Queues formed outside restaurants, cafés and pubs as diners flocked to grab a discounted dinner under the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, which launched on Monday in a bid to boost the industry. Our reporters enjoyed a taste of the bargains on offer.

Our map shows restaurants in Norfolk and Suffolk taking part in the government's Eat Out to Help Out scheme. The purple pins offer more detailed information with links to websites, opening times and contact details


Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and generally pretty good value, even before the discount.

But now it actually seems a bit bonkers just how much you can munch for your money.

I headed to Binky’s in Bell Lane, Belton, for a beautiful cooked breakfast, designed - I hoped - to keep you groaning ‘til lunch, nothing too fancy and no silly little pots for beans either, hate those.

The cafe only opened in December and sits in a rather unremarkable 1970s looking unit next to Tesco.

I already knew what I was having before I got there - a full English.

Happily there was no attempt to reinvent the wheel, although sometimes the simplest things are the hardest to get right.

I swapped the black pudding for an extra egg and judging by the conversations going on around me a ‘build-your-own’ breakfast seemed like the done thing.

Even before the Eat Out to Help Out scheme there was a lot of breakfast for your buck.

Now a mere £3.37 - before the deal it would have been £6.75 - delivers a ridiculous two rashers of bacon, sausage, black pudding, baked beans, fried egg, hash brown, grilled tomato, mushrooms a doorstep of granary toast and a pot of tea, enough for around two and half cups.

Be warned, it’s a lot to take on.

At around 10am on Tuesday the cafe was busy with a flurry of single diners, including some working-from-homers and a couple of larger groups.

Fresh sausage rolls were coming out of the oven and there was a friendly feel with people popping in and out to buy bits or say hello to a friend they spotted through the window.

Chef George Needham hailed the government scheme as “amazing”.

The diary was bursting with bookings with afternoon teas among the most popular, around 14 were booked for that day.

I intended to spend the money I’d saved on a slice of cake calling to me from under a glass dome, but in the end I was too full and left empty handed vowing not to eat another thing for the day.

Would have cost: £6.75

Now costs: £3.37

MORE: Map shows all the restaurants taking part in money off Eat Out to Help Out scheme


The Chequers, a family run freehouse pub at the heart of the village of Wimbotsham overlooking the green and primary school, has been run by Kim Brockhouse and David Coombes for the past eight years.

We arrived at the pub just as it opened at 12pm for lunch, usually a popular time.

Today was generally quiet with around a dozen other people joining us on spaced out tables out the front of the pub.

But Mrs Brockhouse said it gathers more pace from 1.30pm to 3pm and picks up again in the evening.

The lunchtime menu ranged from £4.95 to £8.95, with food such as fishcakes, sandwiches, burgers and scampi on offer.

We opted for the homemade chargrilled quarter pound burger topped with fried onions, cheese and relish and the southern fried chicken breast fillet in a bun, both served with salad and chips.

Usually these mains would have cost £8.50 but the scheme saw this slashed by half price, making for much more enjoyable eating.

The added pot of tea for £2.00 and coke for £1.65 which was also reduced by half brought the total sum to £10.65.

Mrs Brockhouse said the pub was packed on Monday night, with a 40pc increase in customers on average for that day.

She said: “The phone didn’t stop ringing yesterday

“We had to turn people away and we’ve had more bookings so have to prioritise those that are pre-booked if people show up.

“It’s a great deal, we had five boys show up and they were really big eaters so after they were done they were surprised their bill was only £20 each, they didn’t know about the deal.”

Everything on the menu, which has been slimmed down, is included in the discount.

Would have cost: £21.30

Now costs: £10.65

MORE: Huge queues at Norwich restaurants as half-price scheme launches


It was an early start to dinner, just after 5pm, but the Oak Bar and Terrace, at the Oaklands Hotel on Yarmouth Road, was already busy, with plenty of its terrace tables full.

The warm evening made for perfect weather to dine al fresco, and we grabbed a table on the edge of its spacious decking area, joining groups of families and friends nearby.

With Blofield Food Hall and Café having just opened a second branch inside, the restaurant prides itself on its Norfolk focus, including an all-Norfolk wine list, which it believes makes it the first in the county to do so.

There’s plenty of deals to be had, but hungry after an early start at work, we went for the Norfolk beef burger and chips and its Blofield butcher pizza, with local sausage, bacon, beef and ham.

Usually the meals would have cost £14 and £11 respectively, and with the half price deal they certainly felt like a bargain.

The burger, topped with cheese, tomato and salad, was accompanied by crispy skin-on fries and a gherkin, and was generously portioned.

We had two soft drinks, a flavoured tonic water and cloudy lemonade, at £1.60 and £1.50 under the deal.

Marcus Pearcey, from the business, said they had seen a rush in bookings since the scheme started, and, as they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, it meant it had been a manic couple of days.

He said so far it had not detracted from their weekend bookings, and said they had seen more families coming down to try out the restaurant.

Customers were upgrading cuts of meats to more expensive choices, he said, and added that overall the offer had seen a usually quieter part of the week for the industry pick up in pace.

Would have cost: £30.25

Now costs: £15.13

MORE: From crabs to oysters - five places to find Norfolk delicacies half price

• The offer gives diners 50pc off (up to a value of £10 per head) from Mondays to Wednesdays at participating restaurants throughout August. Visit our website for a full map showing which restaurants are taking part.