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The best BYO restaurants in London

If you've had it with paying through the nose for wine and beer, take a look at our list of the best bring-your-own restaurants in London.

By Time Out London Food & Drink

OCTOBER 2019: BYO offers turn up in unexpected places and our latest line-up includes an Ethiopian vegan spot in Dalston (Andu Café), a famous old chippie (Marylebone’s Golden Hind) and Persepolis (a veggie restaurant attached to Peckham’s Persian delicatessen/emporium). Elsewhere, we like Soif (a champion of natural wines and artisan French food), Mien Tay in Hoxton (a Vietnamese stalwart) and Roti King (Malaysian bread in a Euston backstreet).

Posh fine-dining restaurants also have some tempting offers. Check out the special deals on offer at Nigel Platts-Martin’s trio of big hitters: Chez Bruce (Wandsworth), La Trompette (Chiswick) and The Glasshouse (Kew).

Like a drink with dinner but find restaurant mark-ups hard to swallow? If you're truly on the hunt for cheap eats, find a place to eat that lets you bring your own (wine, beer or spirits) with our selection of London's best BYO restaurants. Do you agree with the choices? Use the comments box below or tweet your suggestions.

The best BYO restaurants in London

Adams Cafe

Restaurants Moroccan Shepherd’s Bush

By day, this Shepherd’s Bush classic is a redoubtable greasy spoon with a fry-up menu to match; by night, it morphs into a cosy North African bistro with clothed tables, moody lighting and a line-up of exotic Moroccan/Tunisian specialities. Mix ‘n’ match from a great-value menu that moves from crisp little briks, briwats, cigares and doigts de fatma (delicately spiced savoury pastries) to heartwarming tagines, couscous, stews and grills. Complimentary appetisers and BYO (wine only) add to the feel-good vibe.

BYO Mon-Sat (dinner only); corkage £6 (wine only).

Ali Baba

Restaurants Marylebone

At first glance, this long-running Marylebone spot (established in 1979) might look like a takeaway, but there’s also a modest BYO restaurant at the back. The kitchen delivers a reasonably priced taste of Egypt full of robust, distinctive flavours ranging from classic ‘mezzah’ and grills to rustic specialities such as molokhia – a soupy stew of slimy corchorus leaves with lamb of chicken (an acquired taste, but well worth trying).

BYO all week; no corkage.


Andu Cafe

Restaurants Ethiopian Dalston

Ethiopian, vegan and BYO, this Dalston café knocks out hearty plant-based food in a friendly no-frills setting of fairy lights, religious prints and artificial plants. Decide whether you want traditional injera bread or rice to go with your six-dish ‘sampler platter’, which is all about greens and aromatic stews made with beans or lentils, and pimped up with plenty of garlic, ginger and turmeric. Prices are ridiculously low (£7 per person or £12 for two) and you don’t even have to pay corkage.

BYO all week; no corkage.

Anima e Cuore

Restaurants Italian Kentish Town

From the outside, Anima e Cuore looks like a gelateria-cum-café. But don’t be fooled, because the tiny restaurant at the back serves bargain-priced Italian food that can stand comparison with the best in the capital. There’s precious little decor, the menu is scrawled on paper and it’s strictly BYOB, but the sensational cooking guarantees packed houses. Tip: don’t miss the polenta riffs or the daily homemade ravioli specials.

BYO Tue-Sun; no corkage.


Ariana II

Restaurants Afghan Kilburn

Kilburn’s pride and joy, this modest Afghan spot also attracts people from across London with its excellent cooking, budget prices and BYOB policy. Dumplings, tikkas, curries and kebabs show the cuisine’s cultural diversity, but also look for more distinctive ideas – from mantu (minced meat in steamed pastry topped with yoghurt, chickpeas and mint) to the must-have kabuli palow (slow-cooked lamb shank buried in a mound of yellow rice dotted with pistachios and peppers). To drink, order minty yoghurt ‘dough’ or ‘happy’ cardamom tea.

BYO all week; no corkage (‘no water or juices please’).

Band of Burgers

Restaurants Camden Town

Create your own burger and enjoy BYOB at this cool music-themed hangout in Camden. Kick off with some ‘rings of squid’ or crispy mac ‘n’ cheese lollies before devising your own combo or picking from the list – perhaps The Elvis (a double Angus cheeseburger) or Yellow Submarine (a fish burger). Soft drinks run from juices to ‘heartbreak shakes’, or you can make a night of it by bringing you own booze. You can also BYOB at BOB on Brick lane.

