Most days, I set off to work with a plan for lunch. To drop in to a certain cafe, visit a particular market stall, walk an extra five minutes to investigate something shiny and new that’s just opened in Shoreditch.
The office is in East London – the choice is endless!
Most days, I plough through until 12.00 and then run, stomach screaming, to gorge on Pret sandwiches, gingerbread, yogurt and chocolate. Almost the same order, every time.
An hour later, I tell myself two things. One: from now on I will visit somewhere new every lunchtime. Two: I need to start eating more healthily. Fresh fruit, salads and water; instead of bread, chocolate and endless caffeine.
Such things aren’t new, no matter what the marketing tells you. However, in years gone by, to get a takeaway required a telephone, some local knowledge and the opportunity and energy to make a phone call.
Ah. The wonders of the internet. All the necessary knowledge, research and human interaction removed, replaced with a few clicks and a credit card. A scooter laden with food is only minutes away.
Takeaways aren’t renowned for their quality though and they’re usually limited to a couple of ‘traditional’ choices of Asian origin. Step forward EatFirst – a service that provides lunch delivered straight from a kitchen overseen by a top chef. That’s Jane Tran to be precise, a Canadian born chef with a CV from kitchens on both sides of the Atlantic.
The process for EatFirst is simple, the choices few (or rather, two), but very appealing. EatFirst meals arrive in a beautiful boldly branded shoebox of a container – no foil packets with a pen inscription here. It’s like Christmas came early! Or at least it did at the time of eating.
My lunch was Indian salmon. A colourful plate (box) of salmon, served on a bed rice, with spiced cauliflower and greens. As a takeaway lunch goes, this is one of the best. Not only is it a healthy option – well, all those greens means it has to be healthy – but it’s tasty and it travels well. The latter being very important when it comes to takeaway. What’s the use of having a succulent piece of lobster leave the kitchen, if it’s chewy and cold by the time it reaches the customer? No names mentioned, but it has happened before.
Not a bit of it here. The salmon still clung to some moisture, not yet reaching that dry stage where it becomes tiny shreds of meat. The rice and greens were slightly plain; a little dull, but when mixed together with a tangy spicy red (I’m guessing tomato based) sauces, they came alive. The cauliflower had that dry spice finished that suggests a boiling (or steaming) followed by a quick fry in a pan. This method injects into what I find a very boring vegetable, but you have to be careful that on the larger chunks, the spice outer isn’t’overpowered’ by the mass of boring inner.
Overall, you’re looking at a fine lunch here. My only critism is that they don’t deliver dessert. I’m a pudding man, see. I need to finish every savoury course with something loaded with sugar and, preferably, doused in cream. Oh well, you can’t win every lunch. Perhaps next time I visit the website, I’ll be pleasantly surprised.
I think my lunch conundrum has just been solved.
Back reading Foodepedia after the Christmas break? You may have missedÃ¢â‚¬Â¦