Sometimes eating is a social event and sometimes it’s to see how many calories you can get for £1 to sustain you the longest. Often I find that people who have frugal tendencies pick the second option – if they’re going to go out for a meal, they’re going to get as much food as they can for the lowest price and take home left-overs. This is totally fine if you’re that kind of person or you’re at the start of your journey. But what do you do when you’ve got your emergency fund set up, you’ve got your biggest debts paid off and you fancy a nice meal out but don’t want to break the bank? This is where I think the tasting menu is a perfect compromise.
If you’re at the start of your journey and can’t afford more than £10 – £15 a meal then I’m certainly not suggesting you go out and enjoy a 8 course meal like below but, for a special occasion, a tasting menu makes a perfect treat.
What is a Tasting Menu?
A tasting menu is a collection of small portions of several dishes served by a restaurant as a collective single meal which was evolved to showcase the culinary artistry of the chef. The dishes are usually small but tasteful with extensive thought and hard work into pairing the flavours. They usually take around 90-120 minutes per 5 courses so make sure you have enough time for all the dishes. I’ve been lucky enough to have tried quite a few tasting menu’s in my time and they all deliver! The flavours are always stunning, the visuals are enviable and the conversation it starts is perfect for a date night, a celebration meal or just a rare treat.
How Much Do They Cost?
A tasting menu can vary in price and I’m certainly not advocating you spend beyond your means to try this kind of meal but you can certainly find cheaper options. In my experience, the cheapest option is the lunch menu without the pairing of drinks. Pictured below are my dishes from The Wilderness in Birmingham recently – which only cost £36 per person and was my belated Mother’s Day treat.
To summarise, they’re not for everyone but they are a fantastic compromise to save money on a fine dining experience.