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The Birds Eye campaign targets diners with a certain penchant for food photography
At This London Restaurant, Photographing Your Food Pays Off
The day has finally come when our carefully orchestrated, surreptitiously filtered photographs of our food are paying off.
A restaurant in London called The Picture House has partnered with frozen vegetable brand Birds Eye to create the most millennial-oriented social media campaign yet.
The restaurant is serving two dishes — Fish Chargrills and Chicken Inspirations — that can be bought for the price of an Instagram photo and the hashtag #BirdsEyeInspirations.
In addition, The Picture House will offer photography tips from Marie Marte Forsberg, a London-based food and lifestyle photographer.
Whether you love or hate the idea, I can’t think of a better way to capitalize on the endless food photography that’s likely going to happen whether chefs approve or not.
As Mashable points out, it’s not the first time that restaurants have turned to Instagram for marketing power. New York restaurant Comodo offered an "Instagram menu" in 2012, and Kellogg’s offered customers in Sweden the chance to pay with Instagram photos in 2013.
Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy.
You can pay what you can afford when eating at this cafe in Brooklyn
Nestled on Clinton Avenue right off Myrtle Avenue in Clinton Hill is Rethink Café, one of the city's first pay-what-you-can destinations, launched by nonprofit Rethink Food last year. All offerings at the Brooklyn shop boast a "$5 suggested donation" price tag, basically asking patrons to pay only what they can afford to.
To create the menu, the staff uses donated ingredients from a slew of local partners like Trader Joe's. And we're not just talking about the foods used to cook the various menu items on offer: you can expect a bunch of grab-and-go items donated by the likes of Stumptown Coffee to be prominently displayed as well.
Speaking of the menu: Every day, the café takes to Instagram to showcase the constantly rotating daily offerings. Today's, for example, include a "hearty plate of duck confit pilaf with raisins, caramelized onions, sautéed cabbage and leeks, seasoned with oregano, thyme and a sharp sherry vinaigrette." Yum.
Photograph: Rethink Food
The creative concept isn't a mere gimmick intended to lure customers in. Rethink Food seeks to address food insecurity on a pretty wide scale by working towards two related goals: "to feed communities and help keep restaurants in business," as stated on the organization's official website. "In exchange for preparing community meals, Rethink Food provides grants to restaurants supporting a portion of their operating and staffing costs," it continues.
Needless to say, 2020 made the need for change even more apparent than it always has been. Which is to say: although New York is slowly returning to a semblance or normalcy (vaccinated individuals no longer have to wear masks! Broadway will soon re-open! Sports are back!), we can't forget about the year we've all just gone through and the people that still need our help. Grabbing a bite at Rethink Café might not make that big of a difference, but it is certainly a step in the right direction.
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Restaurant Teaches Influencer A Lesson After They Try To Pay For Meal With ‘Exposure’
No matter how many followers they have on social media, it doesn&rsquot excuse influencers from behaving like upstanding members of society. And even though some of us can tolerate cheekiness from time to time, it has to be done well and there are limits to how precocious you can be!
One UK influencer learned that firsthand after they tried to weasel out a load of free food from &lsquoFour Legs,&rsquo a pop-up restaurant in Islington in London. However, what they weren&rsquot expecting was the restaurant pulling a twist on them and calling them out in a brutal yet hilarious way, just when things seemed to be going the influencer&rsquos way.
Looks delicious? One cheeky influencer thought so too, which is why they tried to get lots of free food for their pals from the &lsquoFour Legs&rsquo restaurant in Islington
However, what the influencer wasn&rsquot expecting was for the chef duo running the restaurant to lead them along and surprise them with a twist
The chefs appear to be going along with the influencer&rsquos demands
But things take a hilarious twist at the very end!
&lsquoFour Legs&rsquo operates at a pub called The Compton Arms and they weren&rsquot planning to stand for the influencer trying to score some freebies for their entire lockdown &lsquobubble.&rsquo Sure, a one-off free meal might sound all right in exchange for some advertising. But 5 whole meals? That&rsquos just ridiculous!
However, the chefs running the IG account weren&rsquot about to let the influencer know that. They implied that they&rsquore just fine with handing away so much free food to some stuck-up influencer who thinks they rule the world just because they&rsquove got a bucketload of followers.
So &lsquoFour Legs&rsquo wasted the influencer&rsquos time, getting them to go all the way to Islington to supposedly pick up the food, and then directed them to the local police station, telling &lsquoem to turn themselves in. Their crime? Trying to pull the wool over the food industry&rsquos eyes.
Though who can blame the cheeky influencer for trying? (Well, we can, but shhh we&rsquore trying to make a point here.) If the restaurant&rsquos photos on their Instagram account are anything to go by, the food is delicious. There&rsquos nothing like wanting to eat a tasty burger (or two) for breakfast to make you rethink your life choices.
While we&rsquore aware of the name of the influencer who wrote the messages, we think that sharing it would give them a lot of hate. Even though we think that what they did was wrong, nobody deserves hundreds of messages in their inbox telling them to &lsquobuy their own food.&rsquo What we can tell you is that they&rsquore a blogger with around 50k followers.
Meanwhile, the heroes of the story are chefs Ed McIlroy and Jamie Allan. According to &lsquoEater London,&rsquo the duo have a storied and proud background in cooking, so you can bet your bottom dollar (well, pound, rather) that you&rsquore getting quality on a plate.
&ldquo&lsquoFour Legs&rsquo bucks the current trends, championing meat across its concise changing menu,&rdquo the chefs said, adding that they&rsquore focusing on &ldquoquality, local, British ingredients.&rdquo They also serve seasonal menus that include &ldquoBritish fare with modern European and Asian elements.&rdquo Their goal? They want to elevate classic pub meals to something that&rsquos greater, grander, and even more memorable.
As for the name of the restaurant, well, it&rsquos based off of writer George Orwell&rsquos phrase &lsquofour legs good, two legs bad&rsquo from &lsquoAnimal Farm.&rsquo It&rsquos reported that The Compton Arms was one of Orwell&rsquos favorite pubs, so the name of the pop-up restaurant is very well-chosen.
The restaurant&rsquos IG post got more than 34.3k likes in just 5 days and certainly got the British media&rsquos attention, from &lsquoThe Sun&rsquo to the &lsquoDaily Mail.&rsquo
Food Photography – An Introduction
Interested in learning about food photography? Read on for some introductory tips.
Visit any bookshop and head for the cook book section and you&rsquoll be overwhelmed by the array of books filled with scrumptious recipes accompanied by wonderful photography of the meals being written about.
Colorful stacks of vegetables drizzled with rich sauces on a clean white plate with glistening table settings &ndash you know the shots. Sometimes the photography is almost the true focus of the book with the recipes taking a secondary role.
But how do you photograph food and get such great results?
Treat the food you&rsquore photographing as you would any other still life subject and ensure that it is well lit. Many of the poor examples of food photography that I&rsquove come across in the research for this article could have been drastically improved with adequate lighting. One of the best places to photograph food is by a window where there is plenty of natural light &ndash perhaps supported with flash bounced off a ceiling or wall to give more balanced lighting that cuts out the shadows. This daylight helps to keep the food looking much more natural.
Pay attention not only to the arrangement of the food itself but to the context that you put it in including the plate or bowl and any table settings around it. Don&rsquot clutter the photo with a full table setting but consider one or two extra elements such as a glass, fork, flower or napkin. These elements can often be placed in secondary positions in the foreground or background of your shot.
3. Be Quick
Food doesn&rsquot keep it&rsquos appetizing looks for long so as a photographer you&rsquoll need to be well prepared and able to shoot quickly after it&rsquos been cooked before it melts, collapses, wilts and/or changes color. This means being prepared and knowing what you want to achieve before the food arrives. One strategy that some use is to have the shot completely set up with props before the food is ready and then to substitute a stand-in plate to get your exposure right. Then when the food is ready you just switch the stand-in plate with the real thing and you&rsquore ready to start shooting.
