George Bernard Shaw once quoted "there is no sincerer love than the love of food"
As someone who enjoys cooking, I have to agree with the literary genius. There is nothing more enjoyable that preparing a delicious three course meal then sitting down to share a chilled bottle of Torres Vina Sol with my beautiful wife.
Valentine's Day is a time when the restaurant trade pull out all the stops in an effort to get couples, old and new, to head out for a "Lovers Menu for 2".
Anyone who knows me will know my feelings on special occasion set meal offerings. Regardless of the time of year, whether it be Christmas, Easter, Mother's Day, and of course Valentine's Day, I genuinely feel that the majority of restaurants take the customer for granted!
Think about the set menu that are put in front of us? Normally there is a limited number of options for starter, main and dessert, where sometimes it's difficult to pick three course that you would genuinely order at any ther time of the year. That said, there may actually be something on the set menu that you would like to order but that item or items comes with surcharge!
On top of this limited menu, the price has been inflated whilst the service and is often below the standards that you would expect. In actual fact, you could argue that these special day set menus are simply overpriced pre-theatre menus that have been wrapped up in a pretty bow with a loading on the normal pre-theatre rates!
The other thing that gets me is the fact that these menus often feature dishes that carry higher profit margins, don't get me wrong, I'm all for restaurants turning a profit providing they serve up fresh, quality food with service levels that make you feel appreciated, but just don't take me for granted!
I don't want to get all down on the restaurant trade. I know that there are a number of restaurants out there that have put together well priced and well structured menus. A local restaurant to myself have a fantastic three course set meal for two with a glass of wine each, and coffee or tea, all for £30. This represents great value and is exactly the type of deal is much more likely to get us eating out more.
I'll wrap this up by revisiting the words of Mr Shaw, 'there is no sincerer love than the love of food', but dont pay over the odds for mediocre food and dodgy service, simply because society says you should be celebrating the love you have for your other half.