Valentine’s is looming just around the corner and are you even prepared? Valentine’s dinner doesn’t need to be expensive or from a fancy place. With a Php500 budget, I created a gourmet dinner date for two from the food court. you read that right! FOOD COURT. It’s all about presentation!
The mall nearest me is the SM Sta Mesa. By no means, it is a tiny mall with a small food court bearing barely 20 food stands (inclusive of the stalls in the middle). An even more impressive food court will reap you more opportunities of even “fancier” dishes.
First dish would be this beautiful lechon kawali. It’s priced at Php199 for 1/4th kilo which would be perfect for two people. Next dish is the Filipino favorite sinigang sa ulo ng maya-maya. Honestly, I would have gone with the salmon belly, if it weren’t a wee bit expensive. This sinigang costs Php165 inclusive of two servings of rice.
For dessert, this stall in the middle of the food court sells Php55 churros and Php20 chocolate syrup. I totally got that!
To make this a great looking dish, we need great looking garnishes. Spring onion for Php5 and parsley for Php10. Luckily, I found a “salad” bar in the grocery which let’s you take different vegetables and fruits for only Php35 so long as it fits in this itty bitty small plastic container.
We have all we need, next is to let creativity take its course.
To imagine a gourmet soup stew for sinigang, I imagined deconstructing the dish into its soup base and solid element.
I cut the head into strips to imitate the shape of fish belly then stacked the fish on top of the vegetables. To add height, I used whole spring onions as the garnish.
The liempo was an easier dish to fix. Put the meat on the greens and add parsley and carrot slices on its side and some on the top. It creates a medley of color that looks appetizing.
The churros was a matter of the plates. A beautifully shaped plate for the churros itself and a clear crystal shot glass for the chocolate syrup. I made sure that the excess powdered sugar made it on top of the churros.
Since I piled vegetables and fruits in the plastic container, I found myself in an excess of fruits. To use my extra food, I took a pretty and delicate dessert goblet and arranged my slices of fruit there. I added the extra chocolate syrup from the churros to create a new dessert.
All in all, this inexpensive dinner is a beautiful way to celebrate Valentine’s without having to cry because money. Just a bit of effort and you’ll get the restaurant worthy look you want in your dishes.
For an even more romantic date, light a few candles and put on sweet music and your Valentines is set!
Tell me more about how you’re doing this Valentine’s dinner in the comments! If you need any advice, I’d gladly help you out!