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Pasta Poetry
Photograph: Simon Shiff

The best at-home meal kits to try this lockdown

Bring the experience of a restaurant home with these heat-and-eat numbers

Written by
Rushani Epa
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Is your pantry looking a little bare? Are you tired of recreating the five recipes you know off the top of your head? Or are you simply craving a top-notch steak with potatoes coated in an ungodly amount of duck fat? Whatever your reason to bring the restaurant experience home, we're here to help.

Below you'll find some of the best meal delivery kits by Melbourne's best restaurants and brands. There are some that include a simple heat up, while others are a little more involved. Competition in the meal kit world has never been more fierce so to help you navigate this crowded space, we've picked out a few of our favourites for you to try.

Need more? Check out our guide to celebrating in lockdown with cakes that can be delivered, shows you can stream and more.

The best at-home meal kits

  • Restaurants
  • Fairfield

Craving fresh pasta? Pasta Poetry in Fairfield has you covered, with an ever-changing menu of both filled and unfilled pasta and sauces available for pickup and delivery. Choose from 12 weekly dishes including gnocchi with ragu bolognese; saffron tagliatelle with mushroom ragu; and slow-braised ox cheek cappelletti. Each box comes with freshly made pasta and a matching sauce, which are easy to reheat. Just boil the pasta for a few minutes and heat the sauce in a saucepan and you're good to go. Order here.

  • Restaurants
  • Carlton

Scopri offers a seasonally rotating menu comprised of produce from the team's own biodynamic farm in the Macedon Ranges. While the restaurant is often booked out, you can now experience a taste of the Italian bistro at home. Scopri is offering an a la carte box that allows you to choose from any of its winter warmers to add to your own personalised box. Think pappardelle with duck ragu, braised beef cheeks, DIY cannoli kits and more available via the website. There's a minimum order of $80.

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  • Restaurants
  • Restaurants

Providoor offers ready-made meals from many of Melbourne's best restaurants. All you need to do is heat and assemble before serving up. Completing the dish at home means there's less disconnect between what you’re eating at home and what you would have eaten at these top-notch restaurants. There are plenty of acclaimed diners like Tipo 00, Cumulus Inc and Hardware Club onboard – many of which aren't doing straightforward takeaway like other restaurants in Melbourne. Browse the entire list of venues and order via Providoor's website.

  • Shopping

Make-Out Meals is a Melbourne initiative that combines the meal kit model of Hello Fresh and Marley Spoon, with the expertise of local chefs and restaurants. Here’s how it works: like a regular meal kit, you choose what you want to cook based on a database of available recipes, and the company then sends you the pre-portioned ingredients and instructions to make that meal. Make-Out Meals’ point of difference is that all the recipes were designed by the folks behind your favourite eateries: Bomba, Simply Spanish, Tipico, Fancy Hank’s, Ish, Babajan, La Tortilleria and others. And every time someone chooses to cook a particular recipe, that restaurant gets a cut of the sale, which helps support that venue during lockdown. Find out more about Make-Out Meals here.

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  • Restaurants
  • Melbourne

CBD-based South Indian-Sri Lankan eatery Indu, one of the best restaurants in Melbourne, is dishing up heat-and-eat meals for you to enjoy at home. ​​Boxes serve two people comfortably with three courses and are delivered ready to simply heat and serve. Some very limited cooking may be required but full instructions are provided. Check it out via the website.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Melbourne
  • price 3 of 4

Japanese eatery Akaiito is offering a seafood shabu shabu banquet that you can cook at home. It comes with Australian abalone, scampi, scallops, king prawns, sashimi-grade fish, seasonal vegetables, tofu, house-made shabu shabu soup, ponzu and udon noodles for you to pop into your pot and cook away as you please. Order here.

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  • Restaurants
  • Carlton

This Carlton eatery is still offering takeaway which can either arrive hot or cold for you to finish at home. On the menu there are freshly shucked oysters or charcuterie to start with and hot roasted chicken, duck or beef short rib with roasted duck fat potatoes to follow. There's also a tiramisu with a bottled cocktail to finish. Place your orders here.

