What do you get, how much is it and how easy to prepare?
Restaurant dining is slowly returning, but when many of our favourite chefs and restaurants - who had never previously offered delivery - began to do so, with some getting really creative in the face of lockdown, we were intrigued.
One of the most popular features on Manchester Confidential has always been our honest, unannounced and impartial restaurant reviews. Our readers come to us for the lowdown, confident that we know our stuff and will tell it straight. Without restaurants, we've not been able to write restaurant reviews. But it’s what we do.
So we’re giving you the scoop on some of the many delivery options that have sprung up. We’ll buy it, eat it - cook it if we have to - and let you know how it was. We’re not going to be scoring these ‘reviews’ - it doesn’t seem right - but we’ll let you know what you can expect and where's worth spending your money.
What? 'Honest at Home' burger kits
Honest Burgers Manchester reopened their doors last week for eat-in burgers and contactless takeaway, pick-up and delivery. But for those who would still prefer the security of a restaurant-at-home experience, the team has re-launched their 'Honest at Home' burger kits.
Originally, 250 kits were made available earlier in lockdown in the Greater London area, as part of Honest's charity fundraising, which raised nearly £9000 for Landworkers Alliance, Hospitality Action and Trussell Trust. Following popular demand, more of the kits are now available for delivery nationwide.
What do you get and how much does it cost?
The kits cost £30 (inc. delivery) and contain everything you need to make four Honest's signature burgers at home: chopped British chuck steak and rib cap patties from the Honest Butchery, British cheddar slices, dry cured smoked bacon rashers, plus burger buns from Honest’s friends at The Bread Factory (gluten-free also available.) There are also little pots of Honest Kitchen red onion relish and proper pickled cucumbers and they’ve even chucked in a branded Honest tote bag.
‘But what about those incredible rosemary salt fries?’ I hear you ask. Unfortunately they have been unable to find a way to offer Honest chips at home because they just don't work in the oven and most people don't have a deep fat fryer. I once met Honest Burgers’ affable owners, Tom and Phil, and it soon became apparent how obsessed they were with finding the perfect chipping potatoes (they even the employed the services of a potato scientist to help explain how the starch levels change when the spuds are in storage, which affects the frying process). So be totally reassured that they would have explored all avenues trying to find a way to include their fries, but sadly couldn’t. To compensate, they’ve included a little pot of their special rosemary salt so you can use that to season whatever chips you’re going with. I sprinkled some all over roasted butternut squash wedges, which worked really well.
What do you have to do and how difficult is it?
Tom has put together a short video to demonstrate how to put the kits together. I appreciate its only burgers, and not anything that requires complicated gastronomic gymnastics, but it’s handy to watch the owners drop in a few secrets on how to achieve a more authentic restaurant taste.
It’s pretty straightforward and doesn’t require too many pans or utensils but you’ll need to open a window to minimise and residual greasy burger smells. Grill the bacon, season the burgers well and place them in a dry heavy bottomed frying pan over a high heat. Honest Burgers are famous for safely serving their burgers slightly pink so Tom’s video suggests three and a half minutes per side which was perfect for us. Add the cheese slices for the last minute, pop under a grill just to melt a bit more and let rest for another minute because you don’t want those juices to make your bun soggy. Meanwhile toast the buns under the grill but do not take your eyes off them for a second or they’ll burn.
Then all you need to do is put it together. Tom recommends that to make the most balanced sweet, beefy, pickled, crunchy, meaty signature burger, start with some shredded iceberg (which you’ll have to supply yourself as it doesn’t travel well) then three slices of pickle, the cheeseburger, the bacon and then the bun smeared with some (but not too much) relish.
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Is it any cop?
It’s not an accident that they called their business Honest. The beef comes from native cows on small independent farmers in Gloucestershire, they only use chuck steak and rib cap (the fatty bit cut off a rib eye) and mince it themselves.
All the other components were top quality from trusted producers or made in their own kitchens. As for the DIY part, my family all quite enjoyed lining up to create their own versions which is easier to do at home rather than in a restaurant; hold the bacon on one, extra bacon on another, one wants mustard, another wants ketchup instead of relish, someone preferred pickles on the side etc. So you can have it exactly how you want it.
To keep Honest's team safe, the kits are available in limited numbers, going on sale at 9am until 1pm Sunday to Thursday every week. Order yours here or the restaurant is now open again if you'd prefer to dine in.
Honest Burgers, 36 Bridge St, Manchester M3 3BT
Value for money
£30 for four high quality burgers, buns and accoutrements delivered in perfect condition seems fair enough for a genuine taste of a restaurant favourite. In comparison, the signature burgers are £11 each in the restaurant.
Packaging and delivery
As with everything Honest Burgers do, the packaging has been carefully considered to be low waste and environmentally sensitive. Cardboard box, sustainable wool insulated lining, recyclable ice bags and containers for the beef and bacon, cardboard tubs with recyclable lids and waxed paper for the cheese.
Easy, fun to do. Always helps if you watch the accompanying video and follow the simple step by step instructions. Although saying that, Tom explicitly explained the importance of salting the burgers before cooking which I promptly forgot and had to hurriedly do it afterwards.
Quality and quantity
Because I’m greedy, I always worry that there’s not quite going to be enough food in these kits, but the burgers are hefty and satisfying. Because of Honest Burgers’ potato obsession, I pushed the boat out with the poshest oven chips in the supermarket and that helped pad it out a bit. All in all, really enjoyed it; great tasting burger, easy to put together, fun to do.