sooo. where shall we eat?

19 Mar

When looking for a place to meet for dinner, my new go-to list is the one put together by Richard Vines for Bloomberg in February. A bunch of well known chefs recommended their favourite, not-so-expensive London restaurants, and the list has not let me down yet.

Lucky 7 is my guilty obsession. The ice cream sundaes are out of this world, and I’d be round there every night if I didn’t care about fitting through doorways. Other current favourites for me (which aren’t on this list) are Caravan in Clerkenwell (one of the few places in London to get a good antipodean coffee), Abu Zaad in Shepherd’s Bush (delicious Syrian), Santos (Mexican in Portobello Road), Goodman’s (brilliant steak at a bargain price for Mayfair) and l’Entrecote (go to the Bank branch, rather than Marylebone, to avoid the hour long queue).

A lot of the chefs below recommend Polpo. It’s delicious, and you kind of feel like you’re in New York, but get there early as they don’t take bookings and it’s heaving by 6.30pm

By Richard Vines

      Feb. 21 (Bloomberg) — London restaurant prices are among the highest in the world, yet you don’t always have to spend a lot to eat well, even in the center of the city. I asked almost 50 chefs and restaurateurs where they go for cheap eats. Here’s what they had to say:

       Tom Aikens (Tom Aikens): “Polpo. Russell Norman is so clever: He has created a handful of restaurants that are so spot-on for the times, and his food concepts are so simple but they work. Fun, urban, relaxed, inexpensive.”

       Joel Antunes (Kitchen Joel Antunes): “Les Deux Salons. Anthony Demetre’s cooking is outstanding and I think that their set lunch menu at 15.95 pounds ($25.18) for three courses is a phenomenal bargain.”

       Jason Atherton (Pollen Street Social): “Meatliquor. Yiannis Papoutsis has mastered the art of the perfect burger. I’m so glad the Meatwagon has found a permanent residence in central London.”

       Pascal Aussignac (Cigalon): “Busaba Eathai is still best.”

       Sat Bains (Restaurant Sat Bains, Nottingham): “Bar Boulud is a great relaxed restaurant where you can grab a brilliant burger, charcuterie or a lavish slap up: Hits all the spots and great drinks.”

       Claude Bosi (Hibiscus): “Mien Tay, in Battersea.”

       Daniel Boulud (Bar Boulud): “Ottolenghi.”

       Sally Clarke (Clarke’s): “Lucky Seven on Westbourne Park Road, Notting Hill, for a great hamburger. I go with my son straight out of school, and it’s a treat for both of us.”

       Anthony Demetre (Les Deux Salons): “Bocca Di Lupo is my top favorite for a relatively cheap meal. That’s closely followed by Kitchen Joel Antunes. He’s London’s unsung hero.”

       Chris Galvin (Galvin Bistrot de Luxe): “28-50 in Fetter Lane (the Texture boys) or the Delaunay.”

       Alexis Gauthier (Gauthier Soho): “Cay Tre, Soho. It’s really local to me and therefore an ideal place to eat between lunch and dinner service. The food is delicious, good value and they also care about the ingredients.”

       Brett Graham (The Ledbury): “Koya.”

       Trevor Gulliver (St John Bread & Wine): “Chez Marcelle. Kinda slow because Marcelle cooks everything herself and very much in her own time.”

       Des Gunewardena (Kensington Place/D&D London): “Princi. If I have morning meetings in Soho I always drop in for a brioche and a double-shot cappuccino.”

       Skye Gyngell (ex-Petersham Nurseries): “Spuntino or Polpo or any of those little hole-in-the-wall places of Russell Norman. Also, Maltby Street on Saturday mornings. It’s an incredibly lovely little market.”

       Anna Hansen (Modern Pantry): “The Corner Room.”

       Sam Harris (Zucca): “Jose, on Bermondsey Street. I often drop in to see Jose for a quick bite to eat between services.”

       Sam Hart (Barrafina): “Koya serves only foot-trodden udon noodles in a variety of combinations that are never less than fabulous. At 7 pounds to 10 pounds for a huge bowl, this is seriously good value.”

       Angela Hartnett (Murano): “Byron. They do great burgers, and it’s quick service. Fish House is a good fish-and-chip shop near Victoria Park. It’s easy, old-style fish and chips.”

       Mark Hix (Hix Belgravia): “Hung’s, on Wardour Street, is a place I often go. They do a good tripe in special sauce. Koya on Frith Street is good, too.”

       Jacob Kenedy (Bocca Di Lupo): “Pitt Cue Co, Royal China (dim sum at lunchtime), Mooli’s, Koya, Hot Stuff.”

       Tom Kitchin (Kitchin, Edinburgh): “Polpo is good. I love the informality, the happiness. I’m planning a visit to Terroirs next.”

       Pierre Koffmann (Koffmann’s): “L’Absinthe. It’s a simple bistro but the food is good and the prices are low for food and wine.”

       Atul Kochhar (Benares): “Dishoom, near Leicester Square.”

