Being a foodie in London isn’t cheap – to dine in the city’s finest restaurants you can expect to shell out upwards of £100 a head. But if you’re savvy, there are ways to taste Michelin-star meals on… well, not quite a shoestring, but certainly less than you might expect.
Pollen Street Social
Jason Atherton’s pièce de résistance Pollen Street Social is slick and smart, giving you full-on Michelin vibes from the moment you walk in the door. Lunch is a great deal, with two courses for £32. Go for a pudding and have it at the dessert bar, where the pastry chefs will whip it up before your very eyes.
8-10 Pollen St, Mayfair, London, 020 7290 7600
Fergus Henderson’s no-frills restaurant has been credited with sparking the nose-to-tail eating movement by making offcuts fancy. Bypass the restaurant and instead opt for a light supper in the bar, where many of the dishes on the menu come in under a tenner.
26 St John St, Clerkenwell, London, 020 7251 0848
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The menu at Lyle’s changes all the time, but the price for a five-course dinner sticks at about £45 per head. Best of all, wine starts from just £23 a bottle (almost unheard of for a restaurant of this standard), so while this might not be the cheapest option on the list, it certainly offers bang for your buck.
Tea Building, 56 Shoreditch High St, London, 020 3011 5911
The Gilbert Scott
Located in the outrageously grand St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, Marcus Wareing’s sophisticated restaurant offers three courses for £30 if you go at some quite specific times during the week. Experience the best in classic British cuisine.
St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, Euston Rd, Kings Cross, London, 020 7278 3888
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It may have been ‘demoted’ from Michelin status in 2015, but Medlar’s regulars still consider it to be up there with the best – Observer food critic Jay Rayner describes the understated and elegant restaurant as being ‘as good as it gets’. That’s more than enough to convince us, especially with Sunday and midweek lunch menus starting at £25.
… And a bonus, wildcard option:
Though it doesn’t have a Michelin star of its own, StreetXo is the sister restaurant to DiverXO, Madrid’s only three-Michelin star restaurant by acclaimed ‘badboy’ chef David Muñoz. It’s totally bonkers and a bit heavy on the gimmicks, but the food really is great.
15 Old Burlington St, Mayfair, London, 020 3096 7555