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Jan 8, 2008 03:15 AM

Cheap, Quality noshing in London

For comfort food I've found a few no-frills places that are very comforting to the wallet as well as the stomach. Can other Chowhounds recommend their favourite, nicely priced nosh pits? I'll be amazed if anyone can up with one thats cheaper or dishes up better or bigger portions than the Megabite, outside Arsenal Stadium on the Benwell Road entrance. The decor is borderline industrial with no hints of Bauhaus - plastic bucket seats bolted into the ground, red tiled floor, beige tiles livened up with a few mementos of China. In short everything that screams greasy spoon. First impressions can be the wrong impressions. The grub is superb traditional Chinese cooking with no MSG! Plain and simple. The first dish I tried was Sea Spice Aubergine with King Prawns and boiled Rice. The Aubergine texture and taste was to die-for. The King Prawns large and plentiful. After I hovered it up I had to ask the pipe-cleaner thin chef all about it. "I used to cook that for the Queen, she always had it when she came to the Dorchester". I bet she paid more than the £.4.50 he was charging near the Holloway Road. After that I came back many, many times. The stand-out dishes from the menu for me are Roast Duck with spring onion and boiled rice. Which has an immoral amount of tender roast duck. Louhan Vegetables - a great vegetarian dish with pickled plum, wood-ear fungus, triangular tofu and boiled rice. The cheapest dish in the place is Mixed Vegetables with boiled rice(£3.20) - surprisingly tasty. This is a great lunch-time place you can take a date and still have change from a tenner. Clientele are mixed - sometimes theres a posse of Nigerian Traffic wardens, sometimes students & sometimes regulars as well as the cheap date squad.

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  1. One of my favourites is not far from Megabite

    The Red Pepper on The Holloway Road (opposite Mann & Overton) is a great little Jamaican place that does some of the best Jerk chicken I have tried

    Not quite at the £10 a head level but a meal for two with a pint of Guiness punch can come in at about £25-30


    2 Replies
    1. re: Simon Majumdar

      Maybe it doesn't count as comfort food, but Jai Krishna at the top of Stroud Green Road (N4) does absolutely cracking veggie curries (it is entirely vegetarian - I'm not a veggie, but I still love this place more than almost any other). You can get a curry and rice for under a £5, and eat like a prince for £10. And it's BYO. A true gem.

      1. re: londonfrenchie

        I like home made pies with mash and liquor at clarke's in exmouth market EC1
        - about £3.50 a go if my memory serves me right...

    2. A few places I love

      Viet - Vietnamese
      34 Greek st, Soho
      A great little, authentic Vietnamese place with dishes starting from £4.50. The portions are generous as well.

      Tasty Jerk - Jamaican.
      67 Whitehouse road, Croydon. Quite out of the way but simply the best Jerk I've had in London! It's a real dive, no frills, steel drums, lots of steam amd thick Jamaican accents -you know it's authentic. Dishes start from £5. The Jerk lobster with rice n peas and chilli sauce is divine!

      Tomi's kitchen - Nigerian
      126 Deptford high street, Deptford
      A great little Nigerian place with lots of cheap authentic stews and meats. I haven't been there in a while, but I remember spending no more then £5 or £6 pounds for a huge meal. The goat soup is delicious if not the hottest thing I've EVER tried!!

      The Pepper tree - Thai
      19 Clapham Common southside

      Love this place, always packed to the rafters. Cheap Thai with all the usual dishes. Again nice and cheap. It's not Patara, but still really good.

      Banana Leaf - Indonesian/Thai
      75 Battersea rise

      Great menu with good starters. Mains start from £6. Gets very busy!

      Josephines - Fillipino
      4 Charlotte street- West end,

      A bit more pricey than the ones I've mentioned, but a great little gem I recently discovered.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Nii

        Another I forgot.

        Roti Jupa - Trinidadian
        12 Clapham high street.
        Huge flat breads with fillings like curried duck or veg n chicken. Cheap as chips - prices from £4 - seating is limited, more of a takeaway joint. Great though.

        1. re: Nii

          There must be some more...anyone else wanna share their cheapies?

          1. re: Nii

            I have one.

            Spice Village
            32 Upper Tooting Road Tooting Bec
            By far and away the best and cheapest Indian i have had in London. You must have the steamed whole chicken and Tandori Fish. I would be very surprised if you spent more that £6. No alcohol i am afraid. Honest decor.

            83-89, Fieldgate St. London E1 1JU - Whitechapel
            Another great and hugely popular Indian restaurant. The Lamb Chops are phenomenal. I spent about $7.50 p/head and it is byo. Restaurant feel.

            People speak warmly of Golden Hind
            73 Marylebone Lane, Off Marylebone High St W1U 2PN
            It is BYO and has charges no corkage which is the clincher.

            There is also a great Chinese place on Dean St in Chinatown. Can't remember the name but it is just of the main Chinatown drag on your left. Fresh dumplings and duck are their specialty - i tend to spend £7.50 p/head including a beer then duck across the road for a Mango Pudding for £1.

            1. re: Mortz

              Another cheapie is Biryani, 201 Holloway Road at lunchtimes, think they even do a lunchtime special on a Saturday, Vegetable Curry and Basmati Rice works out at £3.50. Never under any circumstances order a takeaway delivery from these guys you'll be dead from hunger before it arrives. Hope somebody checks out the Megabite and gives a full report. Theres an excellent and better Indian takeaway just up the Road, think it's calle the Holloway Road Indian Takeaway ... the spices they use are very mild, aromatic and good. It has plastic bucket seats I'll get the full name and a short price list. I have a few other favourites - and will list them soon.

              1. re: sirfrancisdashwood

                was in a cab this morning and the driver was telling me about a lot of new vietnamese food places which have opened on Mare St in Hackney, near the junction with Richmond Rd.
                Anyone tried these out yet or indeed know anything about them ? I just wondered if they were worth a trip

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