New Yorker in London
Good morning -
I'm headed to London with the b/f for a long weekend (This Friday to Tuesday) and was looking for some suggestions. As our nice meal I planned on going to Sunday Brunch at Launceston Place and definitely planned on lunch and a beer at Borough Market on Friday.
We're staying off the Central Line in Bayswater and I'm looking for recommendations that are moderately priced (10-15GBP for lunch and 20-30GBP for dinner) and good value. We are planning to be exploring all over the city, so any area will do.
Specifically looking for cuisines that London does better than NYC and things that are hard to find here.
1 Launceston Pl, Kensington, Greater London W8 5, GB
Go to Borough early - even by noon. I was there a few weeks ago and by that time there was hardly a place to sit down and eat.... the Southwark Cathedral grounds were jam-packed because it was a lovely day.
Indian food is definitely better than anything I ever ate in NYC - it might be a real treat for you.
I know you're only here for a short time, but how about venturing up to Dalston/Stoke Newington? You'll find Turkish food on a level you'd be hard pressed to find in NYC. I'd second the recommendation on Brixton market. In fact, I think you should ditch Borough and spend the day in Brixton instead! :) It's also a very vibrant neighbourhood and far from the tourist trap that Borough has become. While you're there you could grab a beer and a good pub lunch at The White Horse pub.
The White Horse
1-3 Parsons Green, London SW6 4UL, GB
A short walk from Baystwater you have Al Waha (Lebanese) and Durbar (Indian) which do good lunch specials (10 quid or so) and are pretty fine examples of their respective cuisines that you would be pressed to match in NY. Otherwise the board is full of examples of reasonably priced suggestions from the esoteric to the sublime.
no, no durbar is bangla gloop curry house! avoid with extreme prejudice.
but el pirata de tapas, on westbourne grove, offers an extremely cheap lunch menu. the talented chef from el pir de tapas seems to have upped sticks and set up (a rather well reviewed) tapas bar in westfield
another place that looks like you'll eat very well for not much.
you can't leave london without trying mohsen, on warwick road, for iranian. also, i'd urge you to splurge one lunch and go for bombay brasseries buffet on the weekend. it'll cost £25 (make sure you INSIST on tap water - bottled is £4 - and don't order any drinks). make up for that by eating delicious turkish kebabs (spicy kofte is a personal favourite) that night at bosphorous kebab house on old brompton road, a 100 yards from south ken tube. you'll eat very well for about £8 each.
its worth it to get out to chiswick high road and eat neapolitan style pizza at franco manca. again, excellent - and i have seen no place in new york that gives you this quality of neapolitan pizza, not even pizza fresca in its glory days. after the pizza, treat yourself to some of the best kept ale in london at the dove, which is on upper mall in hammersmith.
some other random places: indian ymca canteen in cleveland square for excellent canteen style indian food (think simple dal, rice, chapati, sabzi, meat) for around a fiver, raavi kebab house on drummond street for excellent seekh kebabs and tandoori roti - or the same choice much further afield - at tayyabs, on fieldgate street. again, very, very cheap.
I'd advise going to Franco Manca in Brixton instead, so you can explore the many other great restaurants and cafes the market has to offer. Don't bother doing this on a Monday or Tuesday though as most places will be closed.
Interesting news about the tapas place in Westfield, howler. I've walked past it many times.