Of course part of the reason for the rise in street food is that on the face of it, it’s very affordable. But here’s the thing, we’ve all been to a street feast or some such other place with the thought that we can get a few good, high quality street food dishes and a few drinks for £20. Next thing you know, you’ve walked out £50 poorer, unable to pay the Netflix subscription asking yourself was the loss of ‘and chill’ for the next month really worth that one craft beer?
But here’s the thing canny dining doesn’t have to be street food, it can actually be done at some of London’s best restaurants, even if they haven’t cottoned on to the issues millennials face. So we’ve put our heads together and come up with In Good Taste’s guide to dining at some of London’s best restaurants on a millennials puny budget.
Rules to remember
The Service Charge
Remember to add 12.5% to the cost of any bar and restaurant deal. It’s a killer that’ll see you spending more than you’ve budgeted.
Find a deal that includes a free alcoholic drink and stick to just that one. Tap water is of course the other way to drink for free. Never never have mineral water, it’s no better for you than tap water and is just pure profit for the restaurant. Alternatively if you want to buy a drink, stick to mocktails, they are cheap and many bars and restaurants have now got a good list. This will cost you, but nowhere near as much as an alcoholic drink. And always remember that there’s the 12.5% service charge on any drink you buy extra.
Look Wider Than the Set Menus
Set menu’s are of course a good way to eat at a restaurant for less than it could cost. But what you have to remember is that they are made up of the dishes that are the cheapest to make and that carry a big mark up on them. This means you get less bang for your buck and they aren’t always worth it, especially when some restaurants also serve smaller portions on them. Often you can do better by going just for a well priced main course, it’s cheaper and will leave you just as full.
Sign up for Newsletters
Lots of restaurants use their news letter not just to market to you but to do so by offering set menu deals or discounts, so it’s always worth signing up for them and keeping an eye out. They will often offer good deals to try and entice you in during quite periods in the restaurant, especially Mondays.
Dining Websites and Apps for deals
Always check the Bookatable, Open Table websites and apps, and the Michelin Restaurants App for deals. They always have tones of offers. A good tip to remember is that often you will find the same deals as the newsletters, but they sometimes throw in a free cocktail or glass of something. So if you see a deal you like in a newsletter check to see if they better it on one of these sites.
Keep an eye out for new openings and their soft launches, where you can often have food at 50% off as a thank you for letting them practice on you. You may have a hiccup or two with the meal, but that’s the deal, and often the staff with be very apologetic and may give you something extra free as an apology wanting you to come back when they’re fully up and running.
Cook at Home
Of course the cheapest thing to do is eat at home. Plus it has the added benefit that it allows you to save up for a better meal out.