Indulge in these favourite, crave-worthy cheap eats…
By Take The Biscuit London (follow us on Twitter: @TakeTheBiscuit1)
We all know the feeling of craving a certain type of food and then not being able to lay our hands on it for love nor money. Built up in our minds, any imitation will pale in comparison and you can end up spending extortionate amounts of food that doesn’t quite live up to expectation. Luckily, we at Broke In London are here to fix that, putting together a list of the best, cheap places to find some of London’s favourite, hard to find treats.
Whilst all of these spots will come in at under fifteen pounds per person for a decent plate of food, some of them are more expensive than others so check out the ‘£’ for further details. £ = Serious bargain, close to a fiver in price| ££ = mid-range, generally about the £10 mark | £££ = May cost just over a tenner for a filling meal but is still incredibly worth it.
The best places to find authentic… Hot Pot
Shuang Shuang | China Town | ££
What is it?: A three-step guide to making delicious, authentic hot-pot that is unique to the flavours your like. Start by choosing a broth flavour and a dipping sauce, then choose which ever ingredients you fancy from the conveyor belt that runs the length of the room. Can’t see what you want? Just order it from the menu of over 40 ingredients, including, various meats, noodles, veg and tofu. Shuang Shuang’s plates are colour coded, so you can stick to whatever budget you need to.
How much is it?: If you feel like all that choice might be a bit much, go for the market set: £9.90 for broth, dipping sauce and three green plate ingredients (more than enough to fill you up). Alternatively, pick and choose your own. A broth and a dipping sauce costs between £7 and £8.50 and there are five ingredient dish prices that start at £1 and go up to £4.30 per plate.
Where is it?: 64 Shaftesbury Ave, W1D 6LU.
When is it?: Sunday-Thursday, 12pm-11pm; Friday-Saturday, 12pm-11.30pm.
Try the? For a real hit of spice, go for the mala broth, pork and prawn wontons and chunky noodles.
For more great, Asian budget eats, check out our 7 favourite joints.
The best places to find authentic… Sushi
Eat Sushi | Kensal Rise | ££
What is it?: A small, neighbourhood sushi bar that serves a variety of different types of sushi, as well as other well-known Japanese specialties such as tempura, katsu curry and teriyaki. Eat Sushi also offers take-away on all of it’s dishes.
How much is it?: Curry and rice dishes are incredibly cheap at around £7 or £8 per portion. The sushi is slightly more expensive, generally coming to around £10 for a filling selection of different types of roll.
Where is it?: 16 Station Terrace, NW10 5RX.
When is it?: Monday-Sunday, 5pm-11pm.
Try the: If you don’t really know what you are ordering, go for one of the sushi boxes to share between two (£7-£13), then ask for advice and order some additional pieces. (Most varieties start at about £3).
Misato | Soho | £
What is it?: A small, friendly Japanese cafe that serves all the best parts of the country’s cuisine and serves for them up at incredibly cheap prices. The menu selection is very large and offers customisable options and set menus, perfect for both the inexperienced and those that know what they are doing.
How much is it?: Bento boxes start at just £7, whilst individual sushi is also incredibly cheap, costing £2 for 2 pieces of nigiri and £2.50 for 6 pieces of maki. Rice dishes start at around £4.50.
Where is it?: 11 Wardour Street, Soho, W1D 6PG.
When is it?: Monday – Sunday : 12:00 – 23:00
Try the: Tempura Bento (£8.50) for filling portions of steamed rice, salad, dumplings, prawn, maki roll and edamame.
Sushi Cafe | Battersea | ££
What is it?: Started by two friends that have worked in some of London’s top Japanese restaurants, before spending five years learning the art of sushi-making and fish slicing, you can expect serious quality without the premium price tag at the Sushi Cafe. As well as serving a large selection of sushi rolls, the cafe also sells many other Japanese specialties.
