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Made in Oldstead Tommy Banks

Best restaurant meal kits

Published: February 2, 2022 at 11:12 am
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From burgers and baos to weekend feasts and special occasion menus, these DIY kits bring restaurant-style dining to the comfort of your own home

Want the best recipe boxes to recreate restaurant food in your own home? Looking for DIY meal kits? Check out our pick below, then try our favourite vegetarian meal kits, best burger kits.


We have covered plenty of eat-at-home occasions, whether you want a simple, interactive meal or are looking for something a little more sophisticated for a special occasion. We've made things easier for you and split our meal kits guide into sections. Try "great-value nights in" for burgers, tacos, curries and more; continue to "weekend treats" for Middle Eastern meze, Sunday roasts and ingredient boxes; or scroll down to "special occasion menus" to find finish-at-home tasting menus and fine dining options.

Restaurant meal kits

Special occasion menus

Themed tasting menus, Home by Nico

Six by Nico’s kit reflects the concept of the restaurants where tasting menu themes change every six weeks. We tasted a four-course Bangkok-themed menu. There is very little prep to do, just reheat a garlic-forward hot and sour tom yum soup with prawn dumplings. Roast the chicken legs of panang red curry while warming through its sauce of sweet potato, baby corn and pak choi, finished with a sprinkling of roasted peanut, crispy shallots and Thai herbs. Serve with sides of jasmine rice and crispy pork pad Thai, eaten cold, with a punchy prik nam pla (fish sauce) dressing. The swish brochure suggests dessert before cheese: cardamom and toasted coconut rice pudding, with little pots of delicious salted bean curd caramel and exotic fruit compote. And finally, delicious Dutch cheese Landana 500 with pineapple chutney and crackers (it’s not clear what the Bangkok connection is here). A bottle of picpoul-style wine is also included. A very smart kit for the price, we look forward to trying the Burgundy themed kit, including ham terrine, beef bourguignon, pommes boulangère and Langres Petit cheese.

£60 for two people, home-x.com (CH)

Six By Nico Meal Kit

Great-value date-night dinner, Dishpatch

Andrew Edmunds is a Soho stalwart that’s top of the list for romantic atmosphere and simple, straightforwardly delicious food. The restaurant has created a simple meal for two that’s super-easy to prepare, starting with a rich brown crab meat to spread on warmed or toasted focaccia. The main course of lamb with cannellini beans, golden beetroot and potatoes boulanger goes into the oven and is ready in less than 30 minutes. A walnut dressing for the beetroot and mint sauce for the lamb makes it extra special. Pudding is satisfying chocolate stout cake with chocolate sauce. Light the candle thoughtfully provided and you’re all set. Deliveries on Fridays – and can also be ordered for up to 10 people.

£65 for two, dishpatch.co.uk

Bird's-eye view of a table with different dishes

Thomas Frake x Beyond Food Foundation, Finish & Feast

Born in 2020 with the aim of supporting the hospitality industry, Finish & Feast aim to bring fine dining home to everyone. There’s a range of kits from top chefs and restaurants to choose from, such as Tom Aikens, Ruth Hansom and Gaucho, and a new summer season just launched.

We test the Thomas Frake (MasterChef 2020 champion) x Beyond Food Foundation kit for two (£2 of each kit sold goes to charity). The three-course meal is clearly packaged and comes with a beautiful recipe booklet to follow. The menu requires simple assembly rather than too much cooking, with ingredients already in piping bags and ready to go. Each course has little extras that make it feel restaurant-quality; the velvety pea soup starter is finished with a drizzle of mint oil and toasted hazelnuts, while the St Clement’s tart dessert is served with whipped milk curd and blood orange syrup. For the main course, the centrepiece half-kilo sirloin is pre-cooked sous vide, so you just briefly sear it to finish and don’t have to worry about ruining a good piece of meat. But, we do struggle to warm it all the way through. The standout star of the meal is the amuse bouche of two Burland Bloom doughnuts, filled with Burland Bloom cheese – they're briefly reheated in the oven and taste freshly fried. Once piped into the warm doughnuts, the cheese melts into an irresistibly rich fondue that's perfectly balanced by the jammy onion chutney and a sprinkling of parmesan. This high-quality, rich meal is perfect for special occasions, easily creating an extra-special restaurant experience at home.

