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One lunch in London, Soho (sunday) [London]

Going to be in London later this month for 24 hours to see a show at the Royal festival Hall. Staying in a hotel in Soho.
I figure I won't have much time for a nice leisurely dinner before the show, so i might as well have a really good lunch. I booked a table at Bocca di Lupo - I've been there a couple of times before and have a soft spot for it, but today I suddenly got the thought into my head it might be nice to try something new :)

So.. any thoughts about a solo lunch on a Sunday, in or near Soho? Atmosphere can be busy and buzzing as long as it's still comfortable for a solo diner. I like small plates when eating alone so I can try more things than just one main, but I can also accomplish this by ordering several starters.

and another question - is there a place near the Royal Festival Hall where I could get something small and quick but good to eat ?

Thanks!

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  1. Nopi - good small, veg plates by Ottolenghi (I love the broad bean fritters.)

    The National Theatre's Terrace restaurant also does small plates. I'm not sure of their hours, but the food is very nice.

    2 Replies
    1. re: zuriga1

      I was going to say NOPI is getting good press over here in the US. It is on my list for the next trip over. We tried Arbutus in SoHo recently and were disappointed. The atmosphere went beyond buzzing and hurtled headlong into cacophonous. Conversation was impossible, although that might be just what the OP is looking for!

      1. re: Lambowner

        You're right. I'm from the States and a lot of my cousins and other people often mention to me that they are using one of Ottolenghi's cookbooks, so I know he's quite popular over 'there,' too. I would say that NOPI is very good but not for everyone's taste. The plates are quite small, so one has to order quite a lot if it's for dinner.

    2. Had 2 amazing lunches at Koya on Frith St. In SoHo in September. Shrimp Tempura udon was amazing and they have a new counter space that is great for dining solo. Also loved Barrafina on the same block. Almost as good as San Sebastián Spanish tapas.

      1. Joel Robuchon does lunch deals I'd not miss it. Otherwise J Sheekey all the way.

        1. If in Soho I'd go unhesitatingly for Yauatcha. Ticks all the boxes you asked for. Usually you don't need a booking if solo - they can typically seat you at the bar in the back.

          Canteen is right in RFH and really quite decent for something small and quick but good. However there are dozens of other options all right there - so you'll be spoiled for choice.

          1 Reply
          1. re: AlexRast

            I second Yauatcha. I've been blown away both times I've eaten there.

          2. Yalla Yalla for Lebanese in Soho, the mezze format is ideal for sampling. Enjoyed the kibbeh nayeh/lamb tartare there recently. Also excellent grilled chicken/shish taouk.

            If you want to venture beyond Soho, Maotai Kitchen in nearby Chinatown has a number of good cold dishes. For example, the pig's ears were perfectly seasoned (sesame oil, coriander) and pleasantly firm and dense but not tough.

            There's good homey Indonesian food at mini-mall on Charing Cross Road. Nasi Padang consist of rice with several dishes and is a good way of sampling a range of items.

            4 Replies
            1. re: limster

              Even if you don't make it to Yalla Yalla for lunch, if you're in Soho, stop by and get a couple of the date maamouls. So good! We buy them for a snack on the train home.

              1. re: Palladium

                Never been a huge fan of Yalla Yalla. Prefer Beirut Express on Edgware Rd. However, this is about Soho.

              2. re: limster

                Need to try this Idonesian place. Never even noticed it. Are we talking about the stretch of CX Road opposite the second hand bookstores before you hit Leicester Sq tube?

                1. re: Loobs

                  Yes - that's the location. Love to hear what you think.