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Help with meals in Chelsea and around St Paul's or other tourist areas [London]

c
clarkgranny May 25, 2012 03:02 PM

Our daughter is in the Olympics ( USA 2012 Olympic Sailing Team) this year so we are headed to London July 24. We have to go south of London for the actual sailing events so will only be in London for 4 nights. Some friends are letting us stay in their house in Chelsea so we need places to eat around there. With all the tickets etc the whole trip is quite costly so we don't need Michelin experience places. I mean I am from NY and can get fancy anytime and with our dollar so weak I want good places but not too expensive. For dinner I noted Le Colombier which is very close to where we will be staying. After walking all day we don't want to stray too far from our place, although a mile or two is ok. I also noted Bumpkin, Bangkok, Bistro 15, and The Pig's Ear. Again all of these are close to where we are staying. All have some good ratings and some bad. So I am at a loss. We like all kinds of food except Indian.

We have to go one night near to the South Kensington Tube station so a few choices in this area would be good too.

For one lunch I need a place in the tourist area where we will be seeing the sights.We will be finishing the Tower of London and will be in the ST Paul's area around lunch one day and would like a place near there. Or since we will be walking back toward Westmister and Parliament area we could eat any place for lunch between there and St Paul area.I made a quick reservation for 28-50 based on my Michelin Guide. But really I am wide open. I have looked at so many restaurants I am going crazy and so ask for help here as I always get great advice.

The only meal I have planned is a Afternoon TEa for our first night as we can eat at 5:30 and then crash. Lastly we will be going to many classic pubs as we head south to Weymouth where the sailing is taking place. But if you guys think a good London pub is a choice then that is ok too.

  1. Robin Joy May 25, 2012 07:53 PM

    You might be our first Olympic Hound. Welcome.

    I expect that you already know, but Chelsea is not famed for cheapness! However, value can be found.

    Try The Admiral Cod:

    http://www.theadmiralcodrington.co.uk/

    Or the Noor Jahan (some Hounds not keen, but I like it):

    http://www.noorjahanrestaurants.co.uk/

    You've already clocked Bangkok, which is not expensive, and very close to Sth. Ken. tube.

    The St Paul's to Westminster walk takes you right past the Fleet Street branch of El Vino wine bars, which is where I would go:

    http://www.elvino.co.uk/Food-at-El-Vi...

    I had their excellent 5 cheese ploughman's lunch with a shared bowl of chips in another branch for lunch yesterday. It's NOT on any diet you'll ever see|

    1 Reply
    1. re: Robin Joy
      b
      brokentelephone May 26, 2012 05:30 AM

      Bangkok gross -- don't bother (NYC Thai is much better than London I think).

      Do a search South Kensington -- lots of options.

    2. limster May 26, 2012 05:42 AM

      Around South Kensington: see http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8285...

      1. howler May 26, 2012 05:55 AM

        there are plenty of not-so expensive choices in the area! i'd try and go for stuff you can't score that easily in nyc.

        a) al-dar, kings road or beirut express, old brompton road. both good lebanese counters, inexpensive. i prefer al-dar.

        b) bosphorous kebab house, old brompton road. good turkish kebab grill. a meal for 6 quid.

        c) rocca di pappa, old brompton road pizza made by the owners of franco manca. personally, i'd consider the car service costs to chiswick high street and back worth it to go to franco manca.

        d) brindisa, around the corner from south ken tube for spanish tapas

        e) le pescalou, fulham road. fruit, veg, cheese etc sourced from france. a nice selection of pre cooked things made fresh daily.

        f) gessler at daquise, thurloe street. legendary polish restaurant. excellent (see limsters review)

        g) polish hearth club, 55 princes gate. if you have any curiosity re: ww2, this place is a must. its where teh poles met when fighting ww2, and the the room is steeped in that history. it also has al fresco dining overlooking a lovely garden square. food is ok, but thats not really the point.

        h) la cave a fromage, cromwell place. outstanding french cheese shop. buy some baguette, some cheese, some wine from handford wines on old brompton road and you are in business. or sit at the (small) seating section in the shop, same idea.

