Taste Test: InnerChef
Som Tum Salad, Egg Bagel & the lemon cake (far right). Photo: Shirin Mehrotra
InnerChef, a Gurgaon-based food tech start-up that offers ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook meals, recently came to Mumbai. Founded by entrepreneurs Rajesh Sawhney and Sanjeev Singhal, the Mumbai branch of the start-up is currently focusing on ready-to-eat meals along with their hyper local dessert marketplace Indulge, which sources desserts from home chefs and bakers across the city.
We tested the delivery service over two days at different locations, and ordered a variety of food including Salmon Egg Bagel, Som Tum Salad, Sunrise Lemon Cake, Lucknowi Mutton Dum Biryani and Mango Tart.
The menu is quite extensive with all-day breakfasts of bagels, eggs, parathas and even poha, salads, paninis, snacks like wraps and rolls and a huge selection of desserts. There’s a special biryani section featuring biryanis from the kitchen of home chefs like Nafisa Kapadia (of The Bohri Kitchen fame).
You can place an order via their website or app; we picked the former. They have delivery slots of one hour starting from 11am to 10pm. InnerChef currently delivers between South Mumbai and Bandra. We placed our orders a day in advance and chose cash-on-delivery as our mode of payment; you can go for online payment too. The kitchen is based out of Prabhadevi, so there’s an additional delivery cost of Rs 50 if you’re ordering food in or around Bandra.
We wanted an early dinner, and picked the delivery slot of 5pm to 6pm on both the weekdays. Our request to change the time slot of the first delivery in Bandra was taken care of efficiently, and was moved to 6pm to 7pm. Our second order, which was in Lower Parel, reached us on time too. However, the disappointment struck as we opened our orders to find a plain Egg Bagel instead of the Salmon Egg Bagel we had ordered and paid for. A quick tweet to them got someone address the issue the next day, and we received a refund of the balance amount with our next order. This still doesn’t earn them any points since we had to make do with the wrong order.
Lucknowi Mutton Dum Biryani & Mango Tart. Photo: Shirin Mehrotra
The food arrived in beautiful cardboard boxes with everything neatly packed in plastic cases. The dressing for salad was packed separately and there was extra cream cheese with our bagel. The only issue was the packaging of the complimentary shortbread cookies; they had turned a bit soggy in the paper sleeve. Sending them in a zip lock bag would be a better idea.
The portions sufficed one person and the desserts – a small lemon cake and two mango tarts – can be shared between two.
While we were delivered the wrong bagel, the good bit was that it was fresh, dotted with sesame seeds and with a generous filling of eggs. But, the cream cheese spread tasted more like mayonnaise. The Som Tum – Thai raw papaya salad was bland and didn’t have one of the key ingredients, which is the Thai bird eye chilli. The dressing too lacked the sharpness of lime and the umami flavour that comes from the fish sauce. The Sunrise Lemon Cake saved the day for InnerChef. The cake was perfectly moist with a lovely hint of lemon; perfect for tea-time snacking we thought.
The Lucknowi Mutton Dum Biryani by Nafisa Kapadia wasn’t a complete disappointment, but wasn’t a Lucknowi biryani either. The flavour of mutton wasn’t seeped into the rice, a prerequisite for an ideal Awadhi biryani. There was too much masala in the biryani, which made it taste a lot like the regular Mumbai-style biryani. We loved the mango curd in the tarts, but the pastry had turned completely soggy by the time it reached us.
Som Tum – Rs 150, Salmon Egg Bagel – Rs 180, Sunrise Lemon Cake – Rs 150, Lucknowi Mutton Dum Biryani – Rs 280, Mango Tart – Rs 250
With an additional delivery cost, dodgy delivery and taste that’s not bang for the buck, InnerChef does end up being an expensive affair. A meal for one would cost you a minimum of Rs 500. It’s a good option if you’re looking to break away from the monotony, but definitely not a substitute to your regular dabba service.
This review was conducted anonymously and the author paid for her own meal.
The author is a freelance food and travel writer and shares her stories on Foodchants. She is on a perpetual quest to learn about the history of regional food.