Meal Kit Test Drive round-up - MEATliquor, Empire Biryani, Burger & Lobster

One of the very few good things to come out of the lockdowns have been some excellent DIY kits from some of London's best restaurants. We tried out some of the latest...


MEATliquor hot dogs

roomThe finished construction of the chilli hot dog. We were pretty pleased with this one. 

What can you make: Chilli Cheese Dogs, from £20 for two hot dogs.

What's the process? This is a fairly straightforward effort, involving heating through the chili and the hot dog and then construction. Both chilli and dog are already cooked and you're essentially just browning the hotdog in a frying pan. Then it's a case of pulling it all together - split the bun, perch the hotdog, cover (and really cover) it all in chilli and then onions and jalapenos. Finally, finish off with a drizzle of French's mustard - you get a full squeezy bottle of this so you'll have lots of that left over, which is quite handy. 

Then you have the perfect MEATliquor chilli dog. Be warned - you'll need lots of kitchen roll handy, it's pretty messy (in a good way). 

Anything else available? You can also get buffalo wings kits, vegan version of the dogs are available and there's an excellent range of ready-mixed cocktails, the House Grog being a personal favourite. 

Delivery Range: Nationwide

How to order: Order online


Empire Biryani's Lamb Dum Biryani 

roomA simple throw-in-the-oven job that leads to excellent results

roomA look inside the biryani

What can you make: Various biryanis, each kit is £30

What's the process? This is from the people behind excellent Indian restaurant Gunpowder, so you know you're in for something special here. As you can imagine, biryani is the main order of the day here, with two main kits on offer - lamb biryani or mushroom biryani.

Cooking the biryani itself could not be easier - just put it in the oven for 40 minutes and it's all ready. We'd give out high marks particularly for the outstanding pastry on top alone, but all in all this is an excellent one-dish-wonder. 

Anything else available? Each version comes with a couple of extra dishes. The lamb comes with egg curry Hyderabad style and Beef Boti Kebab - that's marinated beef cooked over coal. Both just need reheating and the latter was the real winner - excellent beef. If you're going for the mushroom version, that comes with Achari Aloo Gobi  (Cauliflower and Potatoes) and Paneer Butter Masala. If you're within 6 miles of them, even more feasts are available. 

Delivery Range: Within the M25

How to order: Order online


Burger & Lobster's Lobster Roll

roomThe kit even comes with a little box for the finishing touch. 

What can you make: Lobster Roll, two rolls for £28 (£48 for four)

What's the process? This gives you the chance to make one of the signature dishes from Burger & Lobster (their lobster roll really is always the main event for us). 

The kit has enough for two lobster rolls. First, you prepare the brioche, frying it in butter to get that properly burnished look. Then free the lobster from its vac-packed confines, mix with the dressing and fill the rolls. As a final touch, pour over the garlic butter sauce. That's it - and the lobster roll is every bit as great as those we've had from the restaurants themselves and we think it's priced pretty well, considering the packed rolls that you can build. 

Anything else available? Their burgers are available in DIY kit form too. 

Delivery Range: Nationwide

How to order: Order online


The Breakfast Club's pancake stacks

Breakfast ClubYou could even use up the whole kit and aim for a 6-12 stack. 

What can you make: Two full stacks of pancakes with lots of extras. The box is £40.

What's the process? This kit - called the "yellow beacons of pancake hope" has absolutely everything you need to create stacks of The Breakfast Club's signature pancakes. 

Everything is ready for you to get going, so just squeeze out the thick pancake batter from their bottles directly into the pan (there are two bottles, so you can save some batter for later). Each pancake takes about 5 minutes to cook and they are much thicker and fluffier than you might normally cook at home thanks to that batter. 

Then just pile them up and get creative with the extras - of which there are a lot. There's a huge amount of salted caramel chocolate ganache, cherry compote, maple syrup, cream and even chocolate or granola sprinkles. It's a very generous kit and they're selling it for at least all of February (we think they should have this available full time). All in all - a very satisfying creation, although make sure you're very hungry before starting. 

Anything else available? Plenty of merch.

Delivery Range: Nationwide

How to order: Order online

Hot Dinners received these kits as gifts from the various restaurants. Prices correct at time of publication.


More DIY kits 

For even more kits, check out our exhaustive guide to meal kits.


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