London’s tastiest cheap eats for the frugal diner
Words Helen Brown
Eating out can be an expensive habit. Especially with so many options at our fingertips. But not all of them need to blow the budget. The city has a wealth of cheap eats that are perfect for the frugal diner. Break your waistband and not the bank with these tasty dishes that come under £10.
Speedy service, friendly staff, tumblers of wine and some of the softest and most seriously doughy pizzas in London. Welcome to Franco Manca. What’s more, pizza’s are incredibly budget friendly and are crafted from UK-sourced produce. The menu is fuss-free and features classics like ham, mushroom and mozzarella and tomato, garlic and oregano.
Bao started as a street stall but now has a number of permanent London residencies. The name derives from gua bao; fluffy white steamed buns. In this case, filled with braised pork, sprinkled with peanut powder, and yours for £3.75. baolondon.com
Haché burgers knock the socks of many of their London counterparts. What’s more, most come in under a budget friendly £10. The roast burger is available on Sundays and is definitely one to tick off the bucket list. hacheburgers.com
Get an authentic taste of China in South London at Silk Road. Silk Road’s short menu includes Sichuan-style dishes and Xinjiang specialities. What attracts most people to Silk Road however is the noodle and stew menu. Each dish packs a punch and will smack you round the face with flavour. View the menu here.
Gunpowder is a home-style Indian Kitchen in Spitalfields. Their menu takes inspiration from family recipes, and the vibrant full flavours of home cooking. You’ll find no “bucket curries” here, as the owner calls them. Dishes are smaller, tapas-style affairs and come from India. Highlights include rasam ke bomb, porzhi okra fries and aunty sulu’s wild rabbit pulao.View a sample menu here.
Join Padella’s queue and prepare for some of the most delicious and authentic tasting Italian food outside of Italy. The menu is short, sweet and frequently changing and the atmosphere lively. It’s mostly centred around a marble bar on the ground floor which means that queue moves pretty swiftly.
Born from a pop-up, like so many of London’s great eateries, Ceru serves a menu of modern Levantine cooking. The all-day menu is entirely gluten-free (minus the pitas) and caters for vegans, vegetarians, pescatarians and omnivores with food that is healthy yet indulgent.
What started out as a makeshift taco shack in a Hackney car park is now a mecca of Mexican gastronomy. There’s really nothing to criticise about the menu so we suggest you try everything.
The queues snaking their way out of Barrafina say it all really. Diners can usually expect to wait up to an hour on any given evening but it really is worth the wait. The menu features tapas dishes from Mallorca and Catalonia, of which the brothers turned owners know a thing or two about. Make sure to try out a few from the wine list. It’s a showcase of some of Spain’s finest.
Berber & Q Shawarma Bar
Forget everything you know about kababs. Those greasy tree trunks of unidentifiable meat that are so appealing at four in the morning. Berber & Q Shawarma Bar focuses on delicious spit-roasted lamb and rotisserie chicken served with rice, pita or on a sharing board. Sides include pickles, confit potatoes, blackened aubergine and sauce comes in the form of their house-made ‘Yemenite Dynamite’, tahina, or toum. Dousing your dish in these is a must.
Senor Ceviche is a Peruvian restaurant serving street food snacks, super fresh ceviche, fiery barbecue and healthy salads from the bustling Kingly Court. They also do cracking cocktails so grab a pew in this lively Soho spot and make Senor Ceviche your casa for the evening.