Binge On A Budget: London’s Best Cheap Eats

If you’re looking to save money on eating out this January, there are plenty of budget-friendly restaurants guaranteed to whet your appetite without leaving a hole in your wallet. From Padella’s purse-friendly pasta to Kanada-Ya’s budget bowls of ramen, we’ve whittled down London’s best cheap eats…


Bánh Bánh Brixton

Brixton newcomer Bánh Bánh serves a range of Vietnamese favourites, from bbq beef in betel leaves to sticky chicken wings and bánh khot pancakes (mini turmeric and coconut pancakes with tiger prawns and shrimp), all inspired by the owners' grandmother’s recipe book from when she worked as a chef in Saigon in the 1940s. A new brunch menu has a strong Viet/French influence and a wide selection of vegan dishes. Standout plates include the eggs bò né, a classic Vietnamese version of steak and eggs with beef steak, pâté, grilled tomato and a fried egg, served with a warm baguette.
Price: Small dishes start at £5.
326 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, SW9 8QH

Market Hall Fulham

With a 200-seat capacity, Market Hall Fulham allows guests to take their pick of the seven traders, mixing and matching meals as they go, before grabbing a spot at one of the communal tables. We’re big fans of Super Taco’s soft-shell tacos (complete with a DIY salsa bar), Butchies' fried chicken sandwiches and Made of Dough’s truffle pizza (portobello mushrooms, white alba truffle oil, fior di latte mozzarella and thyme). In December 2018, the team opened a similar set-up in Victoria, and its biggest spot to date will launch in the West End later this year.
Price: Tacos from £3.50 each.
472 Fulham Road, Fulham SW6 1BY

Berber & Q Shawarma Bar 

Berber & Q Shawarma Bar opened in Exmouth Market in 2016, specialising in rotisserie Middle Eastern meats slow-cooked over charcoal and wood. Taking influence and inspiration from the streets and cafe culture of Tel Aviv, this restaurant from the team behind Haggerston’s Berber & Q features the same bold flavours and must-try meats. We like to order the squid ink taramasalata (£6.50) followed by the lamb shawarma (£9.50). 

Price: Mezze from £5.50. 

46 Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, EC1R 4QE 


Brick House Bakery 

We’re big fans of Brick House, the duo of bakeries in East Dulwich and Peckham specialising in slow-fermentation, San Francisco-style sourdough. The modern cafes serve seasonal menus based on the team’s sourdoughs and other homemade products such as charcuterie, jams, pickles, chutneys and pastries. We like to head in for brunch – we always order the toasted brioche with fresh fig, mascarpone, ginger crumble and honey at £8.50. 

Price: Avocado on toast costs just £4.50. 

1 Zenoria Street, East Dulwich, SE22 8HP and 12-16 Blenheim Grove, Peckham Rye, SE15 4QL   


The Cheese Bar 

Having made 150,000 grilled cheese sandwiches and melted over 20 tonnes of British cheese with The Cheese Truck, Matthew Carver opened his first permanent restaurant in Grade I-listed Camden Stables Market in 2017. The Cheese Bar’s menu is crammed with dishes that champion urban cheesemakers in Greater London. From La Latteria in Acton to Peckham’s Gringa Dairy, cheese lovers can choose from over 30 different types of British fromage – we love ‘Fondue Thursdays’, where for £14pp you can get stuck into four different fondues. 

Price: Grilled cheese from £7.50. 

94 Camden Stables, Camden, NW1 8AP 


Maison Bab 

Maison Bab is a new style of kebab house, complete with a picture-perfect setting, a bar that pours out CBD cocktails and hidden ten-seater fine-dining restaurant. The eight-strong kebab menu (all priced under £10) sits alongside a selection of starters, such as meat butter naan (a must-order) and superlative babaganoush. There’s also a focus on vegan dishes – think celeriac shish: miso-marinated celeriac chunks, wrapped with pickled onion rings, toum and chilli sauce. 

Price: Mains start at £8. 

4 Mercer Street, Covent Garden, WC2H 9FA 


Roti King 

Roti King specialises in serving up authentic Malaysian dishes. Hidden away in a basement around the corner from Euston station, the restaurant is small and simple, and features an open kitchen where guests can watch roti (Malaysian flatbread) be made on the spot. Given its name and reputation, the roti is a must order – we like the chicken murtabak with minced chicken and egg filling (£5.50). If you’re staying south, head into Market Halls Victoria, where the team has a new spot in the shape of Gopal’s Corner. 

