The Internet is home to websites that offer everything at your doorstep and we at HT Café are easily excited when we hear of such lazy person-friendly ventures. We decided to test out four sites that bring you that most staple of necessities — food — minus the misery of endless traffic jams and the waiting with growling stomachs at restaurants packed with hungry foodies.
What: Everything, from kitchen tools to exotic ingredients, is a click away with Foodesto, a website that delivers everywhere in Mumbai. Pick from niche Japanese, Mexican and Italian brands, cheeses and cold cuts, or buy your special diet foods (for diabetics, gluten and lactose-intolerant folks) online. They even have a range of fresh foods like dairy products and bread on sale.
USP: Delivery of fresh foods like dairy products, bread and specialised products.
Experience: We ordered two tins of sausages and a can of smoked salmon and paid through the convenient netbanking option. Within seconds, we received a confirmation of the order via email. A day later, we got a call from them saying they didn’t have the salmon in stock and we had the option to either replace it or cancel it altogether (we chose the former). We received our order in two days in a reusable cloth tote.
What: The online supermarket aims to make shopping bags and visits to the baniya (grocer) obsolete. There are discounts and the products range from grocery and fresh foods to household items and even magazines.
USP: Ordering is easy and you can do it from your office without having to yell on the phone.
Experience: Signing up is a breeze, as is browsing and picking products. Broad categories — grocery and staples, condiments, frozen section etc — are neatly listed on the left. You keep adding products to the cart as you go. Then, pick your delivery date and time, and it’s as easy as that. It’s cash on delivery, but you need to order for a minimum of Rs 500. We love the offers they keep emailing about (potatoes at Rs 3/kg is unheard of elsewhere). Our only grouse — a couple of products they once missed (but sent later on complaining). Also, an online payment option would be nice.
What: Don’t want to go through the trouble of finding restaurant numbers before placing your order? Foodpanda.com is your solution, as it lists a series of restaurants menus (all of the eateries that home-deliver according to the area specified). All you need to do is browse through, select your dishes (minimum order required is mentioned for each place) and place your order online. No phone calls needed. You can also avail of vouchers.
USP: Convenient, easy and time-saving, this website serves its purpose well.
Experience: After logging on, our registration was done in less than a minute. The interface is extremely user-friendly and easy to work around. We placed an order for one Mutton Bhuna Tawa Pulao (Rs 175) and one Rasmalai (Rs 40). About two minutes later, a representative from Food Panda called us and apologised as there was no dessert available. To compensate for the inconvenience, she offered to deliver only the pulao even though it did not meet the required minimum order amount.
The delivery executives were provided with the mobile number we mentioned, in case they needed directions. They claimed to deliver the food in 45 minutes, and ours was delivered steaming hot in 50.
What: The website offers exclusive dining experiences like prix fixe menus, chef interactions and master classes at swish Mumbai restaurants. The list of places includes standalone as well as restaurants within hotels, and you can customise your dining experience as well. You can call the concierge service at 9619551387 to get recommendations and make a booking.
USP: You get to visit expensive places on a low budget and even meet with and learn from well-known chefs.
Experience: We booked a dinner for two at The Tasting Room, on a weekday. Our reservation was confirmed by phone on the same day itself. We could choose from six appetisers, seven mains and four desserts. The best part was — unlimited sangria! The service from the restaurant was the same as for regular patrons and even the seating was in the main area (unlike some offers which seat and treat you differently).