BYO all week; no corkage (minimum spend £12pp, no soft drinks, time limit 1.5 hours).



Restaurants Camden Town

Bamboo cladding, tribal masks, lanterns and tropical murals set the scene at this long-shading pan-Asian stalwart on Kentish Town Road – and there’s also a delightful garden area out back for balmy days and nights. The menu moves from Malaysian satays, lumpia spring rolls, lamb rendang and roti canai to Japanese katsu curries, Thai som tam salad and Filipino adobo chicken, but also look for Bintang’s regularly changing regional specials and ‘happy hour’ menus.

BYO all week; no corkage Mon (with a minimum £10pp spend on food); Tue-Sun £3 per bottle (wine), £1 per bottle (beer).

Bonnington Café

Restaurants British Vauxhall

Vauxhall’s green-living, eco-minded community café – a former squat – depends on a rolling roster of cooperative members/cooks from different nations, who take turns to prepare and serve globally minded vegan/vegetarian food at rock-bottom prices – check the website to see who’s at the stove. Cakes and other temptations might thwart your healthy mission, but there are always lighter options on the regularly changing menu. Cash only. 

BYO all week; no corkage.


Bun Bun Bun

Restaurants Vietnamese Hoxton

More modern and minimalist than some of its neighbours in Kingsland Road’s Vietnamese wonderland, this colourful outfit also stands out from the crowd with its signature ‘bún’ salads – steamed rice vermicelli and herbs dressed with pungent ‘nouc cham’ fish sauce and served with all manner of toppings. Otherwise pick from the line-up of Hanoi-style street-food dishes, bánh mì (baguettes) and bowls of steaming pho. Zingy fresh flavours, speedy service, low prices and BYOB – what’s not to like? There’s also an offshoot in Dalston.

BYO all week; corkage £3 per person.


Restaurants British Brick Lane

Occupying what was once a derelict train cabin, Caboose is parked up at the Old Truman Brewery where it peddles its smoky BBQ meats to Shoreditch hipsters. However, the most interesting thing about this set-up is its offer of private parties with BYOB. Here’s the deal: the owners cook a three-course menu (£35) in front of up to 13 guests who bring their own booze – there’s an ice chest by the door and extra fridge space if you need it.

BYO all week (private cabin dining only); corkage £5 per person.


Chez Bruce

Restaurants French Wandsworth

Bruce Poole’s tastefully stylish gaff may have a Michelin gong to its name, but it’s still Wandsworth’s favourite neighbourhood restaurant – a place where you can enjoy polished French-inspired food without the fawning service or killer prices of some other lauded establishments. Expect big-boned seasonal flavours along the lines of deep-fried calf’s brains with sauce gribiche, morteau sausage and celeriac, backed by a wonderfully whiffy cheeseboard and a stonking 600-bin wine list (plus BYO on Sunday evenings).

BYO Sun dinner; no corkage (one bottle per person, up to six guests, confirm when booking).

Cirrik 19 Numara Bos

Restaurants Turkish Dalston

The hipster’s ocakbasi of choice in Dalston, Cirrik has a way with the Turkish classics. There’s charcoal-grilled bread for dunking into meze dips and thin-based yet fluffy pide, but this place is particularly strong on kebabs – from a classic ‘sis’ (shish) to the ‘full mixed kebab’, a huge platter (including quail) that feeds four. Offshoots in Stoke Newington, Hackney and Tottenham.

BYO all week; corkage £5 per bottle.


Colbeh Restaurant

Restaurants Iranian Paddington

A mosaic-clad bread oven holds pride of place by the door of this long-serving family-run Persian eatery, while photos of tourist spots line the walls of Colbeh’s tiny dining room. It’s an intimate and unpretentious setting for some great-value food – not just top-drawer naans but also dips, salads, pickles and kebabs, plus warming dishes such as the spicy ‘stew of kings’ (chicken breast with ground walnuts and pomegranate purée). To finish, homemade ice creams and faloudeh should hit the sweet spot.

BYO all week; no corkage (note limit of one bottle per two people).

