The battle of Dubai food deliveries
Is there anything better than a gourmet feast in your pyjamas? We don’t think so. What’s On challenges Dubai’s professional delivery companies to the ultimate (and anonymous) takeout test. Orders were made on the same day at the same time at participating restaurants equidistant to What’s On HQ.
Delivery time promise: 40 minutes
Actual delivery time: 35 minutes
What is it: The on-demand food delivery, originally established in the UK, launched in Dubai in November 2015. At the same time, it launched in Hong Kong, Singapore, Melbourne and Sydney.
Restaurants include: Toko, Clinton St Baking Company, Sapori di Bice, Ping Pong, Fume, Baker And Spice, Busaba Eathai, Eat Greek, The Sum Of Us, Rossovivo, Circle Cafe, Fraiche, Crab Tavern and Sushi Counter.
App available? Yes.
What’s On order: Sapori di Bice (one diavola pizza and one fettuccine alla bolognese)
Online ordering: A piece of cake. The homepage interface is clean and simple. You choose your location and Deliveroo automatically sifts through the restaurants nearest to you. Payment is done via cash on delivery or online, and you’ll get notifications throughout the delivery process so you know exactly where your meal is at all times. (We do sometimes find the mobile site doesn’t let us book when we’re on 4G however. And then as soon as we get to Wifi, job done.)
Delivery fee: Dhs7 (plus the option to add a tip at the time of card payment)
Presentation: Deliveroo’s crew look sharp in their puffer jackets. The food is stored inside an insulated Deliveroo-branded bag that keeps the food hot. Nice touch.
Verdict: Slick and easy-to-navigate website; exceeded our expectations on time; and delivered hot, gourmet food to our door. Happy days.
Food On Click
Delivery time promise: 60 minutes
Actual delivery time: 75 minutes
What is it: Food On Click was launched back in 2010 by the team behind Turkish delivery site yemeksepeti.com. It claims to be the UAE’s first and largest online delivery portal, offering more than 1,000 restaurants to hungry people across UAE, Oman, Qatar and Lebanon.
Restaurants include: Subway, Moti Roti, Pinkberry, Kcal, Pitfire Pizza Café, Vapiano, Maple Leaf, Pizza Express, Mooyah Burger, Sushi Art, Gazebo, Yo Sushi, Nando’s, The Noodle House, Zaroob, Krispy Kreme, Tike and Carluccios.
App available? Yes.
What’s On order: Sheikh & Shake (one classic sheikh meal and mozzarella sticks)
Online ordering: Efficient and professional. Filters let you pick your order according to delivery time, whether there’s a delivery fee and customer ratings, and we had the option to pay online. We got a super swift and useful response via the online chat. However, the option to log in through Facebook didn’t work, meaning we had to set up a full account.
Delivery fee: Dhs0
Presentation: The delivery box looked like it’d seen better days and didn’t seem to have much insulating power, so our chips were pretty cold and soggy.
Verdict: It’s a professional website and we loved the customisable filters. It’s a shame that the Facebook shortcut wasn’t working. The long estimated wait, which was still late, left a vexed team.
Delivery time promise: 45 to 60 minutes
Actual delivery time: 75 minutes
What is it: An online delivery service where you can order from a host of UAE restaurants. With branches in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain, Talabat has been serving the Middle East for over a decade.
Restaurants include: Sushi Counter, Subway, Burger King, Wendy’s, Noodle House, Johnny Rockets, Pei Wei, Pizza Express, Caliburger and Wokyo Noodle Bar
App available? Yes
What’s On order: Wokyo Noodle Bar (Chicken coconut curry with egg noodles, Miso sesame beef with rice, a side of chicken panko strips)
Online ordering: Fairly straightforward – you can browse the menu according to restaurant, cuisine or city, or choose your preferences for all three and see what comes up. You don’t have to register for a one-off order, and payment is done via cash on delivery or by card online. Don’t bother trying to use the live chat session though – it doesn’t work very well. However, we did like the fact that a portion of your fee goes to charity.
Delivery fee: None, but there are minimum orders for each restaurant.
Presentation: Nothing special – the food is delivered in the branded restaurant bags, but happily it arrived surprisingly hot and tasty.
Verdict: Although there’s a wide range of restaurants to choose from, we didn’t like the fact that there’s no way to track your order – no confirmation text or e-mail, even for your payment – which only added to our frustration when the food arrived late.
Healthy food deliveries
01. Detox Delight
Detox Delight’s new Eat Clean programme involves three healthy meals, two of their signature fresh juices and two healthy snacks. Everything is raw, vegan and free of gluten and refined sugar.
What you get: One day consists of three meals and two juices, for a minimum of three days.
What we liked: The option to add on healthy snacks means that we never resorted to “hangry” mode.
How much: From Dhs450 for a one-day cleanse (includes Dhs80 delivery fee)
02. Love Food
Love Food offers tasty meal plans to make healthy eating effortless. Choose from three plans: Vitality (healthy living), Lifestyle (Paleo for weight loss) and Active (high protein).
What you get: You can choose to have either three meals and two snacks or two meals and one snack per day. Monthly plans are for either five or six days a week.
What we liked: The meal plans include bottles of infused water to make sure you stay well hydrated. Plus, there are QR codes to find out more about the food you’re eating.
How much: Monthly plans start at Dhs795 per week for two meals and one snack, five days a week.
03. Essentially Raw
This popular cold pressed juice company has recently launched a raw food meal plan that incorporates fresh soups, salads, snacks and even veggie burgers, as well as their signature juices. We loved the breakfast scones with cashew cream cheese and the tzatziki Buddha bowl.
What we liked: It’s interesting to see how Essentially create raw, vegan versions of typically unhealthy food, like crackers and chocolate brownies.
How much: From Dhs1,495 for five days, covering three meals plus cold press juices and healthy snacks per day.
Everyone should be able to enjoy delicious, interesting, home-cooked meals, right? That’s exactly what Kcal offer: a healthy dining experience where every dish on their menu includes no more than 300 calories.
What we liked: You are required to have a 40-minute consultation with a dietician, which includes a body composition test.
How much: Kcal Extra Success Plan for 28 days (seven days a week) costs Dhs3,450. Options are also available for 20 days (five days a week) and 24 days (six days a week).
Tidjoori offers almost every item you might usually order on a regular menu in vegan form. How about a slider trio, topped with cheese and mayo with double chocolate ice cream to finish? No problem.
What you get: A vegan dream come true. They now offer monthly meal delivery plans.
What we liked: The Pizza Tidjoori was a lovely combination of roasted vegetables topped on a thin pizza curst. While the cheese didn’t string the way pizza normally would, their tomato sauce base was delicious.
How much: From Dhs799 for five days, with three meals.
PLUS: Gourmet meals for one
Who wouldn’t want a Michelin-starred chef-designed meal on the dinner table a few times a week? With gourmet catering company Chez Charles, you get just that. It’s pretty simple: you choose the meals you want and they get delivered in pretty jars, which are then collected the next day. The menu changes weekly with new options introduced on a regular basis. Starters include dishes such as quinoa salad with braised octopus and a confit escabeche vegetables, Puy lentils with smoked salmon and a colourful mixed beetroot salad served with old-fashioned mustard dressing. An entire three-course lunch or dinner starts at Dhs109.