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Mince on toast at Quality Chop House
Adam Coghlan/Eater London

17 Excellent (Value) Set Menus in London Right Now

Where to eat fantastic food for £25 or less

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Mince on toast at Quality Chop House
| Adam Coghlan/Eater London

April may be the cruellest month, but January might be the thriftiest. With Christmas still making its presence felt financially and, for the self-employed, HMRC’s deadline looming, it can be helpful when food offers respite from the pressures of decision making as much as price. Behold, then, the best of both both worlds.

London’s best value set menus offer meals — ambitious ones, not the sort of thing easily whipped up at home — to soothe the soul, placate menu-induced anxiety and keep the bank resolutely unbroken, with two or three always superb courses for under £25. Eat, drink and be frugally merry.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. The River Café

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Thames Wharf, Rainville Rd, Hammersmith
London W6 9HA, UK

Its a la carte is famously pricey, but The River Cafe’s daily-changing winter set lunch, which is available until April 9, is much more manageable, in relative terms. At two courses for £28 (or three for £34, or four for £42) it’s slightly over this map’s £25 limit, but with up to five choices per course and the likes of the impeccable calamari, tagliarini and chargrilled lamb with borlotti and roast radicchio included, it’s worth it.

Squid with chilli and lemon at The River Cafe, one of London’s best waterside Italian restaurants Ola Smit/Eater London

2. Yashin Sushi

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1A Argyll Rd, Kensington
London W8 7DB, UK

In the evenings this Kensington legend’s exquisite sushi is out of reach of all but the highest rollers, but at lunchtime things are much more democratic. There’s five pieces of sushi and a sushi roll, a beautifully composed salad and miso soup on offer at prices not far off Yo’s — choose from salmon (£16), tuna (£18) or yellowtail (£20). Say no to soy sauce — the chefs prefer diners to abstain so the flavours can shine through.

Yashin Sushi/Official

3. Hereford Road Restaurant

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3 Hereford Rd, Bayswater
London W2 4AB, UK

At two courses for £13.50 or three for £15.50, the set lunch menu at this former Victorian butcher is eye-poppingly good value. It’s fairly but not exclusively meaty, with shades of St. John: start with beetroot, watercress and boiled egg, follow it with guinea fowl and fried new potatoes, and finish up with rice pudding or custard tart. Get it from Thursday to Saturday. 

Grilled sardines at Hereford Road Hereford Road

4. Cafe Murano St. James

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33 St James's St, St. James's
London SW1A 1HD, UK

With its Mad Men-goes-to-Milan vibe, Cafe Murano is great for dazzling a date, or indeed a visiting parent; no scary ferments here. The two-for-£20 or three-for-£24 daily menu, which focuses on a different region each month (right now it’s Trentino), is available from 12pm to 3pm, 5.30pm to 7pm, and, for those on Italian time, from 9.30pm to 11pm. Pick a starter and main or a main and dessert: mushroom and confit garlic bruschetta followed by braised beef brisket, maybe, or strangolapreti followed by apple strudel. 

Cafe Murano St. James

5. The Dairy

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15 The Pavement, Clapham Town
London SW4 0HY, UK

In the wake of the festive season, Robin Gill’s Clapham trailblazer still provides comfort and joy. Its four-course set lunch menu (available from Tuesday to Saturday) just sneaks over the threshold at £27.50, but there’s such a lot of food involved that it seems only reasonable to include it. Kick things off with the Gubeen cheese gougeres, before feasting on peppy tagliatelle with stracciatella and treviso, pork belly with smoked coco beans and celeriac salsa, and caramelised quince upside-down cake, double cream. Then have a lie down.

The Dairy [Official]

6. BAO Fitzrovia

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31 Windmill St, Fitzrovia
London W1T 2JN, UK

Fitzrovia’s Bao 15 menu’s concept is simple but sensational: a bao — including the Fitz-only cod in a black bun — a Taiwanese fried chicken chop; and a pork loin and soy egg or mapo aubergine rice bowl from 12pm to 3pm, Monday to Friday. Adding beer or wine for £3 still brings this in comfortably under £20 a head.

