Exploring central London and feeling peckish? Here are five fool-proof places where you can refuel without emptying your wallet.
1. East Street
3-5 Rathbone Place
Metro: Oxford Circus / Tottenham Court Road
This funky pan-Asian restaurant is the perfect stop off point when you tire of shopping along Oxford Street. The menu fuses together classic East Asian recipes, from Japan and Korea, through Thailand, Vietnam and The Philippines, right down to the traditional tastes of Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.
Mains cost between £7-£12, or opt for the Express Menu from 12-6 pm daily, where you’ll get a main and a side dish for £8.95.
Bars in Soho, Covent Garden and Angel
This Basque-style pintxo bar is equally suitable for grabbing a tasty bite on the go or enjoying a long, relaxed lunch or dinner. Pintxos are delicious morsels normally presented on a piece of bread or a skewer. The selection at Pix keeps changing throughout the day so there are always new things to try, but expect to find the likes of calamares with alioli, spinach and sweet potato tortilla or salt cod croquetas to name but a few.
As in the tapas bars of San Sebastian and Bilbao, you’re free to go up to the bar as many times as you like to select pintxos and you’ll be billed for however many skewers you have at the end of your meal. Small sticks cost £1.95 each and large ones are £2.95.
3. Pizzeria Malletti
26 Noel Street
Tube: Oxford Circus / Tottenham Court Road
Strictly a lunchtime option, the queues at this traditional Italian pizza bar are proof enough that it’s worth trying. A generous portion of beautifully crispy, thin-crust pizza or fresh focaccia and a generous filling will set you back between £3.95 and £4.50. Alternatively, opt for the equally scrumptious pasta or risotto of the day for £5.45 a portion.
4. Rasa Sayang
5 Macclesfield Street
Tube: Leicester Square / Piccadilly Circus
This no-frills Malaysian restaurant comes as a welcome break from the hoards of Chinese eateries lining the streets of China Town. The menu is fresh and unique, boasting a fantastic range of dishes from both Malaysia and Singapore. If you’re starving hungry then you won’t get a much better value deal than the three-course set menu for £13.30, or you can keep the price down by going straight for a hearty main.
I’d recommend the curry laksa with prawns (£6.90) or nasi lemak (coconut rice and curried chicken) for just £7.50.
49 Frith Street
Tube: Tottenham Court Road / Leicester Square
Tables are coveted at this Soho favorite so don’t be put off if you can’t get a table immediately, the perfectly prepared Japanese Udon noodles are more than worth the wait. While Koya became famous for its budget-friendly offering of hot and cold udon noodles with delicious broth or dipping sauces from just £6.90 each, the non-noodle related dishes are also worth a taste, with filling bowls of Donburi and miso soup from £11 each.