Restaurant Review: Marks & Spencer’s Plant-Kitchen range


Purva Grover

Published: Fri 22 Jan 2021, 12:10 AM

As a vegetarian, contemplating to make the switch to veganism, I’ve never felt that I’ve had to compromise on taste, especially when eating at home. Yes, eating out has challenges, for even as we do see a global shift to plant-based eating, the chefs, restaurants, and other decision makers in the food industry are still playing catch-up. So, Marks & Spencer’s Plant Kitchen came as a welcome surprise. Of course, I didn’t buy their bait of ‘never compromise of taste’ for, I am a vegetarian by choice (having consumed meat in a past life) and I don’t crave or feel that meat tastes better than what’s on my plate ('just as good or even better than its meaty counterpart' didn’t go well with me, but it could tempt the meat eaters; so why not I guess).

It being the veganuary month, a portmanteau for going vegan, or not eating or using animal products, during January, it felt like a great idea to dip my toes in plant-based eating. To begin with, the fuss-free, pleasant looking Plant-Based boxes in a teal hue are ideal for the experience; as the chefs have done the homework, following by chopping- sautéing-and other cooking paraphernalia; all that was required of us was to switch on the oven or microwave. Thumbs-up!

The Mushroom Pie (to be baked in the oven) landed on the plate with the perfect crispy exterior, and when bit into was a hearty mix of white and Portobello mushrooms in gravy; it was just what you’d get when at a bakery. Moving to the mains; first up was The Cauliflower, Coconut and Lentil Dahl, which will appeal to the Indian or Brit curry lovers; you could eat it as a complete meal or cook yourself a portion of rice, if you wish. With just a hint of coconut in the flavours, the combo was delightful and it could remind you of eating meals (better in taste, of course) on an airplane! Tempted to try another lentil-based dish, we opened up the box holding Moroccan Lentil Stew; the gluten-free stew was a medley of flavours, and I particularly enjoyed the sharpness lent to it with the use of red peppers.No Chicken Kiev, prepped with soya, was perfect for the winter evening. Coated in breadcrumbs, we liked how this baked (no frying!) dish with a touch of garlic and herbs came together.

The fact that here is your chance to sample varied cuisines as you decide to eat only plant-based food is a huge plus for all those still contemplating.

Taste (3.5): Superior quality ingredients would instantly put your mind at peace, even though this is pre-packaged food.

Ambience (5): You are eating at your own home, in your comfort safe zone, so yes full marks on that.

Service (5): Your meal is a click away or you can walk to the store and pick what you wish to eat. The packaging is basic, smart; be assured that the health standards are met by the brand.

Presentation (4): Plastic boxes, foil trays, and paper wrappers make up for the same, the food looked pretty when popped out of the containers.

Value for Money (3.5): With no cooking and cleaning hassles, one ends up saving on ingredients and more. However, you will feel a tad empty if you plan to consume just one box/ meal at a time.

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