Most of us – certainly regular readers of this blog – appreciate fine dining in luxurious settings. It’s true however that the pursuit of this activity is a costly one – or is it?
We at Design Restaurants are passionately committed to finding and recommending to you the best places to dine but we don’t want you to think that these exceptional restaurants should be saved in your bookmarks for special occasions only. Fine Dining can be an affordable luxury and below we hope to show you how!
1. Go for the set meal option
Many critically acclaimed restaurants actually have extremely good value set meals. We don’t always need to be dazzled by an eight-course tasting menu with matching wines. Sometimes just to enjoy the location, atmosphere and excellent service, while enjoying a simple two or three -course lunch is a real treat. Coworth Park in Ascot is currently offering The Best of British Menu which for a three course lunch is £29.95 including coffee and chocolates. One-O-One, Pascal Proyarts wonderful fish restaurant in Knightsbridge, charges its Lunchtime Petits Plats Tasting Menu by the number of plates you have so you can choose to indulge as your budget allows – 2 plates per person at £17.00 up to 6 plates per person at £40.00.The very lovely Vetiver restaurant at Chewton Glen in the New Forest offers its three course lunch for £25.00 per head, or indulge in Michael Wignalls lavish 2 Michelin star The Latymer at Pennyhill Park with their winter set offer of just £39.50 for three courses including amuse bouche, coffee and treats.
2. Work out the cost of the overall experience
If you do however want to be completely indulged by a fabulous gastronomic journey, but are having reservations when justifying the cost, then think about breaking down the meal per course and overall experience. Many tasting menus have between 6 and 8 courses without including the amuse bouche and coffee and bonbons. A £100 menu broken down into 10 courses at £10.00 per course is amazing value when you think of the expertise, ingredients and passion that has gone into each dish. You also normally have one member of waiting staff for every two diners, and a sommelier at your disposal. The table is yours for the entire evening with no fear of being asked to leave to make way for other diners, and if you are dining in a hotel the lounges and grounds are yours to explore. Andre Garrett’s new restaurant at the celebrated Cliveden House Hotel in Taplow offers their eight course tasting menu for £95.00 – with so much history surrounding this house, the experience will be one to remember!
3. Consider alternative dining periods
Think about breakfast or afternoon tea instead of lunch or dinner. Breakfast in an acclaimed establishment is usually much cheaper than other meals and can be a total extravagant experience with dishes on the menu you normally would never dream of indulging in at the start of the day. Breakfast at The Wolseley, one of Europes great Grand Cafes is definitely one to tick off the list. Most five star hotels offer non-residents breakfast if they have availability – The legendary Dorchester in Park Lane offers walk-in’s breakfast for £36. Afternoon tea is also enjoying a renaissance and is a wonderful all afternoon indulgence. Head to the Duchess of Cambridge’s pre-wedding hotel, The Goring, winner of this years Tea Guild Award, at £37.50 per person you won’t need any dinner! If you are visiting the Christmas Markets in Winchester stop off at Lainston House Hotel and warm up next to the fire with their decadent traditional tea at £24.50.
4. Look out for ‘Off-Peak’ offers
Lets face it, its tricky to even get a booking in many top notch establishments this month, but come January all that will change. Simon Radley’s Michelin star restaurant at The Chester Grosvenor is offering its eight-course tasting menu for just £59 per person from 14th January to 31st March next year (Tues-Thurs). Many five star hotels run super value dine and stay offers during these quiet times. South Lodge Hotel in Horsham offers an incredible ‘Sunday Escape’ package for £99 per person including traditional room, two-course dinner and full English breakfast. Have a look at coastal hotels during the winter time or city hotels in the summer and you are sure to find fantastic room offers wrapped up with dinner and breakfast.
5. Buy a Design Restaurants Card and dine complimentary!
Become a member of Design Restaurants! For just £90 per year this lovely privilege card allows you to complimentary dine in a large selection of top luxury restaurants in the UK. Providing other benefits such as menu upgrades, complimentary champagne and discounts from the bill, Design Restaurants Club also recommends the best new restaurant openings and sends frequent invitations to great lifestyle events, many with substantial discounts. Redeem your membership cost immediately when you dine (for example) at Cliveden and enjoy the £95 tasting menu free when joined by one full paying guest or dine from the market menu for just £14 a head! Savings continue throughout the year – lunch at two Michelin starred Sketch in Mayfair complimentary when having lunch with a guest Tuesday to Thursday saving an average of £66! Another fabulous restaurant, Helene Darroze in Mayfair offers our members a complimentary glass of champagne when dining for lunch or dinner Tuesday to Thursday saving £36.
The card pays for itself over and over and allows you to fine dine affordably! If you are a foodie and enjoy dining in the best places in the country this membership is for you. For details go to www.designrestaurants.com and join online – you can start using your card today!