Bao’s Borough Market restaurant gets a positive review from Jimi Famurewa in the Evening Standard Pascal Grob
30 Rupert St
London W1D 6DL, UK

Xu’s two pre-theatre menus, both at £19.50 a head and for a minimum of two diners, have suitably thespy names. There’s The Importance of Shou Pa Chicken, and vegetarian version The Dumpling in the Golden Vase. Regulars will love the fact that they’re both essentially round-ups of the a la carte’s greatest hits, from the cuttlefish toast and lardo rice to the sweet and sour aubergine and mapo tofu.

Carol Sachs

8. Ducksoup

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41 Dean St, Soho
London W1D 4PY, UK

Not really a menu, but excellent nonetheless. For the price of a soul-sapping salad, smoothie and bag of crisps from Pret, weekday worker-bees in the vicinity of Dean Street can sit down to a daily special (smoked haddock, potato, watercress and a soft egg; Sardinian gnocchi…), plus a glass of wine or non-alcoholic fruit shrub for just £10. Quacking stuff.

Ducksoup Soho is one of London’s best summer restaurants Chiron Cole

9. Noble Rot Wine Bar & Restaurant

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51 Lamb's Conduit St
London WC1N 3NB, UK

The platonic ideal of a prix fixe at two courses for £18 or three for £22. In keeping with the ‘haven’t we suffered enough?’ mood of the nation, there are no calorie-conscious trifectas paying homage to cuisine minceur at this Bloomsbury haven, as in previous years. Instead find light but still comforting assemblages: crispy goose and pickled red cabbage salad, and grilled Cornish lemon sole and seaweed butter (oh, and pain perdu with poached pear). If in the mood for a minor splurge, add on that wine pairing. It would probably be rude not to.

Noble Rot restaurant is opening a new wine bar in Soho on the site of the Gay Hussar Noble Rot

10. Spring

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Somerset House, Lancaster Pl
London WC2R 1LA, UK

Skye Gyngell’s £25 ‘scratch’ deal — three plates created entirely from scraps and offcuts — has had a lot of press, and deservedly so: none of the a la carte menu’s style or substance has been sacrificed in the name of the no-waste concept. Par for the course are dishes like fried gnudi with gruyere, pickled leeks and carrots; crab bisque with monkfish, celeriac and puntarelle; and lemon and bergamot ice cream with rhubarb. It’s only available from 5.30pm to 6.30pm, but it’s worth the faff. 

Spring

11. The Quality Chop House

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88-94 Farringdon Rd, Clerkenwell
London EC1R 3EA, UK

London’s greatest lunch-to-go, the joyfully jaw-busting egg mayo sandwich, can be found in the Quality Chop Shop’s counter. For something a little longer-lasting, take a seat next door and tuck into two courses of trencherman’s fare for £24 — think game, pistachio and prune terrine with cornichons, the internet-breaking Belted Galloway mince on dripping toast, and Bell Heather honey tart.

Adam Coghlan

12. The Mountgrove Bothy

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90 Mountgrove Rd, Finsbury Park
London N5 2LT, UK

A very superior soup-and-sandwich lunch deal, this. Highbury wine bar The Mountgrove Bothy is also a strong daytime choice: for £7 there’s a generous bowl of daily soup (cauliflower and celeriac, for instance) and a choice of substantial sandwiches, along the lines of nduja, Cornish yarg and stilton, or apple, cheddar and mustard.

The Mountrgrove Bothy [Official]

13. Bar Douro

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Arch 35B, Flat Iron Square, 66 Union Street
London SE1 1TD, UK

Yep, £11.50 — that really is the price of a three-course feast at Flat Iron Square’s feted Portuguese joint. Running from Monday to Friday, it’s a fairly no-frills affair but leaves no box unticked. Start with a snack — salt cod fritters, punchy smoked Portuguese sausage or crispy polenta — follow it up with salt cod or bifana, and round things off with a perfect pastel de nata. 

Bar Douro

14. Artusi

Copy Link
161 Bellenden Rd
London SE15 4DH, UK

This £20, three-course deal is only available on Sundays — and with so-so gastropub roasts often coming in at twice the price once drinks and something sweet are factored in, there’s really no contest. Mediterranean-inflected and seasonally appropriate is the drill here: the meal might start with hispi cabbage, ham butter and breadcrumbs, move on to spaghetti al’amatriciana, and end with a slice of their much-loved almond cake and custard. 