Price: Roti starts from £5. 

40 Doric Way, Euston, NW1 1LH 


Zia Lucia 

Leading the charge in London’s pizza renaissance, Zia Lucia has become renowned for its 48-hour slow-fermented doughs: traditional, wholemeal, gluten free and black vegetable charcoal. New for 2019 is its third location at Boxpark Wembley, which features a new addition to the menu, the ‘Burrata Bar’, which showcases creamy burrata sourced from Puglia. Diners will be able to top their burrata (£4.50) with ingredients such as smoked salmon and avocado, spicy Spianata salami, or roasted peppers, and every last morsel of cheese can be mopped up with fresh focaccia. 

Price: Pizza from £6.90. 

157 Holloway Road, Islington, N7 8LX; 61 Blythe Road, Hammersmith, W14 0HP; and Boxpark Wembley, 18 Olympic Way, Wembley, HA9 0JT 



There’s no better place to indulge your pasta fix than at Padella – London’s hottest new Italian eatery, and winner of Observer Food Monthly’s “Best Cheap Eats”. Feast on flavoursome classics including the likes of tagliatelle with nduja, mascarpone and parsley; pappardelle with eight-hour Dexter beef shin ragu; and ravioli of Neal’s Yard goats curd with marjoram butter. Each dish is priced between £5 and £10, which means you can either be frugal or order twice as much as usual. There are no reservations, so you will have to queue, but it’s well worth the wait.

Price: between £5 and £10 per dish

Padella, Southwark



Specialising in authentic Tonkotsu ramen, Kanada-Ya was founded by Kanada Kazuhiro in Yukuhashi, Japan, back in 2009. The restaurant’s signature ramen consists of noodles, tonkotsu broth, secret sauce (imported from the original restaurant, and hand-made by Kanada himself), wood ear fungus mushroom (kikurage), finely sliced spring onion, chashu pork belly and a sheet of nori. Best of all, all noodles are made on site and customers are able to request how firm they like them. The best ramen in London? We think so. 

Price: Ramen starts at £7. 

3 Panton Street, Piccadilly, SW1Y 4DL, 64 St Giles High Street, Covent Garden, WC2H 8LE and 35 Upper Street, Islington, N1 0PN 


Ahi Poké

This laid-back poké hangout specialises in build-your-own poké bowls. You choose a base of quinoa, sushi rice or kale, with a mix of proteins or veg including salmon, ahi tuna or shrimp, topped with your choice of sauce and salad toppings. There are signature bowls on the menu, too, if you find you can’t make up your mind which toppings you want.

Price: Signature bowls start from £6.45

Locations in Soho, Fitzorivia and Shoreditch


Bun House

Inspired by 1960s Hong Kong, Bun House recalls the era’s tea house street stalls – you’ll even find a Tea Room speakeasy hidden downstairs beneath the main restaurant space, where you can drink authentic Chinese brews and alcoholic tipples until the early hours. Steamed bao buns are the stars of the menu, with pig, lamb, chicken, fish and veggie options, as well as an interesting collection of pickles – think daikon, jicama, blue garlic and seasonal choy – and small dishes including chilli tripe, lotus root crisp and wood ear salad.

Price: Boa buns, £2.50

24 Greek St, Soho, W1D 4DZ

Visit Bun.House

Flat Iron

If you’re after somewhere cheap and cheerful for steak night, Flat Iron is your best bet. Whilst the menu is small, and prices pleasing – you can grab a steak and salad for £10 – you’ll be guaranteed good quality cuts of meat, cooked to perfection. Tuck into succulent steaks served with an array of indulgent sides – think dripping cooked chips, creamed spinach and blue cheese salad.

Price: Steak with salad, £10

Locations in Soho, Shoreditch, Covent Garden and Notting Hill



This small family-run restaurant headed by Nirmal Save, once a chef at Mayfair’s Tamarind, is one of the best places to sample India’s rustic, home-style cuisine – it’s been awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand for its mouth-watering Mumbai-inspired fare. Sharing plates of spicy venison and vermicelli doughnut, chettinad pulled duck and karwari soft shell crab will transport the taste buds to the bustling streets of India, whilst the intimate setting and delightfully friendly staff will make you feel right at home.

