Where To Beat The Credit Crunch (2008)
The credit crunch has taken a grip on the nation and is starting to be felt in Devon and Cornwall. As a response to this, plenty of local restaurants over the two counties are keen to entice diners in on off-peak nights. Others are fast catching on to the idea. The message to diners is clear, belt-tightening does not have to mean abandoning the pleasure of eating out, just do it differently. As times are tight the trick is to be canny and hunt down deals where you can eat at lower cost whilst not skimping on quality -- but you may have to vary your time or day. Lunch is always a good option and often less pricey than the same food in the evening. Most restaurants, even the upmarket ones, will have a prix fixe or 'early bird' menu. Research is the key. . .
A case in point is a venue in Penzance which has just taken the Gold award Restaurant of the Year at the 2008 Cornwall Tourism Awards for the third year running. The Bay at Hotel Penzance -- with its two rosettes maintained by head chef Ben Reeve, who is passionate about local produce -- has several tempting deals on including a Fixed Price Menu: 2 courses £23, 3 courses £28.50; available every other night. A Local Food Heroes Menu: 3 courses at £19.50, offered on the third Sunday of every month and a romantic 2 day break offer until July 20th 2009 with prices from £280 for 2 nights including dinner for two each night.
Other early diner offers can be found at the spanking new and classy Chapel Street Brasserie also in Penzance. Here the menus blend classic French cuisine with local Cornish produce. Their 'Early Diners Club' is available between 6pm and 7.15pm every evening. It offers 2 courses at just £10 and 3 for £12.50, with a great wine list and choices from a weekly changing menu that offers 3 starters, 6 mains (including daily changing specials) and 2 desserts-incredible value.
Michael Caines at Abode in Exeter has an offer of 2 courses at £14.95 available between 6pm and 7.30pm. Famous for his work at Gidleigh Park, Michael's team here are creating smart international quality dishes in a contemporary restaurant set in a luxurious boutique hotel right on the Cathedral's Green. Also in Exeter in leafy St Leonards is the Cat in the Hat restaurant. This high-quality and friendly neighbourhood restaurant has been refurbished after an unfortunate fire last year. Chef proprietor Phil Picton runs an exciting restaurant that has a great sourcing ethos, so not only is it local but it's the best available. Passionate Phil makes everything from scratch on the premises and uses some top culinary techniques to produce sensational modern British cuisine. They have a popular Prix Fixe menu offering two courses at £9.95 or three for £14.95. If you find yourself near Topsham on a Monday night you must try Oliva where the Mediterranean menus from Chef Tim Golder, winner of Devon Life Restaurant of The Year 2007, really tempt. Enjoy 15% off the food here any Monday. They also run a really popular Tapas Special: 4 tapas, £14.95; 6 tapas, £18.95. (available lunchtimes Wed-Sat and Thursday night) as well as themed nights such as Paella night on a Tuesday and Steak night with a full menu on a Wednesday.
Over in Plymouth along the newly rejuvenated Ebrington Street is the home of Real Food Bistro One where wine expert and chef proprietor Stephen Barrett will feed you on the finest locally sourced ingredients. Try his 2-4-1 Bistro menu, 2 courses for 2 people at £30. The menu features Home-Cured Gravadlax with Free-range Scrambled Eggs, The Famous "Full-on Scoff" Breakfast, Day-Boat Fish, Shellfish and Seafood from Looe and the Barbican, Dartmoor Game, Vegetarian, Vegan and Gluten-Free Dishes. He has also launched a "Credit Crunch Destroyer" - Lunch for a Fiver! Freshly made, it is a single course budget dish that includes Seafood Pasta, Autumn Vegetarian Crumble, Westways Bangers and Mash or Oxtail Ragout.
Free wine anyone? Well you can take your own down to The Greenhouse Organic restaurant in St Keverne and if you go on one of their themed nights you can enjoy their Wednesday Fish & Chip night with Fish & chips, mushy pea', or Chargrilled fresh mackerel & chips, fresh bread, homemade ketchup, tartare sauce and home pickled onions all with a choice of dessert & tea for an incredible £9.50. Or try their Thursday Curry night with a choice of fish, meat or vegetable curry, pilau rice, paratha & homemade Indian pickles, end with Indian sweets and tea for £10. They are also running a set menu of 2 courses for £15 and 3 courses for £20, available Friday, Saturday & Sunday evenings. Claim your free bottle of wine when dining at Bar BigWigs in Plymouth or Two Ten 200 in Falmouth or The Farmhouse Restaurant in Saltash and even at the sumptuous Combe House Hotel near Honiton. Bar Bigwigs affords lovely candle-lit dining all the time but you can also enjoy another offer there called Lady & The Tramp where two romantics can dine for £30 including a bottle of excellent Cava from Oliver & Greg. In addition if you eat 2 courses from Monday-Thursday you can have a bottle of wine on the house. Two Ten 200 is an atmospheric basement restaurant that specialises in the freshest fish dishes as well as plenty of choice for carnivores. The Farmhouse is found at The China Fleet Club and the head chef Marc Slater has worked with greats such as Michel Roux and the Tanners. Expect fabulous presentation of innovative cuisine that pulls from the best local, seasonal and foraged produce with beef coming from Gulworthy, fresh seafood and fish daily from Sutton Harbour, Crediton poultry and lamb from Truro. It's a great choice for dinner as afterwards you can take a walk around the grounds at the waters edge and sit watching the flicker of Plymouth lights as a backdrop.
