I tried Merseyside's unique Chinese takeaway where the chef sets your menu and had the nicest chips ever

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The unique takeaway is limited to sixty customers per day and the set menu forced me outside of my comfort zone.

I’ve been vegan for more than ten years and while it is so much easier to live a plant-based lifestyle compared to a decade ago, finding a decent takeaway is still pretty tricky.

While many Chinese takeaways in Liverpool will have at least a couple of menu items suitable for vegans, they’re often not clearly labelled and I’ve spent many evenings on the phone trying to figure out what I can eat.

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However, Sixty Kitchen in Formby have got rid of all that faffing, serving a set plant-based menu (and regular menu) that changes every month. Offering ‘restaurant quality’ Chinese dishes to be enjoyed at home, the exclusive eatery only makes a set number of boxes per day and has become well-known for its innovative takeaway concept.

With Sixty Kitchen planning to expand and open in other Merseyside locations, and my beloved Yummy Green closing down, it was definitely time to travel to Formby and see if it could be my new favourite Chinese takeaway.

About Sixty Kitchen

The team limit daily deliveries to a maximum of 60, ensuring that each order receives their ‘utmost attention and care’. The dishes change monthly and Executive Head Chef Jon Foster Green curates two new menus, one regular and one plant-based, that contain two starters, two sides and two mains. You can’t choose from the menu, you get the whole menu.

Delivery slots are available every half an hour between 5.00pm and 9.00pm daily through the Sixty Kitchen app, with the freshly-made boxes delivered around Formby.

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As Sixty Kitchen currently only deliver to L37 postcodes, we drove about 30 minutes to Formby to collect our plant-based box, which is really easy to do by just selecting ‘23 Chapel Lane, Formby’ as the delivery address. Once we arrived, we just knocked at the door and were given our food within a couple of minutes.

Sixty Kitchen is a Formby takeaway with a unique concept. Image: Emma DukesSixty Kitchen is a Formby takeaway with a unique concept. Image: Emma Dukes
Sixty Kitchen is a Formby takeaway with a unique concept. Image: Emma Dukes | Emma Dukes

The staff were really nice and I loved the appearance of the restaurant, with a large window allowing customers to see the chefs hard at work. There were a fair few customers waiting to collect orders too, so it’s clear that Sixty Kitchen is popular outside of Formby.

After securing the (very nicely packaged) goods, we headed back to Liverpool to try the food at home, while watching a film - that’s only appropriate way to enjoy a Chinese, right?

Sixty Kitchen’s April plant-based box

April’s plant-based menu consisted of lazy mushroom pancakes, BBQ corn ribs, sweet chilli aubergine, Singapore tofu, special fried rice and sixty seasoned chips. I didn’t realise at first that it was near enough identical to the regular menu - minus the meat - which featured the likes of lazy duck pancakes and sweet chilli chicken.

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Sixty Kitchen's plant-based April menu. Image: Emma DukesSixty Kitchen's plant-based April menu. Image: Emma Dukes
Sixty Kitchen's plant-based April menu. Image: Emma Dukes | Emma Dukes

I absolutely loved that the vegan options were based off the standard menu, as it became clear that the team really try to ensure that vegan customers don’t miss out. What impressed me even more was that the vegan dishes didn’t contain fake meat, instead they were made with vegetables and tofu, which perfectly complimented the flavours.

Both menus included sixty seasoned chips, which I did expect to be some kind of take on salt and pepper. When I opened them, I realised they weren’t, but I can’t say I was disappointed as they were the nicest, crispiest chips I have ever had. I think we ate about half of them before we even plated up our food. The portion sizes were really generous too as we ordered a box for two, rather than the standard size which feeds four, and had enough for three big plates of food.

Sixty seasoned chips. Image: Emma DukesSixty seasoned chips. Image: Emma Dukes
Sixty seasoned chips. Image: Emma Dukes | Emma Dukes

The special fried rice featured on both too and, again, wasn’t what I expected but was absolutely delicious. It had a nutty taste to it and I didn’t think my picky partner would like it but he wolfed it down.

Speaking of my picky meat-eating partner, I was hesitant about him trying Sixty Kitchen with me due to not being able to order a combination of both regular and vegan options. However, he enjoyed every single menu item and said his favourites were the corn ribs and sweet chilli aubergine - and this is coming from someone who rarely eats vegetables willingly. The sweet chilli aubergine was one of my favourite dishes too and was beautifully flavoured. The BBQ corn ribs were fantastic too and were incredibly juicy and well-seasoned.

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Jam-packed plate of delicious food. Image: Emma DukesJam-packed plate of delicious food. Image: Emma Dukes
Jam-packed plate of delicious food. Image: Emma Dukes | Emma Dukes

I was nervous about the tofu dish when I opened it as I am a pretty avid hater of silken tofu, and only like tofu when it’s crispy and spongey within a ramen. So, when I saw the Singapore tofu was made with, what I like to call, ‘the slimy kind’ I was fairly disappointed. But, to my surprise, it was actually really nice and the sauce it came in tasted similar to chip shop curry. I do think it would have been even nicer had they used crispy tofu, but we did eat all of it and I have to say I’d have it again.

The lazy mushroom pancakes were shaped kind of like gyozas and were little parcels filled with hoisin mushroom. They really did taste like hoisin duck and I’d be happy to have them every day as a little snack as they were delicious.

Every dish came in its own biodegradable tub too, each stamped with the dish name, and the food inside beautifully presented. The packaging definitely made the experience feel even more luxurious, and I love when a business makes real effort to reduce its carbon footprint.

Biodegradable packaging at Sixty Kitchen. Image: Emma DukesBiodegradable packaging at Sixty Kitchen. Image: Emma Dukes
Biodegradable packaging at Sixty Kitchen. Image: Emma Dukes | Emma Dukes

Comparing the dishes to your standard British-Chinese takeaway, I wouldn’t say they were quite the same and they didn’t immediately make me feel nostalgic like the dishes at Yummy Green did. But, that’s kind of the point. Sixty Kitchen isn’t trying to taste like your every day Chinese, it’s trying to offer its own unique take on dishes we all know and love, and it definitely did a great job.

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I think the fact that the plant-based menu impressed a meat-eater, without using mock meat, is a pretty great sign too.

Overall verdict

If you’re looking for a delicious takeaway that you can trust is made fresh and is completely vegan, Sixty Kitchen’s plant-based box is a great choice. While it doesn’t taste quite like your standard Friday night Chinese, it is really nice in its own right and I love that it isn’t trying to imitate meat.

£60 for enough food for four people is pretty reasonable too - or £32 for two people - and it does really feel like you’re getting restaurant quality food, with every single dish packed with care and beautifully presented - still looking great even after a 30 minute car journey home.

Plant-based dishes at Sixty Kitchen. Image: Emma DukesPlant-based dishes at Sixty Kitchen. Image: Emma Dukes
Plant-based dishes at Sixty Kitchen. Image: Emma Dukes | Emma Dukes

My only real critique is that you can’t mix and match with vegan and regular dishes, so it isn’t as appealing to families with both meat-eaters and veggies or vegans, and it probably isn’t the kind of place you’d get your weekly chippy from.

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At the same time though, you can opt for a plant-based box for two rather than four, and the clear separation of plant-based and regular boxes does show that the team care about ensuring there is no cross contamination.

Overall, I think Sixty Kitchen’s concept is brilliant and I loved every single dish, despite there being a couple of things I wouldn’t generally order. The set menu forced me outside of my comfort zone, and even forced a picky eater to enjoy vegetables, so it’s a big thumbs up from me.

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