London: Eats Under 20 Quid in London

Aug 20th, 2007, 11:50 AM
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London: Eats Under 20 Quid in London

Fodor's latest e-mail newsletter lists about a dozen 'good-value' restaurants where you can eat for less than 20 pounds.

What do Londoners have to say about these places?
PalenqueBob is offline  
Aug 20th, 2007, 12:01 PM
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Put it down to good judgement or exceptionally perceptive filters, but I don't get the newsletter you mention. I suspect my compatriots are as culturally deprived, too.

Tell us what the restaurants are and you'll get our insight.
flanneruk is offline  
Aug 20th, 2007, 12:11 PM
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Hard to believe you get but can't get their newsletter that regularly covers things about London.

Best London Dining Under 20 Quid
London over the past decade has emerged as a gastro-heaven of bustling bistros, hot resto-lounges, and haute-dining temples. But even a modest meal can cost a fortune if you don't know where to go. Here, we've selected our favorite wallet-friendly eateries that don't skimp on style to deliver amazing dinners. Dig in!

Thai, The City
With booths and communal oak tables, a mainly City lunch crowd wolfs down Coronation chicken and savory pies (chicken-and-tarragon and steak-and-kidney are favorites), with mashed potatoes, greens, or mushy peas. Finish with treacle tart or Eton Mess (strawberries, meringue, and cream). Everything tastes good and is reasonably priced.

Acorn House
Eclectic, Bloomsbury
Perhaps the greenest restaurant in London! All ingredients are seasonal, sustainable, organic, fair-trade, or locally sourced. The water is purified on site, the staff uses biodeisel, the packaging is biodegradable, and all waste is recycled. Wonderfully creative dishes range from yellow beetroot with potatoes to pheasant salad with dandelion.

Anchor & Hope
Modern British, South Bank
Great things at reasonable prices come from the open kitchen at this permanently packed, no-reservations gastro-pub: Crab on toast, and cod with white beans are two standouts. It's informal, cramped, and highly original, and there are often dishes for groups. Expect to share a table, too.

Andrew Edmunds
Mediterranean, Soho
Tucked away behind Oxford and Carnaby streets, this establishment remains a favorite with the media crowd that comes for the daily-changing, fixed-price lunch menus. Starters and main courses draw on the taste of Ireland, the Mediterranean, and Middle East. Dressed crab, feta cheese and barley, or smoked duck with walnuts are all hale and hearty.

Greek, Bloomsbury
Primrose Hill's eternal Greek, vine-decked Lemonia is large and light, and always packed with hungry customers. Besides the usual meze starters, there are hearty mains like baked lamb in lemon and beef stewed in wine. Expect to see posh locals and the occasional film star.

Original Lahore Kebab House
Pakistani, The City
It may be BYO, no-frills, and feel like Karachi inside, but -- wow! -- the Pakistani home-style cooking is brilliant and cheap. Mutton tikka, grilled lamb chops, tarka daal, and karahi chicken are all fiery and super spiced. A meal's nothing at £15 a head, and knocks spots off anything on offer in nearby Brick Lane's Curry Mile.

Busabe Eathai
Thai, Bloomsbury
Expect top value for money at this superior Thai canteen. The menu includes noodles, curries, and stir-fries. We recommend the chicken with butternut squash, cuttlefish curry, or seafood vermicelli studded with prawn, squid, and scallops. There's a crazy-busy site in Soho, or another near Selfridges department store in Mayfair.

Song Qué Café
Vietnamese, The City
A trawl through trendy Hoxton is topped off at this amazing-value Vietnamese canteen. Block out the scuzzy Kingsland location and gaudy decor and instead dive into green papaya salad, tamarind prawns, Vietnamese pancakes, and oodles of pho (beef broth with noodles and sliced steak).

Looking for more suggestions? Browse our London restaurant recommendations by price, neighborhood, and cuisine in our London Dining Planner.

Love London? Fodor's new London guide hits store shelves August 28!
PalenqueBob is offline  
Aug 20th, 2007, 12:13 PM
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I didn't even know they had a newsletter, but you can read it by clicking on the right side somewhere on the front page of Travel Talk.
Christina is offline  
Aug 20th, 2007, 12:20 PM
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Sounds like Fodors needs to do a little more publicizing of their newsletter, which also routinely links snippets of posts from the Europe Travel Talk section.
PalenqueBob is offline  
Aug 20th, 2007, 12:21 PM
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Here's the current issue:

You can sign up for on the home page or if you are already a member, you can click "profile" at the top of the page and opt to receive it on your personal options page.

The direct link to the story is here:

Has anyone visited any of the spots?
Katie_H is offline  
Aug 20th, 2007, 12:28 PM
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We had lunch at the Anchor and Hope in June. We both had a special of "braised beef" -- almost like a slow cooked prime rib, served with a potato cake and vegetables. It was outstanding. Along with a glass of wine for Lee and a beer for me our bill was 30.10 pounds.

We've also eaten at Busabe Eathai, which I think was started by the Wagamama people -- no?? We were at the one in Soho. You sit at huge square communal tables. One couple were playing tongue hockey during the meal which was a bit of a turnoff, and four others at our table were screaming loud and pretty drunk.
The food was good, our luck of the draw in table placement was not so good.
NeoPatrick is online now  
Aug 20th, 2007, 12:31 PM
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Well I hope whoever published this list doesn't intend getting a job selling travel guides.

