M&S’s Dine in for Two for €12.50 offer must be one of the most attractive and successful supermarket special offers of recent years. It’s been running for ages now, consists of a great selection of unfeasibly luxurious food (both ready-made meals and fresh ingredients to cook) and is clearly hugely popular. I’ve seen people charging around M&S with trolleys loaded up with six or seven Dine in for Two meals. It isn’t really surprising that other supermarkets are offering similar deals, such as the Tesco Finest Dinner for Two for €10 (update: it has recently gone up in price to €12). The price was even more competitive than M&S’s offering, but then again, Tesco does not have quite the same stellar reputation for its in-house food line.
I’d been meaning to try the Tesco offer, but needed to wait until I was in the right frame of mind for buying Tesco ready meals: ie, exhausted and full of self-loathing. Sure enough, I had a particularly long and stressful Thursday at work a while back, and on the way home, found myself wandering around Tesco in the Jervis Centre blankly picking up and putting down food. I slowly twigged that it would be the perfect time to try their Dinner for Two; I was far too tired and hungry to even care what I was eating, let alone cook anything from scratch.
The selection on their Dinner for Two shelf had been fairly well picked over, and there didn’t seem to be anything fresh in the range, only ready meals. But the Steak in Pepper Sauce, the Horseradish Mash and the Lemon Tarts are all dishes that I like, and they didn’t look too bad. The wine selection was pretty impressive, and I picked up a bottle of Malbec. What I found when I got home and prepared the meal was pleasantly surprising:
- Horseradish Mash: Delicious. Fantastic. Perfectly creamy with a very decent amount of heat from the horseradish.
- Malbec: Incredible. Exquisite. Really, really delicious. Worth the price of admission even without the food.
- Steak in Pepper Sauce: Not great, but edible. The meat didn’t taste like steak, but like stewing beef. It was still tender nonetheless, but the pepper sauce was a bit not quite right.
- Lemon Tarts: Very good. No complaints at all.
So as you can see, this wasn’t too shabby at all. The wine especially was an eye-opener: according to the price label, the bottle would usually be over €12. We all know that you can’t really trust the pricing of wine ‘offers’ in supermarkets, but this was definitely a very smooth and drinkable wine. The side and dessert were also excellent quality. If they would just make some fresh ingredients available for the mains, this could be a very attractive offer indeed.
So I’m here not to bury Tesco, but to praise them. Who’d have thunk it?
Have you tried Tesco’s Dinner for Two? What do you recommend picking up or avoiding from the range?
Wednesday 1 September, 2010 at 10:31 am
My problem: the portions are not big enough for two people, not by a long shot. We got the parsnip mash, which was deliciously creamy, and a delicious braised beef main. However, there was just slightly more than one portion of food for two hungry adults!
Very disappointing. And before you think maybe we’re giant greedy-guts, we’re not – between the two of us we’re barely 20 stone!
We also got the strawberry pudding, which was v-i-l-e. Inedible.
I have to agree with you re: the wine though. Scrumptious =)
Wednesday 1 September, 2010 at 12:02 pm
The one time I bought this offer I got the “Steak Diane” and some mash – overall it was like nursing-home food but maybe I made a poor choice.
The main problem with the Tesco offer is that they rarely have all the components in stock (ie no starters, or side dish). Somebody actually raised this on Conor Pope’s blog recently and Tesco responded that customers could sub an extra desert for a missing side dish etc.
Some of the nerds on boards.ie have also noticed that (in some stores at least) you can actually put through 3 main courses and a bottle of wine and it’ll apply the price reduction (at the self-service till) – somewhat dishonest, but I don’t have a lot of sympathy for Tesco at the best of times.
(btw, last I check this offer had gone back up to €12)
Wednesday 1 September, 2010 at 1:58 pm
Tesco’s offer is 12 euros. And it’s not half as nice as M&S. And people don’t seem to fight for it…
Wednesday 1 September, 2010 at 11:28 pm
Tesco didn’t have any wine left with this offer the last time I tried it and they wouldn’t substitute another bottle instead so it was the juice or nothing.