As far as meal kits go, this is easily the simplest to prepare. It’s also possibly the best value for money – and maybe even the tastiest. Aktar Islam is the chef behind Birmingham’s Michelin-starred restaurant Opheem. The fine-dining restaurant is famed for its boundary-pushing approach to Indian fare (take duck liver with pineapple, chilli and coconut, for example); but for his meal kit service, Aktar at Home, the pro chef has taken a simpler approach. It was definitely the right call. For £70, you get a selection of eight curries, plus fragrant spiced basmati rice, naan and sheermal (Hyderabadi-style milk bread). The first thing you’ll realise is that the servings are incredibly generous; it’s enough to serve four people twice (you can freeze it, don’t worry). The menu changes regularly, with a meat or vegan option available. I went for the vegan menu, and instantly found myself in a heavenly cloud of aromas as I heated up each curry in separate pans. The creamy South Indian chickpea curry in coconut milk with dried mango instantly sent me to the tropics, and the tangy khatte baingan curry was a spicy aubergine dream. When the UK opens up again, I’m heading straight to Birmingham… Rose Johnstone
Over the last few years, London’s restaurants have been forced to innovate like hell. Whether it’s transforming into makeshift shops, developing their own takeaway apps or delivering food straight to the park, we’ve been nothing but impressed by all the ingenuity.
The most boss move of all? Developing recipe boxes that Londoners could use to make their food at home. Dishoom created a kit that helped you recreate its famous bacon naan, there were Honest and Patty & Bun burger boxes and all sorts of curry packs. Now there are loads of DIY kits. Some involve multiple pans, others require simply putting things together, all promise restaurant-quality food at home.
Some of our favourite additions to the scene? Berenjak’s gormeh sabzi – a lamb and bean stew, served with tahdig (crispy saffron rice) and salad – as well as all the slow-cooked meats you can choose to fill corn tortillas with via Tacos Padre’s at-home kits and the massive weekend kit from Shuk. Plus, we’re finding it fun to try kits from top restaurants around the country too. Read on to find your dream meal kit.