Because their understanding of London's geography is the weirdest thing I've seen since Fodors published a review that said Oxford was in London.

Lemonia (Regents Pk Rd, Primrose Hill) in Bloomsbury? Kingsland Rd in The City? Swinton St, Islington in Bloomsbury (what IS this Bloomsbury obsession? Virginia Woolf and Lytton Strachey would DIE at the thought Kings Cross is in Bloomsbury)

They really ought to stick to their day jobs.
flanneruk is offline  
Aug 20th, 2007, 01:05 PM
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Thanks for the suggestion; we should advertise the newsletter more in the Forums as I know many of you don't venture to the home page much as much of the excitement is here.

Our categorization of the restaurants' locations are not set in stone and to some degree they are dictated by the guide's format.I'd certainly like to forward any suggestions/corrections to the London editor.

I think there may be two typos (these entries were hand entered into the newsletter as the new guide material is not loaded completely on to the site just yet). Looking over our map in the new London guide Busabe Eathai looks to be a part of Covent Garden. It is mentioned that Lemonia is in Primose Hill; I'm not sure why we have it listed also as Bloomsbury. I will look into it.

But moving on---any other experiences at these restaurants? Thanks Patrick. I ate at Wagamama on my last trip to London and liked the food, but not my lot at the table (was seated next to a fighting couple!) But that's sort of the allure of communal seating... you never know what your experience will be like.
Katie_H is offline  
Aug 20th, 2007, 01:11 PM
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As a matter of fact the Busabe Eathai we ate at is on Wardour in Soho. But there is another one on Store Street by Bedford Square, which IS in Bloomsbury. And the third one is on Bird Street near Bond in Mayfair.
These addresses are from Zagat's.
NeoPatrick is online now  
Aug 20th, 2007, 01:49 PM
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The one we formally include in the guide is the Store St. location; we also do mention the Wardour St. and Bird St. locations.
Katie_H is offline  
Aug 20th, 2007, 01:50 PM
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Though I'm not sure flanner was saying we had that one wrong...
Katie_H is offline  
Aug 20th, 2007, 02:05 PM
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Is that 20 quid a person? What does it include? Because 40 USD doesn't sound that cheap to me.
thursdaysd is offline  
Aug 20th, 2007, 02:15 PM
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It's meant to be per person. They aren't all exactly cheap because of the exchange but they are places that offer great value for your money. As in, you could certainly spend more elsewhere and not have nearly as good of a meal.
Katie_H is offline  
Aug 20th, 2007, 02:51 PM
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Last August we ate at the Busabe Eathai on Wardour Street. We had to eat quickly in order to make our Ceremony of the Keys reservation. The restaurant was hopping, but we got a table and we were in and out in short order. Our table-mates were fine, not friendly but not objectionable. I loved my food, but my daughter (a big fan of Thai food) didn't care for hers.

The biggest problem we had was finding the place from the street address - the numbers didn't seem to be in the right order. After walking up and down Wardour Street we finally stumbled upon it.
noe847 is offline  
Aug 20th, 2007, 02:58 PM
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thursdaysd, have you been to London recently? While $40 per person may sound high -- the list of places that would be $20 per person would be pretty bleak. I don't think this was meant to be just a "cheap eats" thing listing where you can really eat cheaply. This is apparently a list of really good places that don't break the bank. Beside, that's a top price, not necessarily what it will cost. As I mentioned, our great meal at the Anchor and Hope including a drink each and tip ended up being 15 quid (or $30 each, not $40).

Don't forget either than in places like NYC when you say $20 each, that means about $26 with tax and tip. Tax being included and smaller tips in London makes a sizeable difference as well.
NeoPatrick is online now  
Aug 20th, 2007, 03:09 PM
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I'm not sure how much this applies to London restaurants, but outside London you will often pay less if you eat early.

Many restaurants offer reduced prices if you are seated by, say, 6.30, and have vacated your table by 7.30. That means they can seat another party at the table later. The menu you get may be restricted, however.

This is ideal if you are going on to the theatre, and Americans generally like to eat early anyway.
chartley is offline  
Aug 20th, 2007, 06:31 PM
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I was in London last year (melting in the July heat!), but I tend to eat a lot of sandwiches, fish & chips and Indian when I'm in the UK! I don't live in NYC, and I would expect $40 to buy two courses and wine, except at really fancy places, which is why I was asking what it included. I guess prices must have gone up, because I've eaten at Edmunds, and remember it being cheaper - although those were pre-theatre specials.
thursdaysd is offline  
Aug 21st, 2007, 04:35 AM
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I'm a HUGE fan of the Anchor and Hope. The food is fabulous and being a pub you can have proper beer with your dinner (there is a wine list as well - a good one at that).

The only thing I don't like about it is there's no booking - so you can wait for a table. But it's a nice pub, so that's not too much of an ordeal.
audere_est_facere is offline  
Aug 21st, 2007, 05:00 AM
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Has anyone tried Hot Stuff 19 Wilcox Road, SW8 2XA? The reviews on squaremeal are excellent. Tried to get there last week but ran out of time - perhaps next month.
wombat7 is offline  

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