Since I usually reserve evenings for reviewing restaurants, I try to keep my lunches nice and healthy. I have a handful of healthy restaurants near my office where I can grab a quick healthy bite, but I am very quickly exhausting these. So when I heard about new ‘meal tray delivery’ company Fre[N]sh, I was keen to give it a go.
The name Fre[N]sh is a combination of the words French and fresh, since the company’s aim is to deliver nothing but the freshest meals prepared each morning by its French chef. Fre[N]sh uses both local and French suppliers to carefully source all of its produce, ensuring that everything is hormone-free, free-range and organic where possible. Unlike so many delivery companies in Hong Kong, one thing that really stood out for me, is that Fre[N]sh doesn’t use masses of plastic packaging; the packaging is in fact mostly cardboard and is all fully recyclable.
Admittedly, on the day I received my delivery, I was almost ready to write Fre[N]sh off. My meal had still not arrived an hour after it was supposed to, and I was then told it wasn’t coming due to some kind of accident. Given that I was receiving a complimentary meal, I wasn’t too put out, but I was starving! So I went out in the rain to one of my usual healthy lunch spots, got back to my desk and, as I was about to take the first bite of my lunch, my Fre[N]sh delivery arrived!
Fre[N]sh offers two options, depending on how hungry you are: ‘something small’ + ‘something big’; or both of these plus ‘something sweet’. Each dish has its own little section of a hexagram that fits together like a jigsaw puzzle. I was pretty impressed by the packaging and presentation.
The meals change daily and are posted online at the start of each week. On the day I ordered, the ‘something small’ was a Niçoise salad. I was a bit disappointed at the lack of eggs (a key component of a Niçoise) and that it was made with tinned rather than fresh tuna, but it actually tasted a lot better than it looked.
The ‘something big’ was stuffed zucchini with toasted bulgur wheat. This was actually surprisingly tasty, made with minced grass-fed beef and smoked ham, Parisian mushrooms and Parmesan. There was far too much bulgur wheat than was necessary, so perhaps it would have been better to replace some of this with more vegetables or the other half of the courgette, although as it was it was already pretty filling.
‘Something sweet’, the part I was most excited about, consisted of a salted butter caramel crêpe. I had to pop the sauce in the microwave to get it to a nice runny consistency, but actually found I couldn’t handle too much of the sauce, as it was still really sweet and not salty enough for my liking.
For a three-course meal, the cost is $158 ($138 without dessert) and delivery is free on Hong Kong Island. Obviously Fre[N]sh avoids the inconvenience of having to go out and get lunch, but given that it costs two to three times as much as I usually pay for lunch, it’s a pretty steep price to pay for the convenience. Fre[N]sh only launched on 9th December (in fact the very day I tried it), so there are obviously still several tweaks to fix, but I think once it manages to fix them (and hopefully bring the price down), then it could certainly do well.
Fre[N]sh – French & Fresh