The working lunch can be a miserable thing – when did supermarket salads eaten al desko ever make the heart swoon? But thanks to these restaurants in Soho, those working in and around the area will be pleased to know, there is salvation. And it often doesn’t cost much more than your average meal deal.
DUM Biryani – ‘Dum’ is the technique of coal-steaming vegetables and rice, and DUM Biryani are masters at it. The pop art wall hangings and modest surrounds make the basement an excellent drop-in for a casual lunch. Even better when, every lunchtime Monday to Friday, you can eat for less than a tenner.
Blacklock – The ever-popular Blacklock is well known for its Sunday lunches. Hit them up on any other day of the week though, and you’ll have the option of the restaurant’s A-grade steak sandwich. On Mondays, meat is reduced to the price it comes out the butchers.
Bocca di Lupo – Italian food rarely gets better than this, from Bocca di Lupo’s chicken liver pappardelle to their suckling pig with chestnuts. Even a simple dish of fennel gratin with butter and parmesan could send you head over heels. Afterwards, when back on your feet, head over the road to Gelupo – BdL’s gelato shop is often touted as the best in London.
Kricket – When the queues are too long at Dishoom (which, let’s face it, is most of the time), head to fellow chilled-out Indian joint Kricket instead. The food is, after all, just as good – best see off the rabbit keema pao, the marrow naans, and the unmissable samphire pakoras.
Dean Street Townhouse – A hotel better known for its restaurant than its rooms, DST is lively during most services. Which means it doesn’t have that church-like atmosphere notoriously associated with hotel dining rooms, particularly in the middle of the day. The menu is British-ish, as mains like grilled Dover sole or confit duck leg should indicate.
Sophie’s Steakhouse – With its in-house butchers, open kitchen, wood-fired smoker, and diligent sourcing of West Country meat, there’s no doubt Sophie’s is serious about its steak. Best option for a comforting midweek lunch? Sniff out the steak frites with béarnaise sauce, off the set menu, followed up with the baked cheesecake.
HIX – With such strong ties to the Cornish and Devon coast, it’s a given HIX’s bag is fish and shellfish. A good sign for oyster-loving businessmen and women, but to those without the company credit card, not so much. For more bang for your buck, two courses from the set menu is just under £20.
Yauatcha – If Yauatcha’s expansion is anything to go by, it seems everyone likes a bit of tea and dim sum – Alan Yau’s brand now has eight sites across the globe. Yauatcha’s Soho home is where it all started, laying on dumplings, buns, salads, and soups to all those who’ll have it.
Tamarind Kitchen – Tamarind Kitchen is the perfect classy-casual introduction to proper Indian cuisine. And, if you go at lunch, without so much of the price tag: an enormous platter of aloo tikki chaat, chargrilled seabass, lamb seekh kebab, Keralan prawn curry, and lots more comes in at eighteen quid per head.
Barrafina – Come dinner time, the queues are half as long as they were when Barrafina was thought of as the best restaurant in the capital a few years back. Even so, the food’s as good as it ever was – for those who like a shorter wait, lunch is a good time to go and sample some of London’s best tapas.
Visit OpenTable to discover more of the best restaurants in Soho.
This is a guest post from freelance food journalist Hugh Thomas. He’s contributed to Foodism, Time Out, Great British Chefs, and is part of British Street Food’s small team of vigilant writers. Find him on twitter @hughwrites.
Photo Credit: @samphireandsalsify for Blacklock.