Cheap Eats


Cafe Mandalay, Murray Grove, London

Burmese food isn’t exactly easy to come by in London, but there are a couple of gems to seek out – one of which is the unassuming Cafe Mandalay. Located on the back streets of Old Street, Cafe Mandalay just looks like your regular cafe, and it does still in fact turn out English breakfasts and sandwiches. Ask for the Burmese food menu, however, and you’re in for a treat. They do an excellent lahpet (tea leaf salad), ginger salad, smoked fish curry, chicken coconut noodles, Shan noodles and much more. It’s fresh, authentic and delicious and there’s only one dish on the entire menu above £10, a chicken biryani at a frankly still bargain price of £12. Note it’s only open for breakfast and lunch until 3pm.


47 Camberwell Church St, London SE5 8TR

Located on Camberwell Church Street (now just one door down from its original location) Silk Road is one of the most popular spots in the area. And for good reason as it’s got to be one of the cheapest yet most delicious Chinese restaurants in London. You can spend ages in there with a big group, ordering all the food and drinking all the beers, and it’s somehow impossible to ever spend more than £15 a head. It specialises in food from the Xinjiang region and if you don’t order the smacked cucumber salad, the lamb fat skewers, the big plate chicken and the pork dumplings then you’re doing it all wrong.


Love kushiyaki? Then you’ll want to get down to Old Spitalfields Market and try out the skewers from Kushi. The Japanese-inspired kitchen comes from the same team behind Crunch (and is the unit next door) and centres around skewers, with the likes of chicken wings, chicken skin, smoked quail eggs, miso butter corn, lamb neck and grilled mackerel on the menu. They’re available individually, ranging from £2 – £5 each, or you can get a meal box with skewers and sides like wasabi sweet potato mash, mushroom gohan, and Japanese pickles for £12. Don’t miss the okonomiyaki waffle either.


If you’re after vegan food in Brixton, you wanna head to Eat of Eden, whose menu of Caribbean plant-based dishes has made them so popular that they’ve been able to expand with two more branches in Clapham and Lewisham. They’re known for their platters, which you can build yourself from the selection of curries, stews, rice and salads. Go for a mini platter (£13.95 for five items), an Eden platter (£19.50 for seven items) or a shared platter (£32 for 12 items) and settle into the Brixton Village patio (you might be here for a while). Expect affordable options and big portions – be careful not to fill up on the jerk jackfruit bites.


Just a little further away from the main thoroughfare of Turkish and Kurdish restaurants that is Green Lanes, Durak Tantuni is a small, late-night spot specialising in the Turkish street food of the same name. Tantuni is the only thing on the menu here, a dürüm bread wrap filled with chopped beef flavoured with parsley, raw onions, and sumac. Durak Tantuni is credited with being the first to bring the wraps to London (if they do say so themselves) and has certainly perfected their recipe, having been operating out of their West Green Road site for more than 20 years. They’re open all day (from 12pm until 2am), so whether you’re after a quick lunch or a post-pub snack, Durak Tantuni has your back.


10 Kingly Street, London

Rice paper salad roll biz Kaleido Rolls has a brand new flagship spot in Carnaby featuring an on-site rolling station, so you can see your food made fresh in front of you. The menu includes ten different filling combos, like maple salmon & edamame, chicken caesar, feta & pesto, prawn & crispy onion, and sweet potato & tahini, all wrapped up in rice paper, alongside peanut, tahini, sweet chilli and lemon dipping sauces. As well as different box sizes (a box of four comes in under a tenner), the rolls are healthy and nutritious too, making them ideal for lunch – and if you bring in your own lunch box, you can get a 50p discount on your order.


Spitalfields Market, Brushfield Street, London

The Pleasant Lady Jian Bing Trading Stall has been insta-famous ever since the hatch opened up on Greek Street, and though that hatch is temporarily closed, you can still get your pancake fix at Old Spitalfields Market. Jian bing is a traditional Chinese crepe coated with egg and filled with sweet & savoury sauce, pickles, herbs and meats like char siu pork, cumin lamb and miso chicken, and it’s the perfect street food to eat whilst you mosey around the market.


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.


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 £3.99 – £4.99. 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 £9 which, in Kensington, is unheard of.


A complete lunch in central London for around 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 £10.80.


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.


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.


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

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.


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. The pitas include sabich with roast aubergine & eggs, spiced lamb meatballs with chilli yoghurt (which is our fave) and 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  likes of roasted squash with cous cous or broccoli & carrot with labneh and you can add the pita fillings on if you want something a bit bigger. All the pitas are properly filling too, not to mention way more exciting than a bog standard sarnie.


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.


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

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 £7 – 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.


76 Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1D 6ND

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!

Page 1 of 3123