The West End isn’t the place to come for a bargain, but not all is lost if you’re looking for a wallet-friendly bite in London’s busy tourist hub. Here’s where to find Covent Garden’s best budget restaurants and affordable eats.
A healthy yet affordable lunchtime option, Koshari Street serves up authentic Egyptian street food with a focus on vegetarian and vegan dishes. Their signature dish is the namesake, koshari: a pot of rice, pasta, lentils and chickpeas topped with onions, tomato sauce and spices.
Pie and mash is a traditional British staple that’s guaranteed to fill you up. Battersea Pie Station, in the heart of Covent Garden’s famous market, is one of the best purveyors of pies in the business. You can get old-fashioned pastry, free-range meat and creamy mash, all topped with plenty of gravy for under a tenner.
A hotel on the Strand isn’t the first place you’d have in mind for a bargain meal, but you’ll find just that at The India Club, a restaurant hidden away in the Strand Continental Hotel. Originally a meeting place for civil servants employed at the nearby High Commission of India, those able to find the restaurant today will be rewarded with cheap, tasty South Indian fare. Mains are on offer for as little as a fiver.
This Covent Garden crêperie and cidrothèque (aka cider bar) brings the food of Brittany to Covent Garden, and at a great price. You can get a plain galette for as little as £3.55, or a boozy dessert crêpe piled with bananas, chocolate, Chantilly cream and flambé rum for under £8, with less decadent options costing far less. Forget flimsy pancakes – these babies are big.
This deli-café close to The National Gallery specialises in high-quality Italian agricultural produce, including from their own farms in Cremona. Hot food such as pasta and polenta is on offer, but it’s the paninis, made with their namesake Rosetta rolls, cured meats and cheeses, that are the real draw.
Finding cheap noodles isn’t difficult when you’re this close to Chinatown, and Lanzhou Noodle Bar serves up the best of the bunch. You can watch hand-pulled noodles being made from scratch, before being cooked to order and added to a soup or stir-fried. The noodle bar is open late, too, should you get noodle cravings in the middle of the night.