4. Style it
The way food is set out on the plate is as important as the way you photograph it. Pay attention to the balance of food in a shot (color, shapes etc) and leave a way into the shot (using leading lines and the rule of thirds to help guide your viewer&rsquos eye into the dish). One of the best ways to learn is to get some cook books to see how the pros do it.
5. Enhance it
One tip that a photographer gave me last week when I said I was writing this was to have some vegetable oil on hand and to brush it over food to make it glisten in your shots.
6. Get Down Low
A mistake that many beginner food photographers make is taking shots that look down on a plate from directly above. While this can work in some circumstances &ndash in most cases you&rsquoll get a more better shot by shooting from down close to plate level (or slightly above it).
Really focusing in upon just one part of the dish can be an effective way of highlighting the different elements of it.
Having steam rising off your food can give it a &lsquojust cooked&rsquo feel which some food photographers like. Of course this can be difficult to achieve naturally. I spoke with one food stylist a few years back who told me that they added steam with a number of artificial strategies including microwaving water soaked cotton balls and placing them behind food. This is probably a little advance for most of us &ndash however it was an interesting trick so I thought I&rsquod include it.
I&rsquom certain that DPS readers will have plenty more tips on photographing food &ndash feel free to add your tips in comments below!
1. To Prevent Spills
For restaurant folks and caterers, this plastic wrap practice proves its worth more often than not when it’s time to transport a large pot or tub of a soup, sauce, etc. from one location to another. And if you’ve ever driven more than half a mile with a vat of marinara strapped into the backseat of your car, you understand what nerve-wracking is. The pros know that by completely encompassing your vessel with plastic wrap, you are essentially transforming a stock pot (or whatever you’ve got your food in) into an airtight, slosh- and spill-proof container. And while while we may not find ourselves transporting a 24-quart pot of soup across town on a weekly basis, this trick can come into play for the home cook fairly often𠅎specially during the holiday season.
When you’re taking a dish to some sort of potluck, party, or family dinner situation, you want to make sure that it ultimately arrives in the same condition it left your kitchen in, and that you packed it up in the most efficient way possible, yes? There’s not always going to be a large enough plastic container with a fitted lid for what you’re transporting, and sometimes, it’s not exactly convenient/practical to transfer your food out of the dish it was made in or the dish it’s ultimately destined to be served in. Even if you’re not moving the dish further than from your kitchen to your dinning room, accidents do happen… and if you happen to knock over a bowl full of lukewarm gravy over when reaching for something else in the back of the fridge, you’ll be thankful you hotel wrapped.
P.S. If you are doing this with a hot liquid—something like a pot of soup or hot mulled cider sure to poke a small hole in the top of the plastic wrap to allow steam to escape.
2. To Keep Your Food Fresher
Be it a pan of brownies out on the counter or a pan of lasagna in the fridge, hotel wrapping is going to keep your food in prime eating condition for longer than laying a single layer of plastic wrap over top (yes, even the almighty Press ’N’ Seal wrap) can. Tightly wrapping from the bottom to the top securely locks out air that turns baked goods stale, unwanted moisture that prompts mold growth, and other intrusive odors that might be floating around your fridge.
3. To Prevent Icky Freezer Flavor
Direct quote from one of our test kitchen chefs: “I would always banquet wrap anything I’m planning on freezing.”
The freezer is a fairly harsh environment—I mean, it’s pretty freaking cold in there𠅊nd this is the best way to protect your food against the elements, so to speak. The tight plastic wrapping locks in fresh flavor and helps to prevent freezer burn. The key here is to make sure your food is completely cool before wrapping it, otherwise you run the risk of creating condensation, and the last thing you want to do is trap excess moisture on your food when you pop it into the freezer.
4. To Avoid the Utterly Infuriating Frustration Spurred by Your Plastic Wrap Not Clinging to the Surface of Your Container
Everybody knows this struggle, it&aposs so real. You manage to pull out a tight sheet of plastic wrap to cover _whatever dish is soon to become the object of your deepest fury_ without having to start over (because the plastic wrap got hopelessly stuck on itself) even once. and it becomes immediately obvious that the plastic wrap and the container you need to cover want literally nothing to do with one another. Great. The cling wrap refuses to cling.
But wait. what have we (painstakingly) learned is the one thing plastic wrap will *always* grip to? Yes—ITSELF. This is perhaps the strongest bond that will ever form in one’s kitchen, and hotel wrapping makes use of it to benefit both your food and your sanity.
25 Instagram Accounts That Will Make You A Better Chef
Some people just follow their friends and family. Some fill their feeds with preening influencers and reality stars. But only the most masochistic of Insta-addicts chooses to spend their working day staring and salivating over hovering shots of beautiful food. You are one of those people.
And we respect it. That&rsquos why we&rsquove rounded up the very best food accounts on Instagram, for home cooks and hungry scrollers alike.
Georgina Hayden is a cookbook author who for years worked alongside Jamie Oliver and now writes her own books with a focus on celebrating her Cypriot heritage. This means exciting plates of tahinopita, a Cypriot sweet cinnamon tahini swirled bun, or tava, a dish in which lamb neck, cumin, bay, potatoes, tomato are all cooked together.
Cult London bakery Pophams &ndash who now have sites in Islington and London Fields &ndash are the page to follow for tips on perfectly laminated pastries and unusual toast toppings for an upmarket WFH lunch. Having now started making fresh pasta, too, their flavour combinations like oxtail ravioli with bone marrow, and braising liquor sauce with pickled beetroot and cavolo nero, look mouthwateringly good.
Sydney-based Hetty McKinnon is a recipe author whose books, Community, Neighbourhood and Family feature hearty comfort foods and healthy bright salads. Her feed is packed with delicious dinner inspiration, especially Asian food given the focus of her new book is the cuisine of the East.
Noor Murad is a recipe developer working in the Ottolenghi test kitchen, meaning that her page is filled with bright, flavoursome dishes and advice on how to throw them together. That means delicious plates like these tomatoes with "gingery garlicky limey fish saucey dressing" and "crispy fried ginger-garlic yumbits".
Anonymous food editor Clerkenwell Boy is arguably London's top foodie Instagrammer, his account a roll call of the best dishes the city has to offer which gives followers tips about what they should order. He also features recipes on his account if your appetite is suitably whetted and you want to recreate the magic at home.
California food writer, chef and cookbook author Julia Sherman turns vegetables into plates of wonder that will stop you ever thinking a bowl of greens is boring again. Dishes, like this roasted broccolini over tahini sauce, sliced blood orange and crushed crunchy sumac seed cracker, make us believe salad really should run for president.
Author of The Pastry Chef&rsquos Guide, pastry chef (obviously) Ravneet Gill runs the Puff bakery in London, which saw long queues at its drops pre-lockdown, alongside Nicola Lamb Since then her Instagram account been teaching people how to bake like a pro while stuck at home. Expect tips on mad creations, like a cube of brioche filled with custard as, well as ultimate classics like chocolate chip cookies.
David Chang's Momofuku restaurant empire in New York City makes authentic Korean food with a modern twist, and their Instagram account offers tips on recreating some of their dishes like the signature bo ssam or the perfect spicy pork and shrimp noodles.
Ottolenghi recipe developer and cookbook co-author Ixta Belfrage shares truly delightful plates on her feed, from this chicken with 15 cloves of black garlic slowly simmered down, to a step-by-step guide to making biang biang hand-pulled noodles on her Stories.
London food writer, chef and baked goods influencer Felicity Spector is an excellent person to follow if want advice on whipping up vegetarian dishes, beautiful breakfasts or any and every kind of dessert out there. She's also got great connections in the London restaurant scene so can give heads up about new openings (soon) and fancy takeaways (right now).
The very, very good New York Times cooking section requires a paid subscription, which means you can't spend too long hopping around recipes before you hit the dreaded firewall. That's why the NYTCooking Instagram account is so useful &ndash letting you scan over a selection of food shots before you delve into a recipe.
Andrew Rea, better know as 'Binging with Babish', is arguably the biggest chef on YouTube, having amassed over 5 million subscribers in just 4 years. He specialises in teaching users the basics, as well as recreating dishes from famous TV shows and films. His Instagram account offers home cook tutorials, as well as a behind-the-scenes look at his life.
