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Whether it's a work break, meeting or a catch up with friends, ESP's food writer Kelly Jackson says it's time to ditch the sarnies and time to head East for your lunch.

If you’re anything like me, keeping lunch interesting every day of the week can be a real challenge. Especially if you don’t want to indulge in too much bread, and we all know salads aren’t very appealing during autumn and winter. So, what else is on offer, I hear you ask? I have just the thing to tickle your tastebuds!

Peterborough’s Oriental restaurant East offers a superb, two-course lunchtime special, where you can grab a starter and a main dish for just £12.95 per person. If you’ve ever been to East, you’ll also know it has a fantastic location on a barge right on the River Nene – which means you’ll get awesome views at the same time!

I headed to East one lunchtime to try out the special menu for myself. And take it from me, you can easily enjoy your food at a leisurely pace without going over your lunch hour (if you work or live nearby Peterborough city centre, of course!)

For my starter I choose the Panang Satay (chicken grilled on skewers and basted with a Thai curry paste), followed by Crispy Chicken and Coconut Rice. With four chicken satays served up on a plate and drizzled with the paste, it was just the right size for me. I hate it when starters are so big that you feel full before the main arrives.

My lunchtime companion had Crispy Wonton (pork with pepper, wrapped in wonton pastry, served with a sweet chilli dip). I snuck a piece when he wasn’t looking (as you do!) and it was incredibly flavoursome – light and full of taste. And there was still plenty of room for the main course, I might add.

My Crispy Chicken and Coconut Rice dish consisted of southern fried chicken chunks on a bed of fluffy coconut rice, with a garnish of onions and cucumber and a side of sweet chilli sauce. As soon as I tasted the first mouthful, I knew I would be coming back to have this dish a second time. It was succulent and tasty – the perfect size to follow a starter over lunchtime.

A drizzle of sweet chili sauce over the top of the chicken gave it a slight kick of spice. My friend tried the Southern Massaman Beef, which was slow-cooked with potatoes and ginger in a turmeric Massaman curry sauce. The beef was tender enough to break with a fork and the curry sauce draped over the top had a fantastic mild spice – enough to wake you up for an afternoon back at work.

At the end of lunch, I felt satisfied but not bursting at the seams – which is just what you want if you have an afternoon of work ahead of you. There’s nothing worse than feeling sleepy after eating a heavy meal at lunch, is there?

My verdict? If you’re looking for somewhere different and unique to try over lunch, or even for a working lunch or meeting, then definitely give East a try. It may become a lunchtime regular, trust me!

East’s lunchtime special menu is available Monday to Saturday between 12 noon and 2.30pm, and Sundays until 3.30pm. Check out the menu or book a table at: Lunch Menu - East Restaurant - Peterborough (

Kelly Jackson

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