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Pre-made home delivered meals in Canberra – Part 2

By Chris Mordd Richards - 27 May 2016 5

Gourmet Dinner Service

This is part 2 in a series of posts detailing some of the different options for pre-made 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 chose two places I really wanted to try initially.

You can read the first article in the series, on Easy Life Meals, here.

Today’s article features the second business I have ordered from – Gourmet Dinner Service – or

Gourmet Dinner Service

GDS as i’ll refer to them from here on in, are an Australian-wide business, founded by Janel Horton. They have been operating since starting up in 1994. Since then they have cooked more than one million meals and Horton has been included in Business Review Weekly’s annual list of best female entrepreneurs.

They have recently launched Dietlicious, a gourmet diet range which has been getting fantastic reviews. GDS operates from commercial kitchens in Brookvale, NSW and Clayton, Victoria, and delivers 3 days a week – Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday in Canberra (exact days vary in other locations), or you can pick up from them in NSW and Victoria only. Their website is not particularly well designed in my opinion, with clunky navigation options, and a not very well designed process flow for the ordering and checkout parts. I was advised that a new website is almost finished and about to launch, but so far it appears there must have been a delay as it’s not up yet.

GDS food 1

The menu at the moment consists of 62 different options for lunch or dinner, including vegetarian options (mainly salads) and 32 different soups (they also cater for special dietary requirements with gluten free, diabetic, low GI and dairy free options). The meals are all priced at $7.50 for the soups, all the way up to $21.90 for some of the “serves 2” mains, and have detailed descriptions and nutrition information on the site, as well as good photos of the meal itself.

The meals come frozen (unfortunately a necessity of their shipping methods), and are designed to go straight into your fridge or freezer, are good for 6 months frozen, and just need a simple microwave blast to reheat. This is not my preference, I would prefer refrigerated not frozen as it can affect the flavour somewhat, but the meals are still prepared no more than 24-36hrs prior to delivery so are still very fresh compared to supermarket frozen food which can spend weeks in the supply chain before someone buys it.

Unlike ELM whose meals are all-in-1 (see Part 1), GDS meals are designed to be accompanied by vegies and rice/pasta or salad you make yourself. Orders must be in 36-48 hours in advance of delivery. Minimum order value is $50, and delivery is $19.50 per order. You can pay using Visa, Mastercard or Amex on the website when ordering.

My personal experience ordering from GDS was thus: Even though it isn’t possible to pickup in Canberra, the website gave me this option when I placed my order, and not knowing at the time this wasn’t possible for my location I selected pickup. After placing the order I couldn’t find the pickup address on their website, so I emailed them asking where I needed to go. They got back to me the next day and explained that it was a technical error with their website, and that I shouldn’t have been able to select pickup, and my only option was delivery.

GDS food 2

At this stage (Wednesday afternoon) I had missed the next day delivery window on Thursday so had to wait till the Tuesday next week to get my order. As compensation GDS offered to waive the $19.50 order fee (which I hadn’t paid yet) due to the delay and problems with the website. They assured me that the website had already been fixed, and although it rarely happened sometimes it did accidentally show pickup as an option for places where it isn’t available. While on the phone to them, I checked the website again and it still gave me a pickup option, when I told them this they were surprised and promised me they would get their technical support to look into it again.

They then offered to also add 2 free meals to my order as “compensation for the good feedback I had given them”. I then emailed them a screenshot of the website still showing pickup for me as they requested to pass on to their techs. However as of 8 days later, they still haven’t fixed the problem for me when I check their site.

GDS food 3

My order was delivered the next week on the Tuesday as promised, around 1pm in the afternoon by a courier. The order comes in a large styrofoam box, with about an 8cm layer of ice on the bottom and top, with the meals packed into the middle. I immediately placed them in my fridge instead of the freezer, as I intended to use them all within the next 7 days.

As for the meals, overall they were delicious and healthy and reasonable but not overly generous sized proportions, mostly what I was looking for. The ingredients seemed to be of a high quality, however the meals were very meat and sauce heavy, with very little vegies and no pasta/rice with it – except for the penne which was mostly pasta, and very little meat or sauce or vegies. Overall I enjoyed the 7 different meals I tried from GDS.

This is what I ordered with my ratings:

Butter chicken curry – 4 stars
Coq au vin – 4 star
Beef Burgundy – 4 stars
Boscaiola penne – 2.5 stars
Butter chicken curry – 4.5 stars
Roasted lamb shanks – 4.5 stars

These were the extra meals they added:
Rogan josh lamb curry – 3.5 stars
Beef ghoulash – 3.5 stars

The ratings obviously reflect 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 will try Canberra Dinner Rush and report back on my experience with them. 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!

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