POW (Peels on Wheels), Hampton Manor

Another Midlands favourite that doesn’t scream takeaway is Hampton Manor. They started their delivery service, POW toward the beginning of lockdown and when we sampled it they were already on week 11.

It’s been so successful that owner James says they are contemplating making the service a permanent fixture. There’s also a feel-good element to it as for every POW box delivered, the restaurant sends a meal to someone in need.

All of the elements of the meal arrived in a box cooled by the same system as Simpsons, WoolCool who are presumably doing all right out of lockdown. The pots of ingredients were colour-coded so separating them into courses was simple and the instruction card was comprehensive. There’s a cook-a-long video available too. You can order wine as an extra, but since, thanks to lockdown, we’re on first name terms with our wine merchant there was no need, but there’s a good selection if you fancy.

A little loaf of Polish bread warmed through in the oven was fantastic and there was even a pot of cultured butter which was a nice touch. The starter was entirely free from any cooking – the hard work had definitely happened in the restaurant, so it just required plating up. Cured salmon topped with a crunchy crumb served with smoky charred cucumber and a dressing of spring onion oil and buttermilk looked restaurant pretty if we do say so ourselves and tasted fantastic. Smoky, rich flavours and the richness of the salmon contrasted with the freshness of the dressing.

The main course was easy-peasy too and just needed a bit of reheating and assembly – lamb with confit tomatoes, a tangy tomato compote, punchy sauce and couscous with a tomato and basil oil. The lamb was melt-in-the-mouth superb with a sauce so packed with flavour it was like kitchen wizardry and the confit and the compote of tomatoes were packed with a terrific tang. Overall, it was a cracker of a dish served in or out of a restaurant.

Dessert was dreamy – chocolate, cream, caramel, biscuit. Ta da. Our lack of chef skills meant we couldn’t make it look pretty, but it tasted brilliant. The caramel sauce gave it a burnt edge in a good way that balanced out the sweet richness.

For a meal prepared at home it felt really fancy. There’s no escaping the fact that clearing up crushes the restaurant vibe a bit, but there’s no way around that. We’d happily do it again – in which case the restaurant will reuse your box and packaging so don’t throw it away. Keep your eye out for each week’s menu being released and get in there quick. It’s a ‘fastest finger first’ scenario or even better, register on the website for prompt notifications. They sell out quickly, so that’s your best bet.

Cost: Three courses from £36 pp. Minimum order £50

When: Order by Monday for the following Fri/Sat delivery

Website: peelstothepeople.co.uk