Counter Culture

Restaurants Contemporary European Clapham

An oh-so-brilliant spin-off to Robin Gill’s Dairy next door, Counter Culture serves ‘how do you make that’ small plates in a seriously unpretentious setting dominated by counter seating (obvs). Bag one of the 14 stools and dig into wildly inventive assemblages such as ‘green tomato, lavender, garden plum, fresh cobnut’. Staff are all tattoos and charisma, the music is old school, you can BYOB (with corkage) and the loos are next door. And you can book!

BYO Tue-Sat; corkage £10 per bottle.


Diwana Bhel Poori House

Restaurants Indian Euston

A fixture of Drummond Street’s ‘Little India’ since the 70s, this no-frills vegetarian café still pulls in the crowds, despite its cramped tables and bench seating. Prices are low, you can BYOB and the menu is all about Gujarati street food – not only the namesake bhel-pooris but also dosas, aloo papri chat, dahi vada, samosas and so on. Veggie thalis are excellent value if you want a bit of everything, and there’s a hearty help-yourself buffet at lunchtimes.

BYO all week; no corkage.

Fez Mangal
Fez Mangal
© Jael Marschner

Fez Mangal

Restaurants Turkish Ladbroke Grove

There’s usually a queue at this ‘Med-inspired’ Turkish grill, but no-nonsense service means you’ll bag a table pretty quickly. While you wait, get the juices flowing by watching Fez’s meat maestros as they rotate the hefty barbecue skewers and shave slices off the own-made doners. They also score with cut-above accompaniments including crunchy red cabbage, spice-rubbed flatbreads and tangy Turkish yoghurt.

BYO all week; no corkage.



Restaurants Contemporary European Kew

Less botanically minded than its Kew address (and name) might suggest, The Glasshouse is formal but neighbourly with pristine staff touring the neutral dining room and the kitchen delivering its gutsy Euro-themed cuisine with Michelin-starred aplomb. Expect full-blooded flavours ranging from veal tartare with truffle cream, white peaches, cobnuts and artichokes to roast skate with beurre noisette, shrimps and capers. The food is backed by a serious wine list and you’re welcome to bring one of your favourite bottles on Tuesday evenings.

BYO Tue dinner; no corkage (one bottle per person, up to eight guests, confirm when booking).

Jael Marschner

Golden Hind

Restaurants British Marylebone

In 2014, the Golden Hind celebrated 100 years’ service as a trusty purveyor of fish and chips to the residents of Marylebone. Every detail is spot on here, from the grease-free batter and chunky chips to the well-seasoned mushy peas – not forgetting a choice of fish that runs from fried cod, haddock and ‘rock’ to steamed plaice, skate and salmon. There’s booze in the house too (beers for the builders, fizz for the ladies who lunch) and the restaurant has reintroduced its BYO offer.  

BYO Mon-Sat; corkage £5 per bottle.



Restaurants Pan-South American Camden Town

A colourful and entertaining restaurant/bar that does a roaring trade with the local party crowd, Guanabana is all about spreading the love and dispensing Caribbean/Latin sunshine with its lively menu and drinks. To eat, expect everything from pickled cactus fries and crispy shakalaka shrimps to fajitas, jerk chicken, curry goat, steaks, wings and salads. Guanabana’s BYO offer extends to bottles of spirits, but you’ll still need to buy your mixers and soft drinks.    

BYO all week; corkage Fri-Sat £5 (wine), £2 (beer), £10 (spirits); Sun-Thur £3 (wine), £1 (beer), £5 (spirits). Bookings of eight or more, £5 per person (Sun-Thur).

Hawksmoor Guildhall
Hawksmoor Guildhall
Courtesy of Hawksmoor Guildhall

Hawksmoor Guildhall

Restaurants British City of London

Gut-busting breakfasts, perfectly mixed cocktails and top-quality British beef are just three reasons why the City’s steak-crazy crowd pack into this clubby wood-panelled and leather-clad basement – although punters also rush in for Monday’s cut-price BYO deal. Hawksmoor’s easy charms have an irresistible dressed-down appeal, whether you’re chomping on a hunk of ribeye or munching one of their brilliant burgers. Similar deals can be had at the chain’s other branches, from Spitalfields to Seven Dials.  

BYO Mon-Fri; corkage £5 per bottle (Mon only), £25 per bottle Tue-Fri.


