The lunch crunch
A little bit of what you fancy...
Plus, while being frugal's all well and good, we also need to keep our spirits up, so let's not let the self-denial go too far. 38% of those we surveyed said they're eating out less than they did six months ago. Relaxed entertaining at home can be more fun than being on best behaviour in stuffy restaurants, and gives you the chance to try out some new recipes on your friends - bookmark our collection of favourite dinner party dishes to return to for ideas each time you're having people round. But we shouldn't necessarily write off the occasional meal out. According to Guy Dimond, Group Food and Drink Editor for Time Out London, it doesn't have to break the bank, you just have to be a little more adventurous:
"For example, in London, there are several cuisine types which are far cheaper than their European counterparts. Korean, Eritrean and Ethiopean restaurants are almost invariably excellent value (expect to pay no more than £20 per head in most of them). And restaurants which allow you to bring in your own alcohol will save you a fortune, though these are a little harder to find."
We shouldn't necessarily write off the occasional meal out, it doesn't have to break the bank, you just have to be a little more adventurous.
Guy recommends using a reputable guidebook or website which will indicate the price range of a restaurant before you book, so you don't get any nasty surprises when you get there. Other tips include asking for tap rather than mineral water, holding off from that tempting aperitif and after-dinner coffee, as these can really bump the bill up, and keeping your eyes peeled for special deals such as pre-theatre menus.
So it might take a little more planning and shopping around, but perhaps you can have your cake and eat it too, and continue to enjoy memorable meals made with good quality ingredients without putting too much extra strain on your wallet (your waistband's another matter!).