Cheap Eats

November 16, 2016

NOODLE SOUP | OLYMPIC CAFE | UP TO £5.90

Waterloo Station might not be the first place you'd think to look for a good quality, no frills, classic Chinese café - many would head straight to Chinatown for that. But tucked away on Lower Marsh Street, a short walk from the Westminster Bridge exit of the station, you'll find just that at Olympic Cafe.

With a menu that's mercifully concise compared to so many other Chinese establishments (only two pages here), this all day cafe covers soups, sides, noodle dishes, and rice dishes.

Every meal is £6 or less, so feel free to select whatever you fancy. But you'll find it hard to go wrong with the noodle soup section, especially on a brisk day. Simple and comforting broth, a load of thin egg noodles, lots of veg, your meat of choice, and a side of chilli sauce to ladle on to your heart's content.

The roast duck was great (£5.80), but I never can eat fat that isn't crispy. Next time, I'll be going for what my friend had, the crackling pork noodle soup (£5.80). Or the porky won ton noodle soup (£5). With a large glass of warm and sweet ginger and honey tea, our meal came to a meagre £6.80 each, and we were stuffed. You could even order a side or dessert and still stay under our magic £8 mark, such as some prawn crackers (£1.40), their slightly spicy sweet and sour pickled cabbage (£1.80), or ice cream (£2).

A great spot, with warm and friendly service too. I'll be swinging by whenever I'm in transit at Waterloo.

September 19, 2016

Bonnington Café, Vauxhall

Originally a squat, this restaurant in picturesque Bonnington Square — just a couple of minutes away from less picturesque Vauxhall station — is now a restaurant co-operative. In the region of 20 different cooks take it in turns to head-up the kitchen, taking residency for the day and preparing their own menus. You need to contact said chef directly to book or to make enquiries about the menu (their details are on the website), but you’re rewarded for your efforts with mains for £6-£8 and starters and desserts for half that. Plus it’s BYO with no corkage. With so many rotating cooks it does have a tendency to be a little hit and miss — but that’s all part of the gamble.
Bonnington Café, 11 Vauxhall Grove, SW8 1TD

August 7, 2016

A mangal and Raki bar in Marylebone

Yes, Marylebone is getting its very own Turkish tavern. This grill restaurant and bar will be serving cold meze, hot starters, grilled dishes, and clay oven baked dishes and sides; there will even be a coal pit for roasting lamb.

Lovely vegetable dishes such as golden beetroot served with garlic and dill will make an appearance too, as will manti, which are like little Turkish dumplings served with yoghurt sauce and chilli oil. We love them. They’ll also serve what is arguably the best Turkish dessert of all time – kunefe – a syrup-soaked pastry dish with a molten cheese centre.

 

There will be Turkish wines on the list, something we’re seeing much more of in recent years, and drinks man Matt Whiley has been commissioned to draw up a cocktail of Raki-based refreshments.

Yosma, 50 Baker Street, W1U 7B. Open: End of August.

July 8, 2016

The Best New London Restaurants To Try In July

Peruvian Inspiration

Martin Morales, founder of Peruvian restaurant Ceviche, will open a restaurant called Casita Andina later this month. Inspired by the family run restaurants of the Andes, called 'picanteria' (many of which are attached to farms, allotments or orchards) it will comprise a basement kitchen, ceviche counter, takeaway area and patio. Peruvian dishes will use traditional ingredients such as quinoa, fish and chocolate.

Casita Andina, 31 Great Windmill Street, W1D 7LP. Opens: 28 July.

 

Scandi Smokehouse

Rök Smokehouse and Bar have announced the opening of their second site, this time in Islington. A 60 seat restaurant and bar will open on Upper Street, serving the same Nordic influenced food as their Shoreditch site. New dishes will include mackerel with pickled onions and flamed crisp bread, and guinea fowl with cured pork belly and butter poached wild vegetables.

Rök Smokehouse and Bar, 49 Upper Street, N1 1RA. Opens: 1 July.

 

Proper Kebabs

The much-anticipated shawarma bar from the guys behind Haggerston restaurant Berber & Q is set to open this month in Exmouth Market. The new restaurant will, unsurprisingly, specialise in shawarma, alongside Middle Eastern cocktails, wine and beer. Lamb shawarma and chicken will be served on plates with herb salad, green chilli, grated tomato, tahini and sumac onions. Guests can then make wraps with the various elements… or not. Other dishes will be available, like Berber & Q’s hugely popular grilled cauliflower, which made it onto our list of the best cauliflower dishes in London.

Berber & Q Shawarma Bar, 46 Exmouth Market, EC1R 4QE. Opens: 4 July.