March 3, 2017 6:47 PM

I Tried Bombay Food Junkies New Tiffin Meal Delivery Service for a Week and Here's What Happened

I've known plenty of people who own and run restaurants and it is backbreaking work; my hat goes off to you. But, when you add a meal delivery service on top of that, I'm not sure if you are crazy or courageous. However, when this once niche slice of the food industry blossoms into a 100-billion dollar slice of the pie, perhaps taking the jump into the arena is worth the sleepless nights to come.

I reference the sleepless nights, because I used to run my own weekly meal delivery service for about 2 1/2 years before the industry really boomed. I'd lay awake thinking about certain recipes for a client, did I order those salad containers?, do I really need 4-color stickers? etc.  Ultimately it was too much for this one-woman show and it kept me away from what I really love doing - to teach, so I threw in the apron. The details involved are endless, but if you've got your act together if and you can layer this type of business on top of an already successful restaurant, you're golden.

Enter Bombay Food Junkies. Beginning their journey as the first Indian food truck in St. Louis and then transitioning into a full-fledged brick and mortar restaurant, Bombay Food Junkies dishes up vegetarian and vegan authentic Bombay street food. What exactly IS Bombay street food? Including, but definitely not limited to what you might initially think of typical Indian fare, like flat breads and curries, this street food is a fantastic fusion of food from all over the country. Their business model is interesting, they offer an Indian buffet where patrons are offered small portions of many different dishes and are encouraged to order more of what they enjoy the most, this cuts down on waste, something more traditional buffets typically encounter. It also keeps the owners, Krupa and Sid Panchal engaged with their customers - an important part of restaurant ownership.

Nailing the truck and restaurant models, they've now recently added meal delivery to their resumes. Their new Bombay Tiffin Club (Tiffin is an Indian-British term for small meal and is encased in a three-tier container) offers twice weekly personal meal delivery service and of course it is inclusive of all the great selections that you will find at the restaurant itself. Each order includes 4 meals, a menu and suggestions on how to pair the food to create a meal.

In our first delivery (Monday), which was cheerfully delivered in an insulated and branded bag, (nice touch, guys!) we received:

  • Roti (flat breads)
  • Fragrant long grain rice
  • Spinach salad with vegetables, chickpeas and dressing
  • Sweet corn soup
  • Vegetable chi*kn curry
  • Bean and lentil curry
  • Masala fried rice with vegetables
  • International stir-fry with vegetables and tofu over white rice 

All of the containers are clearly numbered and at the bottom of the menu they've included infographics (who doesn't love the infographic?!) on how to build your meal. Taking their suggestions, we dutifully followed these cute little images and were satisfied not only with the amount of food, but also the rage of flavors. We tend to be big eaters and this delivery fit the bill. The favorite from this delivery was the sweet corn soup which I think we both could have had multiple portions. Bombay did not skimp on it, we just loved it that much.

BFJ bag and meal

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In Wednesday's bag we pulled out:

  • Roti
  • Long grain rice
  • Salad (romaine, roasted corn, cucumber and carrots with a carrot ginger dressing)
  • Stir-fried broccoli with a little bit of garlic
  • Vegetable soya curry (vegan meat crumbles cooked in onion, tomato and spices)
  • Green mung bean daal
  • Stir fried noodles with vegetables and tofu
  • International dish (naked burrito = fajita vegetables, Mexican rice, chi*kn, black beans, vegan cheese and sour cream)

For the sake of taking a picture, I created all the dishes immediately according to Bombay's suggestions, then I replaced the food to their respective containers and we simply picked at a little of everything for the next two nights, mixing and matching as we went. This delivery felt a little more international than the previous and the stand out meal was the naked burrito. I added in more of the stir-fried garlic broccoli (shocking, I know) to really bulk it up and it was delicious. Truly, the whole delivery was good and again, we felt quite satisfied with it all (both flavors and volume).

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I commend the Panchals, this is a tough business, but it looks like they are taking slow and calculated steps. They really listen to their customers and take suggestions into account, thus, delivering to needs. St. Louis has such a great culinary scene and personally, I'm thrilled to see more and more plant-based options not only pop-up, but stay on track with trends in how food is prepared (ie: street food), and offering flexibility of ways in which to receive it (truck, resto, recurring meal delivery).

I recommend visiting Krupa and Sid and experiencing their Indian Buffet to get a taste of their hard work. And -next time you need the week off from cooking, contact the Tiffin Club and enjoy authentic Indian street food all in the comfort of your own home.

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