How the other half live…
However, as a result of the very kind generosity of our friends, Justin & Sara, we indulged last night in some of the finest cuisine that Marseille has to offer at Chez Fonfon.
After work, we strolled along the sea pass and into one of the most renowned seafood restaurants in the city.
And it was easy to see why…
Upon arrival, we wandered through the little harbor area outside of the restaurant and took some photos of the sun setting under the bridge looking out to the Mediterranean Sea. So far, so romantic!
We entered the restaurant, and were welcomed by a charming, friendly, yet typically Marseillais (anyone who has visited Marseille will understand what
I’m referring to) waiter. He showed us to the tables, recommended some dishes and wines and left a lovely appetizer of terrine, mousse, hummus and some kind of anchovy paste, along with a selection of delicious breads.
After choosing a nice bottle of rosé wine, I decided on the “bouillabaisse” – a specialty of the city. Upon ordering, I was presented with a tray of fillets of the most wonderfully fresh looking fish I’d ever seen outside of the sea!!
Meanwhile, my fiancée sampled the delights of the chef’s menu – a starter of courgettes with a fish we were are ashamed to say we didn’t know the English translation, a main of swordfish, some excellent goat’s cheese and a dessert of Orange Macaroons and citrus fruit.
Finally, a rich and delightfully presented espresso (and nibbles) completed the meal nicely. It was truly delectable and we had a wonderful evening!
The meal came to €115 for two people (about £100), but the majority was covered by the kind generosity of our friends in the form of a voucher. However, I’m not writing this (just) to gloat about our meal. It got me thinking why I enjoyed it so much and whether it was worth the cost.
How would I rate its “value”?
When I pay out money on a discretionary spend, it is important for me to understand the value of the activity. Not the monetary cost, but the value of the product or service which I have purchased. I’m going to do this by looking at some metrics that I usually adopt when measuring “entertainment value”:
Price per hour: We arrived at 8pm, and left at 11pm, so it cost around £17 per hour each. For any activity, I would say that this is fairly expensive
Future cost: if you have recently read the post here, you will understand that I work out the cost of items today in their potential future value. £100 meal’s true cost by this metric is around £400 for me personally. Wow, £400 for a meal, I don’t think I could every think that was good value.
Hours worked: Equally in the post, considered against after tax earnings, I would have had to work 10 hours in order to afford the meal. 10 hours worked does seem like a long time to earn a meal!
So, all the metrics suggest that it wasn’t worthwhile. However, my fiancée both completely agree that it was. Why is this (other than the fact that we didn’t physically pay all that cash ourselves!!)?
Well, we have decided that it was because it was “special” for us! It was a unique experience. We probably only eat out once every few months and we both couldn’t think of a more expensive meal that we’d ever eaten before. The pleasure of the romantic stroll beforehand was heightened by the thought of the meal to come. The food wasn’t just food, but it was new and exciting!
Therefore, because it was unique, it was worth it. And the uniqueness factor, trying new things and embracing new experiences is something that I find very difficult to measure in a monetary sense. But, all we can agree on is that the experience at Chez Fonfon WAS “worth it”.
I also think it is amazing how food can split opinions. I bet there will be people who read this who think I am amazingly tight for even considering this as an “expensive meal”. On the other hand, to others, spending half of that on a meal would be something that they wouldn’t consider.
Where do you fall in this spectrum? What do you consider to be an “expensive meal”? Is it worth it? How do you “measure” the value of eating out?