Hix Oyster & Chop House

Restaurants British Farringdon

The restaurant that put Mark Hix on the map, this true-Brit chophouse is a Farringdon cracker – polished and warm, gloriously relaxed but classic in style, with superb patriotic cooking to boot. All the trademark Hix riffs are on display here – including rock oysters, crusty-topped pies, scallops with crunchy nuggets of black pudding, Glenarm’s finest steaks (cooked to pure perfection) and one of the best treacle tarts you’re ever likely to try.

BYO Mon; no corkage (max table of six, one bottle per person).

Hot Stuff
Hot Stuff
Britta Jaschinski

Hot Stuff

Restaurants Indian Vauxhall

It started as a ten-seater canteen with three curries on the menu, but this family-run Indian has grown into a neighbourhood fave with locals, students and foodies alike. Deep purple walls, mosaic mirrors and fairy lights create a hip vibe, while no-corkage BYO is a further bonus (there’s an off-licence next door). Expect a no-frills run through the curry house repertoire, from lamb dhansak and chicken bhuna to saag paneer and piping hot chana dhal – all at knockdown prices.

BYO Mon-Sat; no corkage.


India Club

Restaurants Indian Strand

Hidden behind the colossal grey frontage of the Hotel Strand Continental and reached via two rickety flights of stairs, this intensely charming restaurant is a genial throwback to colonial times with its wipe-clean tables and portraits of Indian independence. Everything is stonkingly good value, whether you opt for a thin crisped-up ghee dosa, chunky lamb bhuna or the legendary tomato-based egg curry. You can BYOB or buy your drinks from the downstairs bar and carry them up to the restaurant.

BYO all week; no corkage.

Indian Veg 2016
Indian Veg 2016
© Ian Phillips

Indian Veg

Restaurants Indian Angel

A popular Indian canteen on Islington’s Chapel Market, serving an all-you-can-eat buffet in karmic (some might say preachy) surrounds. As the name suggests, it’s totally veggie and a lot of the stuff also ticks those vegan boxes – think vegetable curries, dhals, colourful salads and feather-light parathas. No wonder this place is a stalwart for cheap dates and early-evening carb loading, especially if you BYOB. Also don’t forget to bring some cash – they don’t accept cards.

BYO all week; no corkage.


Jai Krishna

Restaurants Indian Finsbury Park

Just round the corner from Crouch Hill station, this incredibly cheap Indian vegetarian spot also comes with corkage-free BYOB – so pop across the road to Jack’s off-licence if you need to stock up. The decor’s basic but the food is delicious and authentic, from dosas, idli sambar and aloo tikki to all sorts of veggie curries – not only the usual cauliflower, chickpeas and spinach but also bitter gourd, mooli and long beans. Great-value thalis too.

BYO Mon-Sat: no corkage.

The Jones Family Project

Restaurants Steakhouse Shoreditch

A very handy restaurant/bar hybrid that feeds and waters Shoreditch creatives and others from morn till night, the Jones Family Project is all about Josper-grilled British meats (courtesy of Ginger Pig). Head to the cavernous basement dining room if you fancy chomping on Longhorns steaks, Tamworth pork ribeyes and Blackface lamb chops with sauces, butters and sides such as truffled mac ’n’ cheese or triple-cooked chips. Kick off with red mullet and sauce vierge; finish with triple chocolate brownie and coconut sorbet.  

BYO Mon; corkage £5 per bottle.



Restaurants Thai Brixton

KaoSarn has always been one of the crowd-pullers in Brixton Village Market and quite rightly so; the food is not only cheap, but also bursts with authentic Thai flavours. The menu is pared down to a handful of classic curries, noodle dishes and stir-fries, although everything is up to standard. Soft drinks include fragrant homemade lemongrass tea, and you can also BYOB. Service is matter of fact, but staff are unfailingly friendly. Branches in Tooting and Battersea.

BYO Tue-Sun; no corkage.

Karahi King

Restaurants Indian Wembley

A stalwart of the North Wembley scene, Karahi King may not score highly for decor or hospitality, but locals are here for the decent-value food and BYO drinks. As you might guess from the name, this place specialises in karahi dishes – all your old curry house favourites cooked and served Punjabi-style in two-handled metal bowls, from saag ghost and ginger chicken to egg curry, chana paneer or jeera aloo (cumin-spiced potatoes). Sooth your palate with a jug of lassi.

BYO all week; no corkage.


