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Set Menus to Order When You Want to Eat Well But For Less Than $50

Pay less, eat more.
By Kat Hayes
February 10, 2021
By Kat Hayes
February 10, 2021


in partnership with

Pay less, eat more.

There's a lot you can do for $50. A single yellow note can get you two tickets to a movie or a tank full of petrol. But what a pineapple can also get you is a decent amount of food and drink — especially when you think outside of the square a little. Bargain set menu deals can be found around town if you know where to look and what the passwords are (hint: generally it's "feed me").

Melbourne has a staggering number of food and drink options. And, narrowing it down a bit, it also has a heap of set menus for those who like to live fancy but spend less. Live your best eating life and treat yourself to a set menu or a banquet — we've compiled a list of venues for when you feel like a veritable feast. So the next time your stomach is at its very emptiest, browse through. Plus, all these venues accept American Express so you won't even need to fiddle about with cash money at all, just pull out your Amex Card and you'll be good to go.


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    Fonda is no newcomer to the Melbourne Mexican scene — it has been around for years. It has also been slowly growing, there are now eight in different locations around Australia.

    The suburbs may vary, but the food doesn’t: it’s quick, fresh, bloody tasty Mexican goodness. While the menus are, across the board, A-plus fare for everyone – from those who want a quick taco nibble to those who have a larger quesadilla-sized hunger – a nice choice is the Feed Me menu. A selection of Fonda’s favourite dishes made to share between two for just 50 bucks (that’s $25 each).

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    Uncle in St Kilda is known for its casual Vietnamese fare and a rooftop terrace that overlooks Carlisle Street. Its second venue manages to hold onto that same vibe, even though it’s located in the middle of the CBD. The first-floor views through foldout windows and leaf-latticed ironwork afford glimpses of the trees outside. Inside, bamboo furniture and tropical lighting create an appropriately moody atmosphere.

    The menu showcases the level of freshness you expect from great Vietnamese food – and it doesn’t come at a steep price at all. While the Melbourne favourite isn’t currently running it’s low-price lunch banquet, drop in for dinner where you’ll be served a selection of the best Uncle has on offer for just $49 per person.

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    Internationally recognised for its Cantonese cuisine and exceptional service, Flower Drum has a menu heavy on fresh seafood, meat and modern twists. You’ll find all the Cantonese classics at this lavish restaurant — from silky duck wontons to steamed tofu and delicate pieces of crab to tender Peking duck. It has long been a gold standard of Chinese dining in Melbourne, and for good reason – the lush red carpet, carved wood and impeccable service are only the start.

    This little Melbourne celebrity is perfect for a special occasion or a classy night out. Or to sort yourself out a mighty good lunch. We’re bending the rules a little for this one as the two-course summer set menu at lunch comes in right on $50 per person, which

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    Pizza. It’s delicious. It also has a huge spectrum of quality and authenticity. But Ladro, with outlets in both Fitzroy and Prahran, does it well. Really well. With a sleek interior, wood-fired ovens and an Italian nonna, Zia, making pasta by hand in the kitchen, Ladro does more than just well. Owned and run by business and life partners Sean Kierce and Ingrid Langtry, passion is in abundance — just like the food they create.

    So, now we’ve established that the team at Ladro know how to feed you, let them do just that — head in for the Feed Me menu special. A $35 per-person offering gets five to six dishes, including some chef’s selection entrees, a couple of pizzas to share and a salad. You’ll be stuffed full of delicious Italian in no time at all and still won’t even have breached $50.

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    Need to cater for vegetarians? No worries – the Garden Room Banquet at Moroccan Soup Bar ($35 per head) will have even the most stubborn carnivore professing their love for vegetarian fare. This homely dining space is popular among locals and only takes bookings for six or more. If you don’t arrive at its 6pm opening time, a busy waitress will give you a time to come back, or you can wait outside.

    Once you’ve got a table, head straight to the banquet and spend your time relaxing with a cup of warm mint tea. The dishes are filled with traditional North African herbs and spices — the legendary chickpea bake is a revered dish here, so make sure you snag a scoop (or two).

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FYI, this story includes some affiliate links. These don’t influence any of our recommendations or content, but they may make us a small commission. For more info, see Concrete Playground’s editorial policy.

Image: Fonda Brook James

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