15. Levan

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12-16 Blenheim Grove, Peckham
London SE15 4QL, UK

Levan’s set lunch menu comes in at just £16 for two courses, or £19 for three. There’s no corner-cutting here: expect the likes of burrata, carrot, clementine, vadouvan spices, pistachio; monkfish, January King cabbage, Cornish potatoes and lardo; and canelé with bacon caramel and milk ice cream. Or, for a champion’s lunch for under a tenner, order a whole croque monsieur topped with a fried egg.

Cod crudo, at Levan in Peckham, the upcoming London restaurant opening from Nicholas Balfe of Salon, Brixton Matt Russell/Levan

16. Kudu

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119 Queen's Rd, Peckham
London SE15 2EZ, UK

Friday lunchtime? At a loose end in south London? Hasten to Peckham to take advantage of Kudu’s beguiling deal. Made up of snacks, larger plates and desserts, it includes the likes of parmesan churros with smoked paprika and brown crab mayo, braai onion squash with goats curd, cavolo nero and dandelion, and malva pudding with spiced walnut ice cream. At just £16.50 for two courses and £19.50 for three, this one’s a winner.

Kudu restaurant in Peckham will open a sister restaurant on Queens Street this year Kudu Official

17. Peg

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120 Morning Ln
London E9 6LH, UK

Morning Lane’s Japanese-inspired grill has picked four of its best a la carte dishes for a fiendishly good value set lunch: a sesame-dressed cabbage salad; grilled chicken thigh; a shiitake congee to ward off the freeze, and toasted rice ice cream. £15 all in, with a ricotta fritter dessert coming with a literal bowl of peanut caramel.

Peg restaurant and wine bar on Morning Lane, Clapton, east London Samuel Ashton

1. The River Café

Thames Wharf, Rainville Rd, Hammersmith, London W6 9HA, UK
Squid with chilli and lemon at The River Cafe, one of London’s best waterside Italian restaurants Ola Smit/Eater London

Its a la carte is famously pricey, but The River Cafe’s daily-changing winter set lunch, which is available until April 9, is much more manageable, in relative terms. At two courses for £28 (or three for £34, or four for £42) it’s slightly over this map’s £25 limit, but with up to five choices per course and the likes of the impeccable calamari, tagliarini and chargrilled lamb with borlotti and roast radicchio included, it’s worth it.

Thames Wharf, Rainville Rd, Hammersmith
London W6 9HA, UK

2. Yashin Sushi

1A Argyll Rd, Kensington, London W8 7DB, UK
Yashin Sushi/Official

In the evenings this Kensington legend’s exquisite sushi is out of reach of all but the highest rollers, but at lunchtime things are much more democratic. There’s five pieces of sushi and a sushi roll, a beautifully composed salad and miso soup on offer at prices not far off Yo’s — choose from salmon (£16), tuna (£18) or yellowtail (£20). Say no to soy sauce — the chefs prefer diners to abstain so the flavours can shine through.

1A Argyll Rd, Kensington
London W8 7DB, UK

3. Hereford Road Restaurant

3 Hereford Rd, Bayswater, London W2 4AB, UK
Grilled sardines at Hereford Road Hereford Road

At two courses for £13.50 or three for £15.50, the set lunch menu at this former Victorian butcher is eye-poppingly good value. It’s fairly but not exclusively meaty, with shades of St. John: start with beetroot, watercress and boiled egg, follow it with guinea fowl and fried new potatoes, and finish up with rice pudding or custard tart. Get it from Thursday to Saturday. 

3 Hereford Rd, Bayswater
London W2 4AB, UK

4. Cafe Murano St. James

33 St James's St, St. James's, London SW1A 1HD, UK
Cafe Murano St. James

With its Mad Men-goes-to-Milan vibe, Cafe Murano is great for dazzling a date, or indeed a visiting parent; no scary ferments here. The two-for-£20 or three-for-£24 daily menu, which focuses on a different region each month (right now it’s Trentino), is available from 12pm to 3pm, 5.30pm to 7pm, and, for those on Italian time, from 9.30pm to 11pm. Pick a starter and main or a main and dessert: mushroom and confit garlic bruschetta followed by braised beef brisket, maybe, or strangolapreti followed by apple strudel. 

