“Top 100 brilliant budget restaurants,” “Eat on the cheap,” “Awesome eats for a fiver.” As a city, London is obsessed with finding a bargain. Especially at a time when there’s barely any change from £20 for avocado on toast and a latte. But the increasing importance of terms like ‘budget’ and ‘cheapness’ brings with it some problems. What is a cheap eat: something that costs £20 for a meal? £10 for a lunch? £5 for a snack? This fixation on price means that the “cheap eats” can be relegated to a lower rung than more feted restaurants — best of the rest, a last resort for that last weekend before pay day.
But cheapness can be suggestive of other, more important qualities too. It suggests value — a virtue in scarce supply in a city of rising rents and costs. It suggests generosity, and the primacy of the idea that a restaurant should feed its guests rather than impress them. It suggests community, for those cafes and restaurants which have chosen to serve the needs of the local — often a working class or immigrant — population, particularly during coronavirus lockdown when a polo-mint economy gave restaurants outside the centre a new relevancy.
The Eater London 38 is a guide to the most innovative and essential restaurants in London, the restaurants that have turned London into a destination food city and the most vital place to eat out in Europe. The following list of restaurants is essential in another way: for Londoners, these restaurants span all the neighbourhoods and cuisines that define the city. They’re the places to visit two, three times a week for cooking that tends towards home and comfort. They’re reminders that sometimes great value just means ... Great.
London’s restaurants, pubs, cafes, and bars reopen for indoor service from 17 May, with the rule of six in place. Customers can check with individual venues to determine their availability and Covid-secure measures before deciding to visit.Read More