In a year where meal kits went from bang-it-on-a-baking-tray to multi-course feasts featuring every pan in your cupboard, we've ended up a bit spoilt for choice. But if you’re looking for an easy DIY dinner that really hits the spot, Flesh & Buns should be racing to the top of your to-try list. Having sampled their pork belly offering earlier this year, I was extra keen to see whether the miso aubergine bao kit (£22 available from Restaurant Kits) delivered the same level of quality, simplicity and stuff-your-face moreishness.
Inside the box you'll find ingredients for six perfectly puffy bao, as well as instructions so painless even my recipe-averse brain managed to keep up. The restaurant also gives you the option to add a bamboo steamer to your bundle to make sure those buns turn out exactly as nature intended.
After slicing, frying and coating the aubergine in a sticky miso glaze, the veg is sent into the grill for a few minutes while we steam the bao. After that, it’s a case of carefully constructing the final product, adding fragrant shiso leaves, carrot pickle and a sprinkle of shichimi togarashi. We over-sauced our aubergine a little, and it took a steady hand, two sets of tongs and a whole lot of concentration to get them on the buns in one piece.
Within 25 minutes of opening the kit we were sitting down to eat; and had it taken four times that, it still would have been worth it. Every bite brought a heavy hit of sweet and salty miso sauce, gooey aubergine and sharp pickle, banded together by those pillow-soft bao buns. They lasted maybe ten minutes on the plate - with five of those dedicated to the obligatory photoshoot - but they've been living rent-free in my head ever since.
The DesignMyNight Digest
If you’re looking for a fun and simple meal kit that really delivers on taste, I’d recommend delving into Flesh & Buns’ selection. At less than £25 for six buns, the aubergine option is an absolute steal, promising the kind of eye-rollingly good flavour combos that are often so hard to create from home. Alongside their vegetarian box, the restaurant also delivers meatier mouthfuls including crispy piglet belly and Japanese fried chicken.
Looking for more veggie and vegan DIY meal kits? We've rounded up our favourites right here.