A Michelin-starred meal isn’t the sort of thing you can afford to eat every day, but it may well be more affordable than you’d imagined.
That’s especially true if you’re prepared to travel, with the UK’s best restaurants dotted around the entire country from Cornwall to the north of Scotland, and you can grab a meal at some of the best for less than £20.
We already know you can get a great pub lunch for around the same price, but sometimes you want to push the boat out.
A new list from VoucherCloud has provided details of the most affordable Michelin lunches, including one-star restaurants from £16.50 for two courses, two-star joints from £25, and the cheapest lunch at a three Michelin star restaurant coming in at £52.
Here are some of the highlights:
The Elephant, Torquay - £16.50 for two courses
Even the à la carte menu at this Devon restaurant is very reasonable by Michelin-starred standards, with a starter and a main for less than £40 from a menu including Brixham crab with roasted chicken skin, hen of the woods and dashi jelly. However, the Tuesday-Saturday lunch menu, which regularly changes, is where the real value can be found.
Lima Fitzrovia, London - £19 for two courses
If you want Michelin-starred Peruvian food in London, Lima is the place to go. Their lunch menu includes a choice between three starters and three mains, including a mixed seafood ceviche and traditional Peruvian dish of chicken pachamanca, and doubles up as a pre-theatre menu between 5.30 and 6pm. If you want to turn it into a three-course deal, it’s still only £24.
Trishna, London - £20 for two courses
This high-end Indian restaurant gives you a fair few options at lunchtime, with a choice of meat, fish and vegetarian dishes including wild boar biryani or wild mushroom and morel pilau. It’s £20 for two plates, with any additional one costing an extra £6, and comes with rice or bread and a vegetarian side dish.
OX, Belfast - £20 for two courses
It’s not just England that has affordable Michelin-starred food – one of Belfast’s finest restaurants, OX has a set menu with a choice of meat, fish and vegetarian options for starters and mains. Add in a dessert, including pecan tart, white chocolate with plum, fig and ginger, or a cheeseboard, for just a fiver more.
Masons Arms, Knowstone - £21 for two courses
If you find yourself down in the South West, the Masons Arms offers up a very affordable two-course lunch from owner and chef Mark Dodson. The current sample menu features dishes including fillet of sea bream with herb risotto and tarragon butter sauce, and pork tenderloin with polenta, grilled courgette and balsamic reduction.
The Ninth, London - £21 for two courses
Located in Bloomsbury, The Ninth serves French-Mediterranean cuisine with some very creative pasta dishes. Included on its sample set lunch menu – a choice of two plates from a small selection – is an orecchiette and egg yolk dish. According to the restaurant’s website, it’s now £21 for two plates, £27 for three plates or £32 for three plates with a glass of wine.
Tamarind, London - £21.50 for two courses
Another Indian restaurant, Tamarind is right in the heart of Mayfair, which makes the lunch price all the more reasonable. The selection of meat and vegetarian starters and mains includes tandoor grilled baby chicken breast with pureed tomato and fenugreek leaves, and comes with rice, naan and vegetarian sides. If you want to add a pineapple halwa or mango and basil sorbet, it will still only set you back £24.50 for the whole thing.
Ormer by Shaun Rankin, Jersey - £22 for two courses
One of only two Michelin-starred restaurants on the Channel Islands, Ormer naturally includes seafood specialities on its set lunch menu. Sample dishes include cod with pak choi, mouli, kaffir lime and dashi broth, while the restaurant also offers an express lunch of one dish and a glass of wine for just £19.
Jamavar, London - £22 for two courses
Doubling up as an early bird dinner, Jamavar’s £22 set lunch includes pan-seared achaari pork, malai stone bass tikka and other inventive Indian dishes. Make it three courses for £27 or four for £32, with a choice of mango rasmalai or port poached pear with pink peppercorn kulfi for dessert.
The Peat Inn, Fife - £22 for three courses
The first Scottish entry on the list is also the cheapest three-course deal. The Peat Inn’s three-course set lunch changes regularly, but there are also à la carte options including 12-hour braised daube of Scotch beef with potato purée, pearl onions, red kale and red wine sauce. There’s also a lengthy wine list, including fine wines from France, Italy and South America available by the glass.
Fischer’s at Baslow Hall, Derbyshire - £23 for two courses
This East Midlands restaurant has some very extravagant tasting menu options, which makes the cut-price set menu all the more welcome. Served on weekdays between 12 and 1.30pm, the 2017 edition includes dishes such as mushroom tortelloni with pear, chestnut and Parma ham, and rabbit pie with creamed cabbage and red wine sauce.
Aquavit, London - £24 for two courses
Described as ‘contemporary Nordic dining’, Aquavit shows off quality seafood dishes from the region and – yes – Swedish meatballs on the main menu. You can also just go there for coffee and cinnamon rolls, but it feels tough to head along and not indulge in the £24 set lunch including soup or game terrine followed by a choice of meat or fish mains.
John’s House, Loughborough - £24 for two courses
The Leicestershire restaurant is run by John Duffin, formerly chef de partie at the aforementioned Fischer’s at Baslow Hall, and offers a seasonal menu using locally-sourced ingredients. The sample set lunch menu features among its main course options a fillet of Dover sole with spring greens, horseradish, smoked roe and crispy chicken skin.
Hand and Flowers, Marlow - £25 for two courses
The cheapest option at a restaurant with two Michelin stars comes at the Hand and Flowers, the first pub to achieve the accolade. Their set lunch includes the intriguing sounding smoked haddock velouté with dill oil and Granny Smith apple tortelloni, followed by chicken ‘jambonette’ chasseur with tomato fondue, roasted shallot and soft herb crust.
Waterside Inn, Bray - £52 for two courses
Bray is pretty great for restaurants with Michelin stars, with the Fat Duck also boasting three stars, and the Waterside Inn has the cheapest three-star lunch in the UK from Wednesday to Friday. Among the selections offered at Alain Roux’s restaurant is roasted pheasant breast, puff pastry case with confit legs, quince compote and white wine jus.
If none of the above take your fancy, first of all why not? But secondly, here’s the full list, in case there are any others which seem more appetising.
It goes to show that you can get an excellent lunch for less than £30 pretty much anywhere in the UK.
(Images: The Ninth/VoucherCloud)