As the UK enters its third national lockdown since March, we’re surely all feeling serious withdrawal from dining out! Going to a restaurant with friends, family or your partner and enjoying a delicious meal and drinks is a favourite way to spend an evening for many, so not being able to do it for so long is surely going to leave you feeling a little down and truly missing the dining out experience.
In these times, however, we have to try to make the best of it – so why not try to replicate the fun of dining out with those you live with, or even just for yourself?
Here is our guide to getting the dining out experience from the comfort of your own home!
Decide What’s On The Menu
Just as the first thing we decide when we’re planning to dine out is always where exactly we’re going, the first thing to plan with your home-dining experience is what sort of meal you’re going to eat.
First of all, get online and check out the restaurant offerings from your area! If you’re lucky, you may find that some of your favourite eateries are operating as a takeaway and offering home delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many businesses have started operating this way in recent months, so it’s worth checking if your favourite restaurant has started offering delivery, even if they previously haven’t.
If you find that the home delivery offerings in your area aren’t quite what you’d like, explore other avenues, such as companies offering high-quality ready meals or even similar items available in your local supermarkets.
If you’d prefer to cook for yourself, take a look and see if you can find any recipes online which are similar to the offerings available in your favourite restaurant. Even if you’ve never cooked anything more than a simple spaghetti bolognese, taking on the recipe for one of your favourite foods is a great challenge – and can be a fun experience too!
Why not go all out and prepare a three-course meal? You don’t have to cook everything from scratch, but making an event of the evening with a beautiful starter and dessert will make it feel that little bit more special.
Don’t forget to think about what drinks you’d like with your meal! If you’re attempting to replicate the feeling of dining in your favourite Italian restaurant, remember to choose a lovely wine or two to go with your food. If you’re looking to create a fun, American diner-style experience alongside some delicious loaded burgers, why not pair them with your favourite milkshakes?
Whatever you’d drink with your meal at your favourite restaurant, picking these same drinks up for your evening at home will really contribute to the experience.
If you’d like to make it extra special, you could even come up with a selection of cocktails for you and those in your household to enjoy in between courses! This is an extra touch that you might not have had the chance to enjoy since the pandemic began in March – not to mention that mixing cocktails can be a lot of fun, too.
Create An Atmosphere
Replicate the atmosphere of your favourite restaurant at home if you can! This can be done using candles, lighting, decorations and, of course, putting together a great playlist to listen to as you enjoy your food and drinks.
While you wouldn’t usually go to all this effort for an evening at home, that’s the very thing that will give the experience a special touch! Many popular restaurants have ready-made playlists available on platforms such as Apple Music or Spotify, so it’s worth taking a look around to see if you can find a pre-existing selection of songs. If you can’t, making a soundtrack for your meal won’t take too long and can be quite a nice activity – certainly more relaxing than the cooking itself could be!
With the right finishing touches, music and atmosphere, you can really tie together the whole meal and create the perfect dining out experience for you and your household.
Make An Event Of It
We’ve not exactly had much cause to dress up over the last year, have we?
If you and your household feel like it, why not dress up and get ready as if you were heading for an evening at your favourite dinner-and-drinks spot? This isn’t necessary, of course, but could make the whole experience feel that little bit more special at a time when special experiences feel few and far between.
Although, there’s no dress code in this restaurant – if you want to dine in your pyjamas, you’re more than welcome to do so! The only rule here is to enjoy yourself.
Finally, if you’re the type who likes to capture the moment whenever they find themselves at a restaurant with friends and loved ones, make sure you take some photos of the evening! It’ll definitely be a reminder of a much stranger time in years to come.
Have fun, but let’s hope we won’t have to wait too long until we can dine out for real!