33 St James's St, St. James's
London SW1A 1HD, UK

5. The Dairy

15 The Pavement, Clapham Town, London SW4 0HY, UK
The Dairy [Official]

In the wake of the festive season, Robin Gill’s Clapham trailblazer still provides comfort and joy. Its four-course set lunch menu (available from Tuesday to Saturday) just sneaks over the threshold at £27.50, but there’s such a lot of food involved that it seems only reasonable to include it. Kick things off with the Gubeen cheese gougeres, before feasting on peppy tagliatelle with stracciatella and treviso, pork belly with smoked coco beans and celeriac salsa, and caramelised quince upside-down cake, double cream. Then have a lie down.

15 The Pavement, Clapham Town
London SW4 0HY, UK

6. BAO Fitzrovia

31 Windmill St, Fitzrovia, London W1T 2JN, UK
Bao’s Borough Market restaurant gets a positive review from Jimi Famurewa in the Evening Standard Pascal Grob

Fitzrovia’s Bao 15 menu’s concept is simple but sensational: a bao — including the Fitz-only cod in a black bun — a Taiwanese fried chicken chop; and a pork loin and soy egg or mapo aubergine rice bowl from 12pm to 3pm, Monday to Friday. Adding beer or wine for £3 still brings this in comfortably under £20 a head.

31 Windmill St, Fitzrovia
London W1T 2JN, UK

7. Xu

30 Rupert St, London W1D 6DL, UK
Carol Sachs

Xu’s two pre-theatre menus, both at £19.50 a head and for a minimum of two diners, have suitably thespy names. There’s The Importance of Shou Pa Chicken, and vegetarian version The Dumpling in the Golden Vase. Regulars will love the fact that they’re both essentially round-ups of the a la carte’s greatest hits, from the cuttlefish toast and lardo rice to the sweet and sour aubergine and mapo tofu.

30 Rupert St
London W1D 6DL, UK

8. Ducksoup

41 Dean St, Soho, London W1D 4PY, UK
Ducksoup Soho is one of London’s best summer restaurants Chiron Cole

Not really a menu, but excellent nonetheless. For the price of a soul-sapping salad, smoothie and bag of crisps from Pret, weekday worker-bees in the vicinity of Dean Street can sit down to a daily special (smoked haddock, potato, watercress and a soft egg; Sardinian gnocchi…), plus a glass of wine or non-alcoholic fruit shrub for just £10. Quacking stuff.

41 Dean St, Soho
London W1D 4PY, UK

9. Noble Rot Wine Bar & Restaurant

51 Lamb's Conduit St, London WC1N 3NB, UK
Noble Rot restaurant is opening a new wine bar in Soho on the site of the Gay Hussar Noble Rot

The platonic ideal of a prix fixe at two courses for £18 or three for £22. In keeping with the ‘haven’t we suffered enough?’ mood of the nation, there are no calorie-conscious trifectas paying homage to cuisine minceur at this Bloomsbury haven, as in previous years. Instead find light but still comforting assemblages: crispy goose and pickled red cabbage salad, and grilled Cornish lemon sole and seaweed butter (oh, and pain perdu with poached pear). If in the mood for a minor splurge, add on that wine pairing. It would probably be rude not to.

51 Lamb's Conduit St
London WC1N 3NB, UK

10. Spring

Somerset House, Lancaster Pl, London WC2R 1LA, UK
Spring

Skye Gyngell’s £25 ‘scratch’ deal — three plates created entirely from scraps and offcuts — has had a lot of press, and deservedly so: none of the a la carte menu’s style or substance has been sacrificed in the name of the no-waste concept. Par for the course are dishes like fried gnudi with gruyere, pickled leeks and carrots; crab bisque with monkfish, celeriac and puntarelle; and lemon and bergamot ice cream with rhubarb. It’s only available from 5.30pm to 6.30pm, but it’s worth the faff. 