Kitchen W8

Restaurants Contemporary European Kensington

A hook-up between Phil Howard (ex-The Square) and Rebecca Mascarenhas (of Sonny’s Kitchen fame), Kitchen W8 is understated Michelin-starred charm personified. Low-key decor (with a touch of refinement), personable staff and easy prices set the tone, while the brilliantly rendered Anglo-European food never veers into snobbiness – there’s no shame in staying with the set menus here or picking from the lower end of the wine list, or even bringing your own.

BYO all week; no corkage Sun dinner, £25 Mon-Sat (one bottle per person).

La Trompette

Restaurants French Chiswick

Chiswick’s favourite ‘posh’ neighbourhood restaurant still oozes understated glamour with its starched white tablecloths, gleaming glassware and impeccably polished service. Locals with cash to splash come here for classy Michelin-starred cooking with strong European overtones – how about roast veal sweetbread with black pudding, girolles and apricot or Cornish sea bass and grilled octopus partnered by borlotti beans and BBQ aubergine? The whiffy cheeseboard and magnificent wine list are real tempters too.

BYO Sun and Mon dinner; no corkage (one bottle per person, up to eight guests, confirm when booking).


Lahore Kebab House

Restaurants Indian Whitechapel

A suitably spartan place of pilgrimage for East End curry devotees who want to avoid the touts, this consistently reliable Whitechapel canteen deals in full-flavoured Punjabi street food, from snacks and karahi bowls to the eponymous grilled meat-on-a-stick. Despite the moniker, there are only two kebabs on offer – one seekh (a ‘sausage’ of seasoned, finely minced lamb on a skewer), and a classic chicken kebab: both are excellent. If you need booze, there’s an off-licence next door.

BYO all week; no corkage.

LittleGeorgia2_credit Nick Ballon.jpg
LittleGeorgia2_credit Nick Ballon.jpg
© Nick Ballon

Little Georgia

Restaurants Georgian Haggerston

Compared to its more expansive Islington offshoot, Little Georgia’s Hackney branch is a much simpler prospect – a retro café by day and an unlicensed BYO restaurant by night. The place is famous for its Georgian breakfasts, all-day lunches, deli-style sandwiches and homemade cakes, while evening brings authentic dishes based largely on family recipes – perhaps borscht or beetroot salad followed by tabaka (roast poussin with chicken livers and Georgian plum sauce). Either way, don’t miss the freshly baked khachapuri (traditional cheese bread).

BYO Tue-Sun; no corkage.


Little Vietnam

Restaurants Vietnamese Wimbledon

Next door to Sainsburys in South Wimbledon (BYOB fans please note), this family-run Vietnamese restaurant likes to keep things casual: there’s no standing on ceremony, the food comes fast and it’s pretty authentic too. Big bowls of pho and ‘bun’ noodles are among the favourites, although the menu covers everything from summer rolls and fragrant salads to bánh xeo pancakes and che ba mau – a ‘rainbow dessert’ involving beans, pandan jellies, coconut milk, sugar and crushed ice. Cash only.

BYO all week; corkage £3 (wine), £1 (beer).

Mangal Ocakbasi

Restaurants Turkish Dalston

East London’s most famous ocakbasi restaurant (aka Mangal 1) has been around for more than 20 years, but this kebab king still lures in passers-by with enticing smells from its enormous mangal grill. Meat is the main event here – so hold out for the succulent cubes of grilled lamb in the insuperable ‘cop sis’, or the garlicky lusciousness of the minced chicken beyti. They stock a few Turkish wines, but BYO if you fancy something different. 

BYO all week; no corkage.


Marie's Café

Restaurants Cafés Waterloo

Our favourite thing about this green-fronted café near Waterloo station is the fact that jungle curries and pad thai are as popular as plates of fried eggs and chips. By day, the Formica-heavy interior functions as a full-on greasy spoon serving gut-busting fry-ups; by night, it’s a Thai restaurant packed with nattering cabbies and spice-loving locals scoffing authentic food at bargain-basement prices – think chicken satay, som tam salad, stir-fries, noodles and banana fritters.

BYO Mon-Sat (dinner only); corkage £1.

