Cheap, interesting food in London?

Discussion in 'London and the South East' started by miss direct, Feb 6, 2019.

  1. miss direct

    miss direct misfungled

    I'm going to be in London next week with my Turkish partner - I haven't been to the UK since 2017.

    Turkish food is all well and good but I am sick to death of it and can't wait to eat some interesting food from around the world.

    Sadly not on a high budget though - so am after any recommendations - is it realistic to expect to eat for under £10? Don't really drink so not counting alcohol, just food. I'd like to introduce my boyfriend to some English classics as well as Indian food, spicy food and anything interesting - just NOT Turkish (or Iranian, or Syrian, Lebanese etc - can get all that here).

    Not sure where we're staying yet but planning to walk a LOT. So recommendations all over would be wonderful.
  2. TruXta

    TruXta tired

    You can get Indian veggie mains for under a tenner as long as you avoid the usual tourist traps. Cheap Chinese, Thai etc too. It won't be fine dining though.
    miss direct likes this.
  3. TruXta

    TruXta tired

    Does bf eat pork? If so a full English seems almost mandatory.
    miss direct likes this.
  4. miss direct

    miss direct misfungled

    No he doesn't, but I do - would love a proper greasy spoon builder's cafe to go to if anyone knows one.
  5. Thimble Queen

    Thimble Queen person of tinge

    Fish and chips, though.
  6. miss direct

    miss direct misfungled

    Great. The last time I went to Chinatown I ate in one of those buffet places and had a horrible stomachache afterwards :/
    Not bothered about fine dining though although I am willing to splash out for afternoon tea.
  7. miss direct

    miss direct misfungled

    omg yes - where's the best fish and chip place in London? And how much is a portion these days?
    Thimble Queen likes this.
  8. TruXta

    TruXta tired

    There's loads. The Regency in Pimlico gets rave reviews.
  9. TruXta

    TruXta tired

    I don't know where the good and cheap restaurants are anymore. Used to be that you could get quality Vietnamese food around Dalston for not that much, but they're all been gentrified by now.
    miss direct likes this.
  10. TruXta

    TruXta tired

    Stockwell and North Lambeth for good Portuguese cafes and restaurants.
    miss direct likes this.
  11. Thimble Queen

    Thimble Queen person of tinge

    Not sure which one is the best but the sea cow in Dulwich used to be good. For something easier to get to you could try poppies, although they feel a bit themey....

    I would also recommend dishoom for Indian food. Or the Ghurka Cottage in Crystal Palace
    hash tag and miss direct like this.
  12. Santino

    Santino lovelier than lovely

    The Indian YMCA in Bloomsbury/Fitzrovia is a good place to get cheap Indian food. It's, er, unpretentious.
    miss direct and Thimble Queen like this.
  13. Cold Harbour

    Cold Harbour Well-Known Member

    Drummond Street, Euston for Indian vegetarian. Most are unlicensed, and cheap. The Diwana Bhel Pooris are best, I think there are a couple along there.
  14. Winot

    Winot I wholeheartedley agree with your viewpoint

    Xi’an food is big in London right now - spicy broth with ribbon noodles. Xi’an Impression (one in Holloway, one on Wentworth St.) Also Murger Han on Sackville St.

    Baozi Inn in Chinatown (Newport Place) for Sichuan street food.

    Tayyabs on Fieldgate St (behind East London mosque) for Pakistani grilled meat and nan.

    £10 is just doable but don’t forget to add a tip (12.5% conventional) for the staff.
    tim and ash like this.
  15. Winot

    Winot I wholeheartedley agree with your viewpoint

  16. dessiato

    dessiato Life is a lemon, and I want my money back

    But the quality of fish in London is often poor. It's improved a lot in recent years, but is still not good unless you go upmarket.

    And don't eat dogfish, rock salmon or similar. These shark species are beginning to be rare, some are threatened with extinction. And they taste terrible too.
  17. Spymaster

    Spymaster Cockney Wanker

    There are loads of places you can go for under a tenner/head in London if you stick to drinking tap water. They normally skin you on the booze but by law they have to serve you free tap water if you ask for it.

    For fish and chips try Nautilus on Fortune Green Rd. A bit out of the way but better, and half the price of the more famous places (Poppies, Seashell, etc).

    The Indian YMCA in the corner of Fitzroy Square mentioned above is indeed worth a visit. In a similar vein the Malaysia Hall canteen is cheap and chearful but great grub. It's not really a restaurant but a dining hall subsidised by the Malaysian government. There used to be signs on the door saying you have to be accompanied by a Malaysian to go there but we never had a problem ignoring those and I believe they're gone now. The most recent review here suggests it might be a bit more difficult to find now but definitely check it out. If you don't find it/get in, there are loads of decent Chinese around the corner on Queensway. Malaysia Hall - The Canteen, London - Restaurant Reviews, Phone Number & Photos - TripAdvisor

    Another good Indian is Raavi Kebab on Drummond Street. Looks like a dump from outside and not much better inside but very good cheap food. It looks like it's just a kebab joint from outside because they have the grills in the window but if you go in they also have normal curry menus on the tables.

    I'll post more later.
    miss direct and Pickman's model like this.
  18. Teaboy

    Teaboy It definitely looks brighter over there..

    Loads and loads of different street food areas dotted all round London. Most are only good for lunch during the working week but there's always Borough Market.
    Spymaster and miss direct like this.
  19. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model Starry Wisdom

  20. miss direct

    miss direct misfungled

    Thanks for all the recommendations, can't wait. We won't be staying in London the whole time so I might save a few things like curry/fish and chips for elsewhere. Staying in Holland Park for one night and then somewhere in East London the rest of the time. Hope I walk enough to burn off all the calories I'll be eating!
  21. IC3D

    IC3D Post Mid Arc

    Drummond at is easier but there's lots of South Indian places in East Ham. Chennai Dosa is one. In fact order a Dosa, Indian pancakes. Very nice.
    miss direct likes this.
  22. Spymaster

    Spymaster Cockney Wanker

    Bao, on Lexington Street. Steamed Taiwanese buns for about 4 quid (the pork belly ones rock). Phwoar, I fancy one of those for lunch now.
    miss direct likes this.
  23. Winot

    Winot I wholeheartedley agree with your viewpoint

    miss direct likes this.
  24. miss direct

    miss direct misfungled

    That Malaysian place looks good and is near Holland Park. Wonder if my boyfriend could pass for Malaysian if they make a fuss?
  25. miss direct

    miss direct misfungled

    Someone's recent review doesn't give me much hope:
    "So exclusive... They serve good food here but you can only go in if you are Malaysian. Went with a friend and her Malaysian husband and they have closed the direct entrance to the canteen. Now you have to go through the high commission and pass 'security' where they grill you about where you live, who you are and whether you are truly Malaysian or not. The lady was rude, patronising and humiliating, asking where each of us live/were born and for proof of ID as well. There were people having to get out their passports to show, and my friend's husband's Malaysian driving license was rejected as ID as well."

    Is that even legal?
  26. Spymaster

    Spymaster Cockney Wanker

    Holland Park is west London so that's where you want to do Queensway and the Malaysia Hall from. They're very easily walkable from HP.
    miss direct likes this.
  27. miss direct

    miss direct misfungled

    omg Prawn Laksa yum.
  28. Stig

    Stig Bull in a china shop

  29. Spymaster

    Spymaster Cockney Wanker

    Ah, that never used to happen because there was a direct entrance off the street. I'd still give it a go if I were you. If you get in it'll be an experience most folk don't have in London and the worst that can happen is that you get a knock back. They're not going to shoot you and as I say, there are loads of other places to eat nearby. If I remember I'll try to get in over the weekend and report back.

    On the legality of it, it's not a restaurant and part of the embassy so they can probably get away with whatever they like.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2019
    miss direct likes this.
  30. miss direct

    miss direct misfungled

    Oh please do!
    Ah,I see. I might suggest the same to the British embassy here :D
    Spymaster likes this.

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