Online ordering portals that promise a great, well packaged meal, for a competitive price are a dime a dozen these days. The food startup business has spawned many me-too’s and has given an already lazy populace more excuses to stop cooking and just order in. If earlier the fear of preservatives, MSG and unhealthy food deterred most people from ordering in, the current trend of food startups offering Fresh, Homemade, Healthy meals is changed that paradigm. EatFresh seems to have taken a page (or two) out of its immediate competitor’s business model and hopes to get a leg up by offering meals cooked by a network of five-star chefs with an emphasis on Indian Cuisine.
As with every online food marketplace – their website is very enticing. EatFresh uses a simple layout where the entire focus is drawn towards the gorgeous food pictures. Along with the names of the dishes you will also find the respective Chefs who designed the dish and the requisite nutritional information and a mini-write up on the ingredients. Just click on the dishes and add them to your basket and you are good to go. They promise deliveries within a 45 minute window and considering they display the menu’s based on locality – that’s plenty time to get it to your doorstep.
So my order did arrive right on time and came packaged in neat white boxes. EatFresh also lets you order drinks (think Ice Tea, Coolers and Lassi) and they come in pet bottles. The packaging is clean but in my opinion – excessive. The outside cardboard box with a label, then the inside plastic trays, then the cling wrap and then the mini containers inside for the small nibbles and accompaniments. If I’m ordering in at my office desk, I just can’t imagine fiddling around with so many containers. I would much prefer a single box with separators which will make it easy to use and dispose.
Pristine pictures might get you eyeballs and orders, but if your final meal box looks nothing like the pictures – there is a tendency to get disappointed even before putting a morsel into your mouth. That being said, the food itself was rather tasty. The drinks were sugar bombs but I guess that’s still better off compared to fizzy colas. (Next time however, I’m definitely asking them to go easy on the white stuff).
The Curried Chicken and Papaya Salad was probably the only one that looked like the website picture and I was impressed with the portion size and the fantastic dressing. However, I would advice weight watchers to check the calorie counts on salads carefully, as some salads ran a higher number than main courses!
The maincourses scored on taste but looked rather shabby in the boxes. The Lebanese Sheesh Tawook with Saffron & Rose Water Rice Pilaf sounded all sorts of exotic but I received two very ordinary chicken shashliks on a bed on barely flavoured rice. The accompanying vegetables, fiery sauce and the dinner roll did liven up the meal, but I wish they hadn’t oversold it on the website.
The Chicken Chettinad with Steamed Rice, Cucumbers and Yoghurt was all that it promised to be. Fiery, robust and downright delicious – I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Again, it cuts a sorry picture in the box, but when it tasted that good – I didn’t care.
The desserts came in plastic boxes and the portions were perfect for one. I think if they restrict the prices to a hundred bucks – this will be a runaway hit. The Blueberry Cheesecake and Chocolate Brownie were a good way to end the meal.
EatFresh has consciously priced their offerings a tad lower than their immediate competitor, but I see them winning in the long run only if they keep the quality consistently higher. Their most popular items also get sold out within an hour and a half of their lunch and dinner service starting – so that’s either a good sign or a nudge to better estimate their day’s demand. My recommendation is to order their Salads and Indian Main Courses – they seem to have found their sweet spot there. Since I’m all for healthy competition in the market, I’m fervently hoping that in the tussle to gain more market share, they pull up their socks. In the end, we could all do without a monopoly.
Lunch: 12pm – 3:30 pm, Dinner: 7pm – 10.30pm
Cost: INR 100 – INR 300 AI.