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London eating in February: please help fill in the gaps

We will be in London for a week in early February. We always rely on Chowhound to get us started, and have also used The Good Food Guide, egullet.com, and more to make this list.

We are not able to spend for high end places, we don't drink alcohol, and we are trying to stay fairly central.

I will list what we have so far:

Sunday: dinner at Medlar
Monday:
Tuesday:
Wednesday: lunch at Koffmann's; we will be attending a performance at the Barbican in evening
Thursday:
Friday: dinner at Bistrot Bruno Loubet
Saturday: dinner at Zucca

One of our free days will be a day trip to Ely Cathedral and Cambridge. We will probably have lunch so recs in either place for lunch would be appreciated.

We would like to fill in with seafood (although the places I've checked have been expensive for us), and maybe Indian and/or Chinese.

Our home city has no outstanding Chinese, and has passable Indian. We ate at Tayyab's on a London visit not long ago, and are thinking about going back. We liked what we had and the prices suited us. We would consider Turkish or Persian, as we can't get either of those around here. We have plenty of Lebanese so that isn't on our list.

I seem to have missed out on the Harwood Arms; toptable.co.uk says there is no availability during our stay, or I would have booked that.

I booked Bistrot Bruno Loubet because my husband wants French (another thing we can't get at home); if there is a better option at a similar price, I'd be happy to have it.

I still haven't give up on Theo Randall as they have a 30£ menu as late as 7:30 in the evening, which was appealing.

Finally, I prefer to go with places that take reservations because I have health issues and it will just be easier for me to have a table than to risk a wait.

I hope this isn't too much information. I think it helps to not leave these sorts of questions too open-ended if one has particular desires. Thanks.

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  1. If you want to stay central and have something a bit different to your list I would try St. Johns hotel.
    If you're going to eat in Ely then I can recommend Peacocks Tea Room near the river. The Welsh Rarebit and cream teas are excellent.

    I'm sure you'll have a great meal at Medlar, I enjoyed my meal there very much and need to go back soon.

    https://www.stjohngroup.uk.com/hotel/

    http://www.peacockstearoom.co.uk/

    1. We were in Cambridge overnight last year, and I'm sorry we missed lunch at Fitzbillies. We had already eaten at a museum (very nice food), but when we went into Fitzbillies for some cake, I realized it would have been a better choice. It's very near the Fitzwilliam Museum. :-)

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddri...

      1. You've got a great itinerary already and you've obviously done your research.

        Returning to Tayyabs would be fun - it might be worth considering Lahore or Needoo in the area just for variety. In my view Lahore's food is better but the atmosphere is generally a bit better at Tayyabs. Or consider the Delhi Grill in Angel which is less frantic than the east end restaurants. It is modelled on an Indian dhaba and is bookable, friendly and the food is really good. It's probably a £1 or £2 more per dish than Tayyabs but generally good value.

        I've not been to Theo Randall - but the reports tend to be pretty consistent: excellent food in a soulless hotel-like setting.

        Mangal Ocakbasi in Dalston is a bit of travel for Turkish but gets great reviews.

        For Persian look at Mohsen.

        For Chinese search Min Jiang and Royal China Club. For more informal Huanese,Cantonese and Szechuan cooking look at Yipin China. Yauatcha does great dim sum and there is a brilliant deal from 3-6pm weekdays which I believe is still £28.88 for two people which gives you a nice selection of dim sum and some other dishes.

        Bruno Loubet is a great choice for classic French food if you don't have it at home.

        For other options there are plenty of other lunch deals out there at good restaurants which won't break the bank, especially if you don't drink. You could consider places such as Galvin at Windows (£29 for 3 courses of French food and ridiculously good views) or The Square which is usually £35 for lunch but has gone up to £47.50 for Christmas lunches so make sure you check. Really high class French-influenced cooking though.

        For seafood don't miss Wright Brothers in London Bridge or Soho.

        1. These are all great suggestions.

          We probably won't want another high end lunch, but I'm looking to fill in dinners.

          4 Replies
          1. re: debkurt

            What about something very British? You could go to Brawn on Colombia Road, or St John Bread and Wine or Upstairs at the Ten Bells.

            Or a gastropub like the Draper's Arms, Hope and Anchor or Bull & Last?

            Or a lot of people who come seem to want fish and chips, somewhere like the Golden Hind in Marylebone.

            1. re: ManInTransit

              ManinTransit,

              We have been to St John Bread and Wine, and I wasn't excited about the menu at Brawn (just my own particular tastes; doesn't mean it wouldn't be good) but I'll revisit your suggestions.

              A gastropub would be good for us.

              And we will definetly be having fish and chaps; it is a favorite dish of my husbands. It isn't something I love and don't want to spend a dinner on, but I would.

              I was actually thinking of a place called Fish Central after a performance at The Barbican. It seems that they are open latish.

              http://www.fishcentral.co.uk/

              Don't know if anyone can comment on that; I read about it elsewhere. Over the years, we have hit a few of the popular fish and chaps. If we don't go late, it will probably be a luch.

              1. re: debkurt

                Given what J Sheridan says about Fish Central I'd consider Polpo Smithfield for before/after a Barbican performance.

                No reservations at dinner (you can reserve at lunchtime). Going early or late though on a Wednesday and you should be fine.

              2. re: ManInTransit

                Thank you, Kavey. I have had Pearl Liang on my list for a couple of visits to London; I even signed up for their e-offers at one point.

            2. If you're going in or out of Paddington at all, would recommend Pearl Liang for Chinese. Went again on the weekend, for huge shared dim sum feast. Had forgotten how much I like them.