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Must-try affordable eats [London]

What are the must-try affordable (most entrees no more than $20) eateries/restaurants in London? I will be there for 6 months and I want to get the best the city has to offer--from ethni food to signature items...I'd appreciate any and all advice :-)

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  1. Roughly where will you be spending most of your time please? It might be a help for starting some recs.

    1. New Tayyab's behind East London Mosque for the best Pakistani kebabs and curries.

      1. They are not sit-down eateries, but I love trying different buns from the bakeries in Chinatown. You can usually get a couple for 2.50 GBP (under $5.00) and make a meal of them. I can't give you specific names. I usually just walk through Chinatown until I see something that looks good.

        1. I hope people notice you wrote $20 and not £20. We (even me) often misread the amount. That comes to almost £12 by today's exchange rate.

          1. We love Hummus Brothers, on Wardour Street in Soho.

            The greek salad with feta is my absolute favorite, and when they have the asian pork I get that.

            5 Replies
            1. re: dexters

              Also in Soho on Wardour street, Princi the new Italian bakery operated in conjunction with Alan Yau is very good. Try their pizza, simple Italian food or just cake and coffee.

              For cheap Vietnamese food head to Kingsland road in East London.

              I second the Tayyabs suggestion.


              1. re: Gourmet Chick

                Finally tried Princi this week. It was wonderful. I had a mixture of two salads: fennel and orange & farro salad with tomatoes, green beans and onion.
                Also had spinach & ricotta pastries, and a bottle of water for under a tenner.

                I'll be going back to check out the pastries next!

                1. re: dexters

                  I was there about 2 weeks ago and went off my diet a bit to have some delicious hot aubergine dish. I love this place!

                  1. re: zuriga1

                    Princi has great food and drinks agreed. What annoys me is the free for all system they have for getting served. I would go much more if there was a simple ticketing system where you are called up when they are ready to take your order. The current system is stressful and really detracts from the overall experience for me.

                    1. re: Phase_uk

                      I heartedly agree with you Phase uk about the way food is served. I've been lucky and am usually there for an early lunch, and there isn't even a line. It would annoy me greatly to go through the chaos that probably prevails later on.

                      This week I ate at a well-known NYC spot and it was better organized and seemed to work despite many customers and very little waiter service tables. Let's write to Princi and complain!

            2. If you get Time Out this week it has a special feature on Cheap Eats. Definitely worth a look.

              1. Some places/dishes I like:

                Sedap for Penang-style nyonah food
                C&R (Chinatown only) for wan tan ho (flat rice noodles with meat/veg/seafood and egg)
                Rasa Sayang for Nasi Lemak (good rice, even though the other items don't match up to Sedap)
                Malaysian Kopitiam for Hainanese chicken rice
                Jerk City for Jamaican patties
                Gold Mine for mixed roast meats (char siu/roast duck/roast pork belly) on rice
                Maracuja (Brazilian Stall at Brick Lane Up Market) for feijoada
                Pork Katsu Curry at Tsuru (lunch only)
                Masala dosa at Ragam
                Polish food at L'Autre
                Lebanese at Alwaha and Ishibilla (a whisker under your budget)
                Persian at Mohsen
                Tah-dig (not on menu, need to request) at Alounak (Olympia branch)
                Shui jiao / NE Chinese style dumplings at Super Star and Royal Palace
                Tajine at Original Tagines
                Udipi thali at Sagar (Hammersmith branch)
                Sadya (essentially a thali) at Sadya
                Pasta at 500
                Lamb pizza + baklava at Green Valley
                Yakitori (esp. shisomaki) at Tosa
                Sichuan food at No. 10 Chinese Restaurant

                4 Replies
                1. re: limster

                  Get yourself a copy of this book, it will be your bible for the 6 months you are here! My copy looks very "loved".


                  1. re: Plantie

                    hey limster i checked out sadya and it is now called qmin

                    the guy (who is sri lankan incidentally) and his wife (who is malaysian) told me they are the original owners but the business had changed hands for a couple of months and the quality had dipped

                    for anyone planning a visit the food was ok but not that authentic (a little too creamy) and there are no appams on the menu

                    there is also a place on church st off edgeware road (no 16) that does lebanese pizza's that are fantastic. much bigger range than at green valley and i dig the atmosphere and love their oven downstairs... check it out

                    1. re: feelinfoodie

                      Thanks for the update. Bummer about Sadya/Qmin -- do they still have sadya on the menu (a multi-dish meal, almost like a thali?).

                      1. re: limster

                        they had a vegetarian thali as a special but unfortunately i saw it too late - not sure if the sadya was on the menu or not.. and probably wont go back to double check

                2. Fernandez & Wells in Soho!!! The Lexington Entrance. Delicious sandwich and glass of wine for about £10? Maybe £12.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: kristainlondon

                    Rasa in Stoke Newington does wonderful south Indian vegetarian food I've encountered in London, very cheaply. Has won 'best Indian restaurant in London' several times. Essential to book.

                    Go to Dalston for the best Turkish food in London: Mangal, Mangal II and 19 Numara Bos Cirrik (branches in Stoke Newington, Dalston and Hackney Central) are good ones to start with. Look out for artists Gilbert and George, who eat at Mangal II most nights.

                    Shoreditch is good for cheap Vietnamese, though places are of variable quality: I like the Viet Hoa (fantastic pork and duck egg hotpot).