The concept of the Jolly Table is pretty neat. You place an order on their website: www.thejollytable.com and they will deliver high quality meals to your door, prepped and ready for you to cook. All ingredients except the basics (oil, salt, pepper) are included and pre-measured. They even include butter! All you have to do is cut the veggies and follow the instructions to make a healthy, home-cooked meal.
I purchased a gift card for The Jolly Table back in August. A number of buildings downtown are members of EServus and get discounts at various stores, restaurants, events, etc. I paid $89.49 (all fees included) for a $100 gift card. I figured it would be a good time to use the gift card while Jay was at home over the holidays, and while I had time to write on my blog (before we both go back to work in the new year).
I got excited when I saw the Trial Packs on their website: Still wondering how The Jolly Table works? We’ve created a special limited time promo to make it easy for you to try and without first subscribing. Orders are delivered on Fridays.
You will receive 4 Jolly Table dinners for less than the price of 3. One-time trials only. $43.96 (Regular $63.96). Select 4 single meals or 2 meals for 2 people.
I selected 3 quantities of the 2 meals for 2 people so a total of 6 meals. The subtotal was $131.88, minus my $100 EServus Gift Card, plus GST at $1.59, total $33.47. So in total I paid $89.49 plus $33.47 = $122.96, for a total of $10.25 per meal. Not bad considering I didn’t have to shop!
You will receive Four portions of Two Jolly Table dinners for 27% off. Good for one-time trials only. $87.92 (Regular $119.92)
First of all, I have to give them kudos. The website wasn’t clear that the deadline for ordering was noon, and I placed my order around 1:30 pm. They called me right away and indicated that since it was December 30 (Wednesday), and are closed January 1 (Friday, when they’d normally deliver), they’d be delivering the orders Thursday December 31 and I’d missed the deadline. They indicated they’d put my food delivery into the next week. I totally get it, but I explained my situation too – Jay was going back to work out of town and I really didn’t want to eat all this food by myself. They were very understanding and actually got me in for this week. I really appreciated that for sure. So, my first impression of their customer service was very positive.
The Jolly Table home delivery meals are good for people who:
- are too busy to think about what to make for dinner and have no time to shop for the groceries but still want to eat good, healthy, home-cooked food,
- who have some disposable income,
- who are unable to leave their house for groceries easily or often,
- who don’t mind cooking but are overwhelmed by choosing recipes and deciding what to make.
- The food is packaged well. If you’re not home when the box is delivered and it sits on your doorstep all day, it will be fine. The box is thickly insulated and includes multiple gel ice packs. It’s actually a pretty great system they use. The meats are placed in the bottom of the box, topped with ice packs, and the bags of veggies and other food are placed on top. I actually left the insulated box and ice packs in my house for a couple days and they remained frozen.
- They Jolly Table will pick up and re-use the gel ice packs and insulated box liner. Do not throw them away!
- The food is fresh and portioned to what you will need.
- There is a decent variety to choose from. Since I purchased 6 meals for 2 people I chose all 6 meals offered in that week.
- There is a good variety of meats. In 6 meals there was: ground beef, chicken, turkey, salmon, and steak. 1 vegetarian meal.
- The instructions are easy to follow and include photos.
- The plastic bottles they use to provide liquids for the meals do not leak. Save them and use them for other purposes e.g. transporting liquids for camping or travelling.
- You mostly don’t have to think about what to have for dinner. But as noted below, if you’re used to eating large portions, you’ll likely always want to supplement the meal with other veggies or a salad or soup.
- You don’t have to waste money on a large container of cream or blue cheese or whatever else, just because a recipe calls for 1/2 a cup… The Jolly Table has spent their money on a large container and only given you what you need – no waste on your end, and no stress trying to figure out how to use up the last bit of creme fresh you just spent $6 on for one recipe! Same goes for vegetables… you don’t have to buy a big bag of something just to use a bit of it for one recipe.
- The instructions were emailed in a link versus provided on paper in the box. I had to have my laptop open on the kitchen counter when I made the meals. However, this approach is more environmentally friendly because there’s less waste to throw away (versus if paper copies of the recipes were provided).
- There is a lot of packaging. Each meal has multiple plastic bags, multiple small plastic containers with lids and some meals have plastic bottles. The Jolly Table seems conscious of this, and does encourage recycling. Please recycle!
- The portions are relatively small. For us, a small steak and some sweet potatoes is not a meal. Nor is a serving of mushroom risotto. We ended up supplementing the meals with more vegetables, carbs, or even combining meals (e.g. we ate the salmon & peppers alongside the mushroom risotto for a complete meal). The portions may be appropriate for folks who don’t eat much, or for those who always have a bowl of salad with supper anyways.
- At regular price it’s not cheap for a home-cooked meal. If it weren’t for the slight discount I got through EServus and the Trial Pack sale pricing, some of the meals, in my mind, were over-priced. $12.99 per person per meal seems reasonable if you’re comparing the cost to eating out, but as a person who watches the sales, I know just how far money will take you in the grocery store. $12.99 would be cheap if you were served the food in a restaurant, but you still have to prep and cook this food yourself. However, if your time is precious or you hate shopping and you have some disposable income, then the cost may not be prohibitive.
