Make dinner just that little bit more special.

Discover four of our deliciously simple Gastro meal ideas and make dinner exceptional.

Plus read Malcolm’s guide, choc full of tips for every discerning diner looking to ensure a foolproof dinner for two!

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Recipes

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Beautifully Tantalising

Tempura Battered Lemon & Herb Basa Fillet

With cauliflower & fennel salad & herb mayonnaise

See the recipe

Malcolm’s tip

For that extra zing, squeeze a fresh cut lemon wedge over the dish before serving. But be warned! Remember to shield other diners from that sneaky citrus by holding a spoon or your cupped paw in front of the lemon as you squeeze. Delightful.

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Simply Splendid

Sweet Chilli Marinated Basa Fillet

With noodles and pak choi

See the recipe

Malcolm’s tip

In Japan it’s fine to slurp your noodles to your heart’s content but here darlings, it is rather discourteous. Best stick to an ‘oooh’ or ‘wow!’ if sound effects are required.

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Deliciously decadent

Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper Basa Fillets

Served with dauphinoise potatoes

See the recipe

Malcolm’s tip

These deliciously decadent fillets are already seasoned to perfection but if your dining companion asks for the salt and pepper, always remember to pass them together!

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A luxurious twist

Tempura Battered Chunky Cod Fish Fingers

Served on sourdough bread with homemade fries

See the recipe

Malcolm’s tip

When eating with fingers can’t be avoided, avoid licking those your paws clean. It’s rather bad form. One uses a napkin of course!

The Discerning Diner’s Guide

By Malcolm

I’ve called on my good chum William Hanson, the UK’s leading etiquette expert, to share some of his fine dining tips in my rather handy Discerning Diner’s Guide.

Explore the guide

The Discerning Diner’s Guide

Set the Table

Once the table is barren it’ll be ready for the cutlery, plates and napkins. Forks on the left; knives and spoons on the right. The glass goes just above the blade of the knife, on the right hand side. Your napkin is placed to the very left hand side of the setting. Having all the dining equipment laid before you will mean you are ready to eat once dinner is served.

Malcolm says
An elegant table presentation is vital with Young’s Gastro, give the food the setting it deserves!

The Discerning Diner’s Guide

Use the Nice China

Make a meal of your meal! Get the nice china out and use it to hold your mid-week fare. There’s no point it just sitting in the cupboard. Quality china and porcelain should be seen and enjoyed.

Malcolm says
Precisely! When the food is this good, every dinner is a special occasion.

The Discerning Diner’s Guide

Find a Centrepiece

You needn’t polish up your best candelabra, a simple unscented candlestick alone can give that no man’s land in the centre of the dining table a certain je ne sais quoi. For daytime meals, you could use a small, low floral arrangement or a bowl or platter of fruit.

Malcolm says
There’s a reason why candlelit dinner is the ultimate romantic cliche… when I spot a lovely Young’s fish fillet illuminated by a flickering candle… I’m in love!

The Discerning Diner’s Guide

Dress For Dinner

The dinner jacket may be a step too far for a Tuesday night (I won’t stop you) but at least change out of your work clothes and put on something decent. You won’t eat properly in pjs or loungewear. Keep it simple, chic and above all, fresh!

Malcolm says
Surely this one goes without saying?! Dress to impress, put your best collar and make sure you’re well groomed. Finding hairs in the food is NOT a good look…

The Discerning Diner’s Guide

If Music Be the Food of Love…

Use music to give the room some aural atmosphere. Some of the streaming services even have dinner time playlists, to save you the time and effort of putting together your own mealtime mixtape.

Malcolm says
Personally I favour Atomic Kitten or Pussycat Dolls, ahem.

The Discerning Diner’s Guide

The Big Turn Off

Switch those phones and tablets off! You don’t need a screen to eat your delicious dinner and you should be focussing on eating as well as chatting to any dining companions you have. Even if you are alone, use the meal time to detox and switch off from the techno world.

Malcolm says
It’s incredibly paw form to check one’s phone at the table. Once dinner’s on phones go off! That also means no instagramming your dinner (unless it’s sublime Young’s Gastro and it looks stunning … then we’re @YoungsSeafood).

The Discerning Diner’s Guide

Perfect Plate Presentation

Don’t just chuck the food onto the plate and hope for the best. If you’ve cooked good food, spend an extra 30 seconds to lay it out on the plate to make it look as visually tasty as possible. We eat with our eyes first! The high-end restaurant rule you can follow at home is to place the meat or fish in the bottom section of the plate (6pm, if you imagine your plate as a clock). The vegetables then are laid out above.

Malcolm says
Perfect presentation shows an attention for detail and gives the fish the centre of attention it deserves!

The Discerning Diner’s Guide

Elbows In

Sit up straight and shoulders back! We don’t want your meal to be spilled down your fresh clothes. Using good table manners will give the respect the food and its chef deserve – as well as help you eat it properly.

Malcolm says
This is certainly Paws for thought, if you’re turning up to dinner well groomed (as you should be) you don’t want to risk that beautiful fur getting mucky. Sit straight people!

How Gastro are you?

Win a £250 John Lewis voucher every week

How Gastro are you?

Take Malcolm’s etiquette quiz for your chance to win a dinner date makeover; a shiny £250 John Lewis voucher! There’s one to be won every week.

Take the quiz

Question No.1

From which direction should you approach your dining-table chair in order to sit down?

Question No.2

Should you start eating as soon as you sit down at the table?

Question No.3

When you are dining, but not currently eating, what should you do with your hands? Or paws?

Question No.4

If your dinner date is so gripping that you stop eating briefly to talk or have a drink, where should you place your utensils?

Question No.5

Ok posh diners, what is the only fork you’ll find to the right of your plate in a place setting?

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