Taj recently introduced Qmin, a home delivery service from some of the luxury restaurants at Taj properties in Mumbai, other cities are to be added soon. ITC didn’t waste any time launching their own in-home dining service, Gourmet Couch, which is already available in Agra, Amritsar, Aurangabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Coimbatore, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Mumbai, Vadodara and Visakhapatnam.
In Mumbai, Taj offers this service within an 8km radius from its hotels, while ITC has a much more limited 3km radius. As I reside in South Mumbai, I was able to order food from Taj Mahal Palace at Colaba, Taj President at Cuffe Parade and our recently reviewed ITC Grand Central located in Parel.
Ease of ordering
Taj has longer lists of items to choose from, with each restaurant having an independent menu of their own, find them here. In my case, I could order from Shamiana, Golden Dragon, and Souk at Taj Mahal Palace and Trattoria, The Konkan Cafe, and Thai Pavilion at Taj President, as Taj Lands End didn’t fall within an 8km radius from me.
You can choose from Asian, Italian, Thai, Konkani and Mughlai food while ordering from Qmin. However, I refrained from ordering Mughlai from Qmin, as there were only some general dishes like Kheema pav and Mutton biryani mentioned in Shamiana’s menu, which is their all day dining restaurant.
ITC had one menu for its hotel, however, having been a regular visitor to this property I could easily make out that the dishes were from two of their better-known restaurants - The Shanghai Club and Kebabs & Kurries.
The prices on the Taj menus were exclusive of taxes, whereas ITC’s menus showed the final prices you would be paying for the dishes.
Winner: ITC, by a close margin. Even though I had an option to choose from two different hotels (and six different restaurants), menus at Taj properties looked similar and I had a hard time choosing the dishes.
Placing an order:
I had to place the orders over the phone with both the brands, however Taj plans on launching an app for Qmin on July 25, 2020. As of now, this is the only way of placing your orders with both the companies.
I made an advance booking for the food to be delivered on the 5th of July at 9pm, and they didn’t have any issues with taking such an order.
As for Taj, the Qmin’s provided helpline number (1800 266 7646) connected me to their call centre and from there my call was directed to the hotel I wanted to order from, which meant that I had to order food separately from Taj Mahal Palace, and Taj President.
In case of Gourmet Couch, I connected directly to ITC Grand Central and had a smooth process by mentioning that I wanted to place an order for ‘Gourmet Couch’.
Winner: ITC, by a narrow margin yet again. Only because while ordering at Taj it is a two step process where you connect with the helpline and then be transferred to the hotel, compared to a direct call with ITC.
Both the services used CC Avenue as their payment gateway, and it worked perfectly fine with me. All the cards are accepted. I made the payment with my Rupay card, which I have experienced is not accepted at some place. It was a decision in desperate circumstances, else I would have preferred to stay clear of a Rupay card.
The payment links are shared via Whatsapp (from a CC Avenue business account), SMS, and email, and they are valid for six hours after creation.
Winner: The process is the same for both, so nothing to choose between them.
Selection and price
Taj’s Qmin had plenty to offer, unless if you are sure what kind of food you want to go for, it becomes too much to choose from. I had two Taj properties close to me, so I was spoilt for choice.
It was much easier with ITC because they had their specialities listed and something which felt more appealing overall. I instantly knew what I wanted to order as soon as I laid eyes on their menu.
As I had expected, Taj Mahal Palace was more expensive than the other two. But I felt better value for money with Taj President and ITC Grand Central.
My order read as follows:
- Prawn hargau from Golden Dragon at Taj Mahal Palace.
- Lamb tajine from Souk at Taj Mahal Palace.
- Meen pollichathu from The Konkan Cafe at Taj President.
- Jeera meeri chi kombdi from The Konkan Cafe at Taj President.
- Walnut ricotta cheesecake from Trattoria at Taj President.
- Burrhani gosht from ITC Grand Central.
- Burrah kebab from ITC Grand Central.
