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CITYMATTERS.LONDON 10 February - 09 March 2021 | Page 11 FOOD & DRINK subscribe to our newsletter at DIY meal kits are all the rage now. But not all are made equally. That’s especially true when you take the meal box from Lyle’s, the Michelinstarred restaurant based in Shoreditch. This smashes just about every other competitor’s offerings. And we wouldn’t expect anything less from these innovative chefs who are known for pushing the envelope when it comes to modern cooking. Their success with these pandemic-born meal kits is not surprising. And, just as it goes with their usual offerings, nothing is as simple as it seems. First off, they’ve got four different boxes to choose from – The Game Box, The Duck Box, The Lyle’s Box and The Mid-Week Box. Each consists of a selection of dishes which are mostly prepared and only require some simple reheating and plating. We tried out their classic Lyle’s Menu Box, for it is packed with classic Lyle’s dishes. Expect EATING IN: THE LYLE’S MEAL BOX ELEVATING EVERYTHING: Even the humble pumpkin soup gets a makeover, as the Michelin-starred chefs outdo themselves with the most simple dishes. DOUBLE DESSERT: for those with a sweet tooth. LET’S DO... PASTA KITS / Officina 00 The pasta legends of Old Street, Officina 00, have created an extensive selection of DIY pasta kits. All their most popular dishes are included (don’t miss out on the pappardelle ragu with meatballs burrata) as well as plain fresh pasta. You can either use their authentic Italian sauces and cheeses or just get the fresh pasta and make your own special accompaniments. You can then add wine, beer, sides, starters and desserts to the Italian feast. We say you best get around their aubergine parmigiana dish - any Nonna would be proud of this bad boy! BEER & BBQ BOX / Two Tribes Brewery & From The Ashes BBQ This Valentine’s Day, Two Tribes Brewery are teaming up with From The Ashes BBQ for a special edition beer and BBQ box. From The Ashes BBQ have chosen dishes created on the holy trinity of smoke, fat and flavour, designed to seamlessly partner with fresh beers from the King’s Cross brewery. To drink, the Two Tribes team have selected six beers from their Metroland series, a newly released series of session IPAs, inspired by travels to destinations around the world and across the UK. a bunch of their favourites made from fresh seasonal produce. If you’ve been to Lyle’s and loved it, then get this bad boy – it’s quintessential Lyle’s fine dining, but at home. The menu changes regularly, but is generally made up of six-courses, priced at £140 for two people. Not cheap, but entirely worth it. This is a ‘treat yourself’ meal kit. For when you want to feel like fine dining royalty but don’t want to put in all the effort of making it yourself. But, if we are being honest, few can recreate these dishes at home. Even if a pumpkin soup looks fairly simple, a huge amount of time and skill has gone into preparing it. They will pack all the pumpkins into your bowl, add a pumpkin seed reduction, throw more roasted pumpkin cubes on top, and then shave a few roasted chestnut shavings and toasted pumpkin seeds on top for good measure. What you’re left with is the best god damn pumpkin soup you’ve ever had. Seriously. These guys don’t mess about. And this is the standard of each dish. Start off with some homemade sourdough bread with proper homemade butter. Move on to two starters which will only take you about 10-minutes to prepare. Then grab your main – usually some top cut of meat. End it on a double dessert high and make sure to pair it with some really good wines. Don’t ruin the whole occasion with cheap wine or beer. You’re better than that guys. And what we loved so much about these meal boxes, is how much you really appreciate the artistry of chefs who are at the top of their field. You get a better understanding of what goes into the dishes they create. Even though it’s super easy for you to do at home, you can see how much extra work has gone into making something so special. We now have even more respect for these guys, and a greater desire to support them during these incredibly challenging times. For restaurants are still struggling. Insanely so. That’s why we are all about these DIY kits. They are the best way to support struggling restaurants. You’re keeping these guys alive so that, when the City eventually reopens, you won’t find all your favourite foodie spots shut down for good. Help keep these guys going, all the while feasting on all manners of deliciousness at home. We can assure you – you will not regret splashing out the cash on this one. NEW SUSTAINABLE KIT / The Regenerative Menu Box Eco-Chef Tom Hunt has collaborated with Chef Danny Jack to launch a plant-based and zero waste Regenerative Menu Box, using recipes from his new cookbook Eating for Pleasure, People & Planet. Each dish has been cooked by Tom, Danny and his team, so all you need to do is finish up the cooking, plate it all up and feast! This DIY kit was prepared using organic and agroecological ingredients from Tom and Danny’s favourite farms and suppliers in London, the UK and Europe. These guys are passionate about using locally sourced produce which also come from ethical sources. This kit is full of tasty and ethical food. Winner! NEW OPENING / Biryani Empire The founders of Gunpowder have launched Empire Biryani, a new delivery service for London which is inspired by their memories of India and celebratory occasions featuring this impressive centrepiece. Each dish is prepared fresh every morning and are delivered the same day. Their signature biryani, the result of a 36-hour preparation, is steamed on a low heat for several hours until the rice and meat are fragrant and tender, a cooking technique known as ‘dum’. The rice is then topped with shortcrust pastry to bind the flavours and garnished with fresh spices. It is extraordinary!

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