Best new Mumbai dabbawalas
Until a few years ago, the dabba or the Indian lunch box (transported from residences to offices) was made of steel, stacked three, sometimes five, storeys high and contained a traditional Indian meal of rotis, pulses, vegetables and rice.
Since then, the urban office meal has come a long way. It’s been flattened into ready-to-microwave trays, folded into cardboard boxes and calorie-counted into individual diet dishes.
Filling them is a self-consciously health-conscious brigade of chefs, but the method of delivery is still the same -- the network of some 5,000 local dabbawallahs or delivery men, whose logistics have amazed everyone from business school faculty to Prince Charles.
Now, match a packer with your personality.
For the paranoid eater: Calorie Care
Leave all meal-time calculations to these guys, who deliver breakfast, lunch and dinner in calorie-counted trays.
The menu -- developed by Lisa Sarah John, nutritionist to the National Cricket Academy -- features Indian and international meal plans based on your health goals, including weight loss, muscle gain, and sodium and sugar restrictions.
Co-founder Cyrus Driver recommends the daily gourmet soup and salad plan that he orders himself.
“You’ll find yourself waiting for Niçoise salad day,” he says.
24122100 or order online at www.caloriecare.com. Delivery all over Mumbai, Rs 130 for a small
Indian dabba and Rs 150 for international cuisine.
For the star-struck: Foodizm
Endorsed by a fistful of Bollywood stars (note the starry speech bubbles on Foodizm's website) this new tiffin service will impress you in one take.
Healthy-chic meals consisting of everything from ratatouille and papaya salad to roasted tomato soup and coconut chicken curry are delivered in sealed, microwaveable trays that travel surprisingly well.
On the website, actor and fitness freak John Abraham calls Foodizm “very healthy and overall well-balanced.” Thanks John. That helps.
For the globe-trotter: Love Lunch
It is because of Love Lunch that Mumbai’s hipsters eat at work. The first truly trendy dabba delivery in Mumbai, the family behind this venture whips up Japanese, Burmese, Sri Lankan and other global treats. They don’t however, have an all-vegetarian option, can be reached by email only, are more expensive and usually have a long wait list.
For menu and rates email email@example.com, delivery all over Mumbai, Rs 265 per dabba.
For the fickle foodies: Yummy Tiffins
You’re already slave to a corporate routine, don’t make your lunch part of it. Unlike many dabba services, Yummy Tiffins lets you personalize your daily menu, and decide what you want to eat a day in advance.
The all-vegetarian delivery service does pasta and sandwiches, but we suggest you try their regional Indian cuisine (cooked with minimal oil) that comes with a choice of multi-grain rotis and fun condiments. Gatte ki sabzi, a Rajasthani vegetable preparation, is founder Pratik Jain’s personal favorite.
Call +91 9820223338 or visit www.yummytiffins.com. Delivery along Mumbai’s Western line, mini meals start at Rs 49.
For the flower child: Angel Foods
This “boutique kitchen” doesn’t deliver, but you can get a dabbawalla to pick up and drop their vegan and organic treats. Founders Marisa and Rachna have been regular faces at the Sunday Farmers’ Market, where you’ve probably tried their smoothies, green juices, salads and dessert. If you haven’t, call Angel Foods now. Halo, we’re talking to you.
Call +91 9833151229 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For the vegans: Soul Food
Diet counsellor and chef Shonali Sabherwal packed Bollywood star Katrina Kaif a daily macrobiotic dabba for two years. Finally, the actress sent her personal cook to train under Sabherwal and that’s how she vanished from Soul Food’s client roster.
But there are other stars now, which is probably why this vegan, organic food service provides what is probably the most expensive lunch dabba delivery in Mumbai at Rs 300 a box.
But Sabherwal insists the price is justified by the quality of ingredients -- organic sea salts, digestive enzymes, natural sweetners -- and nutritional expertise that backs every box.
Sent in a casserole, each meal -- cuisines alternate between Greek, Indian, Moroccan and Italian -- comes with one portion of whole grain, beans, veggies, soup or salad daily and dessert thrice a week.
Every morning, the day’s menu and health tip is sent out as an email, which long-standing clients refer to as love letters.
Call +91 9819035604 or email email@example.com. Delivery all over Mumbai, Rs 300 per dabba.