Disclaimer: now, this post may well make the ‘food elite’, Instagram plate-snappers and Twitterati turn their nose up. Clearly, there is no substitute for a freshly prepared at home meal, but sometimes convenience, time and lack of resource (and hunger) leads one to look outside the immediate culinary array of takeaway options. Sometimes, the easy (and tasty) options win.
Some of you may be aware that I’ve recently had a new kitchen put in, which rather obviously caused complete chaos… so much so that my kitchen/dining room resembled something out of a disaster movie.
Having exhausted invites to friend’s homes for dinner, ordered every takeaway-cuisine that Milton Keynes has to offer and quickly deciding that I had zero desire to return to my instant-noodle university days, I had more or less resigned myself to the fact that I was going to need to rely on the old trusted microwave to get me through.
Expecting a sea of disappointing, bland or overly salty microwavable meals with as much nutritional value and freshness of a cereal box, I turned to the sanctuary of the microwave-friendly aisles of my local Tesco for much needed nourishment and convenience. Sigh.
However, my assumptions, I’m pleased to say, were very much proved wrong with my discovery of City Kitchen’s Chicken Katsu Curry. Sat on the shelf looking all delicious, I threw it in my basket and headed for the checkout.
The City Kitchen Katsu Cury priced at £3.50 was fairly acceptable, striking a good balance between the mouthwatering richness of a takeaway curry (without the bags of salt), but also the freshness of a home-cooked meal.
The ethos behind City Kitchen seems to be about travel-inspired recipes with a particular focus on locking in freshness and taste, perhaps not a surprise then that the brains behind this venture involves a former Head Grill Chef at The Savoy.
Now, the eagle-eyed amongst you will spot that this ready-meal is not strictly Katsu, which refers to the chicken itself (normally breaded/deep-fried if Katsu), so instead it would perhaps be easier and more accurate to simply refer to it as a chicken curry.
Regardless of the Katsu/non-Katsu issue, the meal was quick to heat up in the microwave, the vegetables retained their freshness and natural ‘crunch’ and the curry sauce component was rich but lightly-spiced, the coconut and soy element particularly pleasant. I was impressed that a microwave ready-meal could achieve such success.
I’ve subsequently learnt from my trusted friend Google that the City Kitchen is exclusive to Tesco at the time of writing, but offer a whole menu of tasty looking dishes, including pulled pork, shredded hoisin duck noodles, king prawn linguine, paella in their main meal range.
Yes, this isn’t a fresh, home-cooked or authentic curry (let alone truly Katsu) , but it’s a strong showing nonetheless and not a bad shout if you need tasty convenience or find yourself looking for those takeaway leaflets. Flavorsome, well presented and fresh… now ask yourself, how many convenience meals manage to pull this off?
Not a bad showing City Kitchen. Not a bad showing at all.