Cook, restaurateur and author Anna Hedworth's simple, stunning rustic meals are well-worth replicating if you have anyone to impress. Her taste in tableware is second-to-none, as well.
New York Times chef Alison Roman, who recently authored the brilliant and stripped-back Nothing Fancy cookbook, often posts her favourite recipes to her Instagram account. Expect beautiful food shots, genuinely useful kitchen hacks and an inordinate amount of anchovies.
It's the week before pay-day and your belly starts to rumble. You simply can't stomach another night of pasta and Netflix. There's only one thing for it: a scroll through London Cheap Eats, which will deliver you to some of capital's best budget restaurants and food stalls. Truly game-changing stuff for anyone with a fiver in their pocket.
Jenny and Teri are a food stylist and photographer duo with three cookbooks under their belt. They share mouthwatering images on their instagram with easy steps on how to recreate them at home. These Irish breakfast nachos made with waffle fries tell you all you need to know.
A calm oasis of clean plates, Lucia Lee's Food Minimalist page specialises in easy bowl recipes and Asian-inspired dinners with plenty of flavour. We like her Shanghai-style noodles with salmon and spring onion, or this sautéed garlicky shrimp.
Boasting a very impressive 1.8m followers, Food 52 posts the best recipe and food photography from their team of editors. In other words a mixture of different tastes and cuisines served onto your phone daily.
With nearly as many followers is the Feed Feed, another account (and website) fuelled by a community of cooks. Be wary of looking around the 4pm sugar slump.
Self-proclaimed (and fair enough tbh) cookie connoisseur Melissa Stadler shares her recipes for red velvet, orange and white chocolate, ginger snap and caramel stuffed cookies to name a few. She also, as you can see, makes a mean fried chicken sandwich.
If you're not particularly into baking don't be put off by the handle. On her carefully curated account Joy shares recipes for plenty of savoury meals including Pizza quiche (a thing, apparently), french onion pasta and fish tacos. She's also the mastermind behind the amazing Drake On Cake Instagram account.
Cookbook writer Tieghan Gerard has equal regard for dishes healthy and comforting. Her account shares beautifully shot recipes for dishes like superfood bibimbap with crispy tofu or her sweet potato gnocchi with rosemary parmesan sauce.
A. A. Gill, Who Gleefully Skewered Britain’s Restaurants, Dies at 62
A. A. Gill, an essayist and cultural critic whose stylishly malicious restaurant reviews for The Sunday Times made him one of Britain’s most celebrated journalists, died on Saturday in London. He was 62.
Martin Ivens, the editor of The Sunday Times, announced the death, calling Mr. Gill “the heart and soul of the paper.” The cause was lung cancer.
“I’ve got an embarrassment of cancer, the full English,” Mr. Gill wrote in the newspaper last month, describing lung cancer that had metastasized. “There is barely a morsel of offal that is not included. I have a trucker’s gut-buster, gimpy, malevolent, meaty malignancy.”
In a long article published Sunday, after his death, Mr. Gill wrote, without rancor, that Britain’s National Health Service had refused to pay for immunotherapy that he said might have extended his life.
Mr. Gill refined his skewering skills in the early 1990s at the glossy society magazine Tatler, which gave him freedom to roam in the monthly essay known as a “two-page funny,” which he described in his memoir “Pour Me: A Life” (2015) as “a thousand words of nebulous snobbery or winsome social observation.”
Hired by The Sunday Times in 1993, he wrote on television, travel and politics before volunteering to take over “Table Talk,” the newspaper’s weekly restaurant column.
He administered electroshock therapy to what had been a staid format, gleefully acquiring enemies by the score as he laid waste to superstar chefs, trendy restaurants and food fads, and gaining an international reputation as the Terminator among restaurant critics.
As a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, he dismissed the pâté at the beloved Paris bistro L’Ami Louis as tasting like “pressed liposuction.” The shrimp and foie gras dumplings at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Asian restaurant 66, in Manhattan, were “fishy liver-filled condoms,” he wrote, “with a savor that lingered like a lovelorn drunk and tasted as if your mouth had been used as the swab bin in an animal hospital.”
Vituperation was not his only mode. He could praise. He could turn an elegant phrase and toss off a pithy bon mot. “America’s genius has always been to take something old, familiar and wrinkled and repackage it as new, exciting and smooth,” he wrote in “The Golden Door: Letters to America” (2012), published in the United States in 2013 as “To America With Love.”
But the zingers made his name. An invitation to the book party for his first novel, “Sap Rising” (1996), described him as “the bastard son of P. G. Wodehouse and the Marquis de Sade,” and he made good on the advertisement. The Welsh, he once wrote in a column on Welsh restaurants, were “stunted, bigoted, dark, ugly, pugnacious little trolls.”
In 2014, he won the Hatchet Job of the Year award from the website Omnivore for his appraisal of “Autobiography,” by the singer Morrissey, whom he called “the most ornery, cantankerous, entitled, whingeing, self-martyred human being who ever drew breath.” He added, “And those are just his good qualities.”
Howls of protest were music to his ears.
“When people fatuously ask me why I don’t write constructive criticism, I tell them there is no such thing,” he wrote in his memoir. “Critics do deconstructive criticism. If you want compliments, phone your mother.”
Adrian Anthony Gill was born on June 28, 1954, in Edinburgh, where his father, Michael, was an editor at The Scotsman. After being hired by BBC Radio as a culture reporter, he moved the family to London when Adrian was 2 and went on to become a producer of television documentaries, notably “Civilisation,” with Kenneth Clark, and “Alistair Cooke’s America.”
Adrian’s mother, the former Yvonne Gilan, was an actress and vocal coach who made a memorable appearance in the British television sitcom “Fawlty Towers” as the nymphomaniac Mrs. Peignoir.
After leaving St. Christopher’s, a Quaker boarding school in Letchworth, Hertfordshire, without graduating, Mr. Gill studied at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London but failed to advance. He worked for a time in a bookshop in Soho before continuing his art education at the Slade School, which he left in his final year.
A series of odd jobs followed as he descended into alcoholism, a harrowing period he described in “Pour Me.” After entering a rehabilitation program in 1984 and joining Alcoholics Anonymous, he reversed the slide and, after marrying Amber Rudd, his second wife — she is now Britain’s home secretary — began giving cooking courses.
A student who worked at Tatler suggested that he write a short article about his recovery for the magazine’s “Good Rehab Guide.” The editors, impressed, took him on as a food writer and essayist.
He joined The Sunday Times in 1993 as a writer for the newspaper’s new Style and Travel sections. Before long, he was named the television critic, to compete with Clive James in The Observer.
His travel writing and foreign reporting were collected in “A. A. Gill Is Away: Helping With Enquiries” (2002) and “A. A. Gill Is Further Away” (2011) his television writing appears in “Paper View: The Best of the Sunday Times Television Reviews” (2008).
“I failed into journalism,” he wrote in his memoir. “If I’d been a better barman or painter, a better shop assistant or warehouseman or gardener, I’d have stayed doing that. Those who can’t do, teach, but those who can’t even teach P.E., report, and those who can’t report, write columns.”
He wrote cookbooks on two sister restaurants in London — “The Ivy: The Restaurant and Its Recipes” (1997) and “Le Caprice” (1999) — as well as “Breakfast at the Wolseley: Recipes From London’s Favorite Restaurant” (2014). In “Grand Cafe” (2013), he offered a history of famous restaurants across Europe, with recipes. “Table Talk: Sweet and Sour, Salt and Bitter” (2007) gathered a selection of his restaurant reviews.
He is survived by his mother his fiancée, the style journalist Nicola Formby, always referred to as “the Blonde” in his reviews their two children, Edith and Isaac and two children from his second marriage, Flora and Alasdair. His younger brother, Nick, a Michelin-starred chef, disappeared in 1998 after a mental breakdown.
In his column announcing his cancer, Mr. Gill summed up his career in a nutshell. “Somebody said: ‘Why don’t you watch television, eat good food and travel and then write about it?’” he wrote. “And, as lives go, that’s pretty good.”