£82 for two people, finishandfeast.com (LR)

Thomas Frake Finish & Feast

Build your own bistro menu, Elite Bistros

Reacting to the ever-changing operational environment that came with the Covid-19 pandemic, Gary Usher, owner of the Elite Bistros group of restaurants (which includes the beloved Burnt Truffle and Hispi, located in the North West), launched Elite Bistros at Home during the summer of 2020. The pre-prepared restaurant kits come with a QR code that links to online recipe cards that show you how to finish off the dishes at home. Delivery is available nationwide, and the 16-item menu features classic Elite Bistros offerings, such as braised octopus and the signature eight-hour braised featherblade of beef. There’s free delivery for orders over £80, and bottles of wine can be ordered with the kit, starting at £12 for a bottle of vermentino white wine.

Starters from £6.50, mains from £11, elitebistros.com (CH)

Elite Bistros

Seasonal tasting menu, Lyle's

As near to the restaurant experience of this pared back, fiercely seasonal Shoreditch restaurant as you can get. Chef James Lowe put this box together to support the farmers who would otherwise miss out on goose orders made by the restaurants over the winter months. While the goose element (one leg with carrots and smoked bacon arrives packed in stock jelly) is only available until early February, the other elements are still going strong. This is a no-nonsense, easy-to-assemble menu, with excellent cheffy touches. Mussels and brassicas in a buttery sauce with lovage oil and cider. Scallops served with raw and cooked artichokes are easy to sear and dust with fennel pollen. Rhubarb and blood orange tart with crème fraîche is a substantial pudding, so you might like to save the little brown butter cakes and salted chocolate honey chocolates for a next day treat. Homemade bread and butter also provided.

£140 for two people, lylesprovisions.com (CH)

A plate of breaded chicken and some radicchio leaves

Great-value nights in

Comfort food, Dishpatch

Make the most of the colder months by tucking into dishes from London’s best restaurants in the comfort of your own home. Assemble a Hereford beef pie from sophisticated East End pub, Marksman, in your own pie dish to keep, and serve with crunchy pressed potato stacks. Bookend your main with pop-in-the-oven curried lamb buns and indulgent salt toffee chocolate puddings for the ultimate winter night in. Other comfort food options include Sambal Shiok’s hearty, fragrant signature laksa, Smokestak’s BBQ beef brisket and a sharing-style Chinese feast from My Neighbours the Dumplings.

From £35 for two people, dishpatch.co.uk

A beef pie on a plate on a wooden table

BBQ feast, Dirty Bones

Call a couple of mates – though this kit is billed as for two, we found it easily served four, albeit by splitting the two hotdogs. Dirty Bones’ advice is to start cooking in the kitchen and finish on the barbecue but also works just as well in the oven. All the marinating of baby back pork ribs, buffalo hot wings and chipotle lime chicken thighs has been done so there is very little prep - switch on the oven, fire up the coals and get grilling. Easy assembly is required for three dishes: the Yankee dogs which take 10 minutes to warm though, slide into brioche buns, heap with crispy onions, life-changing sauerkraut, American mustard and Curtice Brothers ketchup – full bottle provided; lamb fries potatoes (lamb belly coated in miso, fried and mixed with warmed-through potatoes with a punchy jalapeno dressing, chilli and spring onion) and Green Goddess-spiked little gem and radish salad. Big flavours, messy to eat and great value. Youth Music soundtrack is an added bonus.

£55 for two people, getdirtyathome.com

potato salad and gem lettuce salad on a black table

Fried chicken kits, Chick ‘N’ Sours

This kit is a generous feast of juicy-on-the-inside, crunchy-on-the-outside chicken with everything you need except vegetable oil for deep or shallow frying – instructions and timings are given for both. Build your own chicken sandwich: choose from K-pop (Korean-style with sriracha sour cream and gochujang mayo) or The General with pickles and American cheese (secret ingredient: seaweed crack seasoning). Chicken wings and tenders come with easy-to-reheat hot sauce and tangy kung pao, and fried chilli peanuts and pickled chilli. Sides of bang bang cucumbers, ginger miso slaw and watermelon salad are refreshing and a good foil. A chicken dinner winner – two sandwiches, eight wings, four tenders. Be sure to download the spirit-lifting playlist, too.

