NDTV Convergence has released a new Android and iOS app for NDTV Cooks, its gastronomy focused website. The app allows users to browse through various recipes from the website and restaurant listings across eight cities.
The app is currently available as a free download on Google Play Store and on the App Store, and has been built in collaboration with Levitate Mobile Technologies (site under construction at the time of writing this article).
Our Take: We tried the app on a Galaxy Nexus running on Android 4.1. The homescreen is currently divided into various sections like Recipes, Restaurant listings, Order Food and Dine-in offers. The app has been optimized for the mobile screen and is touch friendly. It also uses images extensively throughout the app, which is quite nice considering it’s a food related app but might pose some issues to users with poor Internet connectivity. The app is ad-supported with a persistant ad at the bottom of the app homescreen, except for recipe pages.
Food Ordering: One of the interesting features of the app is the ability to order food directly from the app. Users can either sign up for an NDTV Cooks account or log in to their existing account to place a new order or access previous orders. The app currently features only Cash on Delivery as the payment option and users can either opt for delivery or pickup for their food order. That being said, it is not clear if the company offering this service by itself or it has partnered with any of the existing food ordering service in the country like JustEat.in or FoodPanda.in.
We also noticed that the app has less number of restaurants for delivery orders at the moment, since we couldn’t find any restaurant around our location. However, there are significant number of restaurants for order pickups. We could opt for favorite cuisine, choose our preferred restaurant & pick up time and place an order for any dish available in the list. We however observed that there is currently a minimum order limit to book any order, depending on the restaurant.
The app also claims to provide dine-in offers across eight Indian cities, although we noticed that the dine-in offers are currently limited to Delhi and Mumbai regions only.
Recipes: Besides this, the Recipes section currently allows users to browse through various recipes available on the website in three ways – Categories which features recipes based on food type like Breads, Beverages, Desserts, Healthy, Pasta, Quick and Easy, Salads, Snacks, Seafood and Vegetarian Food among others; Cuisine which features recipes based on the type of cuisine like American, Chinese, Continental, French, Indian, Italian, and Greek among others; Course which features recipes based on the type of food course like Snacks, Soups, Main Dish, Side Dish, Desserts and Beverages among others.
There is also a recipe of the day section and a search icon on the top, across the application which allows users to search for recipes through a keyword based search box. On tapping on any of the recipes, a new screen pops up with recipe details like the ingredients, preparation time, difficulty level and method of preparation. It also allows users to post comments (if any), favorite any specific recipe for later access or share the recipe through email or on Facebook and Twitter.
We feel that in addition to these sharing options, the app could’ve also offered access to Android’s default share intent option, allowing users to share recipes across various apps installed on their phones.
Restaurant Listings: The restaurant listings section allows users to browse through various restaurants based on cuisine, restaurant type, and restaurant zone within the city. As stated earlier, the app currently offers restaurant listings for eight Indian cities including Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Goa, Chennai, and Pune.
We noticed that the app offers restaurants in Delhi NCR by default, although we were able to change the city through a pop-up menu at the top of the homescreen. We feel this section would’ve been more effective if the app detected the user’s location and offered nearby restaurant listings, like what Zomato does. The listings offer various related information like the restaurant address, phone number, ratings, and price range. It also offers a Google Maps link for directions to that respective restaurant.
We also noticed that the information has been sourced from Timescity, however, users can also add restaurants by logging in with their Facebook or Twitter account. That being said, we weren’t able to add any restaurant to the app, since it continuously crashed during the login process.