I love eating out but London can be a pretty expensive place to go if you don’t know your way around, so I’ve put together some reviews of a few of my favourite places to eat out in London without breaking the bank. A lot of these aren’t in the central, touristy areas of London but are definitely worth going out of your way to find if you have time to explore outside of the city centre. So whether you’re on holiday in London looking to escape the busy tourist restaurants and find something a bit more quirky, or you live here but are interested in finding exciting new places to dine out, check out these reviews.
133 Streatham High Road, London, SW16 1HJ
This restaurant is on Streatham High Road, an area that, as much as I love it because I live here, doesn’t have much going on for outsiders. However, if you find yourself in South West London, it’s definitely worth the trip to Streatham just to find this restaurant. Tiger has to be my favourite place to eat out in London. I visit it about two or three times a month and everyone I’ve taken there has absolutely loved it too.
This small restaurant isn’t much to look at but don’t let that put you off as the food is excellent. It serves both Chinese and Vietnamese food but while the Chinese food is good, it doesn’t stand out as anything amazing. The Vietnamese food, on the other hand, is truly delicious! Begin with a starter of Summer Rolls, (£3), order a huge bowl of Pho, (Vietnamese noodle soup), or Bun Thit Nuong, (noodle salad with BBQ pork slices), for main, (about £5:50 – £6 each, and enough to fill up even the hungriest of bellies), and wash it all down with a pot of green tea of a couple of Hanoi or Saigon beers. Heavenly! This is simply my favourite meal to order but I’ve worked my way through their entire Vietnamese menu and I can recommend absolutely everything on it! A meal for two will normally cost about £20 for two for starters, mains and a pot of green tea. Bargain!
1 Shrubbery Road, Streatham, SW16 2AS
Another great place to eat out in Streatham if you find yourself in the area is Wholemeal. This has got to be the best Vegetarian / Vegan restaurant I’ve ever been to. It’s been open for about twenty years, which is saying something for a London business, and seems to be growing more and more popular all the time. With big hearty portions of home cooked food, this is one of the only Vegetarian restaurants that I’ve been able to take my meat eating friends to without them complaining that they feel like they are eating rabbit food. It’s even won over my “no meat no meal” boyfriend! The website doesn’t do their menu justice as most of what they serve changes daily and so it is up on a specials board. My absolute favourite thing to order is the Homity pie, a mashed potato, pea and onion pie topped with cheese, accompanied by the most delicious side salad I’ve ever come across! They do a range of delicious desserts including fruit crumble with soy custard, and, my favourite, banoffi pie. A main and dessert for two will set you back between £20 and £25.
132 Brixton Hill, London, SW2 1RS
Just up the road from Streatham, Brixton should be on the tourist trail for any one coming to London. It may not be squeaky clean or full of big tourist attractions like the centre of London, but it has colour, culture, vibrancy and a big heart. With a large West Indian and Caribbean community, Brixton is often sought by foodies looking for an authentic Jerk Chicken and there is nowhere better than Negril. If there’s good weather take a seat outside in the evening sun. They have an extensive menu that includes all the Caribbean classics; salt fish fritters, curried goat, fried plantain and, of course, jerk chicken. For the vegetarians and vegans among you, there is plenty to get your taste buds going as they have a special Ital section to their menu which is strictly vegan. Everything on their menu looks amazing but I can highly recommend the Negril Platter for two. At only £24.95 for two, this feast will get you half a jerk chicken, fried plantain, rice and peas, chips, coleslaw, mixed salad, salt fish fritters and gravy, (all of it is amazing but the gravy is the highlight)! They also do breakfasts which I have never tried but everything on the menu gets my mouth watering! They don’t have an alcohol licence but you can bring your own booze for a small corkage fee per person.
3 Fernlea Road, London, SW12 9RT
Just around the corner from Balham underground station is Tagine, an authentic Moroccan restaurant. This beautifully decorated restaurant gets busy at the weekends so it is wise to book in advance. I like to go for the low down Moroccan tables by the window, but for those who find it uncomfortable sitting down so low they have regular tables and chairs too, (it’s worth specifying in advance which you would prefer). It’s one of the more expensive restaurants that I’m reviewing but still very reasonably priced for what you get, and a lot cheaper than the restaurants you will find up in town. Starters range from £4.99 up to £14 and include tasty treats such as Slaia Barda, (sliced beetroot with honey, cinnamon, olive oil and balsamic vinegar), Zalook, (aubergine compote cooked with tomato sauce, parsley and coriander), and Merguez Meshwi, (char grilled spicy lamb sausages). For mains choose from their wide selection of delicious tagines. I can highly recommend the Chicken Djaj Tagine, the Fish Tagine and the Lamb Barbouk Tagine. If the weather is good, relax outside after your meal with a shisha. The only thing I wouldn’t recommend is the mint tea, which is very tempting to complete the whole Moroccan experience with but is wildly over priced at £6 for a small pot, which for mint leaves, green tea and sugar I think is unreasonable. They don’t have an alcohol license so you can bring your own booze in for a small corkage fee per person.
Jin Go Gae.
272 Burlington Road, New Malden, KT3 4NL
Once again this is a restaurant that isn’t set in the most beautiful or interesting of areas but it is quite close to Wimbledon which many tourists come to for the tennis and so if you happen to be nearby, it is worth going a little out of your way to find this amazing Korean restaurant. From the outside you would never guess that Jin Go Gae is a place of culinary delight as it is rather run down looking, but don’t let that fool you. Inside you will usually find the place full of Korean diners, (it’s always a good sign when a restaurant is full of people from that country). It’s only a very tiny restaurant and get’s full pretty quickly and so it’s a good idea to book ahead if you can. They have regular tables and chairs but also have two separate rooms, each with two low down tables with bbq grills in the centre, which you sit at on cushions on the floor, which is where I like to eat. These rooms can also be hired as private rooms. We were last there over a year ago and so I’m not sure if things have changed but we were given several small dishes as a complimentary starter which were all sensational. We ordered starters before we realised we were getting the complimentary dishes and so ended up with too much food as they would have been enough on their own. However, the extra starters we ordered were amazing. In particular we enjoyed a dish of thin slices of chilled raw beef topped with pear, honey and a raw egg. It sounds weird, I know, but it was actually rather delicious, if not a rather large portion for two people. It would be great for four people to share though. For mains try pork and/or king prawn bbq which you cook yourself on the bbq grill set in the middle of the table. Overall the food is astonishingly good and, although at the top end of the restaurants I am reviewing, very reasonably priced for the quality of food they deliver, at about £30-£40 for two, including drinks.
21-22 Gerrard Street, London, W1D 6JH
For a tasty snack on the go whilst up in central London head to China Town in Soho and seek out Kowloon, an amazing Chinese bakery that serves an array of delicious sweet and savoury goods. It’s the bakery my nan always used to take us to during trips to China Town and so it gets the Chinese grandmother seal of approval, (which is only achieved by the best Chinese restaurants)! My favourite treats are the Chau Siu Bao and the egg custard tarts. Kowloon is split in two halves. On one side is the bakery and on the other is a sit down restaurant which I have never been to but have heard good things about.
These are just a few of my favourite places to eat in London. I’d be interested in hearing your recommendations so please get in touch and share your favourite restaurants with me!