WHERE TO EAT WELL IN LONDON FOR AROUND £10
London is indeed an expensive city, but there are secret places where you can eat good international dishes for as little as £10. You can choose from Indian lunches, dinners with a selection of Turkish Meze or simply go for a very good Italian pizza. Here are some suggestions to keep your belly full and your hard-earned dosh in your pocket!
BOOKS FOR COOKS – MENU CHANGES DAILY!
4, Blenheim Crescent, W11 1NN, Portobello, London
Not far from Portobello Road you will find this book shop, secret lunch spot of loyal customers. Just go in, cross the small hall full of recipe books…and voilà!
Books of Cooks is much more than a cookbook shop: in the interior room, you can find a cozy café with coloured tables, wrought-iron chairs and a big wooden table in the corner that you can share with strangers. In the kitchen area, three young chefs prepare the recipes taken from the books on sale.
The menu changes daily, and includes an appetizer with fresh bread, a main course, a slice of cake and a coffee. You spend on average £9 or even less if you consume only a few courses. The book from which the chefs take the recipes of the dishes is displayed and you may enjoy Indian food, French food and even recipes from famous English chefs.
FISH AND CHIPS – FOR A TRADITIONAL BRITISH MEAL IN LONDON
You cannot go to London or the UK in general without tasting the traditional fish and chips, accompanied by potato chips and mushy peas sauce. It could be served wrapped in the newspaper of the day before if ordered as take-away. Here are some of the most popular fish and chip shops which offer great value for your money.
6-8 Hanbury Street, E1 6QR (Shoreditch), London
Poppies welcomes guests among its 50s memorabilia: a jukebox, waitresses wearing a white uniform and advertising signs in painted tin. The secret of the Fish and Chips of Mr. Pop Newland, hence the name Poppies, is in the quality of the raw materials: fresh cod or haddock bought at Billingsgate market .
You will taste great quality fish and chips.
Poppies is open every day from 1100 to 2300
38, Poland Street, W1F 7LY (Soho), London
Poland Street is one of those streets of London where rents are excessively high and rooms very small. Following the tradition of “Good Things Come in Small Packages”, Billy and his wife founded in 2008 a small family-run fish and chip shop, specializing in the production of fishcakes. This traditional dish has a very poor origin: in the past cod was mixed with potatoes and then fried to give a hearty meal even when fish was scarce. The Golden Union adds salmon to the mixture to produce fishcakes of the most refined taste. Accompanied by a draft lager and a basket of crispy chips, they are the ideal break while strolling through the streets of Soho.
73, Marylebone Lane, W1U 2PN (Marylebone), London
The Golden Hind was established in 1914 and is one of the oldest fish and chip shops in London. Here you can taste authentic fish and chips, renowned for its quality and its very reasonable prices. You will spend only 7 to 8 pounds for cod or haddock and, with an extra fee, you can have the addition of mushy peas sauce and potato chips. All the fish is prepared in the classical way, breaded and fried, cooked or steamed and seasoned with a sprinkling of Provençal herbs.
FRANCO MANCA – FOR THE BEST ITALIAN PIZZA IN LONDON
98, Tottenham Court Road, W1T 4TR (Fitzrovia), London
Finding a decent Italian restaurant in London that cooks real Italian is not easy. However, if you want to taste a true Italian pizza, head straight to Franco Manca.
Here the pizza is made with the finest ingredients and is one of the few places in London where the pizza does not exceed £ 10.
The dough is naturally leavened, baked in wood-burning ovens, and the pizza is of Neapolitan inspiration, soft and high-sided.
Drinks include artisanal lemonade and Italian wines from small regional productions.
Once only a local rustic venue in Brixton, Franco Manca has now 10 restaurants and is still growing. You will probably find the Tottenham Court Road one convenient for location, however check on their website for all the other addresses.
WOODLANDS: GREAT AND CHEAP VEGETARIAN INDIAN CUISINE IN LONDON
37, Panton Street, SW1Y 4EA (Covent Garden), London
Woodlands is a simple Indian restaurant with three locations in London where you can eat good vegetarian meals at reasonable prices. Here you will find entire Indian families gathered around the spicy dishes uttapam (crumbly Indian pizza topped with tomatoes, coconut or marsala), or around an abundant and simple side dish of stewed vegetables served with ginger sauce, mango, almond or coconut milk. The menu is very rich, with more than seventy types of appetizers and main dishes. If you don’t know what to choose, ask for advice from the waiters who are always very kind and will be happy to offer advice. Some specialties you can try:
-The Dahi Batata Puri, puff pastry appetizer to eat in one bite;
– South Indian dishes like Dosa, kinds of crepes made with a dough of lentils, stuffed with potatoes, cheese and vegetables, and served with a cream of lentils and coconut chutney.
-Tasty fruit and vegetable dishes cooked in a traditional tandoori oven (inverted bell-shaped ceramic oven), including the Raw banana kebab, a real banana kebab, dried fruit, coriander and chilli, served with mint sauce.
Tip: You will find great offers at lunch-time during working days.
BAO SOHO –EXCELLENT THAI CUISINE IN LONDON
53, Lexington Street, W1F, 9AS (Soho), London
Bao Soho is a small and popular venue launched by three people from Taipei. It is renowned for its buns, soft milk loaves stuffed with small burgers. The menu offers six variants of these sandwiches, whose filling goes from marinated chicken in soya sauce to the vegetarian version, with Chinese radish and spicy sauce; you can also try the fried version stuffed with ice cream.The soft loaf is cooked in steam and every bite literally melts in your mouth.
Try these yummy different typical dishes at a fair price!
Xiaochi , small sampler portions similar to Spanish tapas;
The traditional Taiwanese cake with pig’s blood;
The ravioli with eggplant or the crispy scallops with yellow beans.
For two courses, you will spend much less than £10, however, remember you will have to add 12.5 % for service.
Tip: arrive before 12.30 for lunch and 18.30 for dinner. The venue is quite small and with a limited number of tables (around 30).
FEZ MANGAL –TURKISH CUISINE AT ITS BEST!
104, Ladbroke Grove, w11 1py, (Portobello), London
Fez Mangal is a Turkish restaurant in the Portobello area where you can eat good meals at affordable prices. Here value for money is unbeatable, and portions quite large! You will be served big portions of tender and strongly-flavoured meat served with vegetables, rice, the typical Turkish bread warm from the oven and delicious southern sauces.
The highlight is of course the kebab.
For about £ 6 you can have two servings of assorted typical Turkish appetizers (try the dolma, vine leaves stuffed with meat and rice!). For £ 21 you will enjoy the special mix, a tray for two people with all kinds of meat.
For dessert, try a baklava, dripping with honey and pistachios accompanied by a refreshing mint tea.
Trust me! You will spend about half than in any other Middle Eastern London restaurant, eating much better and much more.
The restaurant has no license to sell alcohol, but it follows the philosophy of BYO (Bring Your Own), which will help to cut costs; alcohol is generally very expensive in the Capital.
The place is always crowded and lively, maybe not ideal for a first, hot date!