When I review a recipe box, I’ve always given extra credit when the meals are easily recreated afterwards. That means the recipes need to have ingredients you can get in even a small supermarket, and no pre-made spice mixes whose contents you don’t know. However, that’s exactly the opposite of what Feast Box does with its box and it turns out I didn’t mind a bit – the delicious bespoke spice mixes and new-to-me ingredients were a huge part of its appeal.
Feast Box focuses exclusively on Asian and Middle Eastern recipes, offering a menu of 12 options each week, of which at least four are vegan. You can pick two, three or four recipes for two or four people to have in your box each week. The ingredients don’t come pre-sorted, but the packaging is eco-friendly, using cardboard and even a small drawstring bag rather than plastic where possible.
Most recipe box companies highlight the speed and ease of the meals they offer, but again Feast Box zigs where others zag. There are some recipes available that are ready in half an hour, but speed is not a priority and there are also meals that take 90 minutes to make. The point is to take your time, and enjoy making something new and exciting.
That does make following each recipe a little harder to follow than other services I’ve tried, and I do have a couple of bones to pick with Feast Box about the first one I made. This was Vietnamese summer rolls with prawns, and one ingredient – spring onions – wasn’t mentioned again in the recipe after being sliced, so I just shoved them into a salad where it seemed appropriate.
Another problem was that I was told to brush water over one side of a rice flour wrap so it could be folded over the fillings. By chance I made Vietnamese rolls under the careful supervision of a friend last year and they had me douse the rice flour wraps in water before using them, which I found a better direction, because when merely brushed as per the Feast Box recipe the wrap was still too stiff to roll around the ingredients, resulting in broken wraps and a huge mess. When I thoroughly wetted the final couple of wraps it was much easier to roll the ingredients and then dip the rolls in the sauce.
It might seem a petty concern, but when you’re making meals that are completely new to you a clear recipe is far more important than when doing a company’s recipe box version of, say, a risotto, where you can fudge stuff based on your existing knowledge.
For the other recipe I made – tandoori fish kebabs – the box was missing the yogurt required, and the coley in the recipe had been swapped for cod. Again these aren’t huge issues – especially the cod – but it just shows that Feast Box is slightly less polished than the likes of HelloFresh and Gousto. I’d rather have less polish and the amazing flavours of Feast Box though, and I do think the Feast Box meals I made were the best I’ve tried from any recipe box company.
The website lists Feast Box’s meals as from £4 per serving, though you might find the cheapest meals on any given week are more like £5-£5.50. The price rises to over £10 for some of the meat options too. Vegans and vegetarians get less choice than omnivores, but the options available are excellent with a lot more imagination involved than in some plant-based menus – Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine is not lacking in terrific options on this front.
Feast Box’s recipes are not easy to recreate and can take some time to make, so when you’re in a rush after work they aren’t quite as handy as something like HelloFresh’s Rapid recipes. However, when you do have more time to invest in your cooking, it’s certainly worth giving Feast Box a try.