One of London’s busiest streets, Oxford Circus can induce hunger in even the most well-prepared of shoppers. Whether you’re working in a nearby office, visiting for the day to stock up on luxuries only available in the city or simply strolling through on the way to somewhere else, you need to know the places to get the most delicious food without going too far.
Mother Mash has taken the humble potato, usually the supporting role of a meal, and made it the star of the show. Using locally sourced spuds, this eatery makes fresh, expertly crafted mashed potato. Though you have different types to choose from, including cheese and mustard, colcannon and sweet potato, a plate of mash alone doesn’t make a meal, so you can add a pie or sausages before topping the lot with a gravy of your choice, with both options under £11.
Authentic salt beef is at the heart of Tongue & Brisket and, as it’s a spin-off from B&K Salt Beef Bar established back in the 1950s, they do know what they’re doing when it comes to meat. They serve a short traditional deli menu with options such as a smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel, chopped liver, and ox tongue, but the salt beef is the must-order. At just £5.90 for the regular-size sandwich, you can happily add some extra meat and a pickle on the side and still have a cheap lunch in your hands.
Not only is everything at Ethos meat-free, but there are also plenty of gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free and vegan dishes, too, which draw influence from all over the world. From butternut squash and feta to Japanese-miso-glazed aubergine to chickpea and coconut curry, there is a wonderful amount of choice on offer. As Ethos operates as a self-service buffet where you pay by weight, it’s as cheap or as expensive as you want to make it, but you can easily get value for money. Just don’t load up on too many of the tempting-looking dishes.
Wraps are always a reliable option, but it can be quite hard to find variety once you’ve exhausted the delicious and ubiquitous everyday choices of chicken and falafel. That’s where The Kati Roll Company stands out. Popular in India, kati consists of a griddled paratha topped with a thin omelette, filled with chicken tikka, spicy potato patties, paneer or masala shrimp (to name a few), drizzled with chutney and rolled up into a perfectly tasty package. Coming in at around £5 per roll, the fact that they can also be eaten on the go makes them a perfect lunch.
Not only does Pizza Pilgrims serve up some of the best pizza in London, but it also does it at a reasonable price. Cooked the traditional Neapolitan way – sourdough proved for 48 hours and then blasted in a very hot oven – the pizzas are topped with ingredients such as nduja, smoked anchovies, black pepper salami and fior di latte. At Pizza Pilgrims, you can get an authentic taste of Italy for around 10 quid. Bella!