For those who know me personally, you may know that I was incredibly busy at work last month due to staff shortage. This often meant spending my lunch time at work or doing overtime every now and then. I'm sure something like this has happened to every single one of you reading this post. While I usually bring home-made lunches, there were days when I felt like eating out but there were many days when I didn't have the time to do that.
Thanks to Menulog, I was given the opportunity to try out their online system for my next delivery order. The Menulog website makes online takeaway ordering easy to use with over 2000 restaurants to choose from, free usage and an SMS confirmation that your order has been processed.
Whether you are ordering from home or at work, you can just simply begin your order by entering the post code to see which restaurants are available for delivery in your area. If you are a returning customer, you get the option to log in if you wish.
The navigation of the website is easy and straightforward for first time buyers. None of that messy, cluttered stuff. Most restaurants offer promotions for your order and depending on which restaurant you choose, you could also get discounts or freebies such as 10% for your first order at the restaurant of your selection. If the results were too broad, you can refine your search using various filters such as Type of Cuisine, Specials or entering the Restaurant or Dish name in the search field. With this website, you can browse menus, read or write your own review, rate the service and speed or check out the minimum order for free delivery.
While there are hundreds of restaurants available for pick up, I was surprised that there wasn't as many that offer delivery. There was even much less restaurants that do delivery for lunches but thankfully Saigon Bay was one of those places that do this.
At Saigon Bay, you get a couple of promotions including 30% off for your first order. This was on top of the $25 voucher that I received from Menulog. Thankfully the sub-total price is still included in the minimum order which is $30 so you don't need to order anything extra once you get the discounts and vouchers. Also, if you order from this restaurant 7 times, then the 8th order is free. To start, simply choose the dishes you would like to get from the menu. These selected dishes will then appear on the right of the screen below the 'Your Order' tab with discounts and total price.
Finally, enter your payment details whether you choose cash, Mastercard, VISA, American Express (depending on the restaurant).
Now that the order has been placed, the best thing to do is just wait for your order to arrive. Or in my case, just continue working. Since I knew how busy I would be over the next few days, I actually made my order a few days before in advance and not worry about it on the day. You also get a confirmation via SMS the following day which stated what time my delivery will arrive and the contact number for the restaurant if any issues occur.
Although I made my order to arrive on Wednesday, suddenly on Tuesday I got a phone call from the delivery guy who said that my order is here. I was surprised since I did not expect it on that day (and I had my own lunch with my work colleagues due to Melbourne Cup). While I was glad that it did arrive at 12:45pm on the dot, I was concerned that the order will still be pending for the following day so I had to call up the restaurant and Menulog to ensure that the same order and delivery did not arrive on the original date. Thankfully that was rectified by the staff.
So lesson learnt: order on the day or the day/night before NOT two or more days before in advance (doh).
Now onto the food! I was quite surprised to hear that Saigon Bay Restaurant has actualy been around since 1993. This is on Oxford Street, Darlinghurst where many restaurants on that street do not last too long. After seeing it pop up on various food-related websites and the fact that they order lunch delivery for the CBD area, it got me curious enough to order food from this restaurant. The food arrived in a massive brown paper bag containing boxes with cutlery and food that was steaming hot. It felt like I was inside the restaurant and the food just arrived to my table.
Vietnamese Crispy Duck Pancake ($14.90)
While I've always tried the Vietnamese Pancake (Banh Xeo) with prawns, I actually have not got the chance to try it with duck. The batter was so crispy as if it was delivered straight from the kitchen. Also much more oily than what I'm used to. Ended up making good use of the greens from a separate box including the salad and mint to accompany the pancake.
Salads and Vietnamese Mint for the Banh Xeo
When seeing this dish on the menu, I could imagine how good this dish would have looked at the restaurant. Was disappointed that it did not came with rice paper rolls as this was mentioned on the menu. While the beef was not as tender as I preferred, it was still full of flavour with its crunchy yet mild onions. It also came with a deep, beef broth that was well-matched with the peanuts and tomato slices.
Special Camp Fire Beef ($22.90)
I often thought of papaya salad as part of Thai cuisine but then I have seen my family serving their own papaya salad back at home. Unlike the Thai version, the Vietnamese papaya salad was much less spicy and milder in terms of flavour. Saigon Bay's version demonstrates this. While the salad needed some fish sauce for added flavour, the prawns were fresh and plump and the shredded papaya retained that nice, sweet crunch.
Papaya Salad ($18.90)
Apart from the mishap with the date of delivery (which the staff fixed it up quickly), everything else went smoothly. The food was delivered on time, the food remained delicious and held up well even though it arrived via delivery. With an easy-to use website and a mobile app, I wouldn't mind trying out Menulog again for ordering take-away online whether it's home delivery or pick up especially with the many restaurants available on the website. Will recommend this if you are too busy to go out for lunch or you want to eat restaurant food for dinner without leaving your house.
Disclaimer: The Random Foodie received a voucher courtesy of Menulog. Opinions remain personal.
Menulog website: http://www.menulog.com.au/
Saigon Bay Restaurant in Darlinghurst
249 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
(02) 9360 3220