I haven’t had food delivered since I was in my early teens, when pizzas for friends coming over was the done thing. (Without giving away my age, that was a few years ago.) Food delivery services seem to be getting popular again though, and I think it fills a niche need for people who have busy working lives to fit in food that isn’t just fast food. Getting food delivered is probably a step even higher on the convenience ladder, as people can just go from work or their other appointments home, and have the food come to them, as opposed to making a detour and waiting. There is the waiting for food to be delivered, but that can be time used for other productive things, like putting the laundry on (true story, and what I actually did while waiting). Notably, even McDonald’s is getting into the act, with their McDelivery service.
I was offered the opportunity to try out the EatNow delivery service, and thought it might be a chance to see just what the delivered food you can get these days is like, and whether you can get reasonable value for your money.
The service can be accessed via the website or the mobile app. I used the website, as downloading the app seemed like too much commitment to start with. Pro tip though, after placing your first order via the website, you get a link to download the app, with a voucher for $10 off your next order if you do download it.
Whether you use the website on a desktop or on a mobile device, it is fairly straightforward to go through. On the entry page, you enter the suburb or postcode you live in, or where you want the food delivered to, and that brings up a list of restaurants that deliver to your area. What is available will depend on where you live, or where you want the food to be delivered. Helpfully, on the desktop version, you can order them by popularity, ratings, or distance. When you select your restaurant of interest, you can then browse their delivery menu options. Some also have additional deals, like percentages off orders, loyalty deals, or meal packages that you wouldn’t otherwise get in store.
We made our selection based on an intersection between popularity, good ratings, and a good meal deal. Indus Cafe Express had served lots of customers, rated well, and had a good meal deal. The Couples Pack offered four onion bhajis, two main meals, two serves of rice, one naan, one serve of raita, and four papadums, for $39.90. For our mains, we picked the chicken saagwalla (that’s how it’s spelled on the menu), and the lamb rajasthan, for something a bit different from the usual. We also couldn’t go past the Indus Platter.
We placed the order at 1958, and received sms confirmation of the order seconds later, for delivery within the hour. At 2048, indeed within the hour, there was a knock on the door. It was only after we had placed the order that we saw on the map view just how far the delivery person had had to come from. Considering that the food had to be made and packed, then transported over, they did well.
The food was still warm, but not quite as hot as we wanted, so we did briefly microwave it. Fortunately, it was all food that reheated well.
The Indus Platter had two each of Punjabi vegetable samosas, onion bhajis, chicken tikka pieces, and prawn pakoras. Quite a solid entree. The chicken tikka pieces were slightly dry, but nicely spiced. The prawn pakoras were coated in a puffy batter with a hint of crunch.
The vegetable samosas had a crunchy pastry outer skin, and a spicy filling of potato cubes, peas, and onion on the inside.
The onion bhajis had a nice caramelised sweetness, tempered with a bit of saltiness from the batter, and had a bit of crunch on the outside. If you have ever had onion loaf, these were like miniature versions of it.
We had a garlic naan rather than a plain one (you get the choice of either with the meal pack). It actually had minced, fried garlic on it, rather than just cooked in the dough. This gave it a sweet and salty, mildly pungent flavour. The naan had the right chewy texture, with crisp, browned bits on the outer skin.
We also received pappadums. They were thin, light, crispy, and not oily. They had that faint bitterness from the bean flour, and a roasted flavour.
A saagwala is a leafy vegetable-based curry, often spinach. Because of that, it is often quite distinctively green. It was a less vivid colour in this case than we had had previously, but it did have fine green leafy bits, and nice flavours of garlic, onion, and herbs. The chicken pieces were tender, and there was a good amount of meat in the serving.
Although we had picked the mild level of spice for both dishes, the lamb rajasthan was definitely more spicy. That probably comes from the black pepper and mustard in it. It was very mildly sweet, and you could taste the fennel flavour. Again, the lamb was nicely cooked and still tender, and there was a good amount of meat in it rather than being just sauce.
There was an ample amount of long grain rice to go with the dishes. In fact, one box of it was enough between the two of us. Again, it was properly cooked so that the grains were loose and separated. I didn’t take a photo of that, or of the cucumber and coconut raita, because, well, they look like what they are. I will add though, that their raita was light and subtly sweet, unlike the sour mixture you get elsewhere.
All up, we had a delicious meal from the Indus Cafe Express, and it was very well priced. The servings were generous, and we had enough left over to stretch it to a second meal the next day. It was $5 for the delivery, but considering the time and effort saving, again, as a package it worked out reasonably. Although this was subsidised by EatNow, the restaurant was not aware of this, or that they would be reviewed. As such, I think it reflects the experience any other customer would have. EatNow was straightforward to use, and you can get yourself some meal deals with it.
Service: 1/2 (the delivery driver, from the restaurant, was polite. There wasn’t much else in terms of interaction with restaurant staff, so limited ability to comment.)
Price point: Entrees $6 to $12. Indus platter $16. Mains and curries $14.90 to $20.90.
Value: Pretty good.