Good Food Blog
A restaurant is not just for ChristmasPosted at 2:11PM, 19 December 2008 by Andy Lynes - Food writer
'Tis the season to eat jelly - cranberry that is. Yes, it's December again already, traditionally the busiest month for restaurants (although in credit crunch Britain, not quite as busy as usual), which fill with raucous office parties drunkenly tucking into overpriced set menus. But that's not the only reason to buck the trend and delay dining out until January.
1. Bag a bargain - with disposable income thin on the ground after the festive blowout, restaurants pull out all the stops in January to attract customers with dining deals galore. A random sample of what's on offer includes half price food at Michelin-starred The Glasshouse in Kew; a 'flavours of Tuscany' three-course lunch for £19.10 at Jamie Oliver's Fifteen restaurant in Cornwall; and a two-course meal for two people, including a bottle of wine for £25 at Michael Caines's MC Bar & Grill in Glasgow. Check out the special offer pages at websites such as toptable.co.uk, londoneating.com and sugarvine.com for all the latest offers nationwide.
2. Be the first to eat in a new Michelin-starred restaurant - the new Michelin Red Guide to Great Britain and Ireland will be published on 21 January 2009, with all the new ratings simultaneously available to download for free from the news section of michelin.co.uk. Get in quick before the restaurant capitalise on their new found status and put up their prices.
3. Use it or lose it - January can be a tough time for neighbourhood restaurants so be loyal to your local and book a table. You can guarantee they'll be delighted to see you and you never know, they might even offer you a glass of something on the house to show their appreciation.
4. Enjoy a belated Christmas get together - delay your works do or old friends reunion until January and you won't get fobbed off with clichéd festive fare. Waiters and chefs alike will be under much less stress so you'll be better looked after, and you won't have to wait ages for your taxi home.
5. Beat the January blues - Nothing lifts the spirits more than tucking into some really good grub and a reasonably priced glass of wine or two while the rest of the world is hard at work, so beat the January blues by taking advantage of the good value set lunch deals available at many top restaurants. Three courses and half a bottle of wine at Aubergine in Chelsea costs £34, while 2 courses at the excellent Allium in Fairford will set you back just £10.