       Adam Perry Lang (Barbecoa): “Applebee’s Fish at Borough market, the prawn wrap. I can eat even when I have just finished a meal.”

       Jeremy Lee (Quo Vadis): “Brawn. A glass of something delicious and a few wee plates at Brawn never fails to please.”

       Rowley Leigh (Le Cafe Anglais): “I eat in the Chinese restaurants in Queensway occasionally. Dim sum at the Royal China at lunch and roast pork and spectacular rude waiters at the Four Seasons and Kam Tong.”

       Bruno Loubet (Bistrot Bruno Loubet): “Exmouth Market is a great destination for a variety of world cuisines at a good price. I can choose between a Jamaican curry, Ghanaian street food or a buckwheat galette, all for around 6 pounds.”

       Francesco Mazzei (L’Anima): “Yildiz, on Blackstock Road. It’s a Turkish barbecue place and one of the few that does lamb breast. It’s good meat and bread.”

       Nuno Mendes (Viajante): “Koya, Yum Bun on Broadway Market, Lucky Chip burgers, Rochelle Canteen and Big Apple Hot Dogs.”

       David Moore (L’Autre Pied): “Yalla Yalla. In the heart of Soho, it’s a little corner of Beirut, with authentic street food in a cramped but hugely atmospheric setting. You must try the sauteed chicken liver with garlic and pomegranate molasses.”

       Russell Norman (Mishkin’s): “Morito, in Clerkenwell, or Govinda’s, in the Hare Krishna Temple in Soho Street.”

       Jamie Oliver (Union Jacks): “Chipotle, on Baker Street, or this great hot-dog place, Big Apple Hot Dogs, on Old Street.”

       Ashley Palmer-Watts (Dinner by Heston Blumenthal): “Les Deux Salons. I wouldn’t exactly call it cheap eats: It’s just incredibly hard to beat the place for value.”

       Stevie Parle (Dock Kitchen): “Railroad, in Hackney, or Tayyabs.”

       Gary Rhodes (Rhodes Twenty Four): “Princi in Soho. It’s simple, but with great savory and sweet bites.”

       Simon Rogan (Roganic): “Meatliquor. It’s the talk of the town right now, is cheap, great fun and the burgers are excellent. I like the Bohemian feel of it, all a bit off the wall, and I love the corn dogs.”

       Michel Roux Jr. (Le Gavroche): “Soif, in Clapham. I live around the corner and it’s excellent value, good food. The head chef (Colin Westal) used to work for me so it has to be good.”

       Silvena Rowe (Quince): “Brawn. It’s the place I take all my U.S. visitors.”

       Mark Sargeant (Rocksalt): “Canteen. It’s a real slice of British tradition in a smart, modern environment. They source the best possible produce and it’s great value for money.”

       Leonid Shutov (Bob Bob Ricard): “Burger & Lobster is phenomenal. I love it. I also like Goodman. It’s not cheap but it’s casual and informal, and the steak is fantastic.”

       Rick Stein (Seafood Restaurant, Padstow): “Tayyabs, a Pakistani restaurant in the East End. The saag lamb — lamb and spinach leaves, with garam masala, chili, garlic and ginger –is excellent.”

       Agnar Sverrisson (Texture): “Busaba Eathai. I love the flavors and spices, and the food is fantastic value for money.”

       Ben Tish (Opera Tavern): “Tayyabs. The food is cheap, consistently good, and although the service can be a little shaky at times, it’s all part of its noisy charm.”

       Clive Watson (Village East): “Zucca, our neighbor on Bermondsey Street. It’s reliable, memorable and no fuss.  A bowl of Sam Harris’s pasta and a glass of Lugana Superiore is as good as cheap eats with a seat gets in my little black book.”

       Mickael Weiss (Coq d’Argent): “Franco Manca serves the best pizza in London and the queue goes down much more quickly than you think it will. One of the capital’s hidden gems.”

       Alyn Williams (Alyn Williams at the Westbury): “Burger & Lobster in Clarges Street. Twenty pounds for one of London’s best burgers or an awesome lobster roll with chips is hard to beat. Otherwise, I head to Chinatown for dim sum.”

       (Richard Vines is the chief food critic for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. He is U.K. and Ireland chairman of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards. Opinions expressed are his own.)


3 Responses to “sooo. where shall we eat?”


  1. let’s put those clocks back and have a perfect london weekend « - March 25, 2012

    […] to Spuntino (which we recommended here). This is a great hidden gem – there is no sign out the front, the door is firmly closed and […]

  2. Abu Zaad « - March 29, 2012

    […] mum to Abu Zaad – one of our favourite neighborhood restaurants (which we recommended here). This is one of only a clutch of Syrian restaurants in London and we are very lucky to have it as […]

  3. exmouth market – all day ideas « his and hers london - April 12, 2012

    […] obvious here… one of the more recent additions to the market is Caravan (which we recommended here). Run by a group of antipodeans it’s the spot to get breakfast and top notch coffee (lets […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: