Dine-at-home kits are still proving popular for weeknight treats. Rebecca Shearer tried making her own Venimoo burger from Mac and Wild.
Ever since restaurant kits at home became a thing I’ve had my eye on the Venimoo burger kit from Mac and Wild. Not only is it based around my favourite food group – burgers – but the pictures I saw online looked absolutely stunning.
Opening the restaurant Mac and Wild at The Falls of Shin in the Highlands in 2018, co-founders Andy Waugh and Calum Mackinnon relished the opportunity to return to their homeland, based just four miles from Andy’s family butcher business, after being in London.
Having since closed the Highlands branch, the duo still run their London-based restaurants, supplying Scottish meat to the capital city’s foodies.
But, for those of us based further north and missing a taste of Mac and Wild’s delicious Highland-inspired burgers, you’ll be pleased to know the experience still lives on in the form of their restaurant kits, which they launched last year during lockdown.
I don’t know how I came across it but I am a true believer that the universe has a way of bringing the best burgers into my life. It’s just the way it goes.
Back in February, desperately missing barbecues, restaurants and fed up with home cooking I set about ordering my own “Venimoo” burger kit. Unfortunately, the week I opted for was when the blizzards hit much of Scotland and my kit didn’t survive the journey.
So I decided to try again when the weather was nicer, which has been much of these past couple of weeks in July.
The kit for two (also available for four) consists of four burger patties – two beef and two venison (hence the name “venimoo”) – as well as some of the usual trimmings.
I was supplied with a small booklet outlining the ingredients, what I had to prepare, and step-by-step instructions on how to construct the burgers.
The ingredients turned up in plastic containers for us to add to our tupperware collection once we’d made the burgers.
In the box:
- 2 x brioche burger buns
- 1 x sachet Red Jon sauce
- 1 x sachet mustard
- 1 x baby gem lettuce
- 1 x gherkin
- 2 x 90g venison patties
- 2 x 90g beef patties
- 4 x burger cheese slices
- 1 x onion
- 1 x bearnaise sachet
There was some preparation required, such as finely slicing the onions and lettuce, as well as slicing the gherkin into 10p coins.
My partner and I made it a joint effort – he grilled the burgers and prepared the ingredients in the order we needed them, while I took the pictures.
It was relatively easy to put together, although the instructions weren’t completely logical.
For instance, the first instruction was “We advise having all your ingredients laid out in advance…” then a couple of paragraphs later it said “caramelise the onions – you can do this step a few days in advance and store in the fridge”.
To us, the box from the outset seemed to have everything we needed but we fell into the trap of reading the instructions as we went, rather than reading everything before we started, so we wouldn’t have been able to prepare the onions in advanced.
First off, we had to caramelise the onions, with the instructions on how to do this set out clearly in the kit booklet, taking up to 40 minutes for them to fully caramelise. This was then followed by building the base.
The first stage of this was to toast the buns in a hot frying pan, but we instead opted for a toaster. Perhaps not the restaurant way to do it (at least I hope it isn’t) but we felt that this way would help us carry on with other parts of the construction.
On the base of the bun, we were to squeeze the Red Jon sauce and the mustard, coating them evenly over the bread. This was followed by the gherkin coins and “a pinch” of lettuce.
On top of the lettuce, we added the bearnaise sauce and then the instructions said to add any optional bacon at this stage. Had it been laid out in the ingredients that we could add optional bacon, I might’ve looked some out.
From here, the instructions required us to cook the burgers. There were instructions on how to do this but, having never really eaten or cooked venison burgers before, we weren’t as familiar with the meat and so purposely overcooked them so we knew they were safe to eat.
After this, there is another optional stage that requires diners to cloche the buns, though I felt personally this stage could have been a bit clearer as it describes the process of adding water to a saucepan and covering it with a lid, but then all of a sudden you’re removing the burgers from the saucepan without having added them in!
Overall, my partner absolutely loved his burger. The combination of cheese, two different meats and the classic burger trimmings really hit the spot for him.
For me, though I did enjoy my burger, though there was a taste I wasn’t quite sure about, whether that was one of the sauces or the gherkin. However, it certainly tasted a lot like fine dining and I couldn’t believe we’d made it ourselves.
I’m not sure that the “five mins cook time” stated in the instructions is completely accurate, but you are given everything you need to make some deliciously tasting and eye-catching restaurant-quality burgers.
Mac and Wild have 14 dine-at-home kits available on the Restaurant Kits website, starting from £20. Find out more here.