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Cheap and delicious [London]

Just moved to London, and starting a column for SeriousEats.com in New York City on cheap, delicious food in London. It's aimed primarily at Americans visiting the UK, but it would be great to introduce locals to unique, out of the way places that they might not have known about too.

Any thoughts on places I have to check out/write about? Suggestions and guidance are greatly appreciated!

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  1. All the places in Brixton Village market. There's a separate thread if you check.

    1 Reply
    1. re: greedygirl

      absolutely! had corn soup followed by a fantastic steak with beans and rice for lunch today at the Columbian joint there - grand total of six quid. Also in terms of reporting stuff - for my money the ongoing development of Brixton Village is one of the most interesting food related things happening in London at the moment. If you search the boards there are several threads dedicated to it, including a piece the NYTimes did in their travel section. It seems to me whenever i go there something new has opened, and I'm there most weeks. Franco Manca, mentioned below, is that fabulous and also in the Village.

    2. Man the burger photos on your site are seriously amazing, i now know where I'm going on holiday next year!

      Koya for exceptional udon noodles

      Angels and gypsies tapas is relatively good value

      Eccles cakes and doughnuts from St.johns are practically meals in themselves, especially for breakfast

      Old school cafe E Pellicci
      or a more contemporary version at the albion

      fish and chips take your pick

      1. Lots of cheap, delicious lunches to be found at the Borough Market... not out of the way but very accessible. There are also so many places in Soho... Hummous Brothers, Yalla Yalla (hope I got that one right), Princi.

        Oh those burgers... make me so homesick!

        2 Replies
        1. re: zuriga1

          Don't forget Brindisa in Burrough Mkt. Those chorizo sandwiches are a dream. Luckily I have all the ingredients here, in Bloomington, IN, at all times. That craving I can assuage quickly!

          1. re: Candy

            You are right... a terrific sandwich. When I lived in the States, I don't think chorizo was such a popular ingredient like it has become now. You probably have good corned beef, too! :-)

        2. Less touristy by leaps and bounds, but check out my South Asian posting on here. It's mostly in East London, but some of it is in the South as well. Nonetheless, the Eastern stuff (East Ham, largely) is very accessible. Despite what many Londoners think of the trip out to East Ham, I know that New Yorkers won't find it to be nearly as long. It's between 25 and 45 minutes depending on where in Central you are.

          The posts will pop up if you look for Thattukada, Gram Bangla, Hyderabadi Spice, Lahore Lahore Eh, Kebabish, Ananda Bhavan, Street Carts, etc.

          Needoo is someone else's post, but it's very accessible (maybe a 5 minute walk from Whitechapel tube which IMO is Central London in all but crime rates and the fact that you have the call to prayer once a day.) Gram Bangla is near here on Brick Lane, but it's not the most inviting place (think Bangladeshi men's club) and Bangladeshi food is not everyone's cup of tea, but it's world's better than NYC's best place, Ghoroa in Jamaica. Wembley and Harrow have loads, but I've only been to Tulsi. I know there must be a couple of fantastic places out that way, though.

          More central are Indian Zing and Quilon. Howler has written extensively on at least Quilon, but I think a lot of the Indian Zing posting is also his. There's also Dishoom which I have not yet eaten at, but it's basically a Parsi-style Mumbai cafe in the old colonial image.

          The Croydon stuff is a lot more accessible with the East London line, but that trip seems excessive. Unless it's to go to Tasty Jerk. Nothing is excessive for Tasty Jerk.

          Welcome to London! I'm a a native New Yorker as well (as are a couple of other people on this board.) Hope you enjoy your time and your work here. Please don't blatantly Robert Sietsema or Jay Rayner our reviews or our personal posted photos of restaurants and food.

          1. The Beef Brisket Curry at Cafe TPT is unbelievable. Its about £5 or £6, and boom boom bam bam its darn good.

            It's a small HK style diner in Chinatown, and a few of the dishes are darn good (fried rice, char keoy teow, curry).

