Delivered to your door ... The pulled pork baguette from Bourbon Street. Photo: Simon De Smet
Can't face another sushi roll or canteen sanger as you dine al desko? Lunch, ordered from the convenience of your computer and delivered to your door, is the better option, with a spate of new delivery services offering office-bound workers inspired menus. Possibilities range from 12-hour pulled pork rolls and Vietnamese salads to clever vegan lunch boxes. Here are five of the best.
1. Healthy BYTe
Run by the catering team behind Bright Young Things, Healthy BYTe is focused on wellbeing.
Rawchini salad from HealthyBYTe. Photo: James Morgan (Styled by Kirsty Bryson)
''We have all the facilities to produce beautiful food,'' says director Kate Stewart, ''so the next step for our business was to make it healthier and more accessible.''
The team worked with consulting nutritionists and the results are wholesome and filling, largely informed by superfood trends, while remaining gluten and lactose friendly. Think nifty lunch packs containing poached chicken sandwiches with mint, basil and creamy cashew mayo; buckwheat noodle salads packed with swiss brown mushrooms and sesame-roasted pumpkin; cacao-based and trail-mix snacks; along with a cold-pressed juice to wash it all down.
Delivers to: City and inner suburbs; lunch packs, $20 (min 10 per order); brightyoungthings.net.au
By Two Sisters' Vietnamese chicken congee.
2. Bourbon Street
Treat yourself with a selection of slow-cooked and excellently spiced offerings from Bourbon Street. As the name suggests, inspiration is taken from America's deep south. Meaty options, such as smoky barbecued beef or coffee-infused pulled pork, are stuffed generously inside classic white baguettes. Brown rice is a bread alternative for those who are ''not friends with gluten''. It all goes well with traditional coleslaw, chilli kale chips and candied walnut accompaniments.
Delivers to: Southbank, South Melbourne, Port Melbourne, Albert Park, Middle Park and the city on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Snacks and mains, $2.50 to $13.50; bourbonstreet.com.au
By Two Sisters' Vietnamese beef salad. Photo: Carl Wels
3. Good Freakin Food
With her creative kitchen skills, Jacq Lamberti proves veganism can be multi-dimensional. Having started the lunch delivery service Good Freakin Food last year, Lamberti now offers hearty soups, organic salads and inventive smoothies from a weekly rotating menu. Lunch boxes may contain pasta salad with basil and kale pesto; a finely sliced salad of beetroot, kohlrabi, fennel and orange; and a moreish potato arancini with roasted eggplant and rocket. Dessert comes in the form of a raw cacao smoothie, and by the end, veganism didn't seem that bad.
Delivers to: City (on Wednesday) and inner suburbs (Tuesday); lunch boxes and soups, $12; goodfreakinfood.com.au
4. Egg Unlimited
Egg Unlimited's deluxe, high tea-style lunch boxes are designed to impress. Highly styled and intelligently crafted miniature sandwiches, tarts, bagels and pastries are all lined up in two orderly rows and filled with treats such as smoked salmon, tasty pastrami and tomato with goat's cheese. Great for catering for that high-powered board meeting.
Delivers to: City and inner suburbs; lunch boxes, $28.50 (min 4 per order); eggunlimited.com.au
5. By Two Sisters
''We want to offer people food that we grew up with - food that's authentic, fresh and healthy,'' says By Two Sisters' Thu Maria Fampidi. Sisters Thu and Thy, whose background is Vietnamese, have developed a sharp menu featuring warm vermicelli noodles and crisp salad staples (have them with grilled lemongrass pork, betel leaf beef and poached prawns or try the expertly seasoned chicken congee). Everything is thoughtfully vacuum-sealed for longer shelf life (up to eight days), but that also means you have to get your hands slightly dirty. Scissors and a microwave are handy.
Delivers to: City and inner suburbs; congee, $7.95, salads and noodles, $11.95-12.95; bytwosisters.com.au