£50 for two to four people, chicknsours.co.uk

Chicken Sandwich

Tel Aviv street-food feast, Shuk

Looking for a meal kit to cover you for the whole weekend? Borough Market’s Israeli street-food outfit Shuk has put together a bountiful Weekender kit covering everything from Saturday brunch to a Sunday night feast. We opted for the lamb kit (there’s also a pescatarian option with fish tagine and lemon and ginger marinated sea bass) – start with a brunch of shakshuka with Cacklebean eggs and a plump, glossy challah loaf to toast, before moving on to pillowy pittas stuffed with spiced lamb meatballs (we swapped for delicious sabich pittas stuffed with roasted aubergines, boiled eggs and pickled cucumber) in the evening. The finale is a Sunday night spread of fall-apart 12-hour braised neck of lamb, hummus topped with slow-cooked beef brisket and veggie side dishes such as sweet potato topped with chilli yogurt. Accompanying all of this is an array of moreish condiments and sauces, from spicy zhoug and harissa oil to creamy amba tahini. Special mention should go to the delicious DIY chocolate, hazelnut and oat cookie babka, which was as moist and chocolaty as you could hope for.

Dishes are easy to put together – most involve simple heating through and assembly, aside from the lamb which required a 90-minute session in the oven, and the babka, which needed to be rolled out, plaited together and proved before baking. Everything comes with detailed instructions (the babka’s will also direct you to helpful videos on Shuk’s Instagram account), but our one tip would be to take a few minutes to divide all the ingredients by meal in your fridge as there a lot of different components. Intricate, vibrant and packed full of flavour – this is easy, fuss-free feasting.

£150 for four people (or two with plenty of leftovers), shuk-london.myshopify.com

Shuk weekend feast kit

Venimoo burger, Mac and Wild

This kit provides all the ingredients and tips you need to create one of this Scottish restaurant brand’s most popular signature dishes at home; the deep, meaty Venimoo Burger. Caramelise the hand-sliced onions and toast the brioche bun, then build your burger with Mac & Wild’s unique redcurrant jelly and Dijon mustard sauce, zingy gherkin slices, shredded lettuce and a dollop of creamy tarragon hollandaise. Fry the HG Walter patties (one aged beef and one venison per burger) and add the cheese, then comes the secret chef’s tip… Follow the handy Youtube video in which co-owner, Andy Waugh, teaches you how to build the burger in the pan and sizzle under a lid so that all ingredients ooze into each other for a restaurant-quality finish.

£24 for two people, £32 for four people, restaurantkits.com (AC)

Try more finish-at-home burgers from Honest Burgers, Burger & Beyond, The Vurger Co and more in our best burger kits guide.

Two burgers in brioche buns with cheese

Independent producers feast, On The Table

A feel-good concept that delivers on flavour, each kit contains ingredients sourced from independent producers. The chicken kit contains a spice-rubbed, spatchcocked Fosse Meadows free-range bird, Natoora beetroot with labneh and capers, hasselback potatoes with ’nduja and stracciatella cheese, and Wye Valley salad. Some preparation is required (peeling and roasting the beets and slicing the potatoes) but this is easily done while sipping a glass of Dynamic Wines white rioja and nibbling on The Snapery Bakery sourdough. QR codes on each menu introduce you to the producers and the story behind your dinner via a recorded video. Please see images here and link to order here.

From £19 per person, onthetableco.com (CH)

A box surrounded by wine bottles, meat, fresh veg

Sri Lankan feast, Kolamba

Kolamba is Aushi and Eroshan Meewella’s vibrant culinary hymn to the dishes they grew up eating in Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo, and you can now enjoy the Soho restaurant’s aromatic, complex spicing at home, with multi-dish meal kits available. Choose between a Ceylon chicken curry feast and a vegan jackfruit curry feast (you can also order extra curries, pickles, chutneys, sambol and rice). We tried the latter, which arrived sleekly packaged and easy to prepare. A curry of meaty hunks of young jackfruit with fried onion and cinnamon is comforting yet boldly flavoured, while a red lentil dahl is soothingly creamy, and a green bean curry comes in a delicately spiced, coconut milk broth. Trimmings include a poky toasted pol sambol with coconut that delivers a punchy hit of heat, as does a Malay pickle, while date and lime chutney is deliciously sour and almost fudgy in texture.