Masa002_creditBritta Jaschinsk.jpg
Masa002_creditBritta Jaschinsk.jpg
© Britta Jaschinski


Restaurants Afghan Borough of Harrow

Harrow is happy to have this convivial BYOB venue serving Afghan grills and comfort food to big family gatherings – neither the setting nor the portions are built for a romantic dinner à deux. It’s worth asking what’s been freshly cooked that day: you can’t go wrong with the sabzi lamb (with spinach) plus a side of dhal or some naan bread. Also look out for the mantoo and aashak (pasta dishes), as well as the rice-based palow and chalow riffs.

BYO all week; no corkage.

mastersSuperfish_credit Kevin Nicholson003.jpg
mastersSuperfish_credit Kevin Nicholson003.jpg
© Kevin Nicholson

Masters Superfish

Restaurants British Waterloo

A favourite with tourists and locals, this turquoise temple to fish and chips is a delicious and affordable option close to Waterloo station. Cabbies, commuters and tourists sit at canteen-style tables and tuck into all sorts of battered fish (from Billingsgate) as well as international favourites ranging from chicken Kiev and chilli con carne to Singapore fried noodles. They stock a few basic wines, but it’s probably best to take advantage of their BYO offer. 

BYO Mon-Sat; no corkage.

Mien Tay

Restaurants Vietnamese Hoxton

Having expanded into the premises next door, this Vietnamese stalwart has gone upmarket – although it’s lost none of its allure as a destination for first-rate cooking. Seafood is the big draw here (try the deep-fried sea bass with fish sauce and mango), although the repertoire runs from crispy pancakes with tofu to chicken curry served in a clay pot or stir-fried goat with galangal. Note that Mien Tay’s branches in Battersea and Fulham don’t do BYOB.

BYO all week; corkage £2.50 per person Sun-Thu, £3 per person Fri-Sat (‘strictly no spirits’).



Restaurants Contemporary European Clapham

A sweet little fish in Clapham’s multicultural pond, Minnow is a friendly, atmospheric spot offering decent modern cooking in a low-lit, slightly romantic setting complete with a mock pergola and a cosy nook downstairs. BYO is limited to Sunday evening’s ‘roast club’, where £24 pays for an organic roast with all the trimmings, plus a proper English pud to go with the wine you’ve brought along to wash it all down.

BYO Sun evening ‘roast club’; no corkage.

Miran Masala

Restaurants Indian West Kensington

Located directly opposite London Olympia, this welcoming neighbourhood spot serves traditional Indian and Pakistani specialities with a contemporary twist and backs up its food offer with BYOB. Classic kormas, dhansaks, tandooris and biryanis line up alongside on-the-bone pot-roasted ‘deigi’ specialities, karahi dishes and chef’s specials such as haleem (slow-cooked lamb with lentils and wheat). Vegetarians also do well here, with plenty of options such as chilli paneer or masala karela (bitter gourd). If you’re going booze-free, stick to lassi.

BYO all week; no corkage.

Jonathan Perugia

Needoo Grill

Restaurants Indian Whitechapel

Battling it out in the lamb chop stakes with its local rivals Tayyabs and Lahore Kebab House, this cramped Indian delivers the goods against a gaudy backdrop of bright red walls, leather benches and blaring flatscreen TVs. Aside from the grilled meats and kebabs, what you get are succulent karahi dishes, biryanis and buttery naans, although pre-prepared snacks can be disappointing. Like its neighbours, Needoo is a BYO spot with swift service, although it doesn’t suffer from the same interminable queues.

BYO all week; no corkage.

The Ninth

Restaurants Contemporary European Fitzrovia

Big-name chef Jun Tanaka has been around for years, and this chic, contemporary venue in Fitzrovia is the ninth restaurant he has been involved in (geddit?). Although Michelin-starred small plates with a European slant are the focus, the cooking doesn’t really lend itself to the sharing-is-caring approach. Still, Tanaka is a genius when it comes to pointing up flavours, creating harmonious marriages and making ingredients sing (flamed mackerel with white gazpacho with grapes and Jerusalem artichokes is typical).

BYO Mon; no corkage (one bottle per person).



Restaurants French Fitzrovia

Mathieu Germond was co-owner and sommelier at swanky Pied à Terre before taking over this Fitzrovia site (formerly Dabbous), freshening up the decor and pitching the place as an upmarket French bistro/wine bar (with serious prices to match). Expect a seasonal menu full of appetising ideas ranging from veal tartare with Jerusalem artichoke and truffle emulsion to hake with potato and aïoli salad, grille chorizo and sweetcorn. Wine is taken seriously here, and the owner actively encourages customers to BYOB (corkage ain’t cheap, so bring something special).