Popping Up in London’s Dining Scene
Other pop-ups have higher profiles. Last year, Pierre Koffmann, one of the titans of London cooking (his restaurant La Tante Claire, which once had three Michelin stars, closed in 2003), opened a pop-up restaurant on the roof of Selfridges, the tony department store. On Monday, the London Restaurant Festival opened its second annual pop-up in the London Eye, where celebrated chefs serve meals in the Ferris wheel that towers over the Thames. Last year, a dinner held there by Gordon Ramsay went for £23,000 (about $36,000) at a charity auction.
These glossy pop-ups don’t always impress activist diners. “There needs to be a slumming element,” Mr. Young said. “If you have Gordon Ramsay in the London Eye, you lose something.”
Most of the pop-ups and supper clubs are found in East London, a sprawling, diverse area with tidy row houses, art galleries and light industry. One of the pleasures of the sporadic supper clubs run by Claire Ptak, formerly of Chez Panisse, is the excursion to Violet, the bakery she opened earlier this year on a quiet street north of London Fields. Every season Nude Espresso, a small coffee bar just off Brick Lane, hosts a one-night-only meal cooked by Cameron Emirali, the chef of the avant-garde restaurant the Wapping Project.
“It’s amazing how much the scene has grown. Now there seems to be loads,” said Stevie Parle, 25, who worked at Moro and the River Cafe in London before starting the Moveable Kitchen, one of London’s first supper clubs, in 2006. “When you start off being temporary, you have more freedom. It doesn’t have to have such a firm concept because you’re just doing something for one night or for one week.”
In September 2009, he opened the Dock Kitchen, a pop-up restaurant in the Ladbroke Grove studio of the furniture designer Tom Dixon. It is now a fully operational restaurant.
Mr. Parle’s cooking is confident and fluent, with Keralan and Persian dishes sharing a menu with brightened English classics. As satisfying as the food might be, the setting a light-filled glass shed on top of a renovated Victorian factory reached by pressing a buzzer and climbing a flight of stairs along a canal is part of the lure.
The various locations for the pop-up WhizzBangPop are just as appealing. Started this summer by Charlie Capehorn and Eliza Murray Willis, both cooks, and Emily O’Hare, a sommelier at the River Cafe, WhizzBangPop featured a recent dinner at the Auriol Kensington Rowing Club, a boathouse in a part of West London where the banks of the Thames become lush and wild. The four-course meal started with smoked trout salad and ended with ripe wedges of Jean Grogne cheese and cost £45 a person (about $70), with wine pairings.
“They trust you so much,” Ms. O’Hare said of the diners. “Some of them have no idea where they’re going, what they’re going to eat or who they’re going to sit next to. You have to step up and give them something really special. It’s not just a transaction. It’s emotional.”
These are the best restaurant DIY meal kits
Photo: Ben Carpenter Photography
Since the outbreak of Covid-19, followed by the government’s imposed lockdowns, home cooking has seen a boom in popularity throughout the UK. According to a new study of 2,000 adults, more than a fifth of Brits are now cooking every meal from scratch, with over half having experimented with additional ingredients. Long before lockdown, stockpiling and panic buying saw the supermarket shelves entirely stripped of non-perishables then when baking became social media’s biggest trend (specifically banana bread and sourdough), eggs and flour became the pandemic equivalent of a shiny Charizard. In addition to a clutch of excellent restaurants now delivering, some have also tapped into the home cooking trend, introducing DIY meal kits for customers to prepare and enjoy at home.
Comprising high quality ingredients, most of the meal kits are less expensive than if they were to be ordered in the restaurant. They’re also delivered responsibly, adhering to social distancing guidelines. A fun, interactive way to support restaurants and small businesses during the pandemic, while practicing those new found home cooking skills.
TACA Tacos DIY Taco Kit
Inspired by the Mission District in San Francisco, TACA pays homage to California-style Mexican food. Drawing from memories of eating Mexican food as a child while visiting California, the brand was set-up by Thorne Addyman, following extensive research. Before the government’s imposed lockdown took effect, TACA hosted a string of successful pop-ups in south-east London and a monthly night at Villages Brewery Taproom in Deptford.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, TACA has launched a new DIY delivery service, offering superlative tacos within the M25. Each kit features the prepared ingredients to assemble an exceptional feast at home, anchored by soft corn tacos. The weekly-changing menu features a meat or vegetarian option, including the likes of barbacoa beef with mole, chipotle beans, or pulled-mushrooms – a vegetarian riff on carnitas. Accoutrements such as home-made salsa, radishes, lime, coriander, home-made tortilla chips, pico de gallo, guacamole, and hot cheese dip are also supplied. DIY taco kits are available to order from TACA Tacos’ Instagram (@tacatacosuk), priced at £30 for two people, or £45 with plenty to feed four.
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Photo: Jonathan Hatchman
Mac & Wild The Venimoo Kit
Scottish restaurant Mac & Wild has launched a DIY meal kit, for customers across the UK to recreate its famous Venimoo Burger at home. Complete with all ingredients, each burger kit is delivered in line with Mac & Wild’s ethos of offering sustainable Scottish produce, with all game and meat sent direct from the Highlands, delivered in ethically-sourced packaging. Alongside helpful recipe cards complete with photographs, a full list of ingredients and allergens, the boxes contain enough produce to make four Venimoo burgers at home. Four venison patties are joined by four beef patties, baby gem lettuce, gherkins, burger cheese slices, onions to be caramelised at home, and firm sesame brioche buns. A selection of sauces are also included, with béarnaise, mustard, and the restaurant’s Red Jon sauce, making it possible to cook a restaurant-standard burger at home.
Priced at £12 each in the restaurant, the DIY meal kit offers great value, with ingredients for four burgers, priced at £28 (£7 per burger). Further information can be found at macandwild.com.
Bancone At-Home Meal Kits
Available for delivery within the M25, renowned Italian restaurant Bancone has launched new at-home kits. Including starters, pasta mains and desserts, portions are available for two or four people, available for Friday delivery if ordered before midday on the previous Tuesday. Delivered with packaging that’s as green and sustainable as possible, dishes contain all necessary ingredients besides salt, pepper and parmesan, including the likes of burrata with kale leaves, marinated beetroot and chive oil exemplary mafalde with a fiery ragù of pork and ‘nduja and refreshing coconut panna cotta to finish, complete with mango and passionfruit, plus coconut and cherry crisp. Deli ingredients are also available, as well as a selection of wines and beers. Further information can be found at bancone.co.uk.
Burger & Beyond DIY Lockdown Kits
Providing some of London’s most gloriously decadent burgers, Burger & Beyond have also launched their own DIY Lockdown Kits. These kits include everything needed to make the restaurant’s BBB (Bacon Butter Burger) or Krispie Fried Chicken burger. Additional dishes include ‘Dirty Tots’, fried chicken, ‘Truffle Tots’, and gourmet hazelnut brownies. For the BBB, four demi brioche buns are provided alongside eight slices of pancetta, American cheese, burnt butter mayo, pickled onion, and enough 35 day aged minced beef to produce four patties. This is accompanied by a full guide to recreating the burger at home, involving dividing the meat into four balls and smashing in the pan, toasting the buns, and adding a splash of water before covering to steam, encouraging the cheese to melt perfectly. Priced at £11.50 each, in the restaurant, the DIY kit is priced at £25 (£6.25 per burger). Further information can be found at burgerandbeyondshop.co.uk.
Photo: Carol Sachs
BAO Home Kits
Towards the start of the UK’s imposed lockdown, BAO launched Rice Error, a new delivery format available to local residents. As part of the brand’s ongoing mission to bring the restaurant experiences to customers’ homes, new BAO Home Kits have been launched. Available via BAO’s online convenience store, CONVINI, the kits are available for nationwide delivery. Priced from £22, the DIY meal kits feature six ready-to-steam bao as well as the elements needed to build their namesakes. The ‘Classic BAO Box’, for instance, is packed with 12-hour-braised pork, fermented greens and peanut dust, while the ‘Daikon BAO Box’ features individual panko daikon. Boxes of plain bao are also available to buy separately alongside a selection of BAO Bakery goods. Further information can be found at baolondon.com .
