Meal Review: Housebites.com
Jon Dean tries out the next generation of takeaway
If your household is anything like mine, you could be stuck in a bit of a rut when it comes to the Saturday night takeaway. You pull a menu out of the drawer and it’s basically a three way tussle between an Indian, a Chinese or a pizza. They all have their merits, of course, but after wrestling with these heavyweights for weeks on end it is hard to see beyond greasy noodles, a cold naan or an oily pepperoni slice. However, a revolution could be on the cards in the bustling arena of delivery food.
Housebites.com is a new website that aims to offer restaurant quality food with the convenience of a takeway. The premise is as simple as it is ingenious - you put your post code into the site and it shows you a list of chefs working in your area. The cooks themselves range from professionals who ply their trade in Michelin starred restaurants, to gifted amateurs, but they all have to pass the stringent taste test, as well as have their kitchens certified by the council. Then you simply pick your chef, choose your dish(es) and tell them what time you want it to arrive.
Sounds almost too easy - but how does it work in practice?
Well, the nature of the beast means your choice is dictated to a certain extent by where you live. When we typed in our postcode, we were offered a good selection including Caribbean, French and Italian. With new chef’s signing up all the time, a paucity of options is unlikely to be a problem. We made our choice mid-afternoon and asked it to come out around 8pm, which is a pretty handy feature.
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The food came on time and was very good indeed. To start, we had a moist and succulent chicken risotto, followed by the jerk chicken, which was tangy, but not over spiced, and came smothered in sauce unlike some of the dry offerings available from takeaways. We also tried the oven baked salmon with pak choi, which was delicious - the tender fish delightfully accompanied by the sharp dressing. Alongside the two mains we had flavoured rice, cool potato salad and satisfying home made coleslaw. To round things off we had an indulgent strawberry jam and coconut cake with sweet, creamy custard. After all that, I was stuffed to the gills and particularly glad I was sat on my couch rather than in a restaurant contemplating the journey home.
The team behind Housebites are an internet savvy bunch and include a founder of social networking site Bebo and Islington-based CEO Simon Prockter.
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Simon said: “The idea came about after a bad take away experience. We looked at the problems with conventional delivery food and worked out four main areas where it could be improved; quality, service, engagement and delivery. We feel we have solved all of these and created a service that most people will prefer.”
After my enjoyable culinary episode, I find it hard to disagree.