BYO Tue-Sat; corkage £20 per bottle.

Oi Spaghetti

Restaurants Italian Peckham

Fresh pasta and tiramisu – that’s the deal at this cool and kooky four-table hangout surrounded by potted plants and luxuriant greenery in Copeland Park, next to Peckham’s Bussey Building. The menu couldn’t be simpler – just a couple of tiny nibbles and a choice of five massive homemade pastas with varied toppings (bacon, pine nuts and sage, for example), plus the coffee-flavoured ‘pick-me-up’ for dessert. On fine days, they open out the shed-like space and triple its capacity.

BYO Tue-Sat; corkage £4 (wine), £1 (beer).


Pappa Ciccia

Restaurants Italian Fulham

Named after an Italian comedy double-act from the ’70s, Pappa Ciccia was set up in 1995 by Tino and Shelly Mereu, who still run it as a genuine family pizzeria. As part of the fabric of Fulham, it feeds the locals with a menu of traditional antipasti, pastas, risottos, salads and pizzas with perfectly crisp crusts – all washed down with bottles of Sardinian house red or your own BYO. There’s a second branch on Fulham High Street and a takeaway in Putney.

BYO all week; corkage £4.50 per person (wine and beer only, reservation only, maximum eight people).

Patogh_creditMichelle Grant_12.jpg
Patogh_creditMichelle Grant_12.jpg
© Michelle Grant


Restaurants Iranian Edgware Road

On a small side street off the Edgware Road, this tiny Persian hole-in-the-wall specialises in chargrilled ‘koobideh’ style kebabs, where minced and seasoned (halal) lamb or chicken is moulded like a long sausage down the length of the skewer. Factor in terrific just-cooked flatbreads and verdant salads packed with herbs, and you’ll forgive the cramped, basic surroundings. Waitrose is just around the corner if you need to buy booze. Note: cash only.

BYO all week; no corkage.



Restaurants Iranian Peckham

Colourful, crowded and charmingly bonkers, Sally Chambers’ Middle Eastern café is shoehorned among the paraphernalia of Peckham’s Persian delicatessen. Expect a full-on veggie interpretation of Levantine and Persian cuisine, from traditional meze and wraps with seasonally inspired fillings (quince, halloumi and caramelised celeriac) to daily soups and hotpots and all-day fillers such as baked sweet potato topped with Persian baked beans. Also, don’t miss the lush Turkish delight sundae. BYOB for supper.

BYO all week; no corkage.


Restaurants Thai Hammersmith

Tucked away behind Hammersmith’s main drag, this curious little place looks like something out of Alice in Wonderland – a cross between a magical woodland glade and your eccentric aunt’s front room. Glittering chandeliers, stuffed animals, beautiful fairy-tale antiques and blossoming trees set the scene for coffee and cake, dainty afternoon teas and an evening repertoire of Thai food – think spring rolls, som tum salad, satays, curries, stir-fries and pad thai. There are branches on Greyhound Road and Brackenbury Road. Cash only.

BYO all week; no corkage.


Rivington Greenwich

Restaurants British Greenwich

The original Rivington Grill in Shoreditch may have closed, but its southern offshoot next door to the Greenwich Picturehouse is still flying the flag for British cooking. Inside, it has a faintly maritime feel with brass railings and a mirror-lined mezzanine, while the menu majors in seafood and meaty grills – from dressed crab and salmon with spinach and shrimp butter to Galloway sirloin, lamb chops or Heap’s sausages and mash. Brunch deals, a garden terrace and gins galore are further assets.

BYO Mon; no corkage but check limits per table.

Rochelle Canteen

Restaurants British Shoreditch

Margot Henderson’s pretty well known ‘hidden treasure’ is a dinky, discreet restaurant located in the bike shed of a former school. Inside, things are low-key, with white walls and jugs of flowers on the tables; on warm days, snap up the sought-after spaces in the allotment-cum-yard. The short daily menu deals in simple seasonal fare such as grilled sardines and tomato, braised rabbit with potato and anchovy or onglet with caponata. This is heart-and-soul dining that should really cost more – not that we’re complaining.

BYO Thu-Sat supper; corkage: £6.50 per bottle.


Roti King

Restaurants Malaysian Euