Not having to cook is always a popular dinner option for me. As much as I enjoy cooking and experimenting with new recipes and foods, not having to cook and being able to sit back, relax and let the food come to you is always a nice treat. Whether that’s a quick takeaway from my favourite Chinese (seriously, it is the BEST Chinese takeaway in the UK), a cute little café in the park or a slightly posher (but not too posh) restaurant for a lavish 3-course meal. Most cities are a hub for restaurants and places to eat and living close to London, there’s a restaurant or takeout literally everywhere you look. But of course not all dining experiences are positive, we’ve all been left disappointed by a meal that’s not been entirely up to scratch (or if you’re really unlucky, been given food poisoning from it!)
If I was out in London or nearby and wanted to stop for dinner, my ideal place would be somewhere not too posh because posh places make me feel a little uncomfortable. I’m from Essex, born and bred and I’m about the least posh person you will ever meet. My accent does not fit in a fancy restaurant, I tell you that! I can’t say I’ve ever really been to a really posh restaurant before but it’s not something I’m in a hurry to try. Casual dining or somewhere smart but not overly pompous is right up my street. There are endless options to choose from but if you need a helping hand, click here!*
The decor of a restaurant is something I always notice because I love interior design and it’s something I’ve become more and more interested in over the last year or so. Interior design is one of my most pinned things on Pinterest so the decor of a restaurant is pretty important, for both me and the general ambiance of the facility. I’m sure you’ll agree that having blaring music whilst you’re trying to have a nice meal isn’t too pleasant, nor is eating when the room is too dark or if the walls and decor are too bright and garish! (Some people might like bright and garish but personally, I don’t!)
I also think the staff can really make or break a dining experience and I remember quite vividly when I’ve had an exceptional server. I actually still remember a waiter called Chris at a restaurant called Cote, who was incredible. He was funny, attentive, had glitter on his face and made banter with us throughout the night but at the same time, wasn’t over-bearing and wasn’t too in your face. For me, he was the perfect waiter and I think a really good waiter can add so much to your dining experience.
Obviously food is the main aspect of your dining experience, wherever you’re eating and whatever type of restaurant you’re in. I love my food – it’s one of the things I think about the most and I always enjoy trying different types of food when I go to a restaurant. I figure if I’m making a night of it and want to optimize the experience, I don’t want to eat something that I’ve had 400 times before.
My dream menu options:
- Personally, I eat a lot of Vegetarian or fish dishes when I eat out. I’m not sure why because I’m not a Vegetarian or Pescatarian but I’m always drawn to those dishes. So my ideal menu would definitely contain far more Vegetarian options than most menus do (and I’m sure most Vegetarians would agree with me there) but also more fish options, as opposed to red meat or chicken.
- I asked my boyfriend (who is just as keen on food as I am) what items would be on his perfect restaurant menu and he said: “I’m a sucker for steak so a medium cooked steak as a main with chips, onion rings and mushrooms.”
- Specific dishes that I’ve had before which I’d love to see on a menu together are: Calamari (with lemon to drizzle), Crab Mayonnaise on Sourdough Bread, Hoisin Duck Salad with Spring Onions and Cucumber, Green Risotto with Asparagus, Green Beans, Peas, Dark Chocolate Mousse and a Chocolate Bomb with Ice Cream!
- Even better would be all of those dishes and more but in a buffet style!
- Another big plus on a menu for me would be more mocktails – as someone that doesn’t drink alcohol, I often get a bit bored with water or just regular juice! I’m not a fan of fizzy drinks either so I wouldn’t opt for a coke.
I’d love to hear what dishes you’d have on your perfect menu and what makes a great dining experience for you!
* This post is sponsored by Square Meal