The concept is to pay one of these booking sites a nominal fee (up to $10) to make a real time booking at a participating restaurant. You then receive a discount (ranging from 15-30%) on the entire bill without the need to proffer crumpled vouchers or secret code words.
|Bill with Full Society discount from The Alibi, Victoria Street, Darlinghurst|
We booked in to new-ish The Alibi in Darlinghurst for a light modern Japanese meal, with a kitchen featuring Tetsuya's and Sake experience, and a fitout evoking an old jazz club. Overcoats and magnifying glasses of the private eye detective variety would not be out of place at all at The Alibi.
|Mr Hito cocktail|
It's a rum-based mojito with the usual mint and lime - and miso paste. The miso doesn't push the cocktail into savoury territory, nor is it particularly discernible, but it's certainly no longer a lightly flavoured, fruity mojito.
|Crab leaves - blue swimmer crab on betel leaf with young ginger, chiili and amazu ponzu|
The crab betel leaves, drippingly juicy with the ponzu dressing, have a nice amount of blue swimmer flesh but are somewhat overwhelmed with the sweetness of the sauce. Nonetheless, it's a fresh couple of mouthfuls to start the meal.
|Seared scallop and ocean trout tartare with amazu ponzu and white truffle oil|
The scallop sits on the ocean trout tartare which is submerged in the martini glass. With teaspoons and a bit of everything in each mouthful, this unexpected presentation of seafood tartare was actually deliciously textural with bang-on flavours.
|Crispy tofu, pan tossed Asian mushroom and iceberg lettuce|
The vegetarian option of crisp tofu with a range of mushrooms looked great: three bricks of lightly battered and fried tofu which could have used more seasoning, and the heavily miso-sauced mushrooms including king browns and deep fried enoki mushrooms.
Judging by the heavy seasoning of the mushrooms, I imagine eating them all together with the tofu and lettuce was the proper procedure.
|Warm potato salad - crushed kipfler potato, fennel, Sicilian olive and truffle oil|
On request for the bill, it arrived with a Full Society discount line item and the 20% discount without question. We paid for our discounted meal and then tipped most of the savings, but still left with the feeling of having had value through the Full Society booking.
There's certainly a value proposition in these discounted website bookings, and I imagine especially so in a group dining situation. It's then just a matter of having enough restaurants and variety to keep subscribers interested. For me, Full Society brought me to The Alibi where I'm pretty sure it was Mr Hito, in the dining room, with a discount booking.