Last week I was set a rather interesting challenge by Travelodge. The brief: find lunch and dinner in my home city, for myself and Gaz for £50 or under - oh and no cheating by hitting up the fast food outlets.
Being a bit of a tourist trap, York isn't exactly known for mega cheap food and drink establishments, but I felt that as a proud York native, I could definitely rise to the occasion and find some interesting places to eat within the budget. After canvassing the opinions of my friends and doing no small amount of research I think I made some pretty good picks too!
LUNCH: MANNION & CO, BLAKE STREET
Mannion & Co is a bit of a hybrid deli, bakery and bistro, it's one of those places that all my friends have been raving about for lunch and brunch in the last year or two, but for some reason I just hadn't made it there. Seeing the regular queues out of the door though, I couldn't wait to give it a try.
Despite the queues, Gaz and I were seated within 10 minutes at the social/sharing table and relaxing in the chilled atmosphere whilst having a leisurely read of the menu. There were so many tasty looking things to choose from but after much deliberation we decided on china jasmine tea and mushrooms on toast (for me) and mojito mint tea with a smoked salmon sandwich (for him).
I loved that the tea was served in these cute cast iron teapots and was pleasantly surprised that the portions were generous and filling. My mushrooms on toast were delicious, really savoury and buttery, just what I wanted and Gaz said that his smoked salmon was some of the best he's had. He particularly liked the herby mascarpone that it was served with.
Lunch total: £19.50
Final verdict: It was a little on the pricey side for lunch, but all in all we left Mannion & Co feeling very satisfied. They don't let you book a table, but the turnaround is pretty quick - join the queue and the mega friendly staff will have you seated in no time.
DINNER: KHAO SAN RD THAI BISTRO, WALMGATE
For those in the know, Khao San Rd Thai Bistro (still within York's city walls but definitely off the beaten tourist track) is a firm favourite. It specialises in authentic Thai food, it doesn't skimp on the spice and flavour, and you can get a great meal there for not too much money.
Having become a bit of a regular in the last year I know the menu like the back of my hand and went for a tried and tested favourite, Pad Thai with tofu vegetables. As always it was colourful, packed full of veg, a bit of welcome heat and was really tasty. Of course I had to try a little bit of Gaz's main too, he went for a Pad Kee Mow (a noodle dish with vegetables and a hot, spicy sauce) with crispy belly pork. I must admit I got a little food envy after tasting his but with the addition of the spicy potatoes as a side dish (seriously, please try these) I was a happy camper.
After having a couple of nights out early in the week Gaz and I were only drinking cokes, but Khao San Rd have a good drinks/wine menu if you're feeling that way inclined.
Dinner total: £27.40
Final verdict: Khao San Rd has a great reputation in York and because of that it gets booked up quick; the ever-accommodating staff will do their best to fit you in where they can though.
FINAL TOTAL SPENT: £46.90
I had so much fun with this challenge so I've got to thank Travelodge for that - I didn't think I did too bad in York for under £50 either! If you would have tried some different places, or even if you've tried Mannion & Co or Khao San Rd I'd love to hear from you.
Until next time...
Post written in collboration with Travelodge