From £40 for two people, restokit.co.uk (HG)

Curry selection

Ribinator, Flank

This OTT creation from Flank London founder and chef Tom Griffiths was inspired by the McRib sandwich (and the Terminator films) and was created by Griffiths especially for the at-home experience. The main element is the ‘rib’ –made up of different slow-cooked and smoked cuts of pork which have been compressed, chef-style, into a sandwich shaped slab which you brown in the pan, then finish off in the oven. This is then layered with BBQ glaze, smoky ketchup, puffed rice, crispy onions and crunchy pickles in a soft long brioche bun. The finished ‘ribinator’ looks a bit daunting – the rib is thicker than the bun – but on biting, it surrenders into soft, juicy meat and the other elements mean there are plenty of contrasting textures. One for meat lovers.

£25 for two people, restaurantkitsuk.com

A brioche sub stuffed with ribs and slaw

Crispy piglet belly bao buns, Flesh & Buns

This home bao kit comes with all you need to create crispy suckling pig steamed buns, including a fun pamphlet of easy-to-follow instructions. Cook the generous piece of suckling pork belly until crisp, steam your hand-sized bao (there are cooking instructions for a bamboo steamer and also an alternative method), then build. Slather a spoonful of punchy karashiko mustard miso sauce on a pillowy-soft bun, add a handful of fall-apart shredded meat, and top with sliced pickled apple and delicate shisho leaves. There are six buns in the kit, with plenty of meat to go round – perfect to serve alongside a couple of sides for a Friday night feast.

£27.50 for two people, restaurantkitsuk.com (AC)

Piglet Belly Bao Buns with a steamer of buns

Philly LOVEbundles, Passyunk Avenue

Go full USA at home with a Philadelphia-inspired feed. Fill a thick, sub-style roll with prime rib-eye steak, oozy cheese sauce and onions; gnaw on wings with tangy, spicy buffalo sauce and blue cheese dip; and don’t forget the deli-style hoagie sandwiches. The kits (from £19.99) are called LOVEbundles, and we can’t think of a better way to deliver some love and culinary comfort to friends, family and, of course, yourself right now. Passyunk Avenue’s Cleveland Street branch reopened in July.

From £19.99 for two people, passyunk.co.uk (JC)

Passyunk philly cheesesteak

Dum biryanis, Empire Biryani

The brains behind London’s Gunpowder restaurants have launched a service that delivers hearty, pastry-topped dum biryanis straight to your door. Each biryani is steamed low and slow for several hours and features fillings of either lamb shank or shahi mushrooms, onions and spices. We tried the latter – expect tender mushrooms, perfectly cooked, fluffy, buttery rice and a bronzed shortcrust pastry lid. Accompaniments come in the form of dishes such as velvety paneer butter masala, and smoky achari aloo gobi (pickled cauliflower and potatoes). It's all very easy to prepare – biryanis simply need heating through in the oven, as do side dishes (or in a microwave).

£35, dishpatch.co.uk/feasts/the-emperors-feast (Image credit Safia Shakarchi) (HG)

A rice biryani topped with pastry

Iraqi Tepsi Beitenjan burger, Juma Kitchen

Philip Juma has been sharing his Iraqi cooking in London since 2012, most recently with a permanent site in Borough Market. This two-course meal kit celebrates some of the most popular flavours from the restaurant in an easy to assemble form. There is slow cooked aubergine to warm up and pile on the rich lamb patties along with crunchy potato chips and a sweet red pepper ketchup. The burger is finished with crisp lettuce, fresh parsley and crunchy pickled cucumber. Instructions are clear and concise and the whole thing comes together with ease. The knafa dessert is a revelation – double cream, mozzarella and shredded filo is layered and baked, then finished with blossom syrup and a rose and pistachio topping for a crunchy, creamy, sweet wonder.