Truffle DIY Burger Meal Kits
In response to the temporary closure of their Covent Garden home, Truffle has launched their DIY burger kit, including all the ingredients needed to create their unique burgers at home. Within the M25, kits are available for Truffle’s ‘The Aged Beef Burger’ (90-day aged beef patty, caramelised shallot puree, smoked cheese, house pickles, truffle and garlic sauce, brioche bun) and Truffle mac and cheese. The ‘Truffle Burger’ is available nationwide, however, featuring bacon and beef blend patties, truffle mayo, fig jam, raclette, crispy shallots, and brioche buns). Vegetarian options are also available, using Beyond Meat products. Each meal kit box is £25 and includes enough ingredients to make four burgers (usually priced at £8.50 each). Further information on delivery can be found at truffle-london.co.uk.
Wun’s Sugar Skin Iberico Fatty Char Siu Kit
Inspired by 1960s Hong Kong, Wun’s is a Cantonese restaurant, bar and tea room from Alex and Z, the husband-and-wife team behind Bun House. As many restaurants continue to deliver kits for customers to make restaurant-quality dishes at home, Wun’s has launched a new sugar skin Iberico char siu pork kit, available for delivery across London. With the kit, the restaurant’s glorious signature dish is quick and easy to assemble at home, featuring two slabs of pork, a house-spiced sugar pack and pillowy blini buns, enough to feed two – three people.
Wun’s sugar skin Iberico fatty char siu kits are priced at £18.81, and can be ordered via wunstearoom.slerp.com.
Photo: Steven Joyce
Bocca di Lupo At Home
Coinciding with the launch of ‘In Viaggio Regione’, a series of monthly-changing regional menus, Bocca di Lupo now also offers the chance to make their regional Italian feasts at home via their online delivery service and shop, Bocca di Lupo at Home. Established at the beginning of lockdown, the team have put together a selection DIY boxes filled with some of the restaurant’s most-loved dishes, plus Italian wines to accompany. With a choice between a meat, fish, or vegetarian box, October’s feasts focus on the food of Lazio. The meat box for two features a starter of mozzarella in carozza – thin, crispy toasted sandwiches filled with cheese, basil, and anchovy, with tomato sauce suckling pig with Fragolino grapes and tender chestnuts cooked in stock and bay and slices of burnt ricotta pie. Bocca di Lupo at Home boxes are available to order from boccadilupoathome.com.
Honest Burgers ‘Honest at Home’ Kits
Following the success of their ‘Honest at Home’ kits, Honest Burgers has launched two new DIY kits, available for nationwide delivery. In addition to the ‘TRIBUTE’ kit, featuring everything needed to re-create the burger at home, the vegan ‘PLANT’ kit has also been introduced by popular demand. In addition to revolutionary plant-based Beyond Meat patties (unusually meat-like in flavour and texture), the kit also includes vegan smoked gouda, Rubies in the Rubble chipotle ‘mayo’, mustard, red onion and homemade pickles. All that’s needed to recreate the dish at home is a head of lettuce, which doesn’t tend to travel well. Honest Burgers’ DIY kits are available in packs of two or four, with gluten free buns available, sold exclusively via the Honest website. A reusable Honest Burgers tote bag is also included with all orders, plus rosemary salt to season fries at home.
Rudy’s Vegan Diner DIY Delivery Kits
Based in Camden Market, Rudy’s Vegan Diner has launched a new range of DIY delivery kits, available nationwide. With four kits to choose from, each box is filled with high-quality homemade products, made using original recipes created by chef Matthew Foster. Kits include the restaurant’s ‘Dirty Burger’, ‘Grilled Chick’n Caesar Burger’, ‘Broccoli Mac ‘n’ Cheeze’, and Rudy’s Reuben – a vegan take on the classic sandwich. In addition to vegan pastrami, the Rudy’s Reuben kits also features a loaf of rye bread, sliced ‘cheeze’, pickles, sauerkraut, grilled and crispy onions, and Russian and creamy ‘cheese’ dressings. Each kit arrives with all necessary ingredients, plus a full recipe card and a QR code directing customers to the Rudy’s YouTube channel. Rudy’s DIY delivery kits are available from the restaurant’s website, priced at £18, with £1 from each box donated to Friend Farm Animal Sanctuary.
A brand new recipe box delivery service, Wild Radish works with top chefs on recipes featuring great, seasonal ingredients. Co-founded by chef Anthea Stephenson (formerly The River Café and Polpetto) and entrepreneur James Bhardwaj, Wild Radish has been designed to share the participating chefs’ love of great ingredients, providing home cooks with easy-to-follow DIY recipes and tips to recreate exceptional restaurant quality dishes at home.
Inspired by each chef’s work at celebrated UK restaurants, recipe boxes provide the ingredients and tips to make the dish at home, without spending hours in the kitchen, or searching for specialist ingredients. Instead, participating chefs source ingredients themselves, using their favourite artisan suppliers, while core ingredients are sourced by Stephenson at Wild Radish with seasonality always at the forefront: Natoora for fruit and vegetables, Rare Breed Meat Co for meat, James Knight of Mayfair for fresh fish. Wild Radish uses the same suppliers as their chefs, providing its customers with farmers market fresh ingredients that are unable to buy elsewhere.
In line with peak seasonality and the natural farming cycle, the recipes change fortnightly, with a meat, fish, and vegetable option. Wines are also available, specifically matched to the dishes and ingredients in each DIY box, chosen by Matthew Jukes, championing suppliers such as Liberty Wines and Enotria & Coe – both of which are usually only available in restaurants.
For the launch of Wild Radish, participating chefs have included the likes of Philip Howard (Elystan Street), Alyn Williams (formerly Alyn Willams at The Westbury), Anna Hansen (formerly The Modern Pantry) Mark Kempson (Kitchen W8), Marianna Leivaditaki (Morito Hackney Road), Richard Galli (The Goring’s Dining Room), Daniel Fletcher (28 Market Place in Somerton), and Sam Ashton-Booth (formerly The Ledbury).
Recipe boxes with the wine are priced at £70 (£55 without wine). Orders must be made by midnight on Sunday, to deliver the following Thursday morning. Orders will arrive before 7am each Thursday and can be left in a designated safe space for ease, using relevant packaging for chilled items. Wild Radish currently delivers to London postcodes only. Further information can be found at wild-radish.co.uk.
The Barge House ‘Breakfast En Bread’
Hackney restaurant, The Barge House, has launched its ‘Breakfast En Bread’ for nationwide, next-day delivery. Here, sourdough loaves are filled with locally sourced ingredients, easy to reheat at home and ready in just 20 minutes. Free next-day delivery is offered to anywhere in the UK when four items or more are purchased, and a Click & Collect service is available from Monday-to-Friday on orders before 2pm (for same day collection).
Inspired by the Full English breakfast, ‘The Original’ is filled with oyster mushrooms, bacon, Barge House banger, spinach, and egg. A vegetarian option is also available. ‘The Smokey Salmon’, on the other hand, teams locally smoked salmon from Chapel & Swan with crème fraiche, spinach, slow-roasted tomatoes, and leeks, garnished with dill and a squeeze of lemon, topped with an egg. ‘The Au-Barge’ is filled with baked aubergine, tomato sauce with black olives, oyster mushrooms, vegan feta, spinach, and green sauce. All are complete with a fresh egg to be cracked on top. Further information can be found at breakfastenbread.com.
Pied à Terre Vegan Feast
Michelin-starred Pied à Terre is continuing to serve its Vegan Feast, available for delivery. Including a weekly-changing three-course menu of dishes based on the restaurant’s award-winning vegan menus, the Vegan Feast for two is priced at £50, with food arriving chilled, simply needing to be heated at home, complete with easy-to-follow instructions. Local delivery is available on Friday and Saturday, while nationwide deliveries are made on Fridays via DPD. ‘Local pickup’ can also be arranged on ordering. Example dishes from the weekly-changing menu include the likes of French onion soup with croutons ‘ricotta’ dip with flatbreads basmati rice salad with sweetcorn and peas vegetable stir fry with noodles and ponzu sauce and pecan and orange halva, to finish. Further information can be found at pied-a-terre.co.uk.
