Cheap meals in London's best restaurants

Posh nosh for less dosh – the finest restaurants with bargain pre-theatre deals and set menus

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Want to sample London's gourmet restaurants without splashing the cash? Take a seat at off-peak times and you can eat like a king for a lot less than you'd expect. Here are just a few the finest London restaurants with bargain pre-theatre deals and uncommonly cheap set menus.

© Tricia de Courcy Ling

Lawn Bistro

  • Rated as: 5/5
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NB in February 2014 chef Ollie Couillaud left; who will replace him is not yet clear. The review below refers to 2013 only. Time Out Editors     More refined than you’d infer from its name alone, the Lawn Bistro is a classic French dining room that has added a strong independent voice to the chain restaurants and cafés of Wimbledon. Open since 2011, it offers accomplished French cuisine via two- or three-course prix fixe menus and a drinks list notable for French ciders

  1. 67 High Street, SW19 5EE
  2. Set lunch (Mon-Sat) £14.95, £19.50 2 courses,...
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Theo Randall at the InterContinental

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice
  • Offer

Since 2006, when Theo Randall, long-time head chef at the River Café, opened this eponymous restaurant its reputation (and Randall’s media profile) has gone from strength to strength. The colourful, spacious dining room is high on comfort, if a little corporate, with cream leather, walnut wood and olive green shades. Service is caring and warm-hearted and the cooking, in our experience, is joyous. The carte is not cheap, featuring luxury produce such as Limousin veal and wild

  1. 1 Hamilton Place, Park Lane, W1J 7QY
  2. Main courses £28-£38. Set meal (lunch,...
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Plateau

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Offer

The aptly named Plateau sits on the fourth floor of Canada Place, with sensational views of Canary Wharf from its huge glass and metal façade. The interior aims to impress with iconic contemporary furniture – marble-topped white Eero Saarinen Tulip tables and matching chairs, and Arco floor lamps – but the restaurant isn’t just a designer showroom for the moneyed classes; the beautifully presented cuisine is testament to the fact that head chef Allan Pickett takes his job

  1. Canada Place, Canada Square, E14 5ER
  2. Main courses £14-£29.50. Set meal £22 2...
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Orrery

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice
  • Offer

This serene, elegant Marylebone dining room with bucolic views through arched windows produced a meal that astonished us in every way. The Ukrainian chef Igor Tymchyshyn has achieved the seemingly impossible – a £26 menu du jour of exceptional beauty, glamour and flavour. A starter of lobster bisque with seafood raviolo was pure luxury; chicken liver pâté was served on a raft of toasted Poilâne, heaped with tangy apple chutney and scattered with pea shoots. A main course of

  1. 55 Marylebone High Street, W1U 5RB
  2. Set lunch £23 & £34 2 courses, £26 & £38 3...
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© Thomas Skovsende

Hakkasan

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Offer

More than a decade after it started wowing London’s big spenders with its classy Cantonese cooking, this Michelin-starred trendsetter remains a benchmark against which all high-end Chinese restaurants should be judged. The basement’s stylish interior (all dark wood lattice screens and moody lighting) still attracts the kind of beautiful people who might suppress their appetites – though there was little evidence of restraint on our midweek night visit. Plate after plate

  1. 8 Hanway Place, W1T 1HD
  2. Main courses £17-£61. Dim sum £3-£20. Set...
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Cinnamon Kitchen

Cinnamon Kitchen Ming Tang-Evans

Cinnamon Kitchen

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice
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There’s something almost karmic about the location of this new sibling to the Cinnamon Club, occupying as it does a former warehouse of the East India Company. And it occupies it stylishly, with walls in soft pewter hues inset with lustrous mother-of-pearl patterns. The juxtaposition of exposed air-con ducts with intricate filigree light-shades works unexpectedly well under the lofty ceilings – as does the long tandoori-grill bar where chefs cook to order. Most dishes

  1. 9 Devonshire Square, EC2M 4YL
  2. Main courses £12-£32. Set lunch £15 2...
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Boisdale Canary Wharf

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Offer

This highly enjoyable member of the Boisdale triumvirate is almost laughably incongruous. On the second floor is an appropriately smart bar-diner that offers a brasserie menu and mollifying puffs in the Cigar Library or on the terrace, but the third-floor main restaurant has a cod-Scottish gentlemen’s-club theme entirely at odds with the office-casual modernist architecture around it. No cliché is knowingly ducked – mounted stag’s head and angling trophy, tartan carpet,

  1. Cabot Place, E14 4QT
  2. Main courses £14.50-£51. Set meal £19.75 2...
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Cinnamon Club

Cinnamon Club Dominik Gigler

Cinnamon Club

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice
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There’s a gentleman’s club feel to this grand, Grade II-listed Victorian building (once a library) and the high ceiling, book-lined gallery and crisp napery convey a sense of occasion. It’s an established haunt of sharp-suited power brokers and Westminster politicians who enjoy a fine-dining menu of updated rustic and regal pan-Indian dishes. We liked the sliced veal escalope with its toasted coriander seasoning – an innovative complement to creamy tomato-cumin sauce. The

  1. Old Westminster Library, 30-32 Great Smith Street, 30-32 Great Smith Street, SW1P 3BU
  2. Main courses £14-£32. Set meal £22 2...
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© Nick Ballon

Blueprint Café

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Offer

A long-time favourite, the Blueprint Café would be destination for the setting alone: wall-to-ceiling windows look on to a stunning view of the Thames and Tower Bridge, and a retractable canopy gives a great inside/outside feeling. Head chef Mark Jarvis’s seasonal menus are short and to the point – dishes are beautiful but in no way twee. Begin, perhaps, with just-seared yellowfin tuna with kalamata olives and a delicate salad niçoise, or a tender artichoke salad with a

  1. Design Museum, 28 Shad Thames, SE1 2YD
  2. Main courses £12.50-£21. Set lunch £15 2...
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Galvin Bistrot de Luxe

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice
  • Offer

The first of the Galvin brothers’ restaurant empire, this polished, much-loved Marylebone bistro is classically French (veloutés, soufflés, purées) with the occasional nod to Italy (risottos, lasagnes, panna cottas). The dining room is an inviting place, with its dark chocolate wood panelling, globe lighting and big bunches of scarlet gladioli. Lunch, ordered from the à la carte and £19.50 prix-fixe menus, was high on comfort and mostly tip-top. A smooth, nicely fatty pork

  1. 66 Baker Street, W1U 7DJ
  2. Main courses £16-£21.50. Set lunch £19.50 3...
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