Posts Tagged ‘lunch’

GUEST POST: Ed Eaton reviews Belgo

Here at londonfood4afiver we really care what you think. Ed Eaton, friend and longtime supporter of this very blog, has written a rather fantastic review of Belgo for us.

Mussels from Brussels

Name: Belgo

Type: Belgian

Location: Covent Garden, Holborn, Camden, Clapham

Rating: £££

Apparently, Belgo has been a London institution since 1992, but for some reason I only discovered it in 2011, which is odd considering you’ll never be far from one of their four London restaurants. Perhaps it’s because, like many things Belgian, Belgo is easy to overlook but very good at what it does. Think TinTin, Poirot, and Jean-Claude Van Damme…actually scratch that last one, who you overlook at your own peril.

Damme I could do with a Belgian beer right about now

Speaking of Belgian muscles, Belgo’s speciality is mussels, which come in a creamy mariniere sauce and a hearty serving of chips. Impress your friends by informing them that it’s actually ok to eat the ones that haven’t opened. Not a fan of mussels? There are plenty more dishes to choose from, which all look very pleasant, although none have tempted me so far. If you’re feeling fancy maybe sample one of the many Belgian beers, although you might want to make sure you’ve nothing important to do afterwards as some contain up to 12% alcohol.

Picture of some mussels

Belgo’s set-up is simple and fast, and although the food might not have you sprinting for the next Eurostar to Brussels, it is consistently tasty and filling. It might be hard to get excited about Belgium – one of its leading politicians was described as having the “charisma of a damp rag”, perhaps a touch unfair – but to its credit Belgo tries its best. If you go to the flagship Covent Garden branch you’ll actually be served by Belgian monks (authenticity questionable).

You can get the best bang for your buck by taking advantage of their lunchtime offers, or their ‘beat the clock’ deal, where you pay the price of the time you order between 5pm and 7pm. Although good value, Belgo might be a bit of a stretch for the £5 purists among you, but it is just about doable if you manage to order your food at 5pm exactly (not a minute before mind), drink only tap water, and make your waiter cry by demanding they remove the service charge, an added insult considering they have to walk around in a monk’s cloak all day. But for the Eurosceptics among you, or just the plain heartless, I’m sure you’ll manage this just fine.

Apologies to Belgium.

Ta Ed!

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GUEST POST: Nachos at Wetherspoons, Angel Islington

We’re excited to feature a review especially for Londonfood4afiver from one of our favourite new food blogs Nacho Times who have kindly sought out some fiver friendly nachos. 

Name: Wetherspoons

Location: Opposite Angel Tube Station

Price: £4.10

Rating: £££

There is nothing wrong with eating at Wetherspoons. For some reason, there seems to be a stigma attached to the chain and suggesting a Spoons-based snack can result in strange looks  or hysterical laughter. Why anyone would joke about eateries is beyond me. It’s not exactly a comedic goldmine.

Anyway, one reason to go there is the nachos. As a devoted nachoist, I have sampled triangles of glory all over London in search of the ultimate mouth party. Wetherspoons remains the most surprisingly consistent purveyor of chos. The best thing is the size in relation to the price. £4.10 for small nachos and they’re filling and adequately sized. In fact, I’d go as far as to say they tend to make for cracking meals (if not shared) alongside something with more nutritional value. Like a salad. Or some blueberries.

But why not just take a swim in Lake Nacho and savour the experience without any side orders clamouring for your tongue’s attention? They’re warm. The cheese is soft. The relishes utilised are spot on both in amount and flavour. You can order large nachos and be forced to “have a little sit” while the party dies down, or small nachos for an acute hit and room for more Strongbow (other ciders are available)

No, they’re not the best nachos I’ve ever reviewed, but you get a lot more joy than the meagre pricetag would have you believe. They’re satisfying, enjoyable, and you get change from a five pound note. What’s better than that? A lot of things actually, now I come to think of it. Like getting them for free. Or being paid to eat them. Or finding £50,000 in your coat pocket. But it’s still a Very Good Thing.

For more Nacho related updates (if you’re feeling too rich for our blog- show off) head to NACHO TIMES

Where do YOU eat?

Sarah Brown, 23, is a vegetarian who works in Westminster. She regularly takes advantage of the Boots Meal Deal 'because I can have a different combination every time I go in!'

The lovely readers of londonfood4afiver tell us where they go for lunch. Thanks for getting in touch guys, and to the rest of you don’t be shy. We’d LOVE to know where you frequent come 1pm.

Meghan, 23, is an actress. To stay looking trim she 'pops into Wasabi for some sushi. It's healthy, tasty and doesn't break the bank!'

Germander, 22, loves Moules Mariniere and satisfies her hunger at Belgo in Holborn. 'It's great, and if you go before 5pm its only a fiver!'

Kai, 24, heads to LEON in Spitalfields for his lunch. 'It rarely comes to over a fiver, and I'm always so full afterwards.'

Pizza Hut, Piccadilly Circus

Type: Wannabe Italian

Where: Pretty much everywhere, but my favourite is opposite Piccadilly Circus.

Nearest Tube: Read above.

Price: It’s not that cheap so if you’ve got one BRING A FRIEND.

Rating:£££

Lets get one thing straight, each one of us enjoys a lunchtime Pizza Hut buffet as much as the next. However, unless you’re under the age of twelve, or have some painting of you looking majorly decrepit stored away in your attic, this can cost you up to £6.99 excluding drink! We all know you can get the all you can eat salad bar for £4.99, but unless you’re having a rexi day no one should choose this option (though kudos must go to PH who have recently revamped their salad bar).

