10 Decisions, decisions
The second drawer down (underneath the cutlery but above the plastic bags) is bursting with takeaway menus, but you can never agree what to have. You want a kebab, but your partner in dine has a hankering for Chinese food. What to do? Simple. Both get what you want. All you have to do is make two phone calls, and the worst that can happen is a slightly awkward stand-off as your lack of loyalty is exposed when two meals turn up at the same time. You’ll feel sheepish as the delivery guys size each other up like betrayed partners on your doorstep, but you’ll have a kebab in hand so things can’t be that bad.
9 Stay calm
The nice man on the phone said your bhajis, bhuna, biryani and big bottle of coke would only be 20 minutes and when you called after 25, he said it would be there in five. That was 15 minutes ago, but here’s the thing. No matter how irate you get on the phone, and no matter how many times you call back, it won’t make any difference. It will come when it comes. Keep in mind that the delivery guy is risking life and limb to bring you food quicker than you could peel a potato. So stay calm.
8 Plan ahead
Having never scored in a cup final, scaled a significant mountain or successfully grown vegetables on a balcony, we can’t say for sure that discovering a few slices of “morning after” pizza really is the greatest feeling you will experience. But it is up there. Ordering more food than you need and finishing the rest the next day shows signs of intelligent forward planning, prudent budgeting and marks you out as a friend Time Out would like to make.
7 Home game
Once you find a delivery guy who understands how to get to your home without getting lost, understand that you have a keeper. Geographical confidence outweighs the likeliness of food poisoning when selecting a regular takeaway. Even if your directions include multiple landmarks and precise building names, you’re likely to get a confused phone call from the outskirts of Barsha. No matter where you live.
6 Know when to quit
When the person on the other end of the phone knows more about your life than your own family, you need to rethink the next noodle order. In fact, first name terms, a regular order or any signs of familiarity with the local takeaway are a sign that you should start cooking. Or at least dining out.
5 Healthy takeaway
What is the point? Eat an apple and save some money.
4 Sharing food
Some swapping of dishes is expected with a takeaway meal. Away from the suspicious eyes of waiting staff and in the privacy of your own home, there is no problem with slopping watery curries between plates and dipping a naan into somebody else’s dish. Expect the same back. Any refusal to share needs to be outlined at the ordering process or is otherwise invalid. As long as nobody tries to poppadominate sundries. They must be shared equally.
3 Menu hacks
Takeaway restaurants thrive on convenience, so keep your order simple. Let’s assume the menu of 100 main courses contains some semi-prepared sauces heated up and dispatched within minutes of your order. If you want to do anything remotely “off-menu”, then you’re looking for a restaurant, not a speedy takeaway. Want a Baba ghanoush with extra aubergine but no garlic, pine nuts instead of pomegranate and walnut oil instead of the usual olive oil? No problem. Make it yourself. Oh, and you’re an idiot.
2 Be prepared
You know why the food sometimes comes late? Because the delivery guy had to take his last customer, a time-wasting fool who deserves to have cold food pelted at their face by a baying mob, to the bank because they ordered enough mixed grill to feed a Sheikh Zayed Road traffic jam, before discovering an empty wallet. We know because we’ve been that fool.
1 Pick it up
We’re not saying a slow takeaway delivery is a #firstworldproblem, but would it really kill you to go and collect the meal from the restaurant yourself? Walk the block and half from your sofa and quit the ranting over how long (perfectly cooked) food takes to arrive.
Will Milner is a regular contributor. He keeps pizza on speed dial.