Price: Plates range from £3 to £12

11 White’s Row, Spitafields, E1 7NF


Le Bab

A purveyor of posh kebabs, Le Bab is London’s answer to gourmet Middle Eastern grub.  This Soho hotspot serves up a mean selection of seriously beautiful kebabs. They’re served open sandwich-style on thin, homemade flatbreads, and topped with a range of locally sourced meat and seasonal veg. Choose from small plates of braised lamb shoulder, beef shin and onion bhajis with smoked chilli mayo; charcoal grilled cod cheek with lemon hummus, wild garlic and Szechuan pepper; and Lokma doughnut with spiced chicken liver parfait. Kebabs come in the form of corn fed chicken shish; Herdwich lamb adana; and free-range pork shawarma.

Price: Kebabs served in flatbread with salad and all the trimmings range from £9 to £12

Top Floor, Kingly Court, Carnaby Street W1B 5PW


Pizza Pilgrims

One of our favourite pizza joints, if you’re looking for something quick and satisfying, you’ll be hard pushed to find anywhere better than Pizza Pilgrims. Serving up a heavy hit of deliciously addictive Napoli-inspired street food alongside zingy cocktails, pizzas are soft and chewy, Neapolitan style, with thick bases and scattered with on-trend toppings – think ’nduja, salsiccia and smoked chilli jam mascarpone. The calzone with Napoli salami, ricotta and mushroom, topped with tomato, fior di latte and parmesan is utterly divine.

Price: Pizzas range from £5.50 to £10.50

Locations in Soho, Exmouth Market. West India Quay, Covent Garden, Aldgate and Shoreditch


Café Sou

Soho House Group’s très jolie take on a plush Parisian railway café. The least formal of the Ned’s vibrant food offerings, this quaint café serves up a glorious selection of small quick eats – think sourdough baguettes, rillettes, quiches, salads, omelettes and pretty patisseries – alongside coffees, teas and a good selection of French wines.

Price: Quiche, £4 a slice; half baguette ,£9; omelette served with frisée & rocket salad, £7



With locations in Soho, Fitzrovia and a small street food-style shack taking residence in Netil Market, Taiwanese steamed bun experts Bao yield the best buns in the capital. There’s always a queue outside, so be prepared to wait, but once you’re in, you’ll be in heaven, with signature buns stuffed with the likes of tender pork belly with peanut powder and pickled lettuce; soy milk marinated fried chicken with kimchi and Sichuan mayo; and lamb shoulder with coriander sauce, garlic mayo and soy pickled chili. Save room for something sweet – there’s a fried Horlicks ice cream bao on the menu that’s definitely worth sampling.

Price: less than £5 per bun

Bao, locations in Soho, Fitzrovia and Netil Market, Hackey


Brasserie Zédel 

A longstanding French restaurant from the team behind The Wolseley and The Delaunay, Brasserie Zedel offers traditional Gallic dishes in beautiful Art-Deco surroundings (it’s described by Pierre Koffman as “the only real brasserie in London”).  With a surprisingly affordable set menu, that allows  you to  tuck into a carrot salad, and steak haché with French fries and pepper sauce for just £10.50. Away from cassoulet and escargot, there’s cracking cocktails to be had in Bar Americain, and live music aplenty in cabaret bar Crazy Coqs. 

Price: Prix fixe menu starts at £10.50 for two courses. 

20 Sherwood St, Soho, London W1F 7ED 


The Good Egg

A relatively new hotspot, but one that’s proving popular amongst hungry hipsters. On the weekends, you’ll have to scramble to secure a table, but when you do finally get a spot, the brunches are a delight to devour. The food has a Middle Eastern edge, with colourful, flavoursome dishes including Iraqui aubergine pitta with egg, date jam and pickled cucumber; shakshuka baked eggs with tomatoes and peppers; homemade granola with house labneh and seasonal fruits; and Montreal smoked meat hash with pastrami, smoked short-rib, fried potatoes, zhoug, pickles and two fried eggs.

Price: around £9.50

The Good Egg, Church Street, Stoke Newington

Visit TheGoodEgg.Co

Chick ‘n’ Sours

With its loud, party atmosphere, you could quite easily forget you’re sat in a grungy fried chicken shop. That is, until a towering buttermilk fried chicken burger is placed in front of you, stacked to the rafters with crunchy ‘slaw, sweet pickles and tangy gochujang mayo. Their chicken offerings come with a spicy Korean twist, as well as a large selection of cocktails. Dangerously good, and it won’t cost you much more than a tenner for the biggest, most delicious chicken burger you’ve ever tasted.

Price: from £10 for a burger

Chick ‘n’ Sours, Seven Dials and Haggerston


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