The UK has started to open up, with outdoor dining and drinking leading the way to our path to normality. It’s a great turn of events and especially great for our beloved hospitality industry, who have suffered harshly at the hands of the pandemic.
But if you’re still hesitant to venture outdoors – or perhaps the classic British weather is doing the least to entice you – we’ve rounded up some fabulous ways to eat and drink well and support the industry – all from the comfort of your home.
From DIY kits sticking around to virtual wine tastings, we’ve got a real mix for you. If you’re staying inside, here’s what to eat and drink and still have a fabulous time with friends and family.
If lockdown cooking and takeaways got the best of you, Nutrition Kitchen is an excellent way to detox. Designed with meal plans for those who want to lose weight and those who want to build muscle, the catering team select healthy plans for you across breakfast, lunch and dinner. All plans offer balanced meals, with dishes featuring a variety of meat, fish and vegetarian-focused elements. Breakfast includes poached eggs, mushrooms and spinach, as well as a ham and gruyère cheese omelette. For lunch and dinner, feast upon things such as tandoori chicken with salad; halibut with roasted vegetables or chili con carne. What’s particularly great about Nutrition Kitchen is that your meals arrive at your door each morning so you know everything was prepared fresh on the day.
One of the best DIY kits we’ve seen during this pandemic, the five-course dinner from Romulo Café allows you to enjoy the unique and unfortgettable taste of the Philippines at home. Since we can’t quite travel to the most exotic of destinations right now, travelling through food will have to do. But with Romulo, it’s hardly a consolation prize. The five course finish-at-home kit can be ordered via Plateaway and contains a variety of Filipino dishes. The beauty of this menu is that you can tailor it to your personal preferences, choosing from the likes of Inasal Sisig (lemongrass chicken); Lumpiang Sariwa (vegetable spring roll) and Kinilaw sa Gata (sea bream ceviche) for your starters.
Moving onto the main course: we chose the Crispy Pata (Dingley Dell crispy pork hock) which was a dream to cook and crunch into. Other delicious options for the main course include wok-fried noodles with chicken or prawns or vegetables, as well as Romulo’s signature truffled chicken Adobo. For dessert, it had to be the Ube cheesecake for us, but there’s also Sans Rival (a layered cashew cake) or Banoffee Turon.
Virtual wine tastings just got an upgrade thanks to Tom Gilbey’s vast knowledge and enthusiasm for the humble grape. He’s recently launched his online masterclasses, which are suitable for both small groups and larger parties. Ditching the stuffy nature for something more informal and entertaining, Tom’s wine tastings focus on a particular theme (A French Connection; The Italian Job; The Old World Meets New etc.) and participants are sent four wines to be paired with British cheeses, relishes and biscuits. The wine tasting is conducted over Zoom, as Tom guides his guests through each wine, drawing upon his decades’ worth of experience in the industry. There’s opportunity for the audience to interact or to simply sit back and sip away.
Intrigued? The next class is on Friday, in partnership with Sophie’s Steakhouse. Participants will discover which reds are best paired with steak, as well as having the opportunity to cook their own Premium Côte de Boeuf. Taste wines from Bordeaux, Argentina and Tuscany, alongside a beautiful steak dinner, for the perfect Friday night in.
A recent survey from Flora found that 61 per cent of Brits prefer a barbecue as their choice of al fresco dining. Well, if you’re part of this clan, we’ve got just the barbecue bundle for you. 44 Foods is here for all of your fruit, vegetable and other fresh produce needs but, seeing as barbecue season is pretty much upon us, why not stock up on bits for the grill? The large meat bundle includes two packs of tasty pork ribs, two packs of our delicious Ultimate Scotch Beef Burgers, two succulent steaks and much more.
With so much to go around, you’re definitely going to want to host the al fresco dining options rather than scramble for bookings. If you’re trying to avoid the supermarket shop come the nice weather – when it appears as though everyone in the country is barbecuing – you can also buy your rolls and buns from 44 Foods as well. For those looking to do the same as Martyn this Christmas, he shares his guide on how to throw a Christmas Dinner barbecue. Visit OutDoorHappens.com for some great barbecue recipes for your next party.
If you still fancy putting on a dinner party but are stuck at the pudding part, Mon Dessert is here to help you. Taking the stress out of baking, it offers a variety of popular desserts – all easy to make but impressive in appearance and taste. Choose from a range of sweet treats, such as the iconic Crème Brûlée; little Madeleines or the new Mille-Feuille. We opted for the classic Tarte au Citron, which was both fun and not so fiddly to create – the perfect dessert with which to get started. All the ingredients are provided for you; Mon Dessert just makes some small suggestions on what you might want more of etc.
To be completely honest, we knew we were going to love the latest DIY kits from Cue Point just as much as the first ones to hit our stomachs. We didn’t need to review to gain this insight. But a) what irresponsible journalism would that be and b) we would never turn down an offer to try Mursal and Josh’s beautiful brainchild. Offering up short rib and lamb ‘nacos’ to get even the fussiest of mothers (mine) to lick her lips and clean her plate, the new Birria kit will have you drooling over cheesy flatbreads and barbecoa. Not to be dismissed: those zaatar buttery smashed potatoes. Vegans, listen up, Cue Point caters for plant-based eaters too, with an aubergine naco kit.
Get the best Borough Market has to offer – in a box, delivered to your front door. Whether you’re planning a cheese and wine night in or you’re still not sick of a good, old fashioned picnic in the park, Borough Market has a series of boxes for you. This a great way of supporting your favourite suppliers and market in London from the comfort of your own home. With the “Picnic Box”, you can be treated to nibbles such as Moroccan olives; cornichons and mushroom pâté. Enjoy a selection of cheese, charcuterie and chutney with crackers and a rosemary and olive sourdough loaf. You can either supply your own drinks for the picnic – or add on wine, beer or champagne from Borough Market too. Available as a one-off purchase or for subscription, there’s enough boxes to see you through the summer months.
Another one for the barbecue or grill, popular Persian restaurant Berenjak has been offering up its kebab kits throughout lockdown. The Soho restaurant hasn’t yet been able to open its doors but indoor seating will be available come May 17th. Until then, the home-cooked kebab kits will give you your taste of Persia. Grill marinated jujeh (chicken) and koobideh (minced lamb) kebabs; charcoaled tomatoes and wrap it all up in lavash-style Persian bread.
The beauty of these kits is that everything is provided to you: you’ve got onions; lemons and spices such as somagh (sumac) to make the meal complete. The kit even includes mast-o-musir – the classic yoghurt and shallot dip served in Persian restaurants as a starter (alongside bread). If you want to turn up the heat, the kebab kit is also available in a spicy version, with chicken and barreh (cubed lamb). As a Persian person, my family and I all thoroughly enjoyed this kit – entertaining to make and delicious to eat.