London Cheap Eats

So, it's come to my attention on my camera roll that I've eaten out a few more times than I let on, on this here blog. Sometimes we go out for breakfast or lunch or a casual dinner with friends, and although what I've eaten is really great, I'm not always necessarily convinced my meal is worth a blog post on its own, either because I just had a main or because it's a relatively small, local-type place that won't be on everyone's radar, locality wise. So I thought I'd start a new series, outlining a few smaller restaurants and eateries, just to mention the awesomeness.

We ventured to Green Papaya in Hackney, a small Vietnamese restaurant, at the beginning of April for a 'farewell, so long' meal for our dear friends who have gone travelling round the world... how dare they? I know. Our table was booked about 7pm, midweek and when we first arrived, the place was empty but by the time we left, the place was heaving. We were placed round the back of the restaurant and ordered in our drinks, which are about standard price for any small restaurant, and then our food. Some of the group ordered starters, I shared some of Shay's, a soft shell crab - super delicious! I went for the Bun Xa Beef as my main and it was thoroughly enjoyed! I didn't realise but apart from the noodles, this dish is cold, but still utterly divine - completely fresh and full of flavour and at £7.90, well you can't argue with that can you? After drinks, starters, nibbles and mains I think we all ended up spending £20 each - a bargain if I ever knew one! Green Papaya in Hackney is well recommended if you're in the area and are looking for a decent Vietnamese meal.

I had been wanting to go to Birdie Num Nums in New Cross for a while, on the outside it looks cool and quirky and the food lives up to that expectation, as well as being pretty darn good value. Shay and I visited on the morning of the Grand National, before heading down to the bookies to place some bets (needless to say, none of our bets came in). Shay opted for a full English (although the full-Turkish, was tempting - not a Turkish breakfast but more a take on the full English with a Turkish twist) and I went for eggs and mushrooms on toast with some extra bacon! To be honest, there's nothing spectacular here to report other than a well-cooked breakfast at a great price, although next time I'll definitely get a portion of their own recipe baked beans! I think both meals as well as teas came to about £16, totally manageable. I'm keen to get back there to try the rest of the menu out, they serve lunch and dinner until 6pm and have an alcohol licence so would be a nice option for cheaper meal out!

Let's be honest, pub food can be totally hit and miss, sometimes it'll hit the spot and other times you know it's come out of a microwave. Chai's Garden however, is a kitchen 'residency' in a local pub in New Cross but they also have their own restaurant space at the back. I've eaten their food in the pub a number of times now and I can honestly say exactly what I'd expect from a Thai meal, fresh, light and full of flavour. The prices are brilliant for the quality - a beef pad thai will set you back only £7.50, and is totally, deliciously moreish. Is that how you spell moreish? I must have googled it about a hundred times. Anyway, if you're in South East, I'd recommend taking the time to get food here, or at least as a takeaway, you won't be disappointed, it's a real hidden gem.

If you've got any similar recommendations, for quick and cheap eats that don't compromise on value, let me know!