PASSO TO GO
Let’s be honest, pizzas cooked in conventional ovens are often disastrous. But with a new nationwide delivery service, PASSO make their signature pizzas easy to recreate at home with DIY meal kits. Of course, pizza ovens are ideal for perfect pizzas, but PASSO TO GO sees recipes slightly tweaked for home ovens or frying pans, with easy-to-follow instructions and video tutorials available. In addition to pizza kits, the Italian-inspired Shoreditch restaurant also offers a selection of pasta dishes. Pizza kits include all necessary ingredients to make two or four pizzas at home, including balls of their three-day fermented dough. Alongside the standard toppings, PASSO has collaborated with LA restaurateur and Chef’s Table star Nancy Silverton on a one-off pizza special. On a sourdough base, Silverton’s pizza has a white base, topped with fennel sausage, mozzarella, onion, and fennel pollen which works exceptionally well with the sausage. Further information can be found at passotogo.com.
Arabica Meal Kits
With restaurants in Borough Market and near King’s Cross, Arabica has launched a new meal kit – Feast for Beirut – following the success of its Bake For Beirut cake sale. Available for nationwide delivery, the kits showcase the food culture of Beirut while raising money for Lebanese charities, donating five per cent of proceeds to Red Cross Lebanon.
Both priced at £45 for two people, the original Feast for Beirut DIY kit is available alongside a vegan alternative. Featuring all necessary ingredients (even cooking oil), the original kit includes the likes of crunchy pickles hummus Beiruti, loaded with sweet peppers, red chilli, garlic, and roasted chickpeas baba ghanoush with pomegranate tabbouleh grilled halloumi exceptional pumpkin kibbeh and pita bread. To follow, the main course includes slow-cooked beef short rib stew with vermicelli rice crowned with crispy onions and pickled barberries finished with a selection of baklava. As well as offering excellent value, the kits’ portion sizes are particularly generous. Moreover, Arabica has also launched a ready-to-bake range, including Börek in either lamb and potato or spinach and feta and Kunefe. Both are delivered frozen, ready to bake. Further information can be found at arabicalondon.com.
Rosa’s DIY Pad Thai Kits
Celebrating 75 years of Thailand’s national dish, Tourism Thailand and Rosa’s Thai Café have collaborated on the launch of Rosa’s DIY Pad Thai kits, available nationwide. Since opening its first restaurant in Spitalfields 12 years ago, Rosa’s Thai Cafe has sold over 1.4 million pad Thais. Now, for the first time, customers can make founder Saiphin Moore’s signature dish at home, without the hassle of sourcing and measuring ingredients. Available from Great Food 2 U, kits include everything needed to make either Rosa’s prawn or tofu pad Thai at home, besides a splash of oil and optional peanuts, to garnish. Each box is also embellished with a QR link to a step-by-step cook-along video, hosted by Saiphin, delivered alongside simple, easy-to-follow instructions. Priced at £40 for four people, it’s also worth noting that the portions are at the generous end of the spectrum. Further information can be found at greatfood2u.co.uk.
10 Greek Street Feast-Boxes
Soho restaurant 10 Greek Street has just launched food and drink delivery across a variety of platforms. In addition to delivery of their new pizzas and own brand Braybrooke beer, initially through Slerp, the restaurant has also introduced DIY meal kits, available for nationwide delivery via Dishpatch. Each month, limited-edition feast-boxes are created by Head Chef and Co-Owner Cameron Emirali, showcasing the best of seasonal ingredients. Priced at £55 for two people, the two-course menu may include the likes of slow-cooked short rib of Dexter beef with confit potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and braised curly kale plus poached quince, polenta and almond cake with crème fraîche to finish. Each kit is delivered with simple instructions to warm the easy to prepare dishes at home. Further information can be found at 10greekstreet.com.
Delivered to addresses throughout London, Fidelari produces fresh and homemade pasta. Set up by a team of close friends, founders Vanessa and Valentina met while working at Restaurant Theo Randall on Park Lane – Vanessa managed the restaurant while Valentina worked as Head Pasta Chef. Hailing from Puglia, the pair’s first solo venture hopes to produce some of the best handmade pasta in the capital, sticking to age-old Italian traditions, executed with a contemporary twist.
In addition to delivering plain fresh pasta, Fidelari also offers quick and east to prepare pasta kits, with dishes including the likes of gnocchi with rocket pesto and tomatoes Datterini confit, or shin of beef ragù with pappardelle. Aperitivo dishes include the likes of focaccia Pugliese, while a dessert kit is also available. Further information can be found at fidelari.com.
Mortimer House Kitchen
Mortimer House Kitchen has launched a brand-new finish at home delivery menu, delivered to doorsteps across London every Friday. Created by Head Chef Antonio ‘Lello’ Favuzzi, the DIY meal kits are inspired by his childhood memories of growing up in Sardinia surrounded by family. A ‘Porchetta Sunday Feast box’ is available, complete with extras for leftovers a lasagne for four and some of the restaurant’s signature pasta dishes.
Made for pairs or groups of four, the Porchetta Sunday Feast is designed to “take guests on a tasting journey to the heart of Italy”, with each box containing a burrata, capocollo, and house-pickled onions to start, followed by a centrepiece of high-welfare Porchetta from independent butcher HG Walter, rolled with Italian sausage meat and fresh herbs. Potatoes roasted in goose fat are also offered to accompany, plus purple sprouting broccoli with fresh chilli and olive oil pork and mustard jus and salsa verde (enough for leftover sandwiches, for which fresh ciabatta rolls and home-made onion jam are available). Plant-based options are also available, while Tiramisu is included for dessert.
In addition to the Porchetta Sunday Feast, a seven-layer lasagne is available for four, plus pasta dishes such as red beetroot tortelli with smoked burrata, pistachio, Swiss chard, and aged balsamico or rich wild boar mafalde with chestnuts and pecorino, both of which are delivered with easy-to-follow cooking instructions. Moreover, cannoli is also available for two, alongside a selection of drinks including beers from Forest Road Brewery in Hackney, 50cl bottles of pre-mixed Negroni, and a selection of wines from the Mortimer House Kitchen wine list.
Juici Jerk DIY Kits
A Black-owned, family business founded by brothers Troy and Jarrell Johnson, Juici Jerk has launched new Caribbean DIY meal kits, inspired by contemporary West Indian cuisine. Offering restaurant-quality produce, the London-based Caribbean kitchen and pop-up delivers nationwide, with the easy-to-follow home DIY meal kits packed with ingredients freshly-prepared by Juici Jerk’s in-house kitchen team. Feeding up to five people, the DIY kits are priced from £30, for ‘The Juici Jerk’, which feeds 2-3 people, and £60 for ‘The Kingston Platter’, feeding between four and five. Both boxes are available Halal and include the likes of marinated chicken thighs, rice and peas, plantain fries, festival dough, macaroni cheese, coleslaw, fruit punch, a selection of sauces, and fresh fruit and vegetables to garnish. Each box also uses sustainable packaging, with no single use plastic.
The Juici Jerk DIY Kits are available to order weekly for nationwide delivery. Further information can be found here.
Pizza Pilgrims Pizza in the Post
Launched during last year’s first lockdown, Pizza Pilgrims Pizza in the Post DIY meal kits provide all necessary ingredients to make frying pan pizzas at home (plus a Nutella ring kit). While traditional, restaurant-quality pizzas are extremely difficult to replicate at home using conventional ovens, the Pizza Pilgrims kits feature dough that’s intended to be started in a frying pan then finished under the grill. Throughout January, Pizza Pilgrims are also sending out 250 kits in partnership with Samaritans.
