Choosing a suitable destination for a sit down lunch with work friends can be tricky. Ideally, you want somewhere cheap, quick, and complete with a mouthwatering menu that will power you through the afternoon slump. Here’s our pick of the best London restaurants that tick all of those boxes.
For cheap and cheerful fast food, skip the chains and head to this bright Baker Street offering instead. The irresistible chicken burgers start at just £4.95, and are joined on the menu by tenders, wings, dips and milkshakes. Good news for vegetarians, too - there’s even a meat-free chicken burger on offer.
134 Baker Street, W1U 6SH; chikn.com
This London favourite originally started as a street food stall, but now has seven proper restaurants spread across the city. Their satisfyingly chewy sourdough pizza bases are the star here, but there are also deep fried mac ‘n’ cheese balls and tasty arancini should you be able to fit them in.
Various locations; pizzapilgrims.co.uk
This Chinatown favourite is famous for its Beijing dumplings, handmade in store and stuffed with a minced pork, spring onion and chive filling. If you prefer, you can have these served fried as guo tie (or ‘pot stickers’). If you want something more, there also are plenty of pho and rice dishes to choose from.
4-8 Newport Pl, WC2H 7JP
The area immediately surrounding Euston station might seem at first glance to be rather bereft of good food options, but you don’t need to venture far to find a couple of places that are worth seeking out. In fact, the Indian dishes on offer at Roti King are so popular that you should aim to get there early if you want to avoid queuing for a table.
40 Doric Way, NW1 1LH; rotiking.info
Those who work near Chinatown are spoiled for choice - as well as Jen Cafe, there’s this little gem, which tourists and office workers alike seek out for it’s £6 chicken katsu curry. So good, it has to be tasted to be believed.
11 Wardour St, W1D 6PG; misato.eu
On The Bab
This Korean street food emporium has four restaurants across London - you can find them in Shoreditch, Marylebone, Covent Garden and St Paul’s. The menu has a lot of small plates which are suitable for sharing, plus hearty bowls of bibimbap for those after something more filling. And whatever you do, don’t skip the pillowy filled buns.
Various locations; onthebab.com
The Potato Project
This Soho eatery has taken the humble baked potato to the next level with a range of fillings including barbeque duck, moussaka and Thai chicken curry. If you’re not feeling that adventurous, there are more traditional fillings on offer, too - but even these are taken up a notch with quality, gourmet ingredients (see the borlotti bean, tomato and mature cheddar cheese option, for example).
27 Noel Street, W1F 8GZ; thepotatoproject.com
In the last couple of years, the Hawaiian dish of poke (pronounced poh-keh) has taken London by storm. Most dishes include a marinated raw fish such as salmon or tuna, along with a selection of vegetables and a dressing that’s likely to include soy sauce, sesame oil, seaweed and spring onions. To try one of the very best poke bowls in London, head to Polu Poke in Shoreditch.
117 Worship St, EC2A 2BA; polupoke.co.uk
London has its fair share of tasty falafel and hummus bowls, but Pilpel is up there with the very best. Ordering is super speedy, leaving plenty of time to grab a table and chat with your workmates, and almost all the toppings on offer are pretty healthy - so you won’t feel too sluggish when 3pm rolls around, either.
Various locations; pilpel.co.uk
The Good Egg
There are two branches of this popular all-day neighbourhood eatery - one in Kingly Court (just of Carnaby Street) and another in Stoke Newington. Both branches serve a selection of Jewish and Middle Eastern-inspired dishes - think flatbreads, shawarma, and shakshuka. There’s also a daily babka on offer, so you can finish your meal with something sweet.
Kingly Court and Stoke Newington; thegoodegg.co
Main image: iStock