Fancy something a little more exciting than a supermarket sandwich for lunch? These Shoreditch and City spots have got you covered. They're just a few places you'll find in our best (and most affordable) lunches feature from the January 29 issue of Time Out magazine.
1. Salt beef sandwich at Beigel Bake, £4.60 (above)
This 24-hour bakery is an East End institution, and deservedly so. The Brick Lane bagel shop with the white sign serves up New York-style bagels that are so chewy and moreish they’re the stuff of legend. And while the store is known as a perfect stopping-off point for a post-booze, late-night snack, it’s also great for powering you through an afternoon at work. Go for one of the salt beef sandwiches: the bagel-to-filling ratio is obscenely generous, and you can add a giant gherkin or some mustard to up the acidity. A truly holey experience. Angela Hui
159 Brick Lane. Shoreditch High St Overground.
2. Quiche lorraine at Café Sou at The Ned, £4
Soho House’s gargantuan and gaudy hotel complex is many things (literally: there are eight restaurants and two bars), but cheap ain’t one of them. Unless you make for the back entrance and Café Sou. It’s a sort of informal Parisian railway caff, albeit a plush one, offering ace Gallic picnic food. The absolute blinding apex? Quiche lorraine. This juddering, cheesy, piggy slab is one of the finest savoury pastries in London. The best bit? It’s yours for £4 a pop. Tom Howells
27 Poultry. Bank tube.
3. Mini salmon set at Sushi Surprise, £4.50
The real surprise at this takeaway between Shoreditch and the City is how cheap the high-quality sushi is. Its founders are chefs who trained at the best sushi restaurants in London and the fish they use is delivered fresh at six in the morning every day, so rest assured you’re going to get the good stuff. The menu ranges widely – with loads of veggie options – but the mini salmon set should be your go-to. Consisting of four salmon-avocado maki and two salmon nigiri, it’s a filling and nutritious lunch. First-time visitors even get a complimentary surprise sushi from the chef. Itadakimasu! Angela Hui
52 Scrutton St. Shoreditch High St Overground.
4. The Boateng at Jollof Box, £6.50
There’s plenty of global lunch fare to be found in Spitalfields, but Jollof Box is one of the few culinary bastions of West Africa. The family-run stall serves up Nigerian dishes and is fronted by matriarch Sade. She champions her own brand of tomato and spice-based jollof rice, honed over four decades. Meals here are named after famous African footballers (The Drogba, The Yaya, The Kanu…) and it’s the hearty vegan Boateng that’s the top goalscorer. Featuring seasoned black-eyed beans and sweetcorn casserole alongside sweet plantain, it offers a diversity of flavours that puts it in the premier league. Riaz Phillips
Old Spitalfields Market, Horner Square, Lamb St (Mulberry Gate). Liverpool St tube.
5. Meal deal at Legacy Caribbean, £5
Bricks-and-mortar Caribbean food spots are relatively hard to find in this part of town (or anywhere in central London, for that matter). Luckily, the Legacy Caribbean food truck, formerly known as Shades, has stepped (or driven) in to fill the gap, flying the Jamaican flag high. Meal deal offerings here include jerk and barbecue chicken with sweet chilli sauce, curried mutton, oxtail and escoveitch fish – all served up with your choice of white rice or classic Caribbean rice and peas. Vegans aren’t left out either: no corners are cut with Legacy’s flavoursome curried chickpeas. Riaz Phillips
100 Hoxton St. Hoxton Overground.
Still hungry? Check out our list of 100 London restaurants you have to try.