After four months of haplessly staring at screens for Zoom meetings, Netflix shows or sourdough recipes, easy-to-prepare fun foods are bound to offer some respite.
“We love the idea of putting a meal together, but without the dirty work,” says Ritu Dalmia, explaining why her multiple award-winning Delhi-based restaurant, Diva, launched ready-to-eat pizzas and burgers for home delivery. In June, Dalmia conducted an Instagram poll to ascertain if her guests would want burger kits. After an overwhelming majority voted yes, she introduced these even though pre-lockdown, burgers were not the focus at her premium dining restaurant. Now, there are tempting options, such as burgers based on root vegetables, water chestnut and peanut for vegetarians and pulled lamb for non-vegetarians.
Burgers and pizzas, often considered comfort foods, rank high on delivery menus. The pandemic, however, completely altered our approach to ‘outside’ food.
But, despite gripping food safety concerns, the nagging need for a fresh pizza topped with warm mozzarella strings, or a persistent craving for a juicy burger are hard to ignore. At the same time, home-delivered pizza and burgers are hardly satisfying—the food loses most of its crunch and texture in transit. Limp burgers, especially, are a foodie's nightmare. As if on cue, a handful of restaurants and online food delivery platforms introduced DIY kits, where frozen or partially prepared ingredients can be ordered, completely cooked at home and served hot. The packages come with cooking and handling instructions. As an added convenience factor, these can be refrigerated and heated on a tawa or microwave. While some restaurants such as Diva introduced new options expanding their burger category, others, like the takeaway burger venture Brgr HQ in Mumbai, trimmed their menu to customer favourites.
Lounge lists seven restaurants and delivery platforms that offer a legitimate quick-fix to soothe cravings for weekdays filled with online meetings and weekends dedicated to deep cleaning.
1. 1441 Pizzeria
They are perhaps one of the earliest entrants in the DIY pizza space. In late May, their pizzas were deconstructed to fit the recipe kit format with dough, sauces, toppings and condiments that can be assembled and cooked in a tawa, oven or microwave.
Delivering in: Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad
2. Smoke House Deli
On offer are their signature oregano-infused chicken burger that comes in a pack of two. The pizza menu, with options like chicken sausage and vegetables topped with cheese, is aimed at children. The standard 12-inch pizza makes them a viable option for adults too who need some time off from the kitchen to catch up on the chatter about Indian Match making.
Delivering in: Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru
While their burgers, mentioned above, are a new addition, their pizzas come with the option of regular or millet base with DIY kits containing separately packed ingredients, like chopped onions, parmesan cheese, fresh herbs, nuts and toppings like parma ham and spicy salami . The delivery, done by the restaurant’s staff, has a QR code for a video link of chef Dalmia explaining how to cook it.
Delivering in: Delhi
4. Baked by K
This Mumbai-based home chef venture introduced DIY pizzas and burgers in early June. Their pizza kit comes with fresh dough balls that can be rolled and topped with their signature vodka and rosemary sauce, and fresh vegetables, like whole cherry tomatoes. The burger kit has their homemade truffle peanut sauce to make cheat days feel like a breeze.
Delivering in: Mumbai
Their frozen, Napoli-style pizzas are tailor-made for days when office and home, and Mondays and Sundays endlessly overlap. They were launched to travel long distances within the city, as far as 100 kilometres, and refrigerated to consume later.
As the demand for their frozen pizzas shot up, Cincin collaborated with six stellar chefs in Mumbai to introduce fresh pizzas with a spin. Titled Pizza Club, it has handcrafted pizzas by Chef Thomas Zacharias adding Kundapur Ghee Roast Chicken as a topping, Chef Prateek Sadhu with green peas and Kashmiri morel mushrooms in miso topping and chocolatier Prateek Bakhtiani’s dessert option with berries and mascarpone cheese.
Delivering in: Mumbai
6. Chef Kraft
The Bengaluru-based online food delivery service has a segment dedicated to recipe kits offering fried snacks, full meals and signature pizzas like mozzarella and pepperoni. While speaking to Mint over the phone, founder Mohit Mital said their pizzas have done well during the lockdown. After all, people are craving convenience and fun, he says.
Delivering in: Bengaluru
7. Brgr HQ
Brgr HQ, a gourmet vegetarian delivery kitchen in Mumbai specialising in burgers, launched its first DIY kits this weekend. Co-owner Moulik Shah says he sensed a growing demand for burgers that needed to travel longer distances. Additionally, customers prefer to do some cooking at home to ensure safety. The only way to achieve this was by creating kits which required little time or culinary skills to assemble something quick and delicious. Their menu has Jain options too.
Delivering in: Mumbai