Cheap Eats

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Waltham Abbey, Loughton IG10 4AE, UK
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: Closed
  • Wednesday: Closed
  • Thursday: 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Friday: 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Saturday: 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Sunday: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM

If you find yourself in Epping Forest any time between Thursday and Sunday, you’re in luck because you’ll likely be within walking distance of the Oyster Shack & Seafood Bar, a fishy little spot tucked around the side of the Kings Oak Hotel. Whether the raw bar is your thing, or you’re more into grilled fish, or you’ve worked up the appetite for a platter while walking in the woods, the Shack’s got you covered. The star of the show is their raved-about bacon and scallop butty – likely to be a hit with even the most avid seafood avoiders among us.

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  • Monday: 8:30 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 8:30 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 8:30 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Thursday: 8:30 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Friday: 8:30 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Sunday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Fan of Vietnamese summer rolls? Roll Baby has taken the rice paper-coated classics and made them burrito sized, perfect for an easy and delicious lunch. Choose from options like prawn & avocado, falafel & hummus, mushroom and tofu, with each roll costing between £2.99 – £3.99. The neat parcels are absolutely stuffed with veggies – so this is a good choice if you’re after a healthy lunch – and can be matched with sauces such as satay, sriracha mayo, nuoc cham, sweet chilli and tahini ginger. They’re quite light, so you may wanna get a couple, but you could still come out with a lunch under £6 which, in Kensington, is unheard of.

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52-54 Exmouth Market, London EC1R 4QE, UK
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: 12:30 – 10:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 12:30 – 10:00 PM
  • Thursday: 12:30 – 10:00 PM
  • Friday: 12:30 – 10:00 PM
  • Saturday: 12:30 – 10:00 PM
  • Sunday: Closed

A complete lunch in central London for under a tenner is a thing to behold, and although it may not seem like it, they do exist. Nécco (meaning ‘cat’) in Exmouth Market is a Japanese cafe and bar with a super affordable menu of sushi, curries, noodles, donburi, homemade cakes and desserts, beers, sake and cocktails. Head over any time between 12.30pm – 3pm to take advantage of their lunch set deal, which’ll get you two Japanese tapas items, a bowl of rice and a drink for just £9.50.

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The Courtyard, 151 Sydney St, London SW3 6NT, UK
  • Monday: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Thursday: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Friday: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Saturday: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Sunday: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Despite what you might think, that’s not how it’s pronounced. Phat Phuc, meaning ‘Happy Buddha’ and pronounced ‘fet fook’, is a noodle shack off the King’s Road that serves up some of the best pho in town. The Vietnamese national dish is their speciality, with beef, chicken, prawn and vegetable options on the list (all at a tenner a bowl, except for beef which is £12). But there are also other dishes on the menu if you fancy venturing outside the pho world. You can grab some prawn har kau, char siu buns or duck pancakes for starters, or a bowl of laksa with either rice or egg noodles for your main. Then grab a seat in the first-come-first-served courtyard, which is even decked out with shelter, heaters and windbreakers for when the weather (inevitably) turns.

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19 Golden Square, London W1F 9JJ, UK
  • Monday: 7:30 AM – 4:30 PM
  • Tuesday: 7:30 AM – 4:30 PM
  • Wednesday: 7:30 AM – 4:30 PM
  • Thursday: 7:30 AM – 4:30 PM
  • Friday: 7:30 AM – 4:30 PM
  • Saturday: Closed
  • Sunday: Closed

If you’re after a quick bite that’ll be more exciting than Pret, Yolk is a good shout. Self-proclaimed purveyors of ‘fine fast food’, it does exactly what it says on the tin – serve up reliably well-made food with no hanging around. You can choose from one of their poached egg pots, brekkie baps (like the classic bacon or *fancy* bacon), next-level sandwiches (with options like bang bang chicken and nduja club), hot pots or salad bowls and still have time to spare on your lunch break.

