Cheap eats in London, Earl's Court
So I'm about to spend a week in London, and would like to get a well rounded taste of the food there. I've got some gaps in my list, and critiques/downhill alerts are welcome. And my city geography is still pretty weak. Mostly we'll be going to museums and shopping, with a bit of sightseeing here and there.
I want to keep the tabs low, shooting for £15 per person (though so far I think my list is closer to 20-25). I don't think I want a pasty or sandwich on the run for every other meal, but it may turn out that way. Recent posts on this board weren't very promising, but I guess I'll see for myself soon enough.
Most of my info so far is finding places with multiple recs from your posts, along with Time Out, London-Eating, and Beer Advocate. Looking to hit a few pubs, get some good fish and chips at least once or twice, and eat the empire here and there.
I'm staying near Earl's Court. I would like to add a couple places to this short list and maybe a dependable pub:
Any know The Atlas?
Near Notting Hill:
Near Knightsbridge/S. Kensington:
Maybe something from a department store
Near Waterloo/Southwark/London Bridge:
Anchor and Hope
Masters Super Fish
Near Bond St/Oxford Circus:
The Golden Hind
Alternatives south of Oxford St?
Near British Museum (Russell Sq/Goodge St):
Seem out of the way, but considering a trip:
Wenlock Arms (maybe with Angel Mangal?)
Spitalfields market (Canteen, S&M, Square Pie)
I've been thinking in terms of location, but I don't know all the places I'll visit, and I'm willing to travel for chow. Where else should I definitely check out the food?
Anyone know a good place to watch an American football game that will be on late Sunday night (ending 2:30-3 a.m.)? I read Sports Cafe is kind of awful, and Tinseltown is some 24-hour diner (sounds odd). Seems most places that get NFL games don't stay open late enough on Sunday nights.
We did pretty well. Excluding Anchor and Hope, we probably averaged a little over £10 pp/meal. Here's a summary of our London chow.
Borough Market - this was a lot of fun, and if it's a tourist trap I'm a willing victim. Get you to Monmouth for some handmade filter coffee, a lot like Blue Bottle in San Fran. Actually, foodwise, the experience is not unlike the Ferry Plaza market in SF. We got our fruit cheaper on Brick Lane. Went to Neal's Yard both here and in Covent Garden - if it's not busy, you can taste a pretty wide spread and can pick up some bread and cheese for an inexpensive meal.
Anchor and Hope - this didn't seem really innovative or anything, but what do I know about British food other than to make fun of it? However, everything was very well executed and absolutely delicious. The portions were big - order ox cheek and dumplings for two and you get the whole dutch oven full enough to feed 4. It tasted like it had been cooking since they closed the night before. Our most expensive meal (£50 pp) but well worth it.
Churchill Arms - pretty decent Thai food in an interesting looking pub (maybe a little overboard with the plants). Good ales and good cheap food. The pad kee mao was nice and spicy and only £6 a plate.
Mohsen - disclaimer, I'm not sure if I like Iranian food. A lot of the dishes, including the lamb stew Sunday special and a baby lamb kebab, were delicately flavored. It was an enjoyable meal, and I imagine a good example of the style, but I wasn't wowed - probably we just prefer our food more boldy flavored.
Leon - went to the one by Spitalfields. It was very good for "fast food" - actually, the only good green salads we had in London happened to be at chains, the other at Wagamama. The Moroccan meatballs were quite good, as was the brown rice pilaf that comes with everything.
The other chain we went to was Wagamama. It was good, though I can't help but feel like it's really expensive for stuff like ramen, yakisoba, and curry. I tried the whole trip to think in terms of pounds, not dollars, but at times it was hard to keep up the facade.
Fish and chips - Golden Hind and Costa's. Haddock at GH, haddock and plaice at C's. Both were good, but we actually preferred Costa's. The fish tasted fresher, the chips crispier, and the menu slightly cheaper (~£10 pp). At Golden Hind we enjoyed some fried feta and found our favorite gherkin in town, though we didn't eat at Master Super Fish.
The Lamb - I had to get a pie somewhere on this trip. The Lamb had a good one. The tap selection was surprisingly limited, but with tow different Young's I didn't really need anything else. A tip: the menu says which items are made in house, stick to those.
Wenlock Arms - the praise for this pub is well deserved. I was unfamiliar with everything but the Adnams, so they poured tastes of everything for me (obvious out-of-towner). Had three different real ales I would never have had anywhere else. The salt beef sandwich was a great bargain - thick slices of fluffy white bread, and a thick chunk of fork-tender beef.
Cheapest meal: a pasty lunch on the run. Wasn't bad, really, and I think they were only £1.60 each.
Most ridiculous chow-related thing seen: £10 bottled water at Harrod's, some kind of Evian limited edition.
Heathrow Airport: There was a Marks and Spencer food shop in arrivals, which sold good sandwiches and salads, and fresh fruit. Also ate a smoked salmon and cream cheese "bagel" at Bagel Street. Not a very good bagel, but a decent sandwich if you just think of it as that.