Somerset House, Lancaster Pl
London WC2R 1LA, UK

11. The Quality Chop House

88-94 Farringdon Rd, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 3EA, UK
Adam Coghlan

London’s greatest lunch-to-go, the joyfully jaw-busting egg mayo sandwich, can be found in the Quality Chop Shop’s counter. For something a little longer-lasting, take a seat next door and tuck into two courses of trencherman’s fare for £24 — think game, pistachio and prune terrine with cornichons, the internet-breaking Belted Galloway mince on dripping toast, and Bell Heather honey tart.

88-94 Farringdon Rd, Clerkenwell
London EC1R 3EA, UK

12. The Mountgrove Bothy

90 Mountgrove Rd, Finsbury Park, London N5 2LT, UK
The Mountrgrove Bothy [Official]

A very superior soup-and-sandwich lunch deal, this. Highbury wine bar The Mountgrove Bothy is also a strong daytime choice: for £7 there’s a generous bowl of daily soup (cauliflower and celeriac, for instance) and a choice of substantial sandwiches, along the lines of nduja, Cornish yarg and stilton, or apple, cheddar and mustard.

90 Mountgrove Rd, Finsbury Park
London N5 2LT, UK

13. Bar Douro

Arch 35B, Flat Iron Square, 66 Union Street, London SE1 1TD, UK
Bar Douro

Yep, £11.50 — that really is the price of a three-course feast at Flat Iron Square’s feted Portuguese joint. Running from Monday to Friday, it’s a fairly no-frills affair but leaves no box unticked. Start with a snack — salt cod fritters, punchy smoked Portuguese sausage or crispy polenta — follow it up with salt cod or bifana, and round things off with a perfect pastel de nata. 

Arch 35B, Flat Iron Square, 66 Union Street
London SE1 1TD, UK

14. Artusi

161 Bellenden Rd, London SE15 4DH, UK

This £20, three-course deal is only available on Sundays — and with so-so gastropub roasts often coming in at twice the price once drinks and something sweet are factored in, there’s really no contest. Mediterranean-inflected and seasonally appropriate is the drill here: the meal might start with hispi cabbage, ham butter and breadcrumbs, move on to spaghetti al’amatriciana, and end with a slice of their much-loved almond cake and custard. 

161 Bellenden Rd
London SE15 4DH, UK

15. Levan

12-16 Blenheim Grove, Peckham, London SE15 4QL, UK
Cod crudo, at Levan in Peckham, the upcoming London restaurant opening from Nicholas Balfe of Salon, Brixton Matt Russell/Levan

Levan’s set lunch menu comes in at just £16 for two courses, or £19 for three. There’s no corner-cutting here: expect the likes of burrata, carrot, clementine, vadouvan spices, pistachio; monkfish, January King cabbage, Cornish potatoes and lardo; and canelé with bacon caramel and milk ice cream. Or, for a champion’s lunch for under a tenner, order a whole croque monsieur topped with a fried egg.

12-16 Blenheim Grove, Peckham
London SE15 4QL, UK

Related Maps

16. Kudu

119 Queen's Rd, Peckham, London SE15 2EZ, UK
Kudu restaurant in Peckham will open a sister restaurant on Queens Street this year Kudu Official

Friday lunchtime? At a loose end in south London? Hasten to Peckham to take advantage of Kudu’s beguiling deal. Made up of snacks, larger plates and desserts, it includes the likes of parmesan churros with smoked paprika and brown crab mayo, braai onion squash with goats curd, cavolo nero and dandelion, and malva pudding with spiced walnut ice cream. At just £16.50 for two courses and £19.50 for three, this one’s a winner.

119 Queen's Rd, Peckham
London SE15 2EZ, UK

17. Peg

120 Morning Ln, London E9 6LH, UK
Peg restaurant and wine bar on Morning Lane, Clapton, east London Samuel Ashton

Morning Lane’s Japanese-inspired grill has picked four of its best a la carte dishes for a fiendishly good value set lunch: a sesame-dressed cabbage salad; grilled chicken thigh; a shiitake congee to ward off the freeze, and toasted rice ice cream. £15 all in, with a ricotta fritter dessert coming with a literal bowl of peanut caramel.

120 Morning Ln
London E9 6LH, UK

Related Maps