Food Reviews

Dining out on a budget – Nottingham’s five best set menus

Being a student makes the prospect of eating out seem unfeasible and extremely crippling to the bank account. However, with an affordable set menu, the restaurants that once seemed out of reach are now within reach, allowing you to try the delicious dishes that they have to offer. Being a lover of food and trying new restaurants, I have narrowed down my favourite set menus in Nottingham based on value for money, the variety of options available, as well as taste. Bon appetite!

1. Yamas

Hidden on Thurland Street, Yamas is a Mediterranean Restaurant offering a wide variety of meze and tapas dishes. Available from Wednesday to Saturday from 12pm-4pm, Yamas’ lunch menu serves to be my favourite set menu in Nottingham, offering a broad variety of dishes to suit any palate.

“Insanely delicious cheese balls”

Diners are invited to pick three dishes for just £7.95 per person. Tapas is the perfect way to try lots of new dishes so is ideal for sharing. When I went, we picked Chorizo, Houmous, Calamari, Chicharrones de Pollo, (fried chicken fillets served with Aioli) Halloumi and Tirokroketes, which are these insanely delicious cheese balls served with a chutney. Yes, you heard me correctly- cheese balls!

The variety of dishes meant that I could try Tirokroketes, a dish that I had never had before, while also indulging in some familiar favourites. If you’re not a massive cheese or meat eater, there are plenty of other options, including Fakes Salata, a lentil salad with peppers, herbs and feta, the classic Patatas Bravas, and Tzatziki. I can’t recommend a trip to Yamas enough- the value for money is incredible, which makes the food even tastier!

Image Courtesy of Rosa Morgan



2. Bistrot Pierre

This popular French chain offers a delicious fixed-price lunch menu that’s available Monday to Friday from 11:30am-3pm, and on Saturday and Sunday from 11:30am-5pm. The menu offers three options: one course for £9.95, two courses for £11.95 or three courses for £13.95. The array of dishes available is fab, with there being something for everyone.

Being a lover of savoury, I decided to opt for the two courses for £11.95, picking a starter over a dessert. For starter, I opted for the Brie d’Auvergne, a gorgeous baked brie, served on sourdough toast with a pear chutney. For main, I picked the Boeuf Braise, a beautifully tender braised beef dish, served in a green peppercorn and brandy sauce, with potatoes and vegetables on the side.

Image Courtesy of Bistrot Pierre Webpage

There are plenty of vegetarian options available, including a Tarte aux Legumes, a tartlet with butternut squash, spinach, cheese and caramelised onion, that I was tempted by. If you have a sweet tooth, then the desserts will definitely impress, with the Crepes appearing particularly mouth-watering. The quality of the ingredients was wonderful, with everything tasting extremely fresh and tasty.

Overall, I think this set menu is wonderful, with the experience of eating in a reasonably classy restaurant being a lovely change as a student, as well as the value for money being exceptional- these dishes would usually cost over £20 from the normal menu.


3. Miller and Carter 

Located just down the road from West Entrance, Miller and Carter offers a fab set lunch menu, which is available from Monday to Friday between 12pm-5pm, as well as on Saturday from 12pm-3pm. For just £10.95, you can enjoy two courses from the lunch menu.

When I visited, I had Calamari, which came with a delicious chipotle mayonnaise. Seeing as I was at a steakhouse, it would be wrong not to have steak for my main: Steak Frites. This choice required a £2.50 supplement, but I think that was pretty reasonable for a decent piece of steak that tasted so delicious.

If steak isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other options including a selection of fish, salads, and burgers. Like Bistrot Pierre, without a set lunch menu, I would not have been able to afford to eat at Miller and Carter as a normal steak typically costs £20! Therefore, Miller and Carter’s set menu serves to be a tasty and affordable treat for students.

Image Courtesy of Rosa Morgan



4. Iberico

Another Tapas restaurant with a set menu- what more could you want?! Hidden in the middle of Lace Market, Iberica is a modern tapas restaurant, offering traditional Spanish dishes. When I visited recently, the Express Menu jumped out at me, which is available from Monday to Friday between 12pm-2pm and between 5:30pm-6:45pm.

“There aren’t many choices for vegetarians”

For £10.95, you can pick two dishes from the menu. One of the most unusual things about Iberico is that the dishes don’t all come out at once- they come out when they’re ready. We picked Mussels, Swordfish, Chorizo and Shrimp to share between 2 people. Although the dishes were extremely yummy, I think that there is far more variety at Yamas. There aren’t many choices for vegetarians, which means that you’re very much subjected to meat and fish.

Furthermore, the express nature of the menu made me feel quite rushed at times, therefore not making the dining experience particularly relaxed. The value for money is quite good considering that most dishes at Iberico are about £7 each. However, I think Yamas is definitely a better option for tapas, with a more relaxed atmosphere. However, if, like me, you’re a massive tapas fan then I would definitely recommending trying Iberico anyway.


Image Courtesy of Iberico Webpage

5. Bill’s

Contemporary British chain Bill’s has a really varied set menu, offering diners two courses for £11.95 and being available from Monday to Friday between 12pm-7pm. Out of all of the menus reviewed in this article, Bill’s definitely has the most variety of dishes, offering home comforts such as Shepherd’s Pie and more adventurous dishes like Crispy Duck Salad.

In short, this menu definitely offers something for everyone and has less of a time constraint than the other restaurants, making it a perfect menu for an early or late lunch or even early dinner.

Image Courtesy of Bill’s Webpage

I opted for the Crispy Duck Salad for starter, which was extremely flavoursome, with the saltiness of the tortilla chips under the duck balancing out the sweet glaze of the duck perfectly. For my main, I decided to branch out and opted for the Crispy Cod Burger, that was served with apple slaw, onion marmalade and fries. What I really liked about this dish was how light it was, with the flakiness of the cod being less stodgy than that of a usual beef burger.

All in all, the relaxed atmosphere in Bill’s complimented this dining experience wonderfully. Although one of the more expensive set menus in this review, Bill’s is definitely worth a visit, offering value for money and a huge variety of dishes!


Overall, all of these set menus were incredibly tasty. However, I think as a diner, it is really important to consider the options on the menu before visiting, especially if you have particular dietary requirements. For the most part, all of these menus are perfect in giving students on a budget the opportunity to dine out at restaurants that they would otherwise not be able to afford at. Tasty food at an affordable price- set menus really are a win-win!

Rosa Morgan

Featured image courtesy of via Flickr, licence here.

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