Reading the Bonapeti description, they could be describing my life: “Busy London living”, keen to have wholesome meals but without the “cooking, chopping and preparing”. I love cooking, I really do. But I particularly love it when I’ve got time to do it and unless we get ourselves organised at the weekend and fill the fridge and freezer (which rarely happens) we’re faced with cooking from scratch 4 or 5 times a week. And by the time we’ve had the bath, stories and a few rounds of water-carrying to the bedroom (in Scrip’s special ‘sucking cup’, obviously) it’s 8pm and the adrenalin has run dry.
I will happily resort to cereal or beans on toast when I’m really tired, but not every night. So Bonapeti did sound appealing, and when we were offered a box to trial I was really intrigued. The idea is restaurant-level food, freshly prepared, with less salt, sugar and additives and all delivered to your door. I like the fact there’s a little bit of prep involved (it’s definitely not a take away) but not too much. This also isn’t like those services that deliver all the ingredients for a meal you cook yourself. These are already carefully prepared and ready to assemble. Also, they’re plant-based – which is good for a veggie like me and healthier for my meat protein-loving husband.
The box arrived at a time agreed and everything was covered in woolcool wrap, so kept fresh and cold. We popped the containers – all hand-labelled – in the fridge and cooked the next night. It was all still really fresh and aromatic and looked delicious, even before assembling.
You get sent the recipe cards with pictures (which helped with putting it all together), ingredients, nutrition information and very simple instructions on what to put where. We had a main course, which we could heat in the microwave for just 3 mins or in the oven for 10, salad and dessert.
Our meal was an exotic-looking coconut tamarind curry laksa with marinated tofu pasembur, carrot salad with pumpkin seed dukkah and for dessert, chilli marinated roasted pineapple, toasted coconut, mango and papaya salad. The flavours were delicious, the seasoning good and all the food looked and smelt lovely. The salad in particular was crunchy and incredibly fresh.
On the downside, I would say that by the time I’d added the extra cold veggies to the main dish it wasn’t piping hot – but maybe it wasn’t meant to be. Also a few more details – about what dishes could be put in the microwave and how long the meals keep for – would be great.
But I found the experience a good one and I would definitely do it again. Probably for a special occasion as they do say it costs less than preparing a meal at home – which it probably does, but that’s if it’s a more exotic meal you have to buy everything especially for and not one of my storecupboard staples (and definitely not a cereal supper).
Bonapeti is available for deliveries in West London from January 2015.
Mains from £7.50, Sides from £4, Desserts from £3.50 for dishes with Middle Eastern, Asian and Latin American influences.