London - searching for birthday venue to suit varied tastes
I'm looking for suggestions for places to go for my birthday dinner in London. I have a range of tastes to cater for based on the guests who will be coming with me. Criteria are below:
- the dinner will be on a Saturday (in a few weeks' time. I'm planning far in advance as some people may need to adjust their schedules if they want to attend)
- the meal should be as cheap as possible or, at least, the mains should be of a range of prices to suit a range of incomes. I'm thinking from <£8 - £15 a main
- there will be several vegetarians in the party, as well as people who don't eat beef
- no Indian food or places where all the food is very spicy as some people who are coming really don't like it. I like spice but I want everyone to be able to enjoy the meal
- preferably not Portuguese or Spanish food (as we've done these in a group before)
- location doesn't hugely matter but should be within zones 1 - 2 if possible, based on people's willingness to travel!
I was looking at Tbilisi and Iberia (the Georgian restaurant) as I'd really like to try Georgian food, but thought I might ask on here if anyone knew of anything that might fit in the criteria above! And before I'm asked, I have read through the boards and looked at the menus online for a couple of old favourites.
Back in the day, I had a couple of birthday meals at Cafe Bay in Farringdon. It's cheap, the food's decent enough (but not spectacular), and they can handle a big group in the basement.
I've also seen birthday parties at Casa Sibilla in Brixton Village (Italian). She sets out a big table outside and her food is within your budget and very good. If you let her know in advance, I'm sure she'd be happy to do more veggie options.
I've had a couple of big group meals at Savoir Faire in Bloomsbury. Like GG describes Cafe Bay, it's not spectacular but it's cheap, they're good at large groups and there's a variety of (French) food which usually pleases everybody. I've just tried to look at the menu online to check for veggie options but my antivirus isn't happy with the site.
42 New Oxford Street, London WC1 A1EP, GB
We had a lovely meal at Sofra, the covent garden branch. Two of my family (myself included) are vegetarian. We eat South Asian food at home but also enjoy non-spicy middle eastern/ mediterranean food as a meal out because it is different and delicious.
We actually ate brunch there but ate things like halloumi, pitta, garlic-y spinach, various meats, feta etc. like you might eat at lunch. I would love to try their lunch and dinner items. The service was very friendly and nice. Looking online their mains are mostly £9-15 and starters are mostly £5-7.
Based on the budget and dietary requirements, I'd say another option is vietnamese in Shoreditch - Viet Grill or Viet Hoa are two that I've been to that handle groups relatively well. My reasoning is: variety of options for most dietary requirements and spice levels, cheap and cheerful.
Is it possible for you to go to one of your Georgian options for a trial run before you book?
58 Kingsland Road, London E2 8DP, GB
I don't really have the time to do that, so as a compromise I'm going to pass the menu to a couple of friends to see if they could find something to eat and the prices are okay. Some of my friends (though not all) are not very adventurous eaters; there's one in particular who I think would find Vietnamese food miserable, though I'll keep the recommendation in mind for when I go out with a smaller group...