Here’s a money saving idea – and everyone needs them at this time of rapidly rising prices all over the place.
If you have time for lunch – or can eat early (many get too hungry to wait for dinner at eight) – there are bargains to be found. Only stay off the wine (which is normal price) and stick to tap water.
Many restaurants have lunch or pre-theatre menus. Pre-theatre means you are finished in London by 7.15pm at the latest. And while these don’t show off the complete skills of the kitchen, they are good value even if you get a restricted list to choose from.
We went to Cafe Murano in London’s Covent Garden area. It was pre-theatre as we had tickets for a show afterwards.
The three course set menu came to £22.00 (before 12.5% service charge) while the two course costs £19.00. If you are hungry enough to eat a pudding, it’s good value adding the third course. It’s on offer from 12pm to 3pm and again from 5pm to 7pm.
Cafe Murano is part of a small chain of four controlled by celebrity chef Angela Hartnett. It boasts an Italian inspired cuisine.
We started with minestrone soup – it had barley, and ham hock and was the only one of three starter courses not to be vegetarian. Murano has good choice for vegetarians but not much that’s guaranteed for vegans. The other starter we had was Chicory and pear in a vacca blu salad. They were both delicious and relatively good portions. There was a third starter.
The main course was also down to a list of three of which one was vegetarian. One of us had the Wild mushroom ragu, with grilled polenta while the other enjoyed the polenta & beef stew. Again, they were well worthwhile and portions were good.
The pudding was a choice of Apple Strudel (All right, hardly Italian!), lemon sorbet and cheese with crackers. If we were not sated by the first two, certainly the addition of the third course ensured plenty to see one through the theatre.
A bottle of sparkling water was a reasonable £1.00. The house wine is reasonable value at £9.00 a glass (£38.00 a bottle) – the same price as you pay a la carte..
It was good but not sensational. But the whole meal came at around the price of one main course on the main menu.
And you don’t really notice the ambiance (some say it is noisy) if you are stoking up for a visit to a show.
36 Tavistock Street
London WC2E 7PB
020 7240 3654
Find more details on the official website