- Gongbao dijing from ITC Grand Central.
- Gulab jamun from ITC Grand Central.
The total from Taj Mahal Palace came to INR 3658; Taj President: INR 3617; and ITC Grand Central: INR 5175; adding upto a sum of INR 12,450.
Winner: ITC. Mainly because of its value for money. While Taj Mahal Palace had many appealing dishes, I found them to be way higher than the other two hotels in terms of price.
Delivery and presentation
There were separate deliveries from each hotel. Delivery personnel from Qmin were in uniform and carried the food in a safe box. When asked, he replied that they have instructions not to open that box until they reach the customer. I had specially requested to have the food handed over to me only, and they obliged.
ITC delivery personnel didn’t have a proper uniform, however, I found the packaging from ITC to be more pleasing to the eyes.
Winner: Qmin. Because of their more hygienic approach, and in these times it is a major deciding factor.
The sustainable packaging from both were the same, with just the difference of the name tags of dishes on them.
There wasn’t much to choose from in terms of presentation of food as it was all packed. The packaging from both were safe and well organised, however, Qmin’s boxes seemed basic compared to ITC’s larger box.
Also, the papad in the paper bag didn’t really go along with the premium feel of the rest of the packaging from Taj.
Winner: ITC. By a small margin, and only because of their beautiful packaging and easily holdable boxes.
I have only good things to say about the food, none of the dishes disappoint. It was a multi-cultural party for my taste buds, with the choices being from Middle-eastern, Mughlai, Konkani, Chinese and Italian cuisines.
Lamb Tajine from Souk at Taj Mahal Palace was rich in flavour and the accompaniments of couscous, tahini sauce, mustard sauce, harissa, stuffed dates and toffee walnut makes this dish a must have.
Meen pollichathu from The Konkan cafe at Taj President was accompanied with tomato sauce and coconut milk. This fish is prepared in banana leaf and served like that, and I will definitely want to order this again. The accompaniments were really good as well.
Burrhani gosht from ITC was rich in flavour and left a lasting taste, the sweet after taste of onion in the masala hit exactly the right spot combined with the spices.
Gongbao dijing from ITC was chicken in kung pao sauce and it met my expectations perfectly well.
Burrah kebab is a must order starter, rich in flavours and so tender that it almost melted in my mouth.
Prawn hargau was a portion of four shrimp dumplings and I didn’t feel the need to dip it in anything as it tasted very good alone.
Jeera meeri chi kombdi from The Konkan cafe at Taj President is their Goan style chicken gravy, the only dish I’d be happy to miss next time. Nothing wrong with it, I didn’t find it as rich in flavours as other dishes.
For dessert I ordered Gulab Jamun from ITC and walnut ricotta cheesecake from Trattoria at Taj President. I was honestly very full after a sumptuous meal, so I had to wait for some time before I went for the dessert and it was as good as the rest of the meal had been.
Winner: Qmin. By a small margin, the on point preparation of the dishes from different cuisines impressed me. ITC wasn’t bad, Taj’s Qmin did it better.
Ever since Taj made an announcement about Qmin, I have been eager to try the food delivery services from ITC and Taj. It was nice to experience the luxury of having food from some of the best restaurants from ITC and Taj on the same table.
Both the services were up to the expectation and I enjoyed the food very much. Food hygiene and quality were of very good standards. It was at the perfect temperature, and all that food received a very warm welcome from my tummy.
If you are someone who would like to have a variety of options then I recommend you to try the Qmin service. However, ITC's menu is much straight forward and simpler to choose from.
As the restaurants charge for food, service and ambience when you dine-out, prices are justified. However, in this case, two of the three services were missing and hence I would have liked to see Qmin and Gourmet Couch keep their prices accordingly.
I am looking forward to the launch of Qmin app and share that experience with you all, stay tuned and find all the updates on our twitter page.
Have you tried Qmin or Gourmet Couch? Which one would you be more likely to order from?