        2 Replies
        1. re: howler
          b
          brokentelephone May 31, 2012 02:00 PM

          Al-Dar on Kings Rd being renovated right now, and is thus closed.

          Sampler is a great wine shop with machines which dispense wines to sample -- cheese and charcuterie plates are good way to snack and drink!

          1. re: brokentelephone
            c
            clarkgranny May 31, 2012 02:57 PM

            Thanks for letting me know and for the information about Sampler

        2. lexdevil May 26, 2012 06:08 AM

          Just over a block from the South Kensington station is Bosphorus Kebabs, my favorite kebab shop in London. It is not really a sit down restaurant, but it has a few cramped tables inside, and two tables outside. We've been eating there for nearly thirty years, and I am always disappointed any time we go to London and do not get there. The food is excellent and very cheap. Last summer, our family of three ate a filling lunch at Bosphorus for under 20 GBP.

          Unlike the stereotype, this food is very fresh and there is no mystery meat involved. The hot sauce is especially tasty, so do not skip it. Kebabs are nearly as central to the British take-away experience as fish and chips, so don't miss this. There is a good chance it will be your favorite meal of your visit.

          http://www.bosphoruskebabs.co.uk/

          8 Replies
          1. re: lexdevil
            b
            brokentelephone May 26, 2012 08:34 AM

            Why is bospherous so different than other kebab stands?

            1. re: brokentelephone
              howler May 26, 2012 09:10 AM

              at the bosph kebab price point, kebabs are almost always over cooked, dry and probably inferior meat.

              but bosph kebab house has good quality meat, the kebabs are succulent and the chilli sauce is moreish.

              no?

              1. re: howler
                lexdevil May 26, 2012 09:53 AM

                Yes! I was ruined for kebabs because Bosphorus was the first place I had them, back when I was a college student visiting London on an extremely limited budget. South Kensington is usually quite out of the way for us when we're staying in London these days, but we make the trek because I have not found any place else that can touch Bosphorus.

                1. re: lexdevil
                  c
                  clarkgranny May 26, 2012 01:28 PM

                  lexdevil This place sounds great, thanks. Is the hot sauce really really hot? We aren't into flaming hot and it would be good to know in advance.LOL

                  1. re: clarkgranny
                    lexdevil May 26, 2012 03:21 PM

                    Spicy, but not deadly. Get at least a bit of it because the flavor is so good. The bread and veggies will help cool you down.

                2. re: howler
                  b
                  brokentelephone May 27, 2012 12:43 AM

                  I only ask because Bospherous is my local and I've never really ever had kebabs from anywhere else.

                  My only qualm is that they don't make pita wrap sandwiches, and they don't have chips.

              2. re: lexdevil
                c
                clarkgranny May 26, 2012 01:37 PM

                One more question: do they serve alcohol? Probably not but thought I would ask. I checked out web site but couldn't tell.We are definitely going there at least once. Thanks again

                1. re: clarkgranny
                  lexdevil May 26, 2012 03:28 PM

                  I don't recall any alcohol. This is, basically, a take-away place. As casual as it gets, but very tasty. There is an Oddbins wine shop just down the street and a couple of convenience stores right by the Tube station if you want to try the DIY approach. Consider it an urban picnic.

              3. howler May 26, 2012 06:12 AM

                st pauls - westminster: you aren't really walking back are you? it is a good 2 miles or thereabouts. anyhow, if you finish up at st. pauls, try and take in postmans park about 5 minutes away. then walk over to charterhouse square and eat at cafe du marche. if time permits, take in smithfields and st. bartholomews church, which has a bit left over pre-the great fire. wonderful stuff.

                2 Replies
                1. re: howler
                  s
                  seddon May 28, 2012 11:44 AM

                  If I was to do Postman's Park and St Barts, I would probably opt for Vinoteca over Cafe du Marche for the lower price point. Although I do like both.