- If you order 6 meals for 2 people all at once like I did it takes up a lot of space in your fridge. My fridge was packed full of meat and bags of food. Make sure you have the space in your fridge or you’ll be using that insulated box with the ice packs that they gave you for much longer than a day!
Classic Steak Au Poivre
The steaks seemed small and thin, but they puffed up a bit during cooking and ended up being a fair size. I targeted medium rare, but undercooked them as rare (I’m not the meat cooker in the relationship) and the steaks were still tender and tasty. Even Jay enjoyed them. There was a lot of sweet potato – I actually didn’t cook it all. But, steak and sweet potato just isn’t enough for us as a meal. If I had salad, it would have been a good addition, but all I had was brocollini. We found the pepper sauce to be too vinegary. Perhaps I should have simmered the apple cider vinegar longer before adding the cream?
The package was missing the shallot, but I had one on hand. The directions spoke of soaking the dried mushrooms and saving the soaking water to use for the risotto; however, there were no dried mushrooms in the package. There was, however, mushroom stock and a lot of fresh mushrooms, so I figured it out! The risotto took a lot longer to cook than the 15 minutes the directions indicated, and used a lot more liquid than was provided. As the liquid cooked down, I tasted the rice and found it still crunchy so I added more water, then let it cook down, tasted it and found it still crunchy, etc. It was a little like the movie Groundhog Day. In the end the dish was really really good. It was creamy and mushroomy and even a little bit cheesy. And, it made a really big batch. I believe the intent was for this mushroom risotto to be a ‘meatless’ meal. But in our house, it’s a struggle to pass anything meatless past Jay. So, I served it as the carb to go with the salmon and peppers. It seemed odd that the salmon and peppers didn’t have a carb, so it worked out I guess.
Roasted Tomato Salmon and Peppers
When I hear the phrase ‘roasted tomato’ I think about oven-roasted tomatoes that are shrivelled and blackened. This was not the case with this recipe. You take the salmon, put a slice of tomato on it, then some cheese and roast it. Even Jay thought it looked funny as he made a pass through the kitchen. But in the end, it did taste really good, and I overcooked the poor salmon too. It was hard to time the never-ending risotto with a light baked salmon. There were two small pieces of salmon each, but together they worked out to a fair sized portion of fish. The mustard sauce was good and it went well with the salmon.
The package came with three peppers, but I only used 2 – that was enough for the 2 of us. The peppers with parsley, olive oil, chilli peppers and fresh squeezed lemon juice actually turned out delicious – sweet and spicy. I was able to cook them perfectly in the oven – not too soft, with just a little bit of crisp. I will definitely make these again as a light side. Jay even enjoyed them and was the first to say that they were really good. I served the salmon and peppers with the risotto and everything went well together.
Seared Turkey Breast with Roasted Vegetables
Mustard sauce again? The theme of mustard, rosemary, Italian seasoning and cream is apparent this week. I didn’t use the chilli peppers because I didn’t want the dish to have the same taste as the others. Regardless of my poke about the mustard, the sauce actually turned out really awesome. Jay asked if I could remember how to make it so we can have it again. I used the sweet potato I had remaining from steak night and added it to this menu. I tossed the veggies with garlic infused olive oil and S&P. I had roasted veggies left over from this meal so I took them to work the next day for lunch. I served the leftover risotto with the turkey for some extra carbs.
Creamy Bolognese and Linguine
Yay! We hadn’t had pasta in quite a while, so this was a nice comfy meal. We should have had a big side salad along with it, but I settled for some broccolini and tomato (I still hadn’t gone shopping yet). It was nice that we were given the full package of pasta – although it could have been a portion for 4 (if served appropriately), we were given the whole package (and we ate the whole package). The dish just needed some salt and we ate it with parmesan sprinkled on top. Give the pasta a few minutes to soak up the cream sauce before serving.
Californian Chicken Wrap
Jay went back to work, so I attempted to eat this dish on my own. Actually, it worked out well because I got a wrap for dinner and a wrap to take for lunch the next day. I ate all the tomato and bocconcini at supper time. Yum. More of a summer salad, the chicken wrap was served with sliced tomatoes, bocconcini and basil, drizzled with balsamic vinegar. You can never go wrong with a side like this. However, by the time I had gotten to this meal (6 days later) the basil was kind of sad looking. I ate it anyways. I was originally concerned the chicken wrap wouldn’t be filling, but the chicken cooked up to a decent size and we were provided a good pile of arugula and an avocado. It turned out to be a fair portion. Most delicious was the mayo/chilli/garlic sauce. OMG. You don’t want to go out on a first date after eating this, but it was so awesome. 3 cloves of garlic, some mayo and Sambal Oelek chilli sauce is my new favourite. It would be awesome on burgers, sandwiches, as a dip for fries, or pretty much anything.
In short, would I recommend The Jolly Table? If pre-planned and delivered food is what you want, then I would totally recommend it. The food was good quality and packaged well. The dishes were simple to make and yet they took me outside of my regular routine (in terms of flavours). Would I order from them again? Simply because I love to look through recipes, plan my meals (and I don’t even mind shopping) I probably won’t. I also shop sales and use my vacuum sealer to stock up on good deals, so I’m cost conscious when it comes to cooking at home (eating out is another matter LOL!). I hope you give them a shot!