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Kyoto Kitchen Meal Kits

When one of our favourite Winchester restaurants got in touch to ask whether we wanted to trial one of their brand new meal kits, it wasn't going to take us all that long to get back to them with a big fat "yes please" really was it?


I have loved how Winchester's restaurants and food businesses have diversified during this rather strange time. Despite not being able to serve takeaways because of reduced staff, Kyoto Kitchen have come up with the idea of Meal Kits so that those of us missing their wonderful Japanese food could prepare favourite Kyoto Kitchen dishes in our own kitchens...


There are three options, Vegan, Traditional and Gourmet (which we will book next time). We were gifted the Traditional meal kit, consisting of six dishes for two people. You order and schedule an appointment for collection through their website, and take away a rather stylish reusable Kyoto Kitchen cool bag with everything you need for a delicious gourmet evening of Japanese food...


Kyoto Kitchen has put a lot of thought into this concept, from as much eco-packaging that they could source, to the instruction sheets which are clear and concise to follow. All the hard work has been done for you when it comes to preparation. Sauces come ready-made, as do marinades and dressings, vegetables and garnishes are cut and ready to use, and any meat and fish dishes really just need cooking and/or plating up... There are also little extra touches that you would get in the restaurant such as the tempura paper (to soak up any excess oil)... Because of all this, putting together a really good Japanese meal doesn't come much easier!!


Before the cooking began...



Our first dish was pretty simple - four chicken gyoza, heated in a pan with a little oil until slightly crispy, and served with gyoza dipping sauce then simply place on the supplied bamboo leaves for presentation. Trying to do something else at the same time, I didn't read the bit about the bamboo leaves, but they came in handy for the presentation of the seabass later in the meal. The gyoza were delicious and definitely hand made...



Next up Prawn Tempura. We needed to prepare the batter with ice water, and fry the prawns until lightly coloured. Mr Winchester Eats has about every kitchen gadget imaginable, so was very happy to get the fryer out, and the rest of our family (who were a little cross about not participating in the meal trial) were very happy that there was enough batter left for them to get have hastily prepared vegetable tempura picked at random from the fridge... The only thing I would point out here is that it wasn't clear that the "dressing flour" was to be used for the seabass later in the meal too, so be careful not to chuck it out before you need it again!



Beef Tataki followed - thinly sliced marinated beef shallow fried for seconds on one side and served with a spicy radish dressing, and topped with chili and spring onions. Delicious and simple to prepare. Although the instructions told us to slice the beef, it had already been done so that was one less thing to worry about.



Also simple to prepare was the salmon and tuna sashimi. Mr Winchester Eats (who lived in Japan for a while) insisted on cutting the fish and plating it in a certain way which meant it took forever for me to photograph it, worth the wait though, both the Salmon and Tuna were delicious! The instructions here tell you to slice the fish into four pieces, but each piece was generous enough to get a couple more slices if necessary.



We are no strangers to sushi making in our house so we had rolling mats already. If you find yourselves lacking any of the necessary equipment, Kyoto Kitchen can provide them as an addition to your order by the way. Sushi rice is never cold, so the instructions are that after being in the fridge it had to be heated in hot water before being allowed to cool to room temperature. Bear that in mind if you want to prepare everything reasonably quickly and perhaps do that first. We obviously usually put too much rice in our sushi as the sheets of nori provided were half the width that we would typically use. After a few fiddly moments, a bit of deconstruction and reconstruction (and a swear word or two from the head chef!) our salmon and cucumber rolls were ready to eat and well worth the effort...


Now to my favourite dish in the meal kit - Seabass No Shogayaki (shoga meaning ginger and yaki meaning fried)... Apparently, this gingery/soy sauce dressing is typically used with pork but it also worked so well with the beautiful sea bass fillets in our meal kit - they were delicious pieces of fish... We coated the fillets in cornflour and lightly fried them before pouring over the dressing and serving with steamed rice (which also needed to be warmed beforehand).


When you think of the term "Meal Kit", companies like Gousto and HelloFresh probably spring to mind where you prepare every element of an everyday meal. A meal kit from a restaurant like Kyoto Kitchen is very different. It's a great way to spend an evening preparing and cooking a meal together, where the restaurant has put so much thought into every element and has already done a lot of the hard work for you. I also loved the fact that although at first glance there seemed to be quite a lot of packaging, much of it's biodegradable and the rest of it is marine safe, so you didn't have to feel that guilty about it. Kyoto Kitchen takes pride in serving sustainable food of really high quality so that's taken care of too. Each dish was simple enough to prepare but complex enough to keep someone who cooks a lot happy (they got to use a lot of their knives and gadgets too without wrecking too much of the kitchen!). The dishes worked well, and it all felt like a real treat... Perhaps the only thing missing was someone serving it to you and clearing everything away afterwards.


The only thing I would change about our Kyoto Kitchen meal kit experience would have been to order a decent bottle of Sake to go with it (the one in the picture above was an old empty one, I just kept it because I liked the bottle!), but as we will definitely be ordering the Gourmet Meal kit next time around, I will get some in especially...


Thanks so much for treating us Kyoto Kitchen, see you again soon...





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