£30 for two people, restaurantkitsuk.com

Two loaded brioche burgers

Malaysian laksa, Sambal Shiok

Mandy Yin grew up in Kuala Lumpur and has been sharing her Malaysian dishes with Londoners since 2013. She started on a street food stall, then progressed to a supper club and eventually opened her bricks-and-mortar restaurant; and now you can try her fragrant laksas at home. Order the special laksa – a rich coconut broth filled with plenty of plump prawns, chicken pieces, spongy tofu and slippery egg noodles. Or try a meal set from Mandy’s sister company, Nasi Economy Rice. Choose between five-spice ragu, assam prawns and soy-braised chicken, all served with fluffy rice, yellow veg curry and sweet ’n’ sour greens, as well as potato curry puffs to start and delicate cardamom chocolate cake for pud.

£34.95 for two people, sambalshioklaksabar.slerp.com/order (AC)

A spread of laksa bowls and Malaysian dishes at Sambal Shiok Laksa Bar London

Beef brisket burgers, Libertine burgers

Libertine has two outlets in the Midlands and has something of a cult following. Its home kit is far from average, featuring four beef patties made with flank, chuck and brisket with a deeply meaty flavour. Instructions are on the nice side of bossy, explaining exactly which order to load up each sesame seeded brioche bun with Heinz ketchup, French’s mustard, pickles (all provided) and iceberg lettuce. Cook burgers for four minutes on each side, add seasoning, American cheese slices, crispy bacon and boom. Dedicated burger flippers can supplement the kit with tools such as Hell’s Kitchen Grill Scarper (£25), also sold online.

£25 for four people, libertine-burger.myshopify.com (CH)

Libertine Burgers on trays with a hot dog on the side

Weekend treats

Pulled-pork barbecue, Smokestak

Some say Smokestak is the best barbecue restaurant in London, if not the UK – try this summer box for two and see if you agree. Chef David Carter takes inspiration from his travels in the southern states of America as well as his home country of Barbados (see more here) There are big, punchy flavours from the off: a starter of merguez sausages, cooked in the oven or on the grill, comes with flat bread, fermented chilli sauce and a cod’s roe dip. Pickled cucumbers cut through the main of native breed pulled pork shoulder with a BBQ mustard sauce, eaten with smoked dripping oven chips and garlic-anchovy Hispi cabbage, all clearly labelled and easy to cook within 30 minutes. Dessert is an instant-assemble white chocolate cheesecake with berry compote. A blood orange negroni, served over ice, is a brilliant boozy bonus.

£65 for two people, dishpatch.co.uk/feasts/pulled-pork (CH)

Smokestak's Indian feast including pulled pork and chips

Italian supper box, The River Café

Simple, seasonal, and a cinch to prepare. River Café is known for its excellent sourcing of high-quality Italian ingredients and this box set (we tried number six) doesn’t disappoint. Expect the best buffalo mozzarella, prosciutto di parma, Violetta artichokes, grissini and braised spinach for a mouth-watering starter. Super-thin tagliolini needs just three minutes max in boiling water, and is eaten simply with warmed-through, slow-cooked tomato sauce, with – transformatory! – a tablespoon of butter. Finish with cantucci almond biscuits – if you’d like to dip them in vin santo dessert wine (as they do in Tuscany), check out the wine tab in the online shop.

£100 for four people, shoptherivercafe.co.uk

The River Café

DIY steak kits, Hawksmoor

This feast from one of the UK’s most prestigious steak houses provides all you need to recreate the Hawksmoor experience at home. Start by cracking open crisp, malty Derbyshire-brewed session IPA, and get your starter of belly ribs and pickled slaw on the go (though there is a lot of food, so you can also save these for a light lunch the next day). The main event (we tried the t-bone option) comes with a handy “how to cook perfect steak” guide, to ensure you do justice to the prime piece of meat. Executive chef Matt Brown’s epic beef dripping oven chips come ready for you to complete the third and final cook at home, while rich peppercorn sauce and creamed spinach just need to be warmed through. There’s a generous portion of sticky toffee pud with a pot of Rodda’s clotted cream for an indulgent finish. A bottle of Hawksmoor’s annual full-bodied blend of Portuguese red is included, as well as a stylish bottle of pre-mixed sour cherry negroni to enjoy as an aperitif or to extend the evening.

