Where to eat in London for under the £90 average.
There was an article in the Evening Standard this week, which said the cost of dining out in London has now soared to around £90 for two people. Now, I don’t know if I’ve been living here too long but that doesn’t seem as high as I imagined it would be, particularly if you consider it includes three courses, wine, coffee and service. Of course, it’s easy to find restaurants where you can pay considerably more than that, but equally there are just as many where you can pay less. So, in today’s blog, I’d like to share with you a few of my favourite, more wallet friendly eateries.
La Porchetta, Old Compton Street, Soho
This place is somewhat of a London institution based right in the heart of the West End, at the Shaftesbury Avenue end of Old Compton Street. Don’t go here thinking you’re going to get a fine dining experience as this place is more like the type of restaurant come cafe you’d find the locals hanging out at in Italy and there are plenty of Italians chowing down here, which speaks for itself really. The food is largely pasta and risotto where the portions are big and rustic and if pizza is more your thing, they’re happy to tweak the toppings to suit your personal preferences..thin based and wood fired. Two pizzas with a carafe of wine and a side salad will set you back about £40. Bargenous.
Busaba Ethai, various locations
I’ve literally eaten my body weight in Thai food here on so many occasions, that I actually can’t face going for a while. The Wardour street branch in Soho is in my view, the original and best, but they also have restaurants at Tottenham Court Road and Westfield amongst others. You can’t book , so don’t turn up starving (or needing a wee) as you’ll have to queue for a place at one of the large tables, which you’ll share with other diners. It’s easier to seat two than five, so this place probably isn’t advisable if there’s a big group of you. My favourites include; Thai Calamari (above photo), the Cod Fillet Stir Fry, Duck Massaman Curry with sticky rice and the Chicken Pandang, which is thigh marinated in herbs and spices then cooked in banana leaf. Nom. Five- ish dishes with wine will set you back around £50.
The brain child of Thomasina Miers, a former Masterchef winner, Wahaca specialises in Mexican street food. With restaurants in Westfield, Covent Garden and now Soho, this place is always busy. It’s fantastic for sharing dishes but beware, it’s very easy to over order and if like me, you can’t stand to waste food, you’ll leave here as full as an egg. The pork burritos with pink pickled onions is a personal favourite, along with the fish tacos and generous helpings of guacamole. Wash it down with a couple of Coronas and you’ll have a tasty meal for a drop in the ocean as five to six dishes with beers will cost around £35-40.
Owned by the Soho House group, but open to mere mortals, this is a great place to meet for drinks or dinner, or both. If you can get a table outside in the summer, it makes for great people watching, but they tend to be reserved and in high demand. The menu is simple and tasty with a good range of options, but every time I go I have the cheeseburger medium rare, with chips and salad. If you fancy something a little more refined, they also have great steaks and salads as well as good nibbly dishes, such as little sausages or humous. A word of warning though, don’t go here if you don’t like house music as they’re always pumping out the tunes. It’s a great venue to go to with friends as it’s so bustling and busy, but if you’re after something more romantic head to Andrew Edmunds around the corner. A one course dinner for two with wine, will cost around £70.
I think what we’ve learned here is a) I hang out in Soho way too much and b) All my nights out revolve around food.
If you do manage to pop along to any of these places, I’d love to hear what you think or if you’ve got a suggestion of somewhere I might like, please let me know in the comment section below. Thanks!