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My in-laws have offered to take my children off our hands for two nights at the beginning on August and we're planning on spending the time in London. We want to visit somewhere fantastic for lunch (our budget doesn't stretch to dinner) and wondered if anyone could recommend the best budget lunch in the city?

We'd love something fine dining - or at the very least 'clever' that we can tell stories about for the following month or so...

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Hibiscus?

Two Michelin stars and a three course lunch for £29.50.

Suggest you also have a look at the deals on offer through TopTable - often some cracking good ones, particularly lunch.


John Hartley

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I second Harters choice of Hibiscus although its a while since we have been.

Another standout is Ledbury, fantastic value for lunch and the quality is truly top notch, but I have not been for some while.

The best lunch that we have had this year was at the five star Lanesborough in Knightsbridge, my current favourite dining locale.

Don't believe the reviewers, (what do they know :laugh:)michelin starred Aspleys is amazing. The best Italian food we have ever had, by a country mile

We had course after course of superb food including more freebie courses than anywhere else, and if you go I hope you get treated the same as we were.

I am sad that I did not post a review on the relevent thread as I lost my notes but thankfully not the memory of it.

Currently three courses are £28 but you should get way more than is listed on the Menu del Giorno.


Edited by david goodfellow (log)

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Have had a look round the Top Table site - there are some great options there.

The Athenaeum looks particularly good - anyone been?

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Another vote for Hibiscus.

Galvin at Windows is well worth considering too, £27 for 3 courses and a great sense of occasion. We were there last week with our two children and they couldn't have been nicer. Outstanding service. The warm smoked skate with braised oxtail, girolle, broad beans and samphire was exceptionally good.

We requested a window table and were lucky enough to get one, fantastic views around London, beats queuing for the London Eye!

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The best lunch that we have had this year was at the five star Lanesborough in Knightsbridge, my current favourite dining locale.

Don't believe the reviewers, (what do they know :laugh:)michelin starred Aspleys is amazing. The best Italian food we have ever had, by a country mile

We had course after course of superb food including more freebie courses than anywhere else, and if you go I hope you get treated the same as we were.

I couldn't agree more. Since Woman and I tried it several months ago, we thought this Beck enterprise moved Italian cuisine in London one clear notch up compared with the best competition.

Now we live in Scotland, so it's slightly out of reach - but if I could, I'd be there much more often than the one time every couple of months I can fit into my London trips now. The a la carte prices are a little steep (though, given the very top level materials, cuisine, location and setting, very reasonable after all) but at lunch, what incredible value!

There is a sense of generosity in how they treat you (with each dish and with the number of dishes!) that is quite unusual in London (note: repeat custom, even at our modest level without extravagant expenses, is appreciated and suitably rewarded...).

Just been there today. As always, a beautiful, civilised, relaxing, elegant environment, bathed in light, with friendly and very, very attentive service. We deviated from two 3 course lunch menus just to get the stunning dessert called 'Latte' (a caleidoscopic array of milky and chocolatey delicacies, almost petit four-like in their prettiness and concentrated technique, but more substantial). With £33 for two glasses of wine, plus coffees and bottled water, our bill was £127 which, I repeat, is incredible value. 12.5% service is included as usual; but this is the unique place in London in which we leave additional tip in order not to feel like we have perpetrated a theft...

I hope they get a 2*.

For comparison, Tuesday we'll be at Gauthier Soho (for just the second time) - there's a nice place with some little stunners where, however, we didn't feel overwhelmed by a sense of generosity (and in case you are wondering, no, this is not our typical two days :cool: ).

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I would also give Apsleys a go - a welcome addition to London. The Galvin outlets are always good for lunch, especially the Bistro on Baker street. If you're in Charlotte street area definitely try Mennula...wonderfully simple Italian food.

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I don't get to eat out in London as often as I'd like (I'm a Londoner tranplanted to the US) but I have fond memories of the fantastic set lunch at Tom Aikens in Chelsea. Though I just looked at their website and it doesn't seem quite the bargain it used to be. I remember it being under £30, whereas now the 1 hour business lunch is £39 (2 courses plus petits fours) and the tasting menu is £49 (5 courses plus petits fours). So not such a bargain as some of the others listed but the food is exceptional.


Jane Kelly

Co-founder of Eat Your Books

www.eatyourbooks.com

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We have fond memories of visits to Hibiscus in Ludlow. Popping in for lunch on the way back from Wales or enjoying an excellent dinner after a day at the Ludlow Food Festival organised by our esteemed IWFS Chairman. Ah, those were the days, a restaurant with flair and imagination at a reasonable price. Three years after Claude & Claire Bosi move to London we decided to look them up. For a few hours we saw how the other half live. We didn’t stray on to the a la carte at £75 for three courses, we settled for the set lunch with a glass of wine and coffee at £38 a head. Mind you if we had chosen chicken - sorry ‘Label Anglaise Chicken’ - there would have been a £10 supplement. I asked what was so special about the chicken that it could warrant such a supplement. ‘Ah, you see madam it is a very special chicken, slowly grown to full maturity and fed on organic corn for extra flavour and it is stuffed with foie gras.’ I nearly asked if it sported a Little Red Tractor but felt such flippancy would have been looked down upon in such hallowed surroundings.

