The Menu Ending Explained: Anya Taylor-Joy’s Thrilling Meal And Its Just Desserts

Anya Taylor-Joy sits shocked in her seat in The Menu.
(Image credit: Searchlight Pictures)

Warning: a four course meal of SPOILERS for The Menu is about to be served. This is your official warning that things are about to get messy.

It’s rare that a new movie release like The Menu can truly shock an audience. Yet that’s exactly what director Mark Mylod’s film does, as it concealed its twists and turns from even the appealing trailers for the main course. By time we as an audience get to The Menu’s ending, the results are just as shocking as the decisions that made it all happen. 

Which means that if you’re as surprised as we are by how it all tied up, it’s time to really look at what happened in those final moments of The Menu. As such, this is your final warning that spoilers are coming in, hot and ready for your enjoyment.

If you want to learn more about the movie without spoiling the experience, check out our official review for The Menu elsewhere. Or even better, you can take a detour to a special guide of spoiler-free things to know about The Menu before enjoying the film yourself. As for those of you still looking to dine, it’s time to feast upon the secrets of The Menu

The Menu cast

(Image credit: Searchlight Pictures)

What Happened At The End Of The Menu?

The Menu is an evening of fresh hell that leaves one sole survivor in its wake: a woman named Erin, who operates throughout the film under her alias “Margot” (Anya Taylor-Joy). A last minute substitute for Tyler (Nicholas Hoult), whose date cancelled on him, she technically wasn’t supposed to be at Hawthorne, the high-end restaurant that The Menu uses as its setting.

As an outsider, Margot/Erin positions herself as the one person that actually challenges the enigmatic Chef Julian Slowik (Ralph Fiennes), Hawthorne’s creator and curator. Laying down the greatest challenge of all, she mocks the dishes that have been served throughout the night, and says the one thing no chef ever wants to hear: she’s still hungry. Anya Taylor-Joy wasn't kidding when she said facing off against Ralph Fiennes was "a gift," as that privilege allowed her character to find a way out of a most unpleasant demise.

Demanding a good old fashioned cheeseburger and fries, Margot gets her wish from a surprisingly obedient Chef Julian. Asking to take her leftovers to go, The Menu’s functional protagonist gets to sail off back to the mainland and eat her burger in peace. Everyone else, on the other hand, dies in a massive explosion that Chef Slowik planned as a tribute to that classic campfire favorite S’mores. 

Ralph Fiennes in The Menu

(Image credit: Searchlight Pictures)

Why Chef Julian Slowik Planned The Menu’s Killer Feast

What the hell could have been going through Julian Slowik’s mind when planning out the events and courses of The Menu? That’s the question that sits at the heart of each bloody reveal, and is answered in the final act of the movie. As it turns out, Chef Julian is suffering the same crisis so many geniuses in the past have encountered: he’s lost his love for his profession.

The Menu’s fateful night boils down to Julian Slowik losing his passion for cuisine thanks to dealing with critics and persevering in the world of cutthroat perfection. Reaching a point where his best just doesn’t seem good enough, and facing the choice of mediocrity or death, our chef chose the latter. While what we knew about The Menu prepared us for a twisted journey, it never hinted at this massive plot point. 

Chef Julian’s last supper isn’t just a simple serving of obscure haute cuisine, however. Exposing the secrets of his diners, the meals shared throughout The Menu symbolize different pieces of criticism that culminate in one hell of a dessert plate. Everyone from cheating spouses to shady finance bros literally get roasted as a result. 

Anya Taylor-Joy as Margot in The Menu

(Image credit: Searchlight Pictures)

How Margot/Erin Survived The Night

As we mentioned before, Margot/Erin was the only person who wasn’t expected to be at The Menu’s deadly dinner service. In fact, one of the biggest twists in her tale is the fact that Tyler fully knew the evening was going to end with death, and invited her to join him without divulging that detail.

Being the only truly “innocent” person in the room, Chef Justin had no quarrel with her. It’s part of why he consistently questioned why Margot was present in the first place, and offered her opportunities like joining the kitchen staff. Better still, Margot’s defiance helps give her information she needed to survive the night. 

Ever defiant, she digs through Slowik’s personal residence on the island and learns of his past as a promising burger chef. Using that information, Margot makes her order of a burger and fries, knowing that was what Justin was used to cooking back when he still loved cooking. The Menu may have been about the finest dishes known to humanity, but it’s a simple fast food classic that makes the most impact at the end of the night.

Before taking his own life, and the lives of his diners, Chef Justin gets one last chance to go back to the glory days. Cooking a meal from a time when everything was promising and people actually appreciated his work, The Menu’s imposing antagonist experiences a moment like in Ratatouille when harsh critic Anton Ego is transformed through the power of food. The main difference, of course, is that Ego didn’t burn down the restaurant, taking everyone with him once he felt that brief moment of respite.

Showing a true understanding of people, as well as an ability to read the room rather perfectly, Margot/Erin escapes with her life and one tasty burger. After a night of sheer terror and dark comedy, with the added twist of a stranger being willing to see her die in exchange for the best night of food possible, she’s most certainly earned that simple joy in life. If only the rest of The Menu’s cast of characters had the smarts she did, they might have escaped their fates a bit easier. 

Perhaps that’s why the film is such a treat to behold. Much like a Saw trap, there was a potential solution that could have freed the room from dying as dessert. And yet, in a room where life became a dark joke, only the sharpest mind in the room could avoid the punchline.

Hashing out the ending to The Menu might have left some of you hungry for seconds. If that’s the case, you can still catch the movie in theaters and marvel at the reactions of first-time viewers as an added bonus. However, if you’ve read through this spoiler-filled rundown of Searchlight Pictures’ latest without sampling the goods yourself, it’s still worth traveling to a theater near you to experience it firsthand. Just don’t spoil the surprises for anyone else, as that would be the most evil deed of all.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.