Alas, as an adult trying to survive in London, you probably have a budget – but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a decent helping of what’s on offer.
From steak to tacos, pizza to poke, these are the best dishes in Soho you can get for less that a tenner.
Bacon Naan at Dishoom – £5.90
Breakfast is always the best way to start, at even better when it’s at Dishoom. This south asian take on the bacon butty – made with freshly baked naan, and a coating of cream cheese and chilli jam – has reached cult status as one of the best breakfasts in the capital.
22 Kingly Street, Carnaby, W1B 5QB, dishoom.com
Flat iron steak at Flat Iron – £10
We bet you weren’t expecting to see a big, juicy steak on this list were you? Flat Iron’s signature cut comes in at a flabbergasting £10, with salad included in the price. The trick? No trick. Just reliably tasty meat.
17 Beak Street, Carnaby, W1F 9RW, flatironsteak.co.uk
Margherita at Pizza Pilgrims – £6.85
London is home to a plethora of superlative pizza joints, and one of the very best boasts two locations in Soho. If you’re a crust-leaver, prepare to be converted at Pizza Pilgrims where the fluffy, voluminous dough is the star of the show. It’s at its best with this fior di latte mozzarella-topped margherita.
Various locations, pizzapilgrims.co.uk
Classic Ahi bowl at Island Poke – £7.85
Aloha from Kingly Street, where Island Poke turn healthy eating into a luau. Poke, the Hawaii-hailing dish of diced raw fish, is having quite the moment in London, and Island Poke are here to party. House bowls include an ahi tuna shoyu bowl, served with sushi rice, pineapple chilli salsa, seaweed, crispy shallots and spring onion.
8 Kingly Street, W1B 5PQ, islandpoke.co.uk
Polish Burger at Mildreds – £8
Having been at the heart of London’s vegetarian scene since 1988, Mildreds has built up such a beloved following that you’ll still struggle to get a table immediately. When you do, pick up a Polish burger, featuring a beetroot and white bean patty, dill, pickled cabbage, gherkin and basil mayo. It sounds unlikely, but tastes fabulous.
45 Lexington Street, Carnaby, W1F 9AN, mildreds.co.uk
Classic Bao at Bao – £4.75
The queues may have died down, but the reasons that brought them there haven’t. Bao boasts the fluffiest bun in London and they fill them with all sorts of delights, all for £5 and under. The Classic bao comes out on top with braised pork, pickled veg and crushed peanuts.
53 Lexington Street, Carnaby, W1F 9AS, baolondon.com
Ham Croquetas at Barrafina – £6.50
This tapas bar from the Hart Brothers still floats the boat of anyone longing for the Costa Brava. The sturdy crust of Barrafina’s superlative croquetas gives way to an impossibly creamy inside, the ooze of which is punctuated with pieces of salty, robust jamon. Madrid is calling, but you’re quite happy here thank you very much.
26-27 Dean Street, W1D 3LL, barrafina.co.uk
Steak haché, sauce au poivre et frites at Brasserie Zédel – – £9.75
Brasserie Zédel is, quite simply, a bit of a marvel. An authentic Parisian style brasserie hidden under the hubbub of Piccadilly Circus, to walk into here is to be transported a few hundred miles under the channel. By all calculations, it should be expensive, but you can pick up a satisfying helping of steak haché with frites included (yes, really) for under £10.
20 Sherwood Street, W1F 7ED, brasseriezedel.com
Falafel kebab at Le Bab – £9
We know there’s more to the vegetarian diet than falafel, but its very much at home at this upmarket kebab shop. Wrapped up in a freshly baked flatbread, this kebab tops its falafel with hummus, garlic toum, pickled chard and that trusty chilli sauce. We do however regret to inform you that they are not open at 3am.
Top Floor, Kingly Court, Carnaby Street, W1B 5PW, eatlebab.com
Beef fat tacos at Temper – £5
It’s waste not, want not at Temper Soho, where barbeque maestro Neil Rankin is fully into the “fat means flavour” mantra with this dish. The hunks of beef that arrive to fill your tacos (two for £5) glisten with naughtiness, and the leftover fat from them has also been used to cook the tortillas too. Now that’s recycling.
25 Broadwick Street, W1F 0DF, temperrestaurant.com
Origin Tonkotsu at Shoryu – £10
Looking for something to warm your trotters on a cold day? Shoryu serves food for the soul in the form of its creamy bowls of tonkotsu ramen, a pork broth noodle soup stewed for 12 hours. In its simplest form, the Origin Tonkotsu tops it with char siu barbecue pork belly, kikurage mushrooms, spring onion for £10.
3 Denman Street, W1D 7HA, shoryuramen.com
Langoustines, kaffir lime and sweet mint at Kiln – £8.80
Kiln’s Thai barbecue has been cooking up a storm since it first fired up two years ago, so much so that it clinched the top spot at the National Restaurant Awards this year. Most dishes come in at under £10, with notable mentions going to the aromatic aged lamb and cumin skewer (£2.90) and a salad of raw langoustines with kaffir lime and sweet mint (£8.80).
58 Brewer Street, W1F 9TL, kilnsoho.com
Veg bun at Bun House – £2.50
We see your one dish for £10 and raise you four, with the cheapest entry on the list. Peering through the fogged-up windows of Bun House, you’ll see a counter stacked with bamboo steamers, containing Cantonese buns sold for £2.50 each. All fillings are great, but vegetarians can get very excited over the three mushroom, water chestnut and kow choi option.
24 Greek Street, W1D 4DZ, bun.house
Orecchiette with ‘nduja, red onion & tomato at Bocca di Lupo – £8
Bocca di Lupo has been living la dolce vita for 10 years now, satisfying pre and post theatre appetites with perfect bowls of pasta and more. The menu changes almost daily, but you can almost always get a smaller portion of one of their pasta options for under £10, including this orecchiette with spicy ‘nduja, red onion and tomato.
12 Archer Street, W1D 7BB, boccadilupo.com
Braised Oxtail Canelones at Rambla – £8
Last year, Victor Garvey brought a corner of Catalonia to Soho, and got a five star review from the Standard’s Fay Maschler. One of the star dishes at this Spanish sensation is the dish of braised oxtail canelones, which comes laced with caramelised red onions and drenched in a creamy Parmesan cheese sauce.
64 Dean Street, Soho, W1D 4QG, ramblalondon.com
Yalla light lunch platter at Yalla Yalla – £9
Mezze is the name of the game at this Lebanese spot – which usually means you want everything (as illustrated above). Most dishes come in at around £5, but you can also enjoy smaller portions of hommos, tabboule, halloumi, falafel and more as part of their lunchtime platter deal for . The restaurant’s name means “hurry up” in Arabic, and we don’t need any more encouraging.
Various locations, yalla-yalla.co.uk