Eat & Drink in London

I went home to London for a couple of weeks in January and was amazed at just how good and affordable UK cuisine has become (I’m being serious!).

Now, I’m a west Londoner born and bred and growing up around Hammersmith / Shepherds Bush wasn’t exactly a gastronomic experience unless Tennessee Fried Chicken (we didn’t even have a KFC at the time) was your thing.

I decided to stay in Shepherds Bush this trip, a stones throw from Westfields. The UK was having a cold snap when I arrived and It was like they’d moved Bondi Junction into a fridge, It took me a few days to get my head around seeing my local shopping centre sitting in West London!!

Having not been back to the UK for a few years I quickly decided that I would explore how London’s food experience had changed and boy was I suprised. I had 14 days to explore so I figured I could try some great places to grab a bite to eat.

I’ve listed some of the best places I found that offered great food at great prices all at under 10 pounds………….

abu-zaad-0041Abu Zaad, Shepherd’s Bush
This is a buzzy Syrian restaurant  which offers fantastic Middle Eastern and Eastern Mediterranean food at remarkably low prices. They offer all the favourites including hummus, tabbouleh, Lebanese fattoush salad, moussaka, Moroccan tagines, aubergine and grilled kebabs. My favourite dish was the Makloba, a dish of rice, aubergine, lamb and pine nuts cooked together in a special sauce.  Takeaway/eat-in prices: wraps from £2.25, starters from £2.50/£3, mains from £4.50/£5.50. 29 Uxbridge Road, W12 (+44 (0) 20-8749 5107, abuzaad.co.uk)

Clarke’s Shop, Kensington
This deli-cafe next to sally clarke’s restaurant has a fantastic takeaway selection from the deli counter. A slice of celeriac and parmesan tart (£3.10) and a Gloucester Old Spot sausage roll (£3.25), were both very, very good. Still warm from the restaurant kitchens. Eat in: breakfast £1.90-£6, lunch £2.90-£7.80. Takeaway snacks and sandwiches: £1.50-£4. 122 Kensington Church Street, W8 (+44 (0) 20-7229 2190, sallyclarke.com/shop.php)

mr-falafel4Mr Falafel, Shepherd’s Bush
Do not miss Mr Falafel.  Ahmad Yassine dispenses nutty, herby crisp-fried falafel of a remarkable fluffy lightness in various wraps. Accompaniments such as hummus, tahini sauce, pickled turnips and cucumbers add layers of spiky flavour. Falafel wraps from £3. Open 11am-6pm, closed Sunday. Units T4-T5, New Shepherd’s Bush Market, Uxbridge Road, W12 (+44 (0) 7798 906668, mrfalafel.co.uk)

White Horse, Parson’s Green, Fulham
This pub has a great selection of beers a fantastic atmosphere and various good quality sandwiches available until 6pm; my favorite was the home-cured honey roast ham or the rare roast beef sandwich. Outside of that, bar snacks are available including  the ploughman’s, potted crab and pork pie. Sandwiches and bar snacks £4.50-£8.25. 1-3 Parson’s Green, SW6 (+44 (0)20-7736 2115, whitehorsesw6.com)

books-for-cooks-001Books for Cooks, Notting Hill
This is a bright little cafe. Quality is high, prices remarkably low (three courses, £7) The daily menu typically consists of a starter, a main and several cakes, with customers free to eat as much or as little as they wish. A sample plate of Turkish-style chicken with black-eyed beans was boldly flavoured peasant food at its best and at £4, incredibly good value. One course £4, two for £5, three for £7. 4 Blenheim Crescent, W11, (+44 (0) 20-7221 1992, booksforcooks.com)

Albion at the Boundary, Shoreditch
 Albion is a great place to eat.  There are made-to-order sandwiches, savoury pies and tarts, biscuits and cakes, and chilled drinks of a Meantime Brewery/Fentiman’s quality. A sample pork and chutney pie in thick, glossy pastry is superb. Cakes and biscuits from 55p, snacks/sandwiches £2.50-£5. 2-4 Boundary Street, E2 (+44 (0)20-7729 1051, albioncaff.co.uk)

tayyabs-004Tayyabs, Whitechapel
This Pakistani grill and curry house is very, very good. Tayyabs’ long-marinated grilled lamb chops (four for £6) are fantastic, don’t be surprised to find yourself gnawing the bone long after the meat has gone. Curry and rice for around £7-£8, this is exceptional food at exceptional prices. Starters from 95p, mains from £5.20. No alcohol sold, BYO no corkage. 83-89 Fieldgate Street, E1 (+44 (0)20-7247 6400, tayyabs.co.uk)

Malletti, Soho and Clerkenwell
 Malletti serves remarkably good pizza. My favorite was the thin, crisp base slathered in a wonderfully sweet, nicely acidic tomato and then topped with mozzarella, fresh, rugged tangles of spinach and plump preserved artichoke hearts. Pizza slice £3.95. 26 Noel Street, W1 (+44 (0)20-7439 4096). Second branch at 174-176 Clerkenwell Road, EC1

lantana-london-0021Lantana Cafe, Fitzrovia
The food is great  at Australian-owned Lantana. Lantana does a gourmet steak sandwich on sourdough at £11, but is worth it for that extra pound! They also do a fantastic rare roast beef sandwich with caramelised onions, rocket and a brilliant horseradish  (£3.80). They do wrap-soup-salad-sweet combo deals (£4.50-£6). Lantana, breakfast £2.50-£9, lunch dishes £4.50-£11. 13 Charlotte Place, W1 (+44 (0)20-7637 3347, lantanacafe.co.uk)

Yalla Yalla, Soho and Oxford Street
Yalla Yalla is a small Lebanese side street cafe-restaurant. If you choose to take away, it is fantastically good value – £3.50 will get you a huge flatbread wrap stuffed with tiny, hot juicy soujoc lamb sausages, peppery, sumac-seasoned omelette and lightly pickled vegetables. Takeaway prices – pastries/wraps £2-£4, mains £6-£10. 1 Green’s Court, London, W1 (+44 (0)20-7287 7663, yalla-yalla.co.uk). Second branch at 12 Winsley Street (just off Oxford Street), W1

The above is my top 10. They were either reccommended to me by friends in London or I just stumbled upon them. My absolute favorite was Lantana mostly due to the excellent food, value for money (The combo deal!!) and laid back staff.

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