Read about the second leg of the trip (Mumbai) here:
Nando's looks cute, for a chain. I'd feel a little silly splurging on Indian, because I'll be traveling to India (Mumbai), but if I'm not feeling like one of the canteens I could go somewhere nicer and order vegetarian or something.
Lidgates or Speck and a walk in Holland Park sounds like a good antidote to the museums and shopping, though maybe it's a bit cold for a picnic.
Thanks for all the info! I definitely feel well armed with places the eat almost anywhere around town. I'll report back in a couple weeks.
if you're in earls court, you're in my neck of the woods. here's a few thoughts:
a) mohsen is excellent. i'm afraid i don't think angel mangal is very good.
b) bosphorous is a step down - but very handy for the museums. the lamb steak is particularly good.
c) try ranada on kensington church street or ranoush on kensington high street for chicken shish taouk sandwiches. tell 'em you want it toasted and with extra toom (garlic sauce). this is my favourite sandwich in the whole free world.
AVOID al-dar (sadly).
d) tayyabs has one dish and one dish only that the trek is worth for - the seekh kababs. but if you can splurge £20, go get buffet lunch at the bombay brasserie. easily the best value in town for that sort of thing.
e) jakobs, on gloucester road between ken high and cromwell road, offers excellent aremenian dishes that you can take away or eat there if you wish.
f) i'd avoid india club - for that sort of canteeny indian food, a better bet is the indian ymca in fitzroy square for either lunch or dinner.
g) for that matter, go check out the malaysian student center canteen in queensborough terrace (bayswater, not too far from you)
h) c& r in rupert court is decent and cheap malaysian around piccadilly.
i) go to lidgates (they're a butcher)in holland park and buy yourself some glorious pies. if you're up to cooking breakfast, buy yourself some eggs and bacon from there - the restaurant stuff isn't a patch on what you can score from a butcher.
j) go to speck, a few doors down from lidgates. they are a tony italian deli - the lasagna, artichoke hearts etc are all excellent. if you like salami, try their calabrese - wonderfully spicy.
h) a further few doors down from speck, try handford wines. specifically, try the chateu musar 1995. at £20 its a steal.
its a real pity to visit london and not try out lidgates, speck etc for eating. SOOOOOOO much better than that tourist travesty called borough market.
India Club ( just at the north side of Waterloo Bridge on the Aldwych ) or the Indian YMCA near Warren St are both worth visiting as cheap and cheerful options
A shawarma at any of the Al Dar places ( I like the one on Edgeware Road ) is one of my top ten cheap bites too.
The Rasa chain is a shadow of its original self and is probably to be avoided. I use to enjoy when it first opened in Stoke Newington, but now...............
Kurz & Lang in Smithfield is actually not bad too bad. A place to stop off after a night out
If you are in that area, I am a huge fan of Vinoteca ( directly around the corner from K&L opposite the legendary but sadly moribund St John ) Great wine list and Carol Craddock cooks up great food at reasonable prices. Is she has one of her " five bird terrines with military pickle" on the menu, cross town for it.
Hope this helps and thanks for the good wishes. www.eatmyglobe.com seems to be taking off at an alarming pace
For cheap eats in Earls Court, there are new branches of Wagamama and Gourmet Burger Kitchen (I haven't been to GBK, but friends enjoy it) a block or two from the tube. There is also the very excellent Nando's! Yum. Also, I have always read great things about The Little French Restaurant but have never been. Looks basic from the outside but reviews are strong.
Not a far walk from Earl's Court is our very favorite Indian, Noor Jahan. Yes, they might rush you a bit but the food is out of this world. Also nearby is Bombay Brasserie, which has many fans on this board.
Gourmet Burger Kitchen
The Little French Restaurant
Busabe is more in your "south of Oxford St" category rather than by the British Museum. If you are at the museum try Abeno, it is an okonomi restaurant which is consistently good. On museum st
If you do come over to Spitalfields, I would give Canteen a miss. My last meal there not so long ago showed how much it had gone downhill.
If you were to do Tayyab, Moshen and Mangal you will certainly have experienced the best grilled meats in town. All three very different but worthwile
Both Master's Superfish and Golden Hind are great. But, the house made pickles at MS are a real thing of beauty
re: Simon Majumdar
Thanks for the updates. I'm trying to build in some redundancy so I can go with whatever I'm in the mood for, and still cover the various foods I set out to try. I may have to make an exception and do all the grilled meats.
Reading that Time Out article linked a while back, I'm feeling more willing to travel for cheap eats. If the prices are still accurate, I'm thinking Kurz and Lang, Rasa Express, and Mr. Falaf should help defray a few splurges.
Any other cheap Indian recs, say, India Club? It gets mixed reviews, but the price is right. I've seen too many warnings against Brick Lane, and I'm not too into chicken tikka masala.
Good luck planning the grand trip - I'll chime in at some point. Boston's alright, but for every day in New England you could find a week's worth of chow in California.