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keeping fed in london


alkonin
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I'm headed to London in a couple of weeks with my husband, and we have to stick to a serious budget. We have around 500 dollars for the week to spend on lunches and dinners. We like all types of food and are open to all sorts of suggestions. Your recommendations would be much appreciated.

Thanks.

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I went to London last month; it's hard to keep track of prices since the dollar has been falling, but I would recommend Cafe Espana, 63 Old Compton Street in the theater district for their nightly dinner specials(large plate of meat or fish with vegetables and potatoes for around 6 pounds) and Incognico, 117 Shaftesbury Avenue, also near theaters(pre-theater lovely and delicious 3 course French meal with excellent bread for 12.50 pounds). Lunch was always a problem-expensive and not very good in touristy areas like Trafalgar Square. I'd buy a salad, bread and cheese for lunch. Borough market on Fridays and Saturdays(near Southwark cathedral on the south bank of the Thames) has delicious fresh-cooked venison burgers, scallops, shish kebob, etc. It's true that fine restaurants have more economical lunches than dinners, but even then, 15-20 pounds is a lot to spend on lunch if you're on a tight budget.

Have a great time! Report back on any discoveries.

Roz

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$500 = £280 at the current rate. If you are staying for a week that works out at 10 per head for 7 lunches and 7 dinners! You are going to have to be really careful with your money, but I guess you knew that anyway. Extracting alcohol from the equation will save you quite a lot of money and going the ethnic and gastropub route should make your trip just about do-able.

As a starter for 10 how about Ranoush on the Edgware Road or Mohsen in Warwick Road are good for kebabs and the India Club on the Strand or Mela on Shaftesbury Avenue for Indian. Any more ideas out there?

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Chowki just of Shaftesbury Avenue on Denham Street, does reasonable Indian food for less than £10. Portions can be a little small though, but in mitigation, each main dish comes with rice, bread and dhal. It's the sister restaurant to Mela, which does very cheap Lunches called Paratha Pavillion.

New Tayyabs (Whitechapel) - I have eulogised about this place often enough. Great, spicy Pakistani fare at exceptionally reasonable prices.

Harbour City( Gerrard Street- China Town) for Dim sum, although I would look to spend about £12-14 per head to make sure you have enough.

Porchetta in Islington for good quality pizza

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Ranoush juice on Edware Road, Kensington High Street (and a few other places also) definitely do one of the better kebabs - but also a wide selection of other meze's. They're not fabulously cheap, but they are good.

Also, fortunately, the best sausage sandwich in London is three quid, and can be found at Borough market (so you should be able to afford two each, plus a coffee).

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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there's also masala zone in soho and islington....although i was a bit underwhelmed on my last visit to the islington branch, but it was pretty good value.

has anyone mentioned busaba eatthai in soho? i've never been but i understand that it's supposed to be good value for pretty good thai food. i also like wagamamas for a warming bowl of noodle soup. i think they do some set meals that again seemed like good value.

the taco bar in destino on swallow street has quickly become a favourite of mine. they give you a small bowl of guacamole when you sit down and always seem happy to give me more tostados (i think that's what they're called) to go with it. it's nice to get something free when you're on a budget :-) the buffet style lunch at the ica has also been recommended to me...could be worth a try, i've been promised it's budget too.

finally, avoid anywhere called "the stockpot" and most places around the non-chinatown end of leicester square. i've been trying to find a budget lunch around there recently and have eaten some nightmarish lunches. that said, the £3 lunch thing at tiger tiger is acceptable ONLY if you have the salmon salad. avoid everything else on the menu, no matter how tempting.

Suzi Edwards aka "Tarka"

"the only thing larger than her bum is her ego"

Blogito ergo sum

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Cheapish interesting eats:

Wagamama (soup noodles)

New World in Gerard Place (dim sum)

Fish and chips (various)

Bel Phuri house in Drummond St (veggie)

New Tayyabs

Some of the catering colleges run cheap restaurants

Breakfasts at a greasy spoon

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I second Jackal10's Wagamama - good soup, noodles, combinations, dumplings, japanese beer - mostly moderately priced. There's a branch in Camden, also Kensington High Street.

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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Interestingly - the mighty Marina 'Pulitzer this year for sure' O'Laughlin offered some good possibilities for eating under 20 quid.

Unfortunately, you may need to pay a few quid to subscribe to the site...

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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I think you could find it tough to make ends meet even with all the good suggestions above. If the weather's fine you could consider having picnics for some lunches - so I suggest that you bring a sharp knife, a corkscrew and some plastic cups. I'd buy good bread and cheeses etc from food halls like Selfridges or the various good food shops around. I'd avoid Marks & Spencer, and buy fruit from the many street stalls - they are generally pretty good.

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i'd forgotten this one before, bodeans, barbeque place on (i think) poland street in soho. there's loads about it on here. they seem to do really good deals mid week. i'll try and walk past in the next couple of days and report back.

Suzi Edwards aka "Tarka"

"the only thing larger than her bum is her ego"

Blogito ergo sum

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Hello there-- eternal lurker Izabel_blue here. I decided to come out of the shadows for this one, as, coz I work in Soho, I'm all about cheap eats in central London. So, here are a few of my personal faves:

1. Tiffinbites on Wardour Street, Soho-- Indian canteen where you can get a three-stage 'tiffin' lunch for less than a fiver. Kind of fast-foody but the curries are rather lovely and the staff is nice. http://www.tiffinbites.com

2. Busaba Eathai on Wardour street (again)-- someone mentioned this one before on this thread and I can certainly vouch for it. Good, fresh Thai food in a beautiful setting. You have to share your table with others, but it's much less noisy than Wagamama.

3. New Culture Revolution, branches in Notting Hill and Chelsea-- Chinese 'noodle and dumpling' places...decent, hearty food and a quiet minimalist atmosphere. The Notting Hill branch is good for pretending you can afford to live around there, while still eating on a budget. http://www.newculturerevolution.co.uk

4. Zilli Cafe on Brewer Street, Soho-- cut-price cafe version of the formidable Zilli Italian empire. Pasta made to order, nice toasted sandwiches, and great coffee and ice-cream. Lots of room to sit too, though a bit busy at the lunch rush hour. http://www.zillialdo.com/Zilli_cafe/Zilli_cafe.htm

5. The Japan Centre on Piccadilly-- cheap and cheerful nook where you can sit and slurp noodles and green tea amidst bemused Japanese tourists.

6. Mildred's on Lexington street, Soho-- busy, lively vegetarian (must confess-- unlike most e-gulleters I'm one of those losers who eats fish but no meat-- so veggie places rank high in my listings!) cafe with great daily specials and a funky boho atmosphere. http://www.mildreds.co.uk

7. Eat and Two Veg on Marylebone high street-- stylish new-York style all day/all night veggie diner. Great value and a nice atmosphere http://www.eatandtwoveg.com. I would also recommend a wander around the area if you head up to Marylebone-- great shops and cafes, lots of character.

8. Cafe in the Crypt, located in the crypt of St. Martin In the Fields church on Trafalgar Square -- spooky and cool, decent hearty food and good traditional English desserts, such as bread and butter pudding and apple crumble with custard (yum!) If you're heard up for ££ their soup and pudding lunch for (I think) £4.50 is great.

Incidentally, if you're going to be doing lots of sightseeing, some of the museums and galleries have not bad cafes...I like the Tapas bar at Tate Modern (on the second floor) which overlooks the river, and there is also, I recall, a nice friendly cafe with good cakes in the basement of St. Paul's cathedral. Also, if you can stand going into a chain, Cafe Nero is allright for lunch-- nice pasta and toasted sandwiches, and decent cakes and pastries.

Have a great visit Alkonin...

Elizabeth, AKA Izabel_blue

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Izabel, your taste in food matches mine (you are not alone...) a great list, thanks, I popped most of this thread on my Palm but yours I copied to the top, not least the fact that Soho is where work takes me when I visit London.

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Definately Turkish food! Kingsland High Street, near Ridley Road Market is awash with them. My Favourite is Mangal 2, on Kingsland High Street. Eat salad, get a mixed kebab, and have them make the warm grilled aubergine and pepper salad for you. if you are brave, order a glass of turnip juice; its more like a pickled turnip and beetroot juice, tangy and salty and pickley, and i'm told it is eaten as a chaser for raki.

the portions are huge and the vegetable salad wonderful and fresh (this can be a rarity in london, indeed in great britain). so i'd share orders with your eating partner. also, every evening the art duo gilbert and george come in to eat at precisely the same time. sevenish or eightish i forget.

also. around the area of ranoush juice is a persian place that serves fabulous grilled chicken wings. also order a plate of sabzi kordan, fresh herbs with bread. the wings were less than L6 last time i ate there. and very nice indeed.

its called patough, and is on.......lets see, crawford street. i believe its in the time out restaurant guide for london.

its the best london restaurant guide by the way. throw out your zagat and carry your time out for london and for paris (though i'm less happy with its new york version).

marlena

www.marlenaspieler.com

Marlena the spieler

www.marlenaspieler.com

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I still the best cheap food in London is had a Rotisserie Jules in South Kensignton.

Beautiful spit roasted chickens, best chips, funky and quite hot waitresses, and they BYO for £1 a bottle. They do Lamb and duck also, but still to the chicken.

A right little slice of St Germain.

A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

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Interestingly - the mighty Marina 'Pulitzer this year for sure' O'Laughlin offered some good possibilities for eating 

Yeah, but what does she know? :raz:

Great list Izabel, thanks and hello. :smile:

B

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