                  1. re: seddon
                    howler May 28, 2012 01:15 PM

                    yep, thats a good alternative. come to think of it, so is st. john.

                2. c
                  clarkgranny May 26, 2012 08:56 AM

                  Thank you all for the help. I am busy right now with Holiday weekend guests but will check out all the suggestions as soon as I can. I so love Chowhound. When we went to Italy 3 times I had the best meals thanks to this site. And last year we ate at some great places in Austria. Why is this site so much better than all the others like Yelp etc? And it is amazing how many people don't know about Chowhound. Well got to make lunch. Thanks again and I will be back just as soon as I check everything out

                  1. greedygirl May 28, 2012 11:32 PM

                    We had a nice lunch before Christmas at the restaurant in the crypt of St Paul's - and you have the added bonus of being able to visit the cathedral for free.

                    1. c
                      clarkgranny May 30, 2012 03:15 PM

                      Ok I checked out everything and I think I will definitely try Bospherous kabob one night and for lunch after touring the Tower of London we will cross the London Bridge and eat at Borough Market. My husband and I love markets and this one sounds good. ( Ever been to the old fish market in Tokyo? Fabulous). For last night( not sure where we will be if we get more tickets to events we might try gessler . After our trip, I will report back here. Thanks again

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: clarkgranny
                        k
                        kooshball5 May 31, 2012 02:48 PM

                        Oh good, I was about to recommend Borough Market. You could almost make a meal out of just walking around and sampling everything, but I'd definitely point you to the duck sandwiches and mulled wine at Le Marché du Quartier near the Stoney Street. entrance (especially if the weather is on the cooler side). SO so good.

                        1. re: kooshball5
                          c
                          clarkgranny May 31, 2012 02:53 PM

                          Thank you. I read a review somewhere else that mentioned the duck sandwiches. Must be good and I will hunt for them

                          1. re: clarkgranny
                            limster May 31, 2012 03:24 PM

                            Some of favourites at Borough Market:
                            - Porchetta or coppa di testa sandwich @ Gastronomica
                            - Grilled cheese (Montgomery Cheddar and Ogleshield) on Poliane bread with chopped onions and leek @ Kappacaesin
                            - wild boar tortelli @ La Tua Pasta

                            For a better grazing experience than Borough Market on a Saturday, I would recommend the stalls at Maltby Street Market (note that some of them have moved east to the Spa Road, closer to the Bermondsey Tube station).

                            http://www.maltbystreet.com/ - about 15mins walk from Borough Market.

                            Stalls nearer to Tower Bridge Road/Maltby Street
                            - Tortilla @ Jose (run by the guys from the much loved Jose tapas place
                            )- Ham @ 40 Maltby Street
                            - Custard and jam donuts @ St John's Bakery -- best option is to eat a jam and a custard at the same time -- the custard balances the jam really well.
                            - Cheese on oatcakes @ Boerenkaas

                            (Not particular excited about Bea's of Bloomsbury in the past, so their outpost there isn't interesting to me. Monty's Deli, the "Jewish Deli" stall, was average, the pastrami ok but not great, and their Reuben was not kosher unless you leave out the swiss cheese; the matzoball chicken soup had a solid broth but I wanted the matzo balls to have more Schmaltz flavour.)

                            Stalls further East on Spa Road:
                            - Good beer @ Kernal Brewery
                            - Meaning to try Coleman Coffee (liked their coffee at cafes they've supplied, but haven't been to the mothership), The Little Bread Pedlar (for baked goods) and the London Honey Company (honey + yogurt).

                            1. re: limster
                              c
                              clarkgranny Jun 1, 2012 07:12 AM

                              Sounds wonderful but on Saturday we will be watching an Olympic Sporting event at Earls Court in the morning and I am not sure yet what we are doing that afternoon but hoping to have tickets to some event. Also we have to pack as we leave London at 5 AM the next morning to drive through countryside and see gardens and castles etc until we get to Weymouth for our daughter's sailing. Maybe next time .....

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