Each frying pan pizza kit contains ingredients to make two Neapolitan pizzas, including hand-made, 48-hour-proved dough balls made with flour from Caputo Mill in Naples. Toppings include the likes of classic Margherita, ‘Nduja, double pepperoni and spicy honey, mushroom and truffle, and a vegan option. The double pepperoni and spicy honey kit, for instance, comprises Fior Di Latte mozzarella, made just outside Naples, basil, tomato sauce made using tomatoes grown in the foothills of Mount Vesuvius, two types of pepperoni, chilli-infused honey, and Caputo flour for dusting.
Further information can be found at pizzainthepost.co.uk.
Japanified Blue Corn Taco FIY Kits
Creators of the Under One Kitchen project and food concept brand Sugoi JPN have kickstarted the new year with the launch of Japanified, their new delivery and takeaway concept. Inspired by the food of Osaka, the team have taken popular dishes and “Japanified” them. Available to collect from their kitchen in South Wimbledon or via Deliveroo, the menu features a variety of sliders, sides, and new Blue Corn Taco FIY (fill it yourself) DIY meal kits. The blue corn taco kits are complete with eight tortillas, and a selection of fillings such as tuna and salmon sashimi with kimchee sauce glazed chicken karaage vegan ‘beef’ with tonkatsu sauce and kuromame beans and Asado negro beef with kuromame beans. All tacos and fillings are also accompanied by pico de gallo, avocado, house cabbage salad, coriander, and a selection of sauces: chilli sauce, sour cream, and avocado dressing.
Further information can be found at japanified.uk.
The Coach Makers Arms
With a collection of pubs in central London, Cubitt House has re-launched its Cubitt House at Home website, delivering both hot food and ‘Heat at Home’ meal kits. Of the available DIY meal kits, Marylebone Village pub The Coach Makers Arms’ Sunday roasts are a particular stand-out. All ingredients are sustainably sourced in the UK, with a selection of either Castlemead chicken, roasted root vegetable and pine nut wellington, or roast beef sirloin. Sourced from Lyons Hill Farm in Dorset, the cows are grass-fed to full maturity, with the beef dry-aged for 30 days, served here with roast potatoes cooked in dripping, carrots, parsnips, tender stem broccoli, gravy, and a fluffy Yorkshire pudding. The signature Cubitt House Bramley apple pie is also a must-try, featuring apples cooked in cinnamon, sugar, and brandy, wrapped in puff pastry and finished with salted caramel sauce. Pub classics are also available to ‘Heat at Home’, plus a selection of pre-batched cocktails.
Local delivery can be made within a six mile radius from The Orange in Belgravia. Further information can be found at cubitthouseathome.co.uk.
Carnaby restaurant Ugly Dumpling has begun to deliver its frozen dumplings across the city. While the dumpling packages don’t feature all necessary garnishes, as typical with DIY meal kits, each pack is also served with an Ugly Dumpling ‘Frozen Dumplings 101’ printout, with details on cooking as well as plating and garnishing selections. With a range of interesting fillings, highlights include the likes of prawn and chive, and aromatic duck – best served with spring onions, chilli, sesame seeds, crispy shallots, and soy sauce or chilli oil for dipping mushroom and truffle with truffle oil and grated parmesan or the cheeseburger dumplings, surprisingly good with ketchup and mustard. Vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options are also available alongside dessert dumplings. Orders can be placed via Instagram DM. Further information can be found at uglydumpling.co.uk.
A re-launched pub in Marylebone Village, The Cavendish serves “refined but honest” cooking, well showcased through their selection of meal kits, easy to heat at home. As well as offering supplier boxes filled with ingredients and Sunday roast kits, The Cavendish also serves dinner date boxes for couples, and family feasting DIY meal kits for four. With a weekly-changing menu, the family feasting kits offer great value at £65 for two courses, for four people, including the likes of slow-roasted tikka lamb shoulder with Bombay roast potatoes fried chicken with Cavendish house hot sauce, creamed polenta and slaw, complete with Heritage apple and cinnamon crumble or slow-cooked Hereford beef brisket with caramelised onion and red wine cobbler, finished with banoffee pie. Discounts are also offered on four-weekly subscription orders. Further information can be found at 35newcavendish.co.uk.
Photo: © Safia Shakarchi
A brand new delivery concept from the team behind Gunpowder, Empire Biryani is inspired by founders Harneet Baweja and Devina Seth’s memories of India and celebratory occasions. In keeping with the restaurant’s regional focus, Empire Biryani champions the Northern Indian tradition of Dum biryani. The result of a 36-hour preparation, the two biryanis (lamb shank or Shahi mushroom) are steamed over a low heat, then crowned with a shortcrust pastry lid embellished with spices. In addition to the biryanis, a selection of Northern Indian dishes also include the likes of masala chana aloo chaat achari aloo gobi (pickled cauliflower and potatoes) pepper chicken fry with curry leaf, onions, and spices and beef boti kebab cooked over charcoal. Additional accompaniments include Hyderabadi egg curry paneer butter masala and a boondi and kachumber raita.
Delivery can be made to addresses within the M25, or within six miles of the Tower Bridge restaurant for same-day delivery via Deliveroo. Further information can be found at empirebiryani.com.
Photo: Restaurant Kits
Flesh & Buns
With Japanese Izakaya-inspired restaurants in Covent Garden and Fitzrovia, Flesh & Buns has launched its first at-home kits, available for nationwide delivery. Featuring all necessary ingredients to make the restaurant’s crispy piglet belly bao at home, the DIY kits include six buns, pickled apple, karashi miso, shiso leaves, and a slab of suckling pig belly with gorgeous, brittle crackling – easy to prepare at home. Kits are priced at £27.50, or £35 with the inclusion of a bamboo steamer. Orders can be placed at restaurantkitsuk.com.
In partnership with Restokit, Bar Douro has launched a new feast box, available for nationwide delivery. Dishes are delivered cold, with detailed instructions for heating at home, featuring highlights from the restaurant’s menu inspired by the traditional cervejarias and tascas of Lisbon and Porto. A selection of additional dishes are also available, plus Portuguese wines and white ports, chosen especially by Bar Douro founder Max Graham. Highlights from the feast box DIY kits include Pata Negra ham that’s cured for 24 months smoked Portuguese sausage croquettes with lemon mayo salt cod hash, mixed with straw potatoes and an egg braised lamb shank with grilled cabbage and soubise plus toucinho do céu to finish – a rich almond cake made with pork fat, served with orange créme fraîche. Bar Douro feast boxes are priced at £60 for two people. Orders can be placed at restokit.co.uk.
Home by Nico
Bringing restaurant-quality food and drink experiences to homes across the UK, Six by Nico restaurants has launched a new retail platform, HOME-X. Alongside various food and drinks brands, Home by Nico kits are available to order, following a similar format to the Six by Nico restaurants, with an ever changing four course tasting menu themed around memories or places.
With ready-prepared ingredients simple to heat at home, complete with full instructions, the Home by Nico menus change monthly. Past examples have included the likes of a “Cooking the Hebrides” DIY kit, inspired by the group’s Scottish roots, complete with Isle of Harris gin-cured salmon with cucumber and apple chutney, and dill crème fraîche Stornaway black pudding and pork belly pressé with Scotch broth and white bean ragù Tipsy Laird trifle with stem ginger jelly, sea buckthorn, and vanilla ice cream and Mull Cheddar with onion and tamarind relish, and water crackers. Vegetarian options are also available. Home by Nico is priced at £60, including nationwide delivery. Further information can be found at home-x.com.
Photography by Brighton and London photographer Emma Gutteridge
Curry Leaf Cafe
Specialising in South Indian street food, curries and tandoor dishes, Brighton’s Curry Leaf Café has launched a DIY at-home service, delivering chilled ‘finish at home’ versions of their dishes. Available for nationwide delivery (and free delivery across much of Sussex), some of the proceeds from each order are donated to Brighton Food Bank each month, funding the donation of 100 free meals. NHS staff across Sussex are also offered 10 percent discount on orders. With a large menu available to order from, highlights include Keralan chicken mappas Persian-influenced lamb seekh kebab sweet-sour gobi Manchurian and aubergine Kuzhambu, with aubergine, peppers and okra in a sweet-and-sour sauce. Tiffin meals for one are also offered, including a choice of curry, biryani rice, spinach and onion pakoras, aloo jeera, mango chutney, and coconut and mint raita. Further information can be found at curryleafcafe.com.