A pot of excellent olives and our two slices per head of sour dough arrived. My husband is a little deaf these days so when he commented that he had read in a review that you only got two slices of bread each, the rest of the restaurant were made aware of this phenomenon. At least our basket was refilled as soon as it was empty.

A starter of tureen of rabbit with foie gras was prettily presented and of good texture but very bland, the small portion was not memorable.

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A half a crown size pâté, a 1/4 inch thick, of blue ewes milk cheese was served, forlornly lost in a large soup bowl, then a small jug of hot broccoli velouté was reverently poured around it. It did look attractive and was pronounced good but was soon gone! 100_0896.JPG

We had an excellent soup course when we were at Ludlow but they used to fill the bowls up in those days.

Much of the time we found people watching more interesting that the food. The four young men opposite could have stepped out of one of the more bizarre fashion magazines. The highlight of the quartet was sporting black designer pants visible above very low slung jeans that were in danger of falling down each time he left the table to go down stairs to the gents.

A bottle of champagne had disappeared by the time they started on their £75 a head a la carte menu. There was much hilarity when a scallop arrived accompanied by a pork pie sauce. The waitress explained that a large pork pie was made then when completely cold it was cut into sections and blitzed in the blender to make a tasty sauce.

My piece of silver mullet was from a large fish so had a good firm flakes and was cooked perfectly but, in my opinion, it could have been fresher. Served with a few crumbs on top for texture it was singularly uninspired, accompanied by a few pieces of red, yellow and white beetroot.

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Himself’s thin slice of mutton moussaka was treated with the contempt it deserved - the sauce was tasty. 100_0900.JPG

Meanwhile the next table had demolished a bottle of white burgundy and were on to the red Burgundy (which was £80 a bottle plus) with their grouse (£10 supplement). From the portions size that we could see I should think one bird served the four easily.

Desserts were possibly the best course. My very creamy vanilla ice cream with blueberries was served with two delicious hot blueberry Madeline’s - crunchy on the outside and meltingly delicious inside.

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White peach parfait was served with poached peaches and pronounced ‘not bad’.

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We had glasses of a red Loire each which were included in the price and a glass of Alsace Riesling/Pinot Gris at £11 a glass. Cappuccino coffee was hot but not very strong but the accompanying petit fours were very good.

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As we paid our bill of £99.36 the young men on the next table were deciding on digestives. Let us hope there are plenty of their ilk to keep the upmarket Hibiscus in business even with their vastly reduced ingredient costs. Bosi had two Michelin stars when he came to London three years ago and one can see why a third has not come his way, despite his prestigious location.

Photos all taken with a flash with no annoyance to other diners and the waiter even offered to take some of us!


Pam Brunning Editor Food & Wine, the Journal of the European & African Region of the International Wine & Food Society

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We did look at Goodmans, over the road, when we came out but decided £50 for a steak was a bit much!


Pam Brunning Editor Food & Wine, the Journal of the European & African Region of the International Wine & Food Society

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where did you go djpeteboy?


"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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I've been out to lunch in London a fair bit recently. I usually go for the set menu as it's interesting seeing what the chefs can do with cheaper ingredients.

Lunch at the Landau at the Langham was excellent - it didn't feel like the fixed price menu so elegant and delicious was the food. The service was superb. I make exactly the same comments about Galvin at Windows - also excellent.

I love Arbutus and Wild Honey - went to the latter last week and strayed into the carte - excellent grouse.

Not lunch but I had an extremely chic afternoon tea at the new restaurant in Fenwick's as we didn't fancy any of the main courses. Everything is in doll-sized portions but was superb.

Now I'm back to eating at my desk - flute pavot from Paul plus a small bit of aged gruyere. Simple but delicious.

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where did you go djpeteboy?

Yep were interested, where did you go in the end? report please, or just a reply would be nice :smile:

I've been out to lunch in London a fair bit recently.

I,m a lunch person, perhaps because I'm up early, a long lazy lunch is my choice any day of the week.

I agree with your choice, but I have not eaten at the Landau and may give it a try now.

Arbutus needs another try as our Saturday visit(a long time ago now) fealt a bit like eating at a cattle market. Service was rushed and lacking, but nothing wrong with the food just the wrong choice of night.

I liked Wild Honey a lot.

The dining choice in London is second to none just a shame its so bloody far away :sad:

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David, a few years ago we used to eat in London regularly but these days it is just a rip off. The restaurants are catering for city bankers and the tourists’ one off experience; it is not good value any more. Three times recently we have had much better meals outside London at much less cost.

When I eat out the main thing I seek is inspiration - I want experiments with different textures and flavours. I want to eat something that I can say, ‘Wow that was good, I am going to try that at home.’ My experience of London recently has been uninspired dishes that are getting smaller and smaller for more and more money. The one restaurant that was good when it was in Ludlow can’t seem to get its act together in London. :sad:


Pam Brunning Editor Food & Wine, the Journal of the European & African Region of the International Wine & Food Society

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Many people recommend the lunch at Launceston Place as being very good value and delicious food. I think the set price is something like £25 at lunchtime, with much higher costs at dinner. I haven't been there yet personally but will try it soon.

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