This is intended to be a 2-3 series of posts detailing some of the different options for pre-made refrigerated (not frozen) meals that can be home delivered in Canberra.
This is for all the busy people out there, the singles who don’t like cooking alone, the people who hate cooking or are really bad at it and find it frustrating as hell (like myself) or for people who just like to have something easy to eat a few times a week that takes no prep time and is delicious and healthy as well. This is for all of you.
I started out by Googling for “premade home delivered meals canberra” and sussed out the options from there. I have now chosen two places I really want to try, and a 3rd that I am considering (they are a slightly pricier option than the first 2).
ELM as they prefer to go by, are a local Canberra based business, founded by two Canberrans – Hesh and Alistair. They have been operating ELM since starting up in 2015, and have gone through a few website and menu redesigns in the process. They operate from a commercial kitchen in Turner and deliver once a week on Sundays to anywhere in Canberra or Queanbeyan. Their website, currently in its 3rd iteration, is very well designed with bright graphics well apportioned, easy and clear navigation, good photos, and a well designed process flow for the ordering and checkout parts.
Their menu at the moment consists of 16 different options for lunch or dinner (no vegetarian options when I ordered) and 3 different treat packs (including gluten free options). The meals are all priced at $12.50 each, and have detailed descriptions and nutrition information on the site, as well as excellent photos of the meal itself. The snack packs are also $12.50 each except for the Juice pack which is $20. The overall menu consists of 40 different meals which change regularly, with 16-20 meals available at any one time. The meals come refrigerated, and are designed to go straight into your fridge, are good for 7 days, and just need a simple microwave blast to reheat.
Orders must be in by midnight Thursday for delivery on Sunday. All orders over $70 qualify for free delivery. At the moment they don’t have a delivery fee in place for orders under $70, so currently this is the minimum order, but they are considering adding the option to allow for smaller orders. You can pay using Paypal, Stripe or Paywhirl on the website when ordering.
My personal experience ordering from ELM was thus: Initially my emails to them went unanswered, and when my delivery didn’t arrive on the Sunday I took to their Facebook page on the Monday to ask what was going on. Within 45 minutes, I got a call from Hesh, one of the 2 owners, who explained to me that my emails had gone into their Gmail spam box and hadn’t been seen, and that the delivery driver had apparently been to my place twice on the Sunday but couldn’t find me.
Hesh assured me he would personally deliver my meals to me at 6pm that day (and yes this was the Anzac day public holiday) and would sort out what had gone on when he got to my place. I gave him detailed instructions on how to find me so he didn’t get lost like his delivery driver did.
When he arrived at 6pm promptly we had a good chat, and he showed me my emails in his spam box. I advised that using Gmail you really need to check the spam box every few days or more often, because it does eat legit emails. Hesh was very apologetic about it and not seeing the emails. As to the delivery mix up, my block is not well designed, with 1 driveway feeding two separate apartment complexes, and I’ve often had delivery drivers call me to tell they’re at my door, when they are at the complex next door at the same apartment number over there. So I don’t blame them for having trouble finding me, and Hesh assured me it would not happen again.
We discussed that there was meant to be an option on the website for delivery instructions, but I couldn’t find this when i ordered (or when i went back to check the site again afterwards) and they have since looked into this and added it back to the order process on the website now. The current website is only a few weeks old, and as a sometimes independent web developer, I know well that any new site will have small teething issues like this that need to be sorted out. Hesh was very apologetic about it all and thanked me profusely for the feedback and assured me it would all be addressed to make sure it didn’t happen again to another customer. Overall I found him to be very friendly and receptive to my feedback and it was a pleasure meeting him.
As for the meals, overall they were delicious and healthy and well sized proportions, exactly what I was looking for. I particularly found the meat to be quite succulent and tender and tasty in most of the dishes and the ingredients seemed to be of a high quality. I really enjoyed the 7 different meals I tried from ELM.
This is what I ordered:
* Hop, Chick and a Jump – 3.5 stars
* Penne for your Thoughts – 5 stars
* Eurofusion – 4 stars
* One Radishing Chick(Pea) – 4.5 stars
* Morocconut Salad – 4 stars
* Orange you glad we met – 3 stars
* More Rockin’ Lamb – 3.5 stars
This is obviously just my personal taste preferences, yours will be different to mine, so don’t take my rating system to heart, I’m no expert foodie, I just know what I like.
Next up, I try Gourmet Dinner Service and report back on my experience with them, and I will consider reviewing Canberra Dinner Rush as well. If you have any suggestions of other really good options please add them in the comments and I will consider reviewing those as well. Cheers!