Showcasing traditional Greek dishes, OPSO has launched a new range of DIY meal kits. As well as food from the Marylebone restaurant, selects from the exclusively Greek wine list are also delivered. Featuring ready-prepared dishes to heat at home, the menu includes dishes such as OPSO’s superlative spanakopita hand-stretched pitas with houmous mousakas topped with crispy potato straws lamb kleftiko (a shoulder steak with roasted baby potatoes, sweet red peppers, and feta cheese) Guanaja chocolate brownie and bougatsa rampant with cinnamon. Further information can be found at opso.co.uk.
Flank’s The Ribinator
A new meal kit platform working with London restaurants, offering nationwide delivery, Restaurant Kits has Mac & Wild’s Andy Waugh and Calum Mackinnon at the helm, and Flank’s Tom Griffiths as Head of Partnerships. Offering unique cooking experiences, menus change monthly, seasonally, and in response to special dates. Exclusive to Meal Kits, Flank founder Tom Griffiths has launched The Ribinator, inspired by McDonald’s cult classic McRib. Taking each of the sandwich’s core elements to the next level (at least), The Ribinator features layers of pork rib meat glazed with Korean-inspired BBQ sauce, smoky ketchup, crispy onions, and sweet pickles, loaded into a soft brioche bun (£25, serves two). Further information can be found at restaurantkitsuk.com.
Finish & Feast
On a mission to bring fine dining to anyone, anywhere in the UK, Finish & Feast was launched out of a desire to support the struggling hospitality sector. Working with a collection of chefs, including the likes of Marianne Lumb, Tom Aikens, Thomas Frake, and Dean Bank, Finish & Feast offers fine dining DIY meal kits with hyper-seasonal menus. Chef Marianne Lumb’s winter menu, for instance, features three courses that are simple to finish at home. A Piedmontese classic, vitello tonnato is followed by a meaty sea bass fillet that’s baked and served with blackened celeriac puree, nutty beurre noisette, broccoli, and raw fennel wings. To finish, pistachio macaroon is joined by tart Yorkshire rhubarb and a whisper of cardamom, topped with freeze dried raspberries and chopped pistachios. Further information can be found at finishandfeast.com.
La Nonna in Casa
Inspired by recipes Head Chef Dani’s Grandmother taught him growing up in the countryside just outside Rome, La Nonna is an artisan fresh pasta concept. La Nonna’s at-home offering – La Nonna in Casa – has recently been reintroduced, with nationwide delivery available. Four pasta courses are intended to epitomise the core of Roman cooking, with ingredients to feed two, joined by easy-to-access video instructions. DIY kit options include Carbonara with guanciale and pecorino creamy mushroom and truffle Cacio e Pepe and gorgeous oxtail ragù cooked for 10 hours, paired with ribbons of fresh pappardelle, complete with a generous amount of parmesan. Further information can be found at lanonnaldn.com.
A new home for Robin and Sarah Gill’s The Dairy, Bermondsey Larder opened soon after The Dairy’s closure, last autumn. Continuing to focus on produce-led dishes, the new restaurant has also launched a selection of weekly DIY meal kits, available for collection and delivery. On the new Bermondsey Larder at-home kits, Robin Gill has produced a menu of favourites, showcasing new and familiar dishes from The Dairy. Expect the likes of homemade sourdough with smoked bone marrow butter silky chicken liver mousse with blood orange jam and house-made charcuterie. To follow, Cashel Blue agnolotti bathe in a Delica pumpkin sauce, crowned with cavolo nero, while slow-cooked short rib is easy to heat in its vacuum sealed bag, joined by celeriac gratin and Tropea onions, plus a leaf salad with pickled walnut vinaigrette. To finish, bay leaf panna cotta is capped with poached Yorkshire rhubarb.
Further information can be found at bermondseylarder.com.
Bleecker Black At Home Kits
One of London’s best burgers, the Bleecker Black has been unavailable since 2017. Initially reintroduced as a one-off exclusively for St Patrick’s Day, the burger has been permanently added to the Bleecker’s range of At Home DIY meal kits.
Joining the likes of Bleecker’s superlative double cheeseburger and bacon cheeseburger, the Bleecker Black DIY meal kit features four 45-day-aged Bleecker beef patties (enough for two burgers), four American cheese slices, two sesame seeded buns, a bottle of Bleecker house sauce, Bleecker seasoning, and two slices of Clonakilty black pudding, from Cork. While the beef is remarkable (cooked rare at home, without rules), the black pudding brings extraordinary richness to the burger, plus additional depth of texture. Simply, it’s as close to perfect as can be achieved from a burger cooked at home.
“We have been talking about bringing the Bleecker Black back for years. It is something people have wanted for so long,” Bleecker founder Zan Kaufman told The London Economic. “But after selling 600 Bleecker Blacks in a few hours, it will be hard to keep it on the shelf. It wasn’t retired, it was just on a break.”
“I love our at-home kit. It is as good at home as it is from one of our shops. For that reason, I think it has to stay. The demand is peak right now and it will drop off once restaurants open, but we will fight to make Bleecker At Home stick.”
The Bleecker Black At Home Kit is available from greatfood2u.co.uk.
Crazy Pizza At Home Tiramisu Kit
With restaurants in Marylebone, Knightsbridge, and Monte Carlo, Crazy Pizza has launched an ‘At Home Tiramisu kit’. With ingredients to make the restaurant’s tiramisu at home, the DIY meal kit includes Savoiardi finger biscuits, quality-grade coffee, a pre-piped bag of vanilla cream, and cocoa powder. The kits also feature a Crazy Pizza apron and a sieve for the cocoa powder. As well as being delicious, the dish is also easy to assemble at home. Simply soak the biscuits in the pre-measured coffee, pipe the cream over the biscuits and allow to soak in the fridge for 30 minutes. Finish by dusting with the cocoa powder.
Crazy Pizza’s At-Home Tiramisu kits are available directly through the Crazy Pizza website, Supper and Deliveroo.
Shoryu Ramen BBQ Pork Buns
Following the success of their DIY ramen kits, Shoryu Ramen has launched another meal kit: DIY BBQ pork buns (£18), available for nationwide delivery. With four buns and enough filling for two people, each kit is ready-to-eat in under 10 minutes, complete with char sui BBQ pork belly, lettuce, cucumber, QP mayonnaise, and spicy sauce. While a steamer isn’t required for the bao, non-stick steamer liners are included with the kit, which make everything so much easier. The restaurant’s Ganso ramen is also available to order alongside their vegan White Natural ramen kit.
Further information can be found at japancentre.com.
Hard Rock Cafe Hard Rock @Home
With its London restaurants having re-opened for outdoor dining, Hard Rock Cafe has also launched new Hard Rock @Home DIY meal kits in partnership with Plateaway. Delivering nationwide for the first time since the original London restaurant opened in 1971, the kits feature one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes: smoked baby back pork ribs. With boxes sized to feed either two or four (£26/£52), each Hard Rock @Home kit (for two) features two racks of baby pork back ribs, smoked in-house for at least four hours using hickory wood chips ‘signature’ BBQ sauce Hard Rock’s ‘Love All’ seasoning coleslaw and two jacket potatoes. Detailed cooking instructions are also included for the dish, ready to eat in just over an hour of almost entirely inactive cooking time, in the oven.
The Sea, The Sea
Chelsea seafood bar and fishmonger The Sea, The Sea are offering light, ready-to-eat offerings, with likes of a prawn tartare finished with a pine nut miso, but the finish-at-home dishes look to be the pick of the bunch. These come with instructions and video demonstrations, with dishes including a truffle-stuffed Cornish turbot and black cod steamed and plated with pressed aubergine. Freshly prepared sashimi is also available.
Prices and portions vary, delivery within seven miles of the restaurant (SW1X 0AW), theseathesea.net