If there were times during the lockdown when you actually hallucinated about eating a meal that you hadn’t had to plan, queue for the ingredients and cook yourself, then the next few weeks should go some way to restoring your equilibrium.
For the whole of August, restaurants signed up to the Government’s Eat out to help out scheme can offer half-price food from Monday to Wednesday — with the Treasury picking up the discount — in an attempt to boost the struggling hospitality industry.
The discount is capped at £10 per person and does not apply to alcohol. Some of the capital’s best-loved restaurants are offering additional discounts, special menus, or doing away with the cap altogether.
Promising ‘the best steak and chips in Britain for £10’, this London institution is offering rump steak, chips and a sauce of your choice (usual cost around £30) for a tenner.
The 50 per cent discount (up to £10) is also available on the full menu.
Go on a Monday to take advantage of their £5 corkage, at all Hawksmoor restaurants that are open.
Air Street, Borough, Seven Dials and Spitalfieds, plus Edinburgh and Manchester) www.hawksmoor.com
Social Eating House
A Michelin-star meal for only £12 can be enjoyed at Jason Atherton’s buzzy Soho bistro. The Prix Fixe menu, available during lunch and from 6-6.30pm, is now only £12 person for two courses. There’s also £10 off per person on the a la carte menu thanks to Eat Out Help Out. Closed Mondays.
Tel: 020 7993 3251, www.socialeatinghouse.com
Some of the best views in London, ten pounds off contemporary British food, plus £10 off the cost of a bottle of wine (over £40). The deal also applies at two of the Aqua Restaurant Group’s other venues; Hutong, on level 33 of The Shard, which specialises in northern Chinese cuisine and Japanese restaurant, Aqua Kyoto, in Regent Street.
Aqua Shard, Level 31 The Shard, 31 St Thomas Street, London SE1 9RY, tel: 020 30111256, www.aquashard.co.uk
Quality Chop House
The iconic Clerkenwell chop house, which celebrated its 150th birthday last year, is doing a £20 two-course lunch menu throughout August (usually £24). If dining on Tuesday or Wednesday, it’s only £10 with the Eat out to help out discount. Enjoy a Middle White chop with confit potatoes or Hereford mince on dripping toast.
88-94 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3EA, tel. 020 7278 1452, www.thequalitychophouse.com
Jeremy Lee’s characterful Dean Street haven evokes the Soho of a bygone era. His famous smoked eel and horseradish sandwich is a mere £5.50 — which means you can round things off with the infamous QV profiteroles.
26-29 Dean Street, Soho, W1D 3LL; tel: 020 7437 9585, www.quovadissoho.co.uk
Fabulous food, even better people watching, The Wolseley is strictly a birthdays and anniversaries treat for most. But the ten pounds off has got me dreaming of its half-lobster and chips (£17.75 with discount). Try your luck with an evening “walk-in” or go for one of its legendary breakfasts, from 7am. Eggs Benedict and a cappuccino is a mouth-watering £7 when the discount is applied.
160 Picadilly, London W1J 9EB, tel: 020 7499 6996, www.thewolseley.com
This grand Parisian brasserie, from the Wolseley creators, Chris Corbin and Jeremy King, is known for its authentic, affordable French food. With the 50 per cent discount, it’s an even bigger bargain. Half a dozen snails with garlic and parsley butter followed by steak tartare will set you back about £10.
20 Sherwood Street, London W1F 7ED, tel: 020 7734 4888, www.brasseriezedel.com