Too Good To Go seems to be too good to be true. An app that helps combat food waste by allowing its users to snap up bags of surplus food for a third of the original price. There is a range of different places on offer in Durham, so I thought I would give it a go and give an honest review. Needless to say, I have spent a lot of time on the app, refreshing it and checking at odd times of day.
Grill ‘n’ Graze
Grill ’n’ Graze is one of the permanent food stalls inside The Food Pit. The staff were very friendly and quickly packed up the bag for me. Just as it said on the tin, I got a hot dog, fries and a side of mac and cheese. I was even asked if I wanted ketchup and mustard on the hot dog, which I thought was 5-star service. I had a delicious meal with no cooking time, and adding up the regular prices, I should have paid £13.85, resulting in a great saving of £9.85. Definitely worth going for if you’re in the mood for a hot dog, and it is one of the easier bags to secure on the app.
Tealicious Tea Room
Located on Elvet Bridge, Tealicious Tea Room is a very sweet place that I had never visited before. Their page cryptically said the bag would be filled with ‘Tealicous treats’ so I was unsure what I was in for. The staff were incredibly friendly and had the bags pre-prepared, so it was a very efficient service. I received three generous slices of cake: a slice of banana bread, a slice of carrot cake and a slice of coffee cake. I definitely felt I got my money’s worth. Each cake was lovely, clearly handmade and this bag was a big fan favourite with my housemates. I also appreciate that small businesses don’t have the massive margins that chains do to take part in these kinds of schemes, so while this wasn’t the largest amount of food I received, it was certainly high quality and, in my opinion, still worth the money.
Cooplands on New Elvet had a well-oiled Too Good To Go machine. A few years ago I turned up to collect a bag from a bakery back home and clearly all the staff had left, so I was a little bit apprehensive when I read that you have to knock on the door to collect this one. However, I shouldn’t have worried. The staff were great, really friendly and they had all the bags lined up to hand over immediately. Inside was a cream doughnut, a jam doughnut, a four-pack of yum yums, a steak bake, two sausage rolls and a medium white bread loaf. It felt like Christmas had come early. The date on the bread was that day, so I just stuck it directly in the freezer, and I had a deliciously beige dinner of sausage rolls and steak bake. Everything added up comes to £10.15, so a saving of £6.85. Again, this was a very popular bag with my housemates who all agreed that it felt like the best value of everything I bought.
Cooplands on New Elvet had a well-oiled too good to go machine
Zaps is the original Durham burrito spot, before Tortilla came to compete, so I had to try their offering. Their page says that you will get two Mexican burrito bowls, but I was also surprised with an extra side of fries and two portions of cheese sauce. Each burrito bowl contained rice and some of every topping they had – beef chili, grilled chicken, chorizo, butternut squash and halloumi, and fajita vegetables. These boxes were stuffed full – three of my housemates shared one and still couldn’t finish it. I don’t think you can get much better value for £4, but unlike Cooplands’ bakery items, there is not really a way to keep this food for later, so I would suggest splitting it with someone so that everything gets eaten!
Obviously, I had to try the rival burrito chain to make this a fair review. Just as it said on their page, I received a respectable burrito bowl with rice, chicken, sour cream, cheese, two types of salsa, and even guacamole. Now personally, I found this just the right amount of food for one person to eat and was very happy with the value. However, this is a significantly smaller amount of food than you can get from Zaps for the same price, so it depends on what you are looking for and whether you want to be able to share the food you get.
Too Good To Go has a lot of great options for whatever you are looking for. While I would say, for a uni student, Cooplands offers the best deal for the most ‘useful’ food, I would return to Tealicious Tearoom if I wanted to impress my parents when they came up to visit. Zaps, Grill ‘n’ Graze and Tortilla are all great ‘entire meal’ options for when you are too tired to cook but want to avoid a money-draining takeaway.
Illustration: Zahra Haroon