Where I’ve been eating out to help out so far…
Now I’m not exactly singing the governments praises on the majority of their response to COVID 19 but one thing I’ve got to say has been actually well thought out is Rishi Sunak’s ‘Eat out to help out’ scheme. I work in hospitality, love the industry and desperately don’t want it to fail. The longer lockdown went on the more worrying it has been that our workplaces wouldn’t survive so its been amazing to see people finally out of their houses and restaurants doing well. I’ve seen a lot of bloggers focusing on supporting independent restaurants and that’s amazing. I personally have also been supporting the big chains, fair enough your money is going to a big corporation but the staff who are probably on zero hour or low hour contracts need the hours and more customers = more shifts available for them.
I’ve been making the most of the discounts and I’ve been here, there and everywhere, here’s some of the places I’ve been so far:
Apocalypse Cow is a street food vendor that work with Birdies bar and Ghetto golf in Digbeth and their food is to die for. Birdies bar is a lovely place to sit and chill with gorgeous cocktails and summer vibes and half price food is just the icing on the cake. I had the loaded fries which is a decent size portion and good value for money anyway but with the discount this absolute mouthgasm was only £3
I’ve done a full review on Dishoom on here already and I was absolutely raving about it. Brand new, gorgeous outside terrace and amazing food, drinks and service. The restaurant pays homage to the Irani cafes of Bombay and is completely different to anything else you would find in Birmingham. The cut off for the discount for the government scheme is £10 but Dishoom have decided to treat the good people of Birmingham by halving the price of the food proportion of your bill regardless of how much it is. The menu is a lot of small plates and grills and with 50% off you can really go mad. I definitely recommend the masala prawns and the chilli chicken which were both amazing.
Speaking of outdoor terraces, Bill’s restaurant in the bullring has an absolutely gorgeous one. If like me you are a people watcher you will love it. I had never eaten there before but had wanted to try it for ages. They have actually put together a special set menu for the eat out to help out scheme and three courses will cost you just £10 and whats more, they even throw in a free glass of wine… can’t complain at that. I absolutely love halloumi so loved my crumbed halloumi sticks starter. I had mojo marinated chicken skewers for my main and a salted caramel and chocolate tart for dessert. The food was all delicious, good service and relaxed atmosphere.
Nothing ground-breaking about this one but it’s a 7 minute walk from my house (yes, I’ve timed it) so would have been rude not to. Obviously with the current COVID regulations they have made a few changes to make it safer so the chefs now put the food on the plate for you so no need to worry about everyone touching the same handles. I had to include this one because of the price, so a king size carvery (treated myself didn’t I?) and a bottomless soft drink was just over £6, I honestly don’t think you could cook it for that. If you haven’t already got the toby carvery app on your phone then a little hack to make it even cheaper, you can use eat out to help out in conjunction with other offers in some places. When you download the toby carvery app it gives you a code for 25% off your food bill which you can actually use with the government discount making your roast dinner £2.74
Well you know what you’re getting with harvester. If like me, you love the salad bar then fear not, they have kept it but you now ask the server for what you want instead of everyone touching the same handles but you can still go up as many times as you like and they still have those amazing little breads. I had ‘the pitmaster’ which is basically a plate of assorted meats and mac and cheese which I’m here for and it was amazing. With a refillable soft drink it was only £11.50
So sadly the scheme doesn’t work on alcohol (and I plan to write a letter to Bozza and the gang at number 10 every day about this injustice) but bit of a loophole, dirty martini are halving the food portion of bottomless brunch, so you get an hour and a half of unlimited gin, prosecco and martinis for £22.50 instead of £30. The brunch itself is sharing plates on a birdcage, all really nice, great to pick at while you're having a catch up and if you can put the cocktails away its really good value for money.
This one was kind of by accident, the queue for Holy Moly was next level long so if you are thinking of going there be prepared. I was hungry and in no mood so we went to @pizza instead. They do delicious long, thin crust pizzas, you can choose your own toppings or choose from their menu if you can’t decide and they even do dessert pizzas. I had ‘Eat meat repeat’ which was like a meat feast and a refillable mango and blood orange craft soda and it cost just £6.50
Don’t forget if you are just out and about you don’t have to have a full meal, it works just on a coffee or soft drink. While the sun has been casually trying to burn us to death I’ve been getting my costa fruit cooler fix and a slice of banana bread for less than £3.
If you haven’t been out yet a few things to be aware of, expect it to be busy. Book a table plenty of time in advance if there is anywhere you really want to go. A lot of places are quite booked up so you might have to be a bit flexible with timings and if you can’t get a table keep checking back, I’ve happened to drop on a cancellation a couple of times. Restaurants are having to adhere to COVID guidelines which in a lot of cases has meant reducing their capacity so they might not be able to get walk ins in as quickly as they normally would, don't get mouthy, there's nothing they can do about it. The discount only works if you eat in so don’t expect to get money off your just eat or if you are buying to take away. If you are worried about going out obviously no one can make that decision for you but all of the places I have been are taking COVID safety seriously, don’t believe everything you see in the media, the vast majority of bars and restaurants are not a scrum of drunk people licking each other like they are making out. Wherever you decide to go remember that pubs that don’t offer food are not eligible for the scheme and are really struggling so if you can pop in for a quick one before your meal then it would really help them get through it.
Enjoy your bargain basement dinners everyone. I for one am excited for tomorrows cheap TGI’s already