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49 Brixton Station Rd, London SW9 8PQ, UK
  • Monday: 9:00 AM – 11:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 9:00 AM – 11:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 9:00 AM – 11:00 PM
  • Thursday: 9:00 AM – 12:00 AM
  • Friday: 9:00 AM – 12:00 AM
  • Saturday: 9:00 AM – 12:00 AM
  • Sunday: 9:00 AM – 11:00 PM

There are wraps, and then there are double stuffed chip-filled Greek wraps. Souvlaki Street serves up proper souvlaki made using quality local ingredients. There is a choice of pork shoulder, chicken or halloumi, and you can go ALL IN with three in one. Be warned though, because they are filled to the brim along with tomato, chips, tzatziki and souvlaki sauce, you might not even have room for their banging loaded fries or pita wedges. If you are heading down to Pop Brixton, they are well worth a visit.

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Addison Primary School, Addison Primary School, Addison Gardens, London, UK

You’ll find Urban Food Fest street food and farmer’s markets all across the country, but head to Hammersmith to feast on their newest addition to the scene. Every Saturday you can expect a stellar line up of food trucks, fresh locally sourced farmer’s produce, dessert stalls, craft drinks & more.

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Borough Market Kitchen, Jubilee Pl, Winchester Walk, London SE1 9AG

Shuk; (which means street market in Hebrew) is serving up a taste of Tel Aviv in the recently opened Borough Market Kitchen. It’s all about Israeli street food, which you can get in fresh baked pita or as part of a salad box, made using produce from the Middle East as well as the market itself. There are four pitas to choose from – fish tagine with chickpeas & amba tahini, sabich with roast aubergine & eggs, spiced lamb meatballs with chilli yoghurt (which is our fave) and a lunch special of slow cooked beef brisket with cheese and pickled onions – think cheeseburger vibes. If you wanna skip the bread, you can go for a salad box by choosing from the platters on the counter, which include the likes of roasted aubergine with labne & tomato compote or Israeli couscous with dried tomatoes, courgettes & pickled mushrooms, and you can add the pita fillings on if you want something a bit bigger. All the pitas are under a tenner and they are properly filling too, not to mention way more exciting than a bog standard sarnie.

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river cafe putney bridge

Not to be confused with the wallet-beating Italian restaurant, this particular River Cafe is an old school caff located right opposite Putney Bridge tube. It’s a stunner inside, with blue and white tiles, creaking plywood wall panels, and formica tables, largely unchanged since the 1960s. There are plenty of nods to the Italian owners too, with walls covered in Italian football flags and posters. The menu is as comforting as the surroundings, with bacon sandwiches and a big Full English for breakfast, and shepherd’s pie, pasta and Italian desserts at lunch. You can eat like a king here and still come with change from a tenner.

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Unit 119a Coal Drops Yard, Kings Cross, London N1C 4DQ, UK

Sons + Daughters, the brainchild of James Ramsden and Sam Herlihy (the duo behind award-winning East London restaurant Pidgin) celebrates the sandwich in all its glory. The Coal Drops Yard spot is an ode to all things between two slices of bread. They may have reduced them in size – and in price, dropping them down to £6.50 – but the sarnies are still epic. We particularly rate the CHICKEN S+DWICH, with Swaledale chicken, pickled cucumber, miso mayo, green sauce, soy-cured parmesan, gem lettuce and wasabi cress, and the EGG SALAD S+DWICH, with Burford Brown eggs, miso mayo, truffle crisps and salad cress. Remember the crisp sandwiches you’d make as a kid? This is like that except way more mindblowing. If sandwiches are what get you out of bed in the morning, then go venture in this playground, it’s like being given a AAA pass at Glasto. Rock on.

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76 Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1D 6ND, UK

Pho & Bun on Shaftesbury Avenue is the sister restaurant to Holborn’s Viet Eat and it’s following in its footsteps by serving up authentic Vietnamese food without breaking the bank. Stepping foot in Pho & Bun it’s everything you would expect from a traditional Vietnamese restaurant, from the decor to the menu. Highlights include the crispy spring rolls and the pho xao – wok fried noodles with choi sum and their secret sauce. You can also bag yourself four courses AND a drink for only £23.95 if you choose from their set dinner menu – bargain!

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