Ah takeaway. The saviour of the tired, of the overworked, of those who are unwilling or unable to cook, or the just plain lazy. In my experience, takeaway can be very bad, and sometimes not worth the supposed convenience of it. I’ve had some truly awful takeaway meals in my time, usually after moving to a new area and am a relative deer-in-the-headlights as to what is good and what isn’t, and what is only going to make me sick.
The key is to be discerning and not to be blinded by convenience. Inspect the menu and the premises, then decide whether it’s worth a go. Everywhere gets a first go but if it’s bad and you go back, even if it’s a short walk or drive and cheap, more fool you.
I am lucky enough to live in an area that has quite a few options for meals when my wife and I are feeling particularly put-upon or lazy. We avoid the usual fast-food chains, the feeling of horror and illness usually present immediately after ingestion of food from most of them far from worth it.
You try and weigh up cost against quality. You have to be prepared to accept that the meal you bring home in the box, no matter how good it is, is not going to taste the same as in a restaurant. That’s fine as long as you aren’t paying restaurant prices.
And if it’s going to take 40 minutes to be ready and still be sub-par, well, cook yourself a meal.
Amie and I have a few favourite places that we visit regularly, and a few more that we have started to try recently that have popped up in our area. We find ourselves having routinely taken the easy option of late due to (ahem) “busyness”.
Variety is the key when you are in this mode, you can’t keep having the same thing night after night. Here are some of the options we find ourselves going back to.
Our mainstay. We have a local branch of this amazingly successful franchise only a 6-minute drive away from our house. Great burgers made with fresh ingredients and a great variety of choices on the menu. You fall into your own groove of course, and I can recite our usual order without thinking. By the time I’ve put the phone down, hopped in the car and stepped up to the counter, our food is ready. What more can you ask from your takeaway store than that? Chips. Chips with salt and rosemary. Enough said. Usual waiting 5-10 minutes.
This Italian restaurant has gone through a few incarnations in our time in the area, and this won is a real winner. Simple, home-style Italian dishes that are especially delicious and relatively cheap. Good pasta makes great takeaway as it stays warm and retains it’s flavour, and Il Pasto definitely does that. Of note are their Grilled Dried Pork-fennel Sausage, Gamberi with Fennel and Breadcrumbs, and Four-cheese Tortellini. Usual waiting 20 minutes. Look out for a review of our experience dining in with friends in coming posts.
This place has been around with the same owners for a while and it is as equally good for it’s friendly atmosphere when dining in than it is for its quality takeaway menu. We have had a few meals here with friends along the journey and the food is always delicious. BYO also always gets a tick. Their takeaway menu is dominated, at least in my opinion, by their range of wood-fire pizzas. Pizza is the ultimate takeaway food, and a good one is something special. Thin crust, quality toppings that aren’t overloaded and tasty base-sauce. Good pasta is also on offer, with their Spaghetti Marinara a personal favourite. Usual waiting 10-15 minutes.
This is a relatively new place on the scene and piqued our interest as soon as it opened. After the first try, it quickly became a regular. The fair is a variety of curries, vegetable and rice dishes, and breads that take their cue from Indian cuisine but put a unique Nepalese spin on it. Curries make great takeaway in the same way that pasta does, and we have not been disappointed by this place yet. Chef’s Special Goat Curry is a highlight, as is probably the best Butter Chicken I have ever had anywhere – the chicken is so smokey and the sauce smooth and creamy but not heavy. Vegetarians will like their Aloo Bhuteko (Nepalese style potato cubes) Mismas (Nepalese-style stir fried veges). Usual waiting 15-20 minutes.
This Vietnemese/Thai restaurant is part of the Coventry markets and provides wonderful choices for those who love their Asian takeaway. A large selection of dishes cooked wonderfully with fresh ingredients makes it a no-brainer for us. Amie loves the Green Papaya Salad and Tom Yum soup. I’m a huge fan of their Peking Ribs and Braised Duck Egg Noodles. Fresh stir-fry veges are also a must – even out of the takeaway container, they still have that crunch you want. Usual waiting 15-20 minutes.
Just because you are eating takeaway doesn’t mean it has to be awful food. Take some time to discover what’s around you and look past the usual high-profile chains. You might just be surprised what you have available to you just around the corner.