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All too often, I hear people say that it is way too expensive to dine out in London and that they’d prefer to get a take out. My usual response to this is “you’re a bloody fool”.
Dining out in London doesn’t need to be expensive at all. There are offers galore! Not just in this city, but all over the country. You just need to go out there and find them. Restaurants and chefs want people from every walk of life to come in and enjoy not just their food, but also the dining experience.
It’s no secret, the start of the year is a bad time for the hospitality industry. Everyone’s paying off their credit card bills from Christmas and New Year’s, people are on diets and some just can’t bear the thought of venturing outside in this cold weather. Well suck it up! Put a jacket on and those lycra shorts down. It’s time to open your dusty wallet and treat yourself to something special.
This week, until 16th February (excluding February 14th), you can have a 3 course meal, with either a glass of wine or champagne at 22 of London’s top restaurants for £15-£30! Now, I’m not talking about your run of the mill, every day, bog standard restaurant. Hells no! I’m talking about some of the most iconic and luxurious restaurants in London such as Quaglino’s, Skylon, Le Pont de la Tour, Bluebird Restaurant and so much more! The wonderful people from D&D London have teamed up with the equally wonderful people at the Evening Standard to bring this fantastic offer to us civvies.
“What’s the catch Lynch”? Well, this is what makes the offer even sweeter. There is no catch! No booking fees, no membership fees. Nada. All that’s expected of you, is to have a good night out and to enjoy your meal (oh, and pay the bill at the end). You can book with any of the restaurants taking part by phone or online (website details listed below). It’s that simple. To explain more about this amazing offer, I put forward a few questions to Amanda Dobinson, the Marketing Director of D&D London.
DL: How did the idea for this come about?
AD: January is always a quiet month for restaurants so we decided five years ago that our restaurants should offer a fantastic unique set menu at an accessible price point. What better way to get the word out and communicate the offer than with a media partner like the Evening Standard. Until March 2013, all of our restaurants were London-based so it only made sense to use London’s newspaper and we’ve worked with them ever since
DL: Did you have a mission statement in mind when you created this offer?
AD: Not as such – our main priority was to remind people that there are accessible yet luxurious dining options out there to be enjoyed in January. You can beat the January blues without blowing the budget and try some new restaurants in the process.
DL: All your restaurants are pretty unique with their own style and flair. When creating the menus for this offer, do you leave your exec chefs to come up with their own menus or is there a brief set out for them that they have to stick to?
AD: The only brief is that the menu has to be affordable and appealing to all. Our chefs are completely independent in what they do and their menus are devised by them only; what is on the menu at Orrery is not to be compared to what is on the menu at Launceston Place – each chef is creative and experimental in their own right.
DL: What is it you want people to walk away with from this offer?
AD: A full stomach and a memorable experience, whether they’ve revisited their favourite, local D&D restaurant or tried out a new location, menu and wine list elsewhere.
DL: What do you think has changed in British restaurants in the past 15 years that has made them so popular and offer some of the best cuisine in the world?
AD: Everyone is definitely more experimental nowadays – Britain is keeping up with the changing trends and concepts in the States and the far east. Similarly, diners are far more interested in where their food is coming from – is it British? How has it been bred/prepared? This is impacting on the produce chefs are using and the dishes coming out of the kitchens.
DL: What does 2014 have in store for D&D London? Any new openings you can tell us about or any up and coming chefs we should look out for?
AD: 2014 is an exciting year for us – it is the first birthday of our two restaurants in Leeds and we are completely refurbishing and re-launching Avenue in St James’s Street. Quaglino’s will also be undergoing a transformation later in the year and we will begin work on the German Gymnasium in King’s Cross – our latest project. Definitely keep your eyes locked on Launceston Place’s Tim Allen – he got the Michelin star for the restaurant within five months of joining in 2012 and continues to deliver the highest quality cuisine. Tony Fleming at Angler is another of Michelin-starred talent and Dan Loftin at Kensington Place is experimenting with fish in ways we’ve never seen – FISHBone will pop-up at Kensington Place this February for two months, serving his creations of scallopdog, pulled skate wings, crab bhajis, prawnish pasties and more!
If there has ever been a chance to get out there and try something new, now is the perfect time. With 22 restaurants to choose from, you are guaranteed to find something that takes your fancy. For a full list of restaurants and how to book, check out the Evening Standard link below.
Follow me on Twitter @danieljohnlynch for food and drink suggestions and for a general frolicking good time.