Until very recently, I thought that Michelin Star dining was something out of most people’s reach, reserved just for special occasions. I eat out a lot (a lot, probably more than I should) but never thought I could afford those restaurants, never really looked into it.
Not long ago, I finally went to my first ever Michelin Star restaurant, Chapter One in Kent, a lovely airy space with white tablecloths and very attentive waiting staff. It was a sunny Sunday lunch and that’s really all there is to it, the secret that probably isn’t a secret for everyone else: lunch menus! Lunch menus are an awesome deal! Sure, they are from a reduced set meal, and you might not get all the fanfare of a Saturday night dinner, but it’s worth skipping out on a la carte to get a real bargain on some great food. The mains tend to be the least exiting for me, it’s all about the starters and deserts. Full disclosure: I’m a fish eating vegetarian with a sweet tooth. My meat eating dining companion (ok, my boyfriend, but that doesn’t really have the same ring to it) had a great looking starter which came in a jar with some smoke. Yeah, maybe should have made a note of its name. But, hey, new at this, will do so next time. But oh, the desert! Chocolate fondant with blood orange sorbet that was simply divine.
My second michelin star venture was soon after, for a friend’s birthday we went to Galvin La Chapelle for Sunday lunch with live Jazz. It was wonderful and for £29 for a three course meal, not exactly breaking the bank. It’s worth noting that it’s less for 3 courses than for a main from the main menu, and it was still great, the soup was especially delicious. Not realising I ordered a soup and expecting asparagus and cream, it was lovely (read: funny and embarrassing) to receive the two smallest asparagus pieces i’d ever seen with a dollop of cream on them and for the few seconds before they poured the soup on top, I thought I’d walked into a michelin star nightmare. Surely, I can’t be the only one that imagined you get a leaf in the middle of a large plate with a few drops of sauce artfully arranged around it?
I work around the corner from Arbutus and I’ve been meaning to go there for a while now as its Working Lunch seemed like an excellent idea. So, I took a slightly longer lunch break and went to check it out, it felt rather extravagant – a michelin starred lunch, but for £17.95 for two courses (though I went for 3…) it’s a fantastic deal. Once again special mention has to go to the soup, a cold carrot soup with blood orange, hazelnuts and olives, which sounds rather insane, but the blend of the different flavours and textures was simply divine.
That’s it so far, but hoping to add to this list very soon.