From £135 for two people, shop.thehawksmoor.com (AC)

Hawksmoor Steak Kit with a side of chips, bottle of red wine and negroni

Middle Eastern feasts, Arabica

Get involved with these generous Lebanese feasts. Assemble your own beautiful meze dishes to start – top silky hummus with sweet peppers and roast chickpeas, sprinkle pomegranate over smoky baba ghanoush, fry squeaky halloumi pieces in Turkish dried mint and pop spiced squash pumpkin kibbeh (Lebanese croquettes) in the oven to warm and crisp up. Diners are encouraged to enjoy this spread as a starter before moving onto mains – slow-cooked beef short rib in a spiced red pepper stew served with crunchy, toasted vermicelli noodles and fragrant rice. The feast is finished with a dinky plate of buttery baklava and a pack of mint leaves to brew a refreshing mint tea. 5% of sale proceeds from this box will be donated to Red Cross Lebanon to support the city by which it’s inspired.

From £45 for two people, arabicalondon.com (AC)

A feast with beef stew and rice at the centre, hummus, baba ganoush, halloumi and pita breads round outside

Porchetta Sunday feast, Mortimer House

Mortimer House has done the impossible: challenged the traditional Sunday roast to a fight - and won!

A whole burrata makes a simple starter, arranged on top of a plate of capocollo (thinly sliced cured pork) and dotted with picked onions. The main event is porchetta which roasts in just over an hour yielding the fantastic crackling everyone loves. It comes with roasties, broccoli to be sautéd with garlic, chilli, pork and mustard jus, and a punchy salsa verde. A huge slab of tiramisu is spectacularly good. For four there will be leftovers, so the kit also includes ciabatta and onion jam for sandwiches the next day.

£120 for four people, slerp.com (CH)

Mortimer House Porchetta Box

Curry kits, Opheem

Aktar Islam’s Opheem restaurant in Birmingham was the first Indian restaurant outside London to be awarded a Michelin star, and now you can enjoy the creations of the former Great British Menu-winning chef in your own home for £60. Each week Aktar develops a menu of 10 dishes – more than enough for a banquet for four, several meals for two, or a whole week of dinners for one. The box we tried contained a spectacular sikandari raan (spice-marinated smoked leg of lamb), accompanied by an array of veggie curries and sides. The dishes come vac-packed, ready to cook, with a menu and step-by-step instructions. Great value.

£60 for two people, aktarathome.co.uk (KK)

Mutton curry

Made in Oldstead boxes, The Black Swan

Chef Tommy Banks, of The Black Swan, is the man behind Made in Oldstead Food Boxes. Choose a standard or celebration box, and expect dishes such as beef wellington made with local salt-aged beef fillet. Locals can collect from either The Black Swan or sister restaurant Roots, and there’s also a national delivery service. Roots has reopened its doors with amended opening times, and The Black Swan plans to reopen in August.

From £54, tommybanks.co.uk (JC)

Made in Oldstead Tommy Banks

A little something extra

Pleesecakes – DIY dessert kits for a celebration

Pleesecakes, famous for its fun, fully loaded cheesecakes, has created the DIY kit (from £28) that sweet-toothed home cooks have been waiting for. It’s new Build Your Own at Home (BYOAH!) range contains a ready-to-rock base with pre-made filling, along with a cake board, ganache and those signature decorations (choose from chocolate bars or pick ’n’ mix). A great shout for a friend with a celebration – you can get it delivered straight to them, wherever they live in the UK.

From £28 per cheesecake, byoah.com (JC)

BYOAH Pleasecake kits


(CH) Christine Hayes
(JC) Jessica Carter
(AC) Alex Crossley
(HG) Hannah Guinness
(JR) Janine Ratcliffe
(KK) Keith Kendrick
(LG) Lulu Grimes
(LR) Lucy Roxburgh

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