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London’s Cheap and Cheerful Places to Eat

There are so many great restaurants in London that offer a variety of experiences.

Patara (Thai) on Fulham Road, South Kensington or Saigon Saigon (Vietnamese) on King Street, Hammersmith offer delicate and intricate flavours to be studied and admired.

If you love exotic red meats such as Ostrich and Kudu as well as more traditional steaks then Chakalaka (South African) on Upper Richmond Road in Putney and also Barley Mow Passage in Chiswick are a good bet.

For quality Indian food, I would definitely recommend Madhu’s Brilliant (Indian) on South Road, Southall or Gandhi’s on Kennington Road, Oval and for a good old Italian try Al Forno (Italian) on Upper Richmond Road in Barnes.

For those with a sweet tooth the Bamboula Caribbean Restaurant (Caribbean) on Acre Lane, Brixton is a good find. Try the tropical fruit crumble with a dollop of Ginger Ice-cream.

However, for a more casual cheap quality feeding experience I have chosen the following.

Best Kebab- Bosphorous Kebab, Old Brompton Road, South Kensington

I’m surprised how long this place was off my radar. The place doesn’t look like much from the outside, especially compared to its neighbour Beirut Express which is also a fine dining establishment. The kebab shop is narrow and constantly packed. It’s not uncommon to see a whole range of people from workmen to students to city suits at various times during the evening.

The other striking feature is that most of the clientele are sober, another unusual feature of a British kebab shop. I have engrained prejudice against Donner meat and therefore haven’t tried the Donner Kebab but the Lamb Shish kebab that will set you back around £5.30 is unbelievable.

The meat is tender and spiced to perfection. Most impressive about the meat is how it is able to retain the spice and develop that great char grilled taste after the chefs have cooked the meat on the indoor barbeque. The meat is served with a healthy dose of fresh salad, homemade chilli sauce and even the bread (which is also barbequed) is optional for the more health conscious.

Best Shopping Day Snack- Nineteen Ten, Westfield Shopping Centre, Shepherds Bush

Picture the scene, you’re out buying Christmas presents, you’ve become so preoccupied wondering what to get dad that you’ve forgotten to eat and suddenly you’re starving. Luckily you’ve gone to Westfield as it is far less busy than traipsing around Oxford Street.

There are loads of places to eat in Westfield, from cheap fast food to sit down fine dining. However there is one particular place that is worth visiting even if you are only going to Westfield to eat there. That place is 1919. Located in the rear left hand corner of the food court, Nineteen Ten appears to be a wrap making production line, similar to Subway.

Anyone who has travelled to the USA may be familiar with the burrito, a Mexican inspired Americanised snack consisting of flour wrap, rice, beans, salad, sour cream, salsa, cheese and a choice of meat. The burrito I have tasted on more occasions than I would care to mention at Nineteen Ten is the best I’ve had in the UK and believe you me, I’ve tried a lot. After I introduced a friend to Nineteen Ten he declared that he was considering marrying a Nineteen Ten burrito if law would permit. That would make for a messy honeymoon.

Best Food Market Find- Maldon Oysters, Duke of York Square, Kings Road, Chelsea (only Saturday daytimes)

I love Borough Market and to exclude it from this category is a touch decision but I also adore Oysters. Where else apart from the Duke of York Square outdoor food market in London can you find six high quality, fresh from the sea (the farm is 50 miles away in Essex) for five pounds. There are the usual accompaniments and Waitrose/ M and S are both close if you want to provide your own sparkling wine.

Best unusual snack- Snoggy’s, Putney High street Putney, Upper Richmond Road, Barnes and Wimbledon Station, Wimbledon

Ah Snoggy’s, I must be one of the most loyal non South African Biltong customers to thee.

To those who don’t know, Biltong is a cured meat snack that originates in South Africa. Usual meats are Beef, Ostrich and Kudu. The meat has a distinctive taste of coriander seed and can be eaten at various levels of dryness.

At Snoggy’s the Biltong is cured, hung and dried in store and can be served with a variety of spices (try the chilli and garlic). Snoggys also sells a variety of South African snacks and goods for the homesick and has a large butchery at it’s Barnes branch selling Boereswors and Droe Wors.

Best Authentic eating experience- Karahi Express, Bath Road, Hounslow West

I am of Punjabi Origin as are most people you will find in the furious Karahi Express. The music is loud and Punjabi, the conversations are loud and Punjabi, the people are loud and Punjabi. This place is well known within the community and we have shared the secret with friends from other communities who you will often find venturing into this unique venue.

You will often find large groups of party goers who park themselves around a table with a bottle of Whisky, Barcadi and Coca Cola (Bring your own) and several sizzling mixed grills.  The lamb chops are superb, the chicken is phenomenal and the seekh kebabs are soft.  I thoroughly recommend sharing the large mixed grill with a friend accompanied with a tandoori roti and portion of salad.  I have always been too full to try the main courses.

About Sunny Sharma

Sunny Sharma
Sunny Sharma has a masters degree in International Health Management from Imperial College London. He works in business development and regulatory affairs at B-Lands Consulting.

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