Get a friend. If you don’t have one get a family member. Londonfood4afiver do not endorse meeting friends on the internet. Get the tube to Piccadilly Circus, cross over the road and get a comfy little booth in everyone’s favourite pseudo-Italian chain. Order tap water. If you’re nifty – like me – you’ll have a little vial of squash around your neck to jazz it up a bit. 

Order a large Margerita between two (£9.49). If you’ve got a spare 49p you guyses can upgrade to either a large Hawaiian or Farmhouse – thats ham and mushroom to those not au fait with the PH lingo – (£10.49). If you haven’t managed to nab yourself a friend yet take half home and have it for breakfast.

Everyone knows that PH pizzas are greasy and cheesy and scrumptious. What makes Piccadilly Circus PH stand out is it’s staff (look out for dreamboat Coby) – so far me and Katy have been given a free cookie dough desert and a free salad bar. Print off masks of our faces and you too may be as lucky.

Gourmet this ain’t – but that’s not going to stop me going back time and time again.

Bikini Body Friendly Lunches (FOR £5 or LESS)

The sun is in town and while this can bring tans, days in the park etc it also means legs out, bikini on. As far as we’re concerned the sunny weather has made quite an early arrival this time round and you might not be quite prepared for  the wardrobe it brings.

So kindly here is a run down of cheap lunches you can get that are also bikini body friendly. To make sure you all have access to these combos and the nutritional info is reliable we are sticking with chain restaurants (the old reliable of caterers).

1. Monday:  Head to Pret A Manger and get a soup, skinny popcorn and a diet coke. Under £5 and bikini body friendly. The amount of popcorn you get to eat will also trick you into thinking you’re not even dieting.

Price: £4.99

2. Tuesday: Hit up Itsu for the Detox Seven Vegetables Broth and wash it down with Itsu vitamin enriched water. Super healthy.

Price: £4.79

3. Wednesday: Go to EAT and eat Smoked Scottish Mackeral and Beetroot salad which as well as being low in fat will make you well clever due to it’s Omega 3. Drink a green tea.

Price: £5

4. Thursday: Go to Wasabi for some sushi and a miso soup. Wide selection that you can get for under a fiver depending on your tastes.

Price: Most combos under £5

5. Friday: Get that friday feeling with a Naked Burritto at Tortilla all the good stuff just without the tortilla.

Price: £4.95 (get some tap water)

Weekend: sunbathe in your bikini/head to McDonalds (you’ve earnt it)

Aone Review, opposite Angel underground

Type: Indianish/Vegetarian

Where: Opposite Angel underground. Durr.

Nearest Tube: Angel

Price: £4.95 for all you can eat.

Rating: £, and if I knew how to subtract that by half of a £ I certainly would.

Lets get one thing straight, Katy and I have walked past vegetarian buffet Aone everyday for the last nine months, and have got repulsion quivers each time. Mounds of unappetizing tofu and noodles, anaemic crayfish and wilting salad leaves in platters sit by the window in an attempt to lure in custom. The place is unarguably cheap – a mere £3.95 if you want to take your buffet back to the office with you –  but naturally this means the food quality suffers.

One day Katy and I didn’t feel like a Pret soup, a M&S falafel wrap, or a slice of pizza from the overpriced City canteen and we knew what we had to do. OH how we suffer for this god awful site. As we trekked up to Aone, the only thing surpassing the feeling of hunger was the feeling of dread for the food that awaited us.

We went in, ordered the buffet and a tap water (or as we call it ‘old faithful’) got our plates and piled them sky high. The amount on our plates was not due to the scrumptious look of the food, but to increase our chances of likely at least one thing.

This was a successful ploy as the teeny-weeny vegetarian spring rolls were passable. Unfortunately a couple of mine became contaminated by the earthy juice from a Quorn dish, so they had to be left. They also had some deceptively looking crispy potatoes which I stocked up on, as the rest was nothing short of atrocious.

Ludicrously watery sauces, oil laden rices and noodle and questionable meat substitutes are giving me repulsion quivers – purely from recollection. Things were either remarkably unflavoursome, or had this bizarre unfamilar after taste, that I imagine is similar to that of chewing on grass and soil. Perhaps Aone should market their buffet towards animals that chew the cud.

A couple of spring rolls and an unnecessary service charge later we left, stocking up on stack-a-jacks and milky way magic rolls on the way back to uni.

Avoid.

The stall on the left, Exmouth Market

Type: Indian
Where: Exmouth Market
Nearest Tube: Angel
Price: FIVER
Rating: ££££

Its been too long guys. We’ve been bad. After the video the fame got to us  and we got distracted from our purpose in life (that’s finding food for five pounds or less in the capital).

BUT WE’RE BACK.

Kicking off the reviews is a lunchtime option in Exmouth Market. While we usually strive for places where you can sit in and eat your meal for a fiver Exmouth Market does have some outdoor benches so we’re bending the rules a bit. Note: sometimes drunk homeless men sit on these benches with you, we think it just adds to the experience.

Anyway this stall has no name but it is one of the two Indian food stall in Exmouth Market. It is the one that looks a bit more authentic and less polished. It is the one that sometimes has a smaller queue than the other (promising sign).

However for £5 you get their special of every dish they make in one large dish so that’s chicken tikka, chicken and spinach curry, dahl, vegetable curry, samosa, lamb kebab, pilau rice AND bread AND a bottle of water. It also all tastes really good. Go now.