  • Restaurants
  • Southbank

A fancy Nobu feast to heat and eat at home? Yep, it's one of the fanciest you'll likely have. This Japanese fine diner has revived its popular "Nobu at Home" menu which includes two finish-at-home omakase boxes with Wagyu tacos and black cod miso. Plus, there are bottled cocktails to match.

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Hello Fresh is so synonymous with meal kits that it's now become a household name. The process is simple: You choose your meals, pick a date for them to arrive and they appear on your doorstep, colour-coded and foolproof. While there are cheaper traditional meal kits on the market, you really do get what you pay for so it’s well worth the extra couple of dollars for the highly varied recipes and overall experience. Read a bit more and order here.

Rather leave it to the professionals?

  • Restaurants
  • Fitzroy
  • price 3 of 4

Melbourne, meet your new favourite snacking spot, where a seafood-centric bar menu offers breaded abalone with tonkatsu sauce sandwiched in the kind of high-GI white bread your doctor warned you about. Cutler and Co is open on Good Friday, Saturday and Easter Sunday. 

Harlow
  • Bars
  • Pubs
  • Richmond

What was once Richmond's old and crumbling Great Britain Hotel is now Harlow: an old-school pub with new-school sensibilities. It'll be open as normal all long weekend, and you can swing by for Easter Sunday brunch from 11.30am to 1.30pm to enjoy a package including an Easter egg shot, two hours of bottomless drinks, a lunch item of choice and a special dessert. To book, head to the website

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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Cremorne

Fargo and Co is offering two-hour bottomless brunch packages all Easter long weekend. On Good Friday and Easter Monday, the package is $79 per person, and on Saturday and Sunday, the package is $69 per person. To book, head to the website

Hawthorn Hotel
  • Bars
  • Hawthorn

Across the long weekend, visitors can enjoy Easter-themed cocktails and desserts and kids can enjoy a free kids ice cream with the purchase of any kids' meal. On Good Friday and Easter Saturday, you can enjoy live entertainment from local bands. To book, head to the website

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  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Fitzroy
  • price 2 of 4

One of the things the A-Mc does very well is create venues (Cumulus Inc and Cumulus Up spring immediately to mind) that are what you make them, and while Marion could be used as a pre-dinner pit-stop, it deserves more loving. Revert to the hip term bistronomy, if you must, which is another way of saying it has excellent food and wine values while trying really hard not to show how hard it’s trying. It's open on Good Friday, Saturday and Easter Sunday.

  • Bars
  • Hawthorn

If you're keen to kick fesitivites off a bit early, you can head to the Auburn Hotel for a pre-Easter Thursday to partake in discounts across house specials and classic cocktails. Bring your kids along on Easter Sunday to enjoy a petting zoo, face painting, kids entertainers and an Easter egg hunt. For more information, head to the website

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  • Things to do
  • Kew

Over the entire long weekend, you can book in at the garden pods for a two-hour session with a tasty grazing platter. The platter includes delicious savoury and sweet bites like deviled eggs, crumbed halloumi bites, mini pork and fennel sausage rolls, lamingtons and glazed hot cross buns with whipped cream and house jam. Bookings are essential and can be made through the website

Builders Arms Hotel
  • Bars
  • Fitzroy

As a rule your local pub probably shouldn’t be your first port of call when you crave dumplings, but if you’re in Fitzroy it’s a whole different story. Head to Builders Arms Hotel all Easter long weekend to satisfy your cravings.

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  • Things to do
  • Games and hobbies
  • Tullamarine

This all-day venue located at Urbnsurf will be serving up a range of special dishes over the Easter long weekend. Think whole prawns served with XO butter and lime and mains like slow-roasted lamb shoulder with smoked honey, salsa verde and almonds. To book in, head to the website

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Fitzroy
  • price 2 of 4

Enjoy the start of your Easter weekend at this intimate cocktail bar that is inspired by the golden era of fine drinking. The bar wlil be open from 5pm until 1am on April 15 and 16, and the expert team will be at the ready to deliver world-class drinks.   