            2 Replies
            1. re: brokentelephone

              haha agreed! i love TPT. i've been going there for years and it's never let me down!

              churchill arms on ken church street is a great pub the way pubs should be i.e. no plasma screen, no jukebox or slot machines, just a ton of atmosphere and great crowds. it also has the added bonus of having a cute thai kitchen out back that serves delicious big plates of thai curry and noodles at 6GBP a pop in the middle of a tropical garden. as a student it's been a terrific cheap eats option many times in the past.

              agreed on the south asian stuff - it's truly something to be proud of, though as a native west londoner i'd also suggest southall and wembley for some great options as well.

              on a side note - a lot of things that new york foodies lovingly debate e.g. burgers, great neapolitan pizza, great brooklyn style pizza, franks etc. are terrible imitations in london. i'd definitely advise sticking with the "uniquely london" (if it can be called that) stuff, so the south asian, middle eastern, gastropubby fare.

              1. re: HypedUp

                I loved the Churchill Arms, but my last 2 visits have been massively bad. Thai places seem to think it is ok to pre-cook chicken and then dump it in to whatever they're cooking which is not ok in my books.

                I do love to get paralytic drunk and eat thai food in the amazon though!

            2. Franca Manca has certainly the best pizza in London, you have to check that out!

              3 Replies
              1. re: qli

                i'll be stopping by in chiswick on the way back from school. i'll let you know how it goes!

                1. re: HypedUp

                  that's their new one yeah? Will be very curious to hear your thoughts.

                2. re: qli

                  Seconded... genuinely cheap AND delicious!

                3. Also definitely worth checking out Wuli Wuli and Silk Road - two fabulous Chinese places on Camberwell Church Street SE5

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Samuelinthekitchen

                    I spotted Wuli Wuli last night when I was going to Silk Road. Can you tell me a bit more about it? I was going to run across for a menu, but we were in a bit of a rush.

                  2. Moolis in Soho is excellent; indian roti wraps with delicious fillings.

                    Tayyabs in Whitechapel is cheap, amazing Pakistani food; it's very very popular though so get there early, around 6pm or be prepared to queue. Nearby Needo Grill is supposedly as good.

                    Chilli Cool is in Bloomsbury and it does excellent Sichuan food. Similarly, Golden Day in Soho does Hunanese food.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: hollow_legs

                      The gates to hell will one day give me better service than I received on every visit to Chilli Cool. I also find it somewhat annoying that the restaurant lacks ma la and seems to substitute spicy for vinegary at every possible chance. But eh, it's central. There really are much better Sichuan options all over the place now, though.

                      1. re: JFores

                        extremely excited to go to silk road. i hope i can sucker some foodies into going to camberwell with me!

                          1. re: Samuelinthekitchen

                            sweet. i'm up for that. anyone else? field trip!!!!

                            1. re: HypedUp

                              I'm always up for a trip there too. Watch out though, or this thread will soon get moderated away - see http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3676... (basically you need to give your email address and ask people to contact you off-board.)

                              1. re: deansa

                                Thanks Dean - much appreciated advice, I'll follow there there suggested approach and set up a thread

                                1. re: Samuelinthekitchen

                                  cool PM me and we can check it out! M Manze is meant to be terrific old school grub too.. i still need to make it out there.

                          2. re: HypedUp

                            Yeah, I love that place and go all the time. If you can get a group together, ring ahead the day before and pre-order the special big plate chicken, it's great!

                      2. I read a review in Saveur magazine of a pie and mash shop in London called M. Manze which sounded inexpensive and good. I meant to try it on my last trip over but didn't make it so I can't give an opinion on it but it sounded interesting though!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Jambie

                          Pie and mash is not to everybody's taste, though Manze's is about the best of those remaining. I quite like it. It's cheap, stodgy and filling: don't expect much meat in the pie.

                          Another good cheap south Indian: Rasa in Stoke Newington.

                          Also don't forget Turkish food - Green Lanes and Dalston are the best bets. I'd go for Mangal II or Numara 19 Bos Cirrik in Dalston, or Antelpliler on Green Lanes (they do great cig kofte, a kind of spicy lamb tartare).