal kits we’ve tried, Blacklock’s Sunday roast contains everything you need to make an outstanding roast beef dinner for two people. And when we say everything, we really mean it – from a specially curated playlist to listen to while you cook, to napkins and a candle for the table, a cocktail to sip on whilst reading the instruction booklet and even toothpicks for afterwards, nothing has been forgotten! The 55 day-aged beef rump roasting joint (complete with Maldon sea salt for seasoning) is the real star of the show, but every one of the accompanying sides and sauces is impressive, from the flavour-packed gravy to the giant Yorkshire puddings, rich cauliflower cheese and perfectly roasted seasonal vegetables.
If you’re worried about the environmental impact of eating beef, fear not – Blacklock has an answer for that too. The restaurant uses meat from herds which are reared as ethically and sustainably as possible on small farms in Cornwall. They use practices that aim to put more carbon back into the soil than is emitted. All the packaging for the meal kit is either compostable, recyclable or reusable and for every kit sold, a tree is planted! Hat’s off to the Blacklock team, we're impressed. Anna Lawson
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
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
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
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
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
Comforting fast food kits
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
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
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 truffle tots (£9.95) 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
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
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
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
Pint Shop at Home oven-ready sharing pie for two
Excellent value pub grub at home
One of the best value restaurant meal kits we’ve tried, not to mention the easiest, this kit from Cambridge favourite, The Pint Shop includes enough pie, mash, greens and gravy for two people for only £20. Each element comes in a foil tray which can be put straight in the oven and heated in under thirty minutes, apart from the gravy which takes just a few minutes on the hob or in the microwave. We opted for the beef shin, stout and cheddar pie – a seriously hearty combination of rich, tender beef, tangy cheese and a thick meaty sauce fully encased in satisfyingly thick, flaky pastry. The filling is cleverly kept fairly dry to avoid the soggy bottom dilemma, but the kit comes with an intensely rich, meaty gravy to keep things moist, as well as buttery mashed potato and perfectly cooked spring greens, which provide some welcome freshness. Anna Lawson
Available from The Pint Shop (£20)
Family feast kits
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
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
Kings Arms Hotel & Six Restaurant - Homemade Pie Delivery Service
Posh pies for 4
If you’ve been craving some excellent but comforting pub food, then this pie and mash delivery may well tick all of your boxes. You can choose between steak & ale, butternut squash and cheese and a creamy chicken pie, we had the steak & ale which was melt-in-the mouth meat with a rich gravy and beautifully buttery pastry. It couldn’t be easier to cook, everything comes ready prepared and it’s simply a matter of popping it in the oven at the appropriate time, the instructions are well laid-out and easy to read. You get two generous portions of veg which come in a rich gravy and a jus, so you can mix and match as well as plenty of mash to accompany the pie. The delivery feeds a family of four with some leftovers and you can add to your order with a selection of starters or puddings, the chocolate brownies with a Baileys cream are definitely worth a try. Lily Barclay
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 prestige steak collection (£50) is also great value for money – packed full of sirloin, fillet and other cuts of beef. The lemon and Armagnac posset (£3.50) 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
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
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
Vegan meal kits
Dirty Bones – The Ultimate Veganuary Kit
Smokey vegan ‘chicken’ burgers with all the fixings
New York-inspired comfort food guru Dirty Bones has served up a vegan treat for two that is ready in under 30 minutes. American-style portions do not disappoint; in its generously proportioned crispy vegan ‘chicken’ burger, smokiness is front and centre. ‘THIS’ bacon, a smoky peanut butter mayo and Hippeas chickpea puffs (crushed on top for an extra smoky-sweet, crunchy layer) all pack flavour and fun. Onion and garlic salt is a revelation – chips from now on will seem naked without it. Also included is a Spotify playlist, sparkling drinks and dessert. You’ll need a microwave (and a little vegan spread) to make the rich and gooey mug brownie. Christine Hayes
Available from Dirty Bones (£40)
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
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
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
Haya at-home babka kit
Beautiful babka in less than half the time it takes to make from scratch
Ever tried making babka? Made from plaited enriched dough, it can be time-consuming to make and tricky to get right. With Haya’s at-home kits, anyone can have a go, with nothing more than an oven, rolling pin (or wine bottle!) and egg. The Tel Aviv-inspired restaurant provides everything else you need to make their chocolate & hazelnut babka, including the dough, flour for rolling, chocolate & hazelnut spread & crumble, vanilla syrup, a baking mould and even a pastry brush. The longest part (making and proving the dough) has already been done, leaving you with the fun bit – rolling, spreading and plaiting the loaf before baking. The process is quick, easy and well-explained on the accompanying instruction leaflet, but if you’re still unsure, there’s also a short video on Haya’s Instagram story highlights. After a short proving time and 30 minutes in the oven, your kitchen will be filled with a sweet chocolatey scent, signifying the babka is ready to be doused in vanilla syrup and sprinkled with cocoa nibs. The result is an impressive-looking, sweet plaited loaf with nice moist dough and a generous amount of chocolate hazelnut filling swirled through. It would make a great gift for anyone with a sweet tooth, especially those who love to bake but lack time, equipment or both.
Brunch at home kits
Where the Pancakes Are- the big brunch box
American style pancake feast
This kit provides everything you want for an indulgent American style pancake day feast! Big on flavour and portions the kit provides you with pre weighed ingredients to make large, thick buttermilk pancakes as well as a bunch of bananas, punnet of fresh blueberries, a whole bottle of rich maple syrup, butter for frying and smoked steaky bacon! The main thing we loved about this was the quality of the pancakes themselves, they are some of the lightest, fluffiest pancakes we’ve tried. Paired with toppings we thought it was a fun and delicious way of eating. The method was easy to follow and there were enough pancakes to serve 4-6 with leftovers the following day. £45 may seem like a lot but for the quantity and quality we thing its totally worth it! Esther Clark
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
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
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This review was last updated in February 2021. 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.