April's Home by Nico DIY meal kits bring a taste of Vietnam to your dinner table in London with punchy, vivid flavours and fresh, balanced ingredients.
Restaurants are coming back! But that doesn’t mean an end to the DIY meal kit life. There are still plenty of reasons to get these bad boys delivered to your house. Especially if you haven’t checked out Home by Nico’s ‘Cooking Vietnam’.
The Home-X team have created a wicked four-course menu, made up of Vietnamese fusion cuisine. As well as a bottle of artisanal white wine to top off the experience. No need to run down to the off licensee for wine – they have everything in their big meal kit boxes.
Things kick off with a couple duck bao buns which are way too easy to put together yourselves. We could have just had a bunch of these for dinner and would not be mad. The fluffy buns stayed fresh even a day after being delivered. And were full of duck meat, a really punchy hoi sin sauce, peanuts and crispy shallots. This richness of all these bits was perfectly cut with the addition of house pickled vegetables.
And the second starter – hot & sour pho with enoki mushroom, rice noodles, lemongrass & chilli oil just needed to be heated up in a saucepan over the stove. And it rivalled so many of the phos we’ve had along Kingsland Road in Shoreditch.
This Vietnamese brothy soup was full of flavour – but we did add a little too much of the sour sauce. Note to readers: you don’t have to use all of the toppings you receive. Flavour your dishes just the way you like them.
A little more skill is needed to make the caramelised pork belly – we may have had a bit too much wine while drinking, and nearly burnt these bad boys. Another note: save most of the wine for when you’re eating. But they still came out brilliantly. The tender pork was covered in a sticky glaze with chilli and ginger. It was served with a stir-fried slaw of sorts. We were not fans of this one – it was a bit plain and didn’t add anything to the dish. But there was so much other food that we weren’t so bothered.
These are also served alongside some sides that just needed to be heated up. Our favourite was the clay pot aubergine with green beans, potato & black pepper. The aubergine had been slow cooked and just fell apart on your plate, but still with a little crunch from the light batter.
It was all finished off with two Vietnamese coffee pannacottas. Dig through the coffee crumb to find the jiggly pannacotta filling on a punchy coffee sponge. This was the perfect balance of sweet and bitter. We just wished they had a decaf version – nighttime coffee never works well for us.
All in all, this was a wickedly good DIY meal kit. The fusion of Vietnamese flavours with other cuisines all worked perfectly. And we were properly full after it all – portions are generous. We just wish there weren’t so many single-use plastics involved. A lot of what came in the mail was just put right into the recycling. But this is common amongst meal kits these days – hopefully this will change over time. And it’s totally worth it for now.
We might just have to try another HOME-X meal kit next week! Should we go for Sunday roast or try their 8-course vegan sharing experience?