In Holsworthy the Bickford Arms recently enjoyed something of a rebirth after a fire gutted the 17th Century inn. The new building has been sympathetically restored to its original glory with modern comforts while retaining its traditional themes and features. This well-run operation is food driven and service oriented. Owner Nigel Kivell and his team strive to excel in every area of hospitality. They are running a set menu called The Bickford Experience offering Two courses at £19.95 on a Buy one get one free basis (Extra course offer ~ £3.95 per person). Expect winter warmer dishes like Braised ruby country beef with chive mash and roasted root vegetables or Baked hake fillet with parsley sauce, broccoli and crushed potatoes.
Sometimes the best offers are not always the cheapest especially if you have an occasion to celebrate. Take a look at these hotel deals -- in Exeter at Michael Caines at Abode enjoy Sheer Indulgence for £99 per person a night in a Desirable room with a bouquet of flowers and petit fours in on arrival; pre-dinner glass of MC Champagne followed by a set three course dinner in the Restaurant, and Full English Breakfast the following morning. Stay an additional night for £50 per person. Over in Mousehole the Old Coastguard Hotel is offering Complimentary Dinner: Book a one night break on the current Bed & Breakfast tariff and receive a complimentary three course dinner; available for one night stays from Sunday to Thursday, excluding 14th December and New Year's Eve. Combe House in Gittisham is celebrating its Tenth Year and is offering a 2 night dinner, bed and breakfast package complete with a free bottle of serious Burgundy from the owner's private collection when staying Sunday through Thursday prices from £244.
And talking about added value, the three-rosette Lewtrenchard Manor has the deal of all deals at the Purple Carrot. The Purple Carrot is the name of the unique private dining option at the manor. Launched in May after a £200k investment, here is a state of the art dining experience. Chef patron Jason Hornbuckle is naturally pleased with the concept which has been a goal of his for some time. Start the New Year with a real gastronomic treat and enjoy the first Chef's Table in the South West with a luxury overnight stay which includes Private Dining with a bird's eye view of a 3 AA Rosette, state of the art kitchen in action (maximum 8 guests, minimum 2); Eight Course Personalised Menu (pre-arranged with Chef Patron); Champagne at the Chef's Spice Bar; Exclusive Bibendum Wine Cellar - wine matched to complement each course; Activity from the kitchen captured on cameras, viewed on a large flat screen TV; Special viewing areas within the room to watch the chefs in action; One course cooked in front of guests in the room. Rates from £370.00 per room per night. This special break is available from 2 January 2009 to 28 February 2009.
A bit rich? Go chain dining! Open any newspaper at the moment and you will see how desperate the chains are; Pizza Express have buy one get one free, so two can eat for around £6. La Tasca have eat for £5, you can also buy 1 get 1 free at Zizzi, Café Rouge, Old Orleans, Ask, Ha Ha, Giraffe and Gourmet Burger Kitchen. You lucky Sugarvine readers can enjoy all these offers (with the exception of the chains) and more by going to our Dining Deals section.
Read More Features: Orange Tree Restaurant (2009) | Al Fresco Dining In Devon & Cornwall (2009) | The Fish Market Restaurant (2008) | Where To Beat The Credit Crunch (2008) - Combe House Hotel (2008) | Dining On The Lizard (2008) | The Old Coastguard (2008) | Falmouth's New Dining Scene (2008) | Raval's (2007) | Eco-Friendly Dining In Devon And Cornwall (2007) | The Wellington Hotel (2007) | Deli Dining In Devon And Cornwall (2007) | Alverton Manor (2007) | And The Winners Are. . . (2007) | Festive Dining In Devon and Cornwall (2006) | Bistro de la Mer (2006) | Tabb's (2006) | Where To Eat On Cornwall's North Coast (2006) | The Sloop Inn (2006) | Dining Out Near Cornwall's Top Tourist Destinations (2006) | Organic Eating In Devon & Cornwall (2006) | Café Fusion (2006) | Where To Eat In The Scilly Isles (2006) | Cocos (2006) | The Changing Face Of Plymouth (2006) | What Is A Pub? (2005) | Courtyard Restaurant (2005) | Stingi Lulus (2005) | The South West Coastal Path (2005) | The Edge (2005) | Up And Down The A30 (2005) | Where To Dine Out In Exeter (February 2004) | The Bay Restaurant (February 2004) | Ashburton Cookery School (November 2004) | Winter Retreats In Devon And Cornwall (November 2004) | Old Coastguard Hotel (September 2004) | The Cornwall Food and Drink Festival (September 2004) | A Taste For Tapas (July 2004) | Saffron (July 2004) | Harry's (June 2004) | Where To Eat In St Mary's, Scilly (June 2004) | Atlantic Waves (May 2004) | The New Arrivals (May 2004) | Newlyn and Mousehole Dining (April 2004) | The Old Quay House (April 2004) | Fish & Chips -- The Nation's Favourite (March 2004) | Revival (March 2004) | Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink (February 2004) | Romantic Destinations (February 2004) | The Beach (January 2004) | Hey Presto! (January 2004) | The Camel Trail Part Two (Wadebridge & Rock) (December 2003) | Camel Valley Vineyard (December 2003) | The Smoke House (November 2003) | Fair Game or Fowl (November 2003) | Devon Celebration Of Food (October 2003) | Foodie Pubs In Devon And Cornwall (October 2003) | Trengilly Wartha Inn (September 2003) | Where To Eat In Exeter (September 2003) | It's A Family Affair (August 2003) | Seafood School (July 2003) | The Camel Trail Part One (Padstow & St Merryn) (July 2003) | Dining Out In North Devon (May 2003) | The Abbey (May 2003) | Alba (May 2003) | St. Ives And The Art Of Dining (May 2003)