The unfortunate and obvious downside of eating out frequently is that you end up spending quite a bit of money. This may be unnoticed at the time while you’re happily gobbling down your food, but at the end of the month, the budget feels undeniably… tight.
A few days ago I estimated a budget for eating out per month. Typically I’ll eat out 3 times a week – the weekend and probably once during the working week. Let’s say the weekend brunch is $20, followed by dinner $30, and add on another $20 for perhaps afternoon tea, dessert or whatnot. Multiply by 2 for the weekend and that’s $140. Then add on another $30 for weekday dinner and its $170 per week. Multiply by 4 weeks in the month and it comes to… let’s round it up – $700 per month.
Is that a lot? Certainly for some; maybe not for others.
We’re not exactly rich as kings (can’t afford a big pigeon pie like Joffrey…), so we somehow combine eating out with bargain hunting at times.
For example, just before Easter, we visited The Food Society, having pre-booked when they had advertised a 50% off deal:
- Website: http://www.foodsociety.com.au/
- Address: 91 Riley Street, Darlinghurst NSW 2010 (near corner of William Street and Riley St). Note, Google Maps shows it as being close to Oxford Street, but it is NOT.
- Open: Tues – Sun (6pm onwards), vodka high tea (Sat and Sun 12 – 4.30pm)
- Book: online via Dimmi
As you can see, The Food Society is a throwback to the colonial era with lots of vintage charm and warmth. Almost all the waiters are men, sporting cool bow ties.
We’d been keen to go to Food Society since walking past it on the way to Cafe Paci, one of our very first posts. And when the 50% off food offer came up, we were quick to jump on it and book!
Initially empty at 6.30pm, the place got super busy pretty quick!
A quick guide to cheap eats
1. Check out Eatability’s special offers.
The 50% off the food bill was advertised on Eatability’s special offers, which you can also see here. Some of the offers are always there, and some are only there for a limited time (like The Food Society offer). The permanent offers are often special sets or deals that the restaurant runs. This can be good way to find them, rather than looking at individual restaurant websites!
2. Book via Dimmi
The 50% off appears to have been originally the Dimmi deal. What is Dimmi? It’s a restaurant booking website, which advertises ‘flash’ 50% off food sales every week for different restaurants. We also use Dimmi a lot to book because you earn points by booking, reviewing and social media sharing. These points accumulate quickly and can be redeemed for a $50 voucher at a number of restaurants.
3. Eat on the quieter nights
Many restaurants also feature cheaper set menus for the quieter nights of the week. I quite like doing this because not only is it cheaper, but you still get to try what the restaurant has to offer, BUT you also get to enjoy the food and restaurant on a night when it’s not crammed full of people, shouting to hear each other across the dinner table. Just a few examples of places that have this: Bishop Sessa (Mon and Tues), Baroque (Tues)…
Okay back to The Food Society and the food! Essentially the food here is all sharing plates, with small and big shares.
We make our orders and get some free bread sticks and pickles. I didn’t eat any, which is probably good because the food was very filling…
This is their signature fried cauliflower. We had dinner with JL tonight and it was his favourite. It’s a good vegetarian option and a massive size for something that is a ‘small’ share.
Here is my watermelon drink – a bit too sweet for my liking, but the frozen watermelon popsicle was cool. The cocktails average $17 and non-alcoholic drinks are about $8.
If the ‘small’ cauliflower was any warning, this duck salad came out in a big bowl! There was a lot of duck in this too.
Another big tray of lamb shoulder – very flavoursome if you like the lamb taste. This was D2D’s favourite.
Unfortunately my favourite, the Crispy skin pork belly, shaved cabbage, fresh cherries, chervil and white vinegar (gf) $28, is missing a photo! But it was very yummy and came on a big bed of cabbage (they really like cabbage here I think).
Despite the three of us struggling to finish the food, we still were keen to share this:
SNICKERDOODLE! I’m usually not a fan of sundae but this was really delicious and well, it had peanut butter ice cream – yum!
What we ordered was between “too much” and “about right” for the three of us, and with 50% off the food orders – came to about $30 per person, including the drinks.
What else is around:
- Cafe Paci pop up restaurant is right next door
- Check out the Australian Museum for new exhibitions
- Enjoy the sun, trees and grass in Hyde Park