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  • Bars
  • Melbourne
  • price 1 of 4

This massive outdoor eatery and beer garden sandwiched between two Melbourne icons (the Yarra River and Flinders Street Station) stretches for 120 metres along the river bank and is officially Melbourne’s longest bar. This Easter long weekend, it will be open as per usual with no surcharge. 

  • Restaurants
  • Melbourne
  • price 2 of 4

'Eating house' doesn't quite cut it. ‘All-day diner’ falls worryingly short. In fact, when trying to sum up the place Cumulus Inc plays in Melbourne’s hungry heart, ‘favourite clubhouse’ comes as close as any description. Over the Easter long weekend, Cumuls Inc will be open on Good Friday and Saturday. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Melbourne

There’s a lot going on at Her, Lonsdale Street’s new four-concept mega-venue. At street level is Her Bar, a French-inspired all-day cocktail spot, and on level one you’ll find the Music Room, an ode to whisky and vinyl. BKK is on level three, it’s a “turbocharged Thai BBQ canteen” that also caters for Her Rooftop, a relaxed garden terrace for drinks, lunches, dinners and nightcaps. The quadruple threat is open as per usual with no surcharge this Easter long weekend. 

  • Bars
  • Carlton

If you love Naked for Satan, the rooftop at the Imperial, or hanging out at the Australian Open, this bar is right up your cobblestoned Carlton alley. It’s another venue proving that this neighbourhood can do a lot more than cheap pasta for tourists. It will be open from noon on Good Friday and will open at its normal hours on Saturday through Monday.

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  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Carlton

Have you ever tried to style your hair into a ‘messy bob’, or attempted to cook paella at home? As it turns out, looking effortless requires a lot of work. With Agostino, about four years’ worth has resulted in a restaurant that’s breezily confident from the outset, ready to elbow its way into Melbourne’s Italian canon. This Easter, you can pop by from Saturday to Monday during normal hours. 

  • Restaurants
  • Asian
  • Melbourne
  • price 2 of 4

Dining on Flinders Lane requires a game plan because more often than not, you’ll be lining up for a table. This is especially true for Supernormal, which is one of those restaurants people are willing to wait hours to eat at. The same goes for Easter long weekend when the venue is open on Good Friday, Saturday and Easter Sunday.

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  • Restaurants
  • Modern Australian
  • St Kilda
  • price 3 of 4

The fit-out here runs with the beach shack theme, with wide, rough-sawn boards and tubular glass chandeliers that undulate just slightly in the breeze. The tables are well-spaced and linen-clad, which is like the Stokehouse of yore, as are the waiters, a full battalion of them, who are uniformly good. All is as it should be, and punters can dine in during normal hours over the entire long weekend. On Friday and Monday, guests can also enjoy a three-course lunch and two hours of bottomless Bollinger for $185 per person. 

  • Restaurants
  • Bars
  • Melbourne
  • price 3 of 4

The 1920s architecture of the Cavendish House building carries through to the interiors, delivered by Sydney design house ACME. Art deco flourishes, marble countertops, chandeliers and leather booths combine to create a nostalgic bistro look – a conscious nod towards the clubby dining rooms of Chicago. Gimlet is open through the entirety of Easter long weekend.

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  • Restaurants
  • Mediterranean
  • St Kilda
  • price 2 of 4

Pontoon is a glamour model masquerading as a breezy beach shack. And this Easter long weekend, it will be open for its normal hours and there will be a special Easter set menu available. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Bars
  • Fitzroy

On the ground level of dining and drinking wonderland 127 Brunswick, you’ll find Ichi Ni Nana, one of the few places in Melbourne where you can enjoy an authentic Izakaya dining experience. Ichi Ni Nana will be open throughout the entire Easter long weekend.

