10 London Meals Under A Tenner

Whether you’re travelling or you’re a full-time Londoner, there’s no point in sugar coating it: London is bloody expensive. Unfortunately for your pockets (but luckily for your Instagram), it’s also one of the best cities in the world in terms of eating out. So how do you reconcile the two? Simples: by trying one of these 10 London meals under a tenner.

1) Beigel Shop

Y’all know I was going to put this one first. I fell for Beigel Shop in 2015 when I lived in Spitalfields (minute of silence for the bachelor pad I can no longer afford). Beigel Bake rescued me from many a drunk night, soaking up the alcohol with my favourite cheese and crispy bacon bagel. SAY WHAT? No salt beef? No salmon and cream cheese? Well, I don’t like either of them. Sue me. That is not the point. The point is that whether you choose my own favourite bagel, or the national favourites, they are going to be under a tenner. Actually, under a fiver. So here’s a picture of me looking like I’ve just met the love of my life – my bagel – after a year spent eating healthy shit in Australia. You’re welcome.

2) Breddos Tacos

With two restaurants dishing out some of the best tacos in London, Breddos is a cheap eat and also a pretty rewarding one. I went to Breddos Clerkenwell on a Monday night and that definitely killed the Monday blues. You can get two tacos for just under a tenner. The Carne Asada taco, complete of miso and bone marrow batter, costs only £4 and the veggie options cost around £3.50. Breddos also has beer on tap on the cheap, so if you’d rather mix your tacos with with beer you can get it for £1.75 (a third of a pint) or £3.50 (two thirds of a pint). It’s a winner.

3) Padella

The queues at Padella will either make you say “Fuck it” or convince you to go. I was part of the latter camp: if people queue, there must be a reason. And they were right. Most bowls of pasta cost £5 or over, and they’re cooked right in front of you. The pasta at padella is handmade and it melts in your mouth. Go for the Gnocchi with sage and nutmeg butter plus glass of house red wine combination – £4 and £5 respectively – or just for the tender, tasty pici cacio & pepe for £6.5. Both great options for fantastic meals under a tenner.

4) Sud Italia

Could pizza be missing from this round-up? Of course not. Sud Italia‘s is one of my favourite pizzas in London. It’s a bit smaller than usual because it comes from the ovens of a Spitalfields food truck. It’s great both for dinner and for lunch, as it’s packed with healthy ingredients and it doesn’t make you feel as guilty as some giant Domino’s. My pick would be the Zucca pizza (£6), because it’s made with Pecorino Sardo D.O.P. (traditional Sardinian cheese) and pumpkin. All Sud Italia’s pizzas are equally worth your love though, so make sure you make a stop!

4) Arabica Bar & Kitchen

If you’re in the mood for a slightly spicier set of carbs, Arabica in Borough Market might be the place for you. Their Sujuk Pide (£8) still fits the bill of yummy meals under a tenner and adds smoked barbecue salad and spicy beef sausage to the heaven that is halloumi. Perfect for a night out or a work lunch!

5) Ahi Poké

I know what you’re saying. WTF Carolina, it’s January. How about dieting? How about something healthy? OK, OK, I hear you. Enter Ahi Poké in Percy Street, a shiny new branch in Spitalfields and soon one to come in Canary Wharf. I missed poké real bad after trying it at Salmon & Bear in Sydney’s Newtown and on Coogee Beach, and I had been struggling to find decent ones here after a really underwhelming poké bowl at Abocado. Poké is a staple of Hawaiian cuisine, and at Ahi Poké it consists in a base of either kale, brown rice or quinoa with your choice of protein: salmon, ahi tuna, shrimp or mushroom. Toppings include fried onions, ginger, carrot, kimchee cucumber, pineapple edamame and chili grapefruit. You can add sauces and shallots, too. A small bowl costs £7.95, a large one £9.95 (while the veggie ones are respectively £5.95 for a small bowl and £7.95 for a large). There you go: healthy, under a tenner. Now shut up.

6) Yum Bun

All I have to say is: steamed buns. For less than a tenner. Heaven. With stalls at Spitalfields Market and all the Street Feasts (currently Giant Robot and Hawker House) Yum Bun is a fun lunch or dinner option, with two buns costing £7.50 or a lunch box with two buns of choice, two crispy veg gyoza and crunchy asian slaw for only £9. Don’t thank me, thank them.
Picture by: Yum Bun

7) E Pellicci

Traditional East End caf E Pellicci is kinda marvellous, especially if you’re an Italian immigrant who loves British culture like me. Lately immortalised in Tom Hardy’s Legend as the spot where Ronnie and Reggie Kray would have their breakfast, it’s one of the few places where Italian immigrants switch between Italian dialect and a full-blown cockney accent swiftly. Go in for the Full English (£5.50 for the original one, £5 for the veggie option) or for lasagne, cannelloni or pasta (all around £7). And for a laugh, too – one of the owners told me and my friends off because we were talking too much and our food was getting cold, like only an Italian mother would.

8) Bibimbap Soho

The perfect Soho lunch option, Bibimbap serves the typical Korean dish of the same name for around £8.50 – whether that’s in the spicy pork, beef bulgogi or chili chicken option.

9) Detox Kitchen Carnaby

There you go, another healthy option, but an interesting one: Detox Kitchen Carnaby. With a selection of soups, wraps, sandwiches and breakfast toasts, the Detox Kitchen offers plenty of satisfying, guilt-free meals under a tenner. Just look at this berry and yoghurt toast!

10) Wildflower Peckham

I went to the launch of this unique little Peckham gem this Wednesday (if you’ve seen my tipsy stories you’ll have noticed it was a riot!) and I really recommend it if you’re trying Veganuary or to go veggie this year. On the fifth floor of the Peckham Levels building, Wildflower offers lunch, brunch and dinner and it doubles up as a cocktail bar at night. My pick would be the baked eggs, roasted tomato and pepper sauce served with yoghurt and flat bread  (£8.5), a filling veggie meal to carry you through a whole night. Plus, if you’re not keen on just staying at Wildflower, you’ve got the whole revamped Peckham levels around you. You’ve got nothing to lose!

Picture by: Wildflower

Pictures: by me unless differently stated

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