How much is it?: The Sushi rolls can cost anywhere between £2.30 and £9.90, depending on the complexity and style. Tempura begins at £8.50 and the Bento boxes cost around £11. If you don’t mind eating early or late, the Sushi Cafe offers a 30% discount on meals bought from the A la carte menu before 7pm or after 9pm on a weekday.
Where is it?: 555 Battersea Park Road, SW11 3BL.
When is it?: Monday-Friday, 12pm – 3pm & 5:30pm – 10pm; Saturday-Sunday, 12pm – 3pm & 5pm – 10pm.
Try the: Tuna sashimi (£6.50), along with a selection of your favourite rolls.
The best places to find authentic… Poutine
The Poutinerie | Various Locations | £
What is it?: A street food stall that serves, the deliciously unhealthy Canadian classic, poutine. If you don’t know what poutine is: a) you haven’t lived and b) it’s a combination of chips, cheese curds and topped with gravy. The Poutinerie generally sell two types. The original and a special, which has additional toppings.
How much is it?: The original costs £5. The special is normally more expensive, generally about £7-£8.
Where is it?: The stall pops up in different locations every day, so check their Facebook page for details. They can be found in Brick Lane every Sunday, however.
When is it?: At Brick Lane, their opening times are 9am-4pm. Other locations may have different opening times.
Try the: Poutine, obviously.
Hot Mess Poutine | Various Locations | £
What is it?: Another food stall that serves the delicious Canadian take on chips, cheese and gravy. Hot Mess serves two different flavours of gravy, either mushroom or veal, and two different sizes: medium or large.
How much is it?: Depending how hungry you are, both sizes are incredibly filling. A medium (which is a decent size lunch portion) is £3.50 and a large (if you are feeling seriously hungry) is £5.
Where is it?: Hot Mess had permanent fixture at the Street Food Union in Soho until recently. At the moment, they are focusing on private events, but will be back in London soon so check the website for details.
Try the: A medium-sized portion of the veal gravy poutine, for a perfect lunch.
The best places to find authentic… Dim Sum
Dumpling’s Legend | China Town | ££
What is it?: It’s easy to be assured by the quality of Dumplings’ Legend’s food, as you can watch the chefs prepare the food in the open-plan, glass fronted kitchen. For the best variety, go during the day and pick from the lunch menu, for a large selection of steamed and fried dim sum. Dumplings’ Legend also serves a variety of other Chinese dishes.
How much is it?: Eight pieces of Siu Loung Bao, in a variety of flavours, cost between £6 and £8. Other varieties, which come in different varieties and in different quantities cost between £2.20 and £8.
Where is it?: 15-16 Gerrard St, W1D 6JE.
When is it?: Monday-Thursday, 12pm-12am; Friday-Saturday, 12pm-3am; Sunday 12pm-11pm.
Try the: Any of the Siu Loung Bao, which are said to be the best in China Town and are a specialty at the restaurant.
Joy King Lau | China Town | £££
What is it?: At first glance, this restaurant can seem scary. Waiting staff are brisk, which some would describe as unfriendly. They also convey orders to the kitchen by way of ear pieces and walkie-talkies. However, the dim sum is delicious and the briskness means service is incredibly efficient. The restaurant may not be much to look at but all of that is made up for with the food.
How much is it?: The dim sum menu, which is served until 5pm, is a little more pricey, however the selection is massive, with a good variety of options. The dim sum selection generally costs between £3 and £4.50 per dish.
Where is it?: 3 Leicester Street, WC2H 7BL.
When is it?: Monday-Saturday, 12pm-11:30pm; Sunday, 11am-10:30pm.
Try the: Many of the steamed dumplings are great but in our opinion, the best thing about visiting this restaurant are the yam croquettes (£3), which are one of the many fried offerings.
Sometimes, one dish of our favourite food won’t do. Here’s our pick of the best unlimited, budget eats in London.
Or if you aren’t ready for dinner just yet, heat to one of our favourite, budget breakfast spots.