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Hawker Hall
  • Restaurants
  • Windsor
  • price 1 of 4

Hawker Hall is, in a word, dizzying, in that patented Lucas fashion: visually arresting, olfactorily pleasing thanks to the hard-working woks in the open kitchen, and packed to the rafters with a well-dressed sliver of humanity. It will be open all Easter weekend with normal hours. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Melbourne

Tucked inside the swank-fest of the 80 Collins development, Yakimono is a love letter to the futuristic excess of Tokyo: dimly lit, suffused with the exotic glow of pink and purple neon and thrumming to a soundtrack that has every second person activating their Shazam app. It's open all Easter weekend with normal hours. 

  • Hotels
  • Luxury hotels
  • Melbourne
  • price 3 of 4

The hotel's Lobby Lounge & Bar will be transformed into an Easter oasis, with a decadent high tea buffet on offer. Think sweet and savoury delights like Champagne-cured salmon finger sandwiches and bubble gum panna cotta. Bookings can be made here

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  • Restaurants
  • Melbourne

Located inside the 80 Collins Street precinct, Society consists of four sections: the lounge, a private dining area, the main dining room and the Terrace. Society and the Terrace will both be closed on Easter Monday but will reopen for the rest of Easter long weekend. 

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Melbourne
  • price 2 of 4

This, in short, is a place determined to bring the bling. Architects Wood Marsh have created three levels of Flinders Lane dining power, including a bar dedicated to Chablis (albeit not exclusively) on the upper level, and the lower two floors enjoying the clang and clash of sushi bars mixing it with à la carte tables where hot dishes wrestle attention from the raw and cold in a two-menu act of bamboozling choice. Kisumé will be closed on Easter Monday but open as per usual throughout the rest of the Easter long weekend.

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  • Restaurants
  • Modern Australian
  • Northcote
  • price 2 of 4

This former bistro is now a slick bar where you can go slumming in serious style with things like the wagyu bolognese jaffle hiding under a snowdrift of salty-melty cheese, or puffed veal tendons, the bovine world’s answer to the prawn cracker, dusted with tang-tastic dashi and coffee dust. Over the long weekend, it will be open on Good Friday, Saturday and Easter Sunday. 

Longrain
  • Bars
  • Melbourne
  • price 2 of 4

The on-again off-again rooftop drinking spot Melbourne has been waiting for is currently in an 'off’' phase, alas, but fear not, punters: Longrain nonetheless harbours one of the town’s best bars. There it is, hidden in plain sight, butting into the broad room like an island of civility in a chilli-fuelled brouhaha. Over the long weekend, you can pop in on Good Friday and Saturday.

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  • Restaurants
  • South Yarra
  • price 2 of 4

The fit-out is so luxe you can almost smell the expense. There’s a fire and charcoal-driven kitchen, a botanical-filled glass cabinets and a dining room of rough-edged wooden-topped tables and the fattest, softest leather banquettes that elicit a gasp of surprise from more than one diner (it’s the endlessly entertaining Matilda spectator sport). It'll be open on Good Friday, Saturday and Easter Sunday.

  • Restaurants
  • Vietnamese
  • Richmond

This diner may be as jam-packed and bustling as a cheap-eats restaurant in Vietnam, but that's where the similarities in appearance end. Hannah's kitsch design steers clear of the mini plastic tables and chairs that line the streets of Hanoi. Instead, it opts for exposed bricks, retro Vietnamese watercolours, empty beer cans, party lights,  – bringing to mind an artfully designed warehouse, set to the beat of low-volume hip-hop. It will be open on Good Friday, Saturday and Easter Sunday. 

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Hanoi Hannah Express Lane
  • Restaurants
  • Windsor
  • price 1 of 4

If you've got a hankering for Hanoi Hannah's hawker-style fare but don't have the time to spare for a sit down meal, head two doors down to Hanoi Hannah Express Lane. It'll be open all Easter long weekend to satisfy your cravings. 

  • Hotels
  • Sorrento

The Conti is back, baby. At the end of March, Sorrento’s favourite watering hole will begin reopening after a massive refurb to turn the 145-year-old hotel into a six-level, five-building precinct. It comes with a new restaurant from Scott Pickett, a flashy public bar, a beer garden and a pool. It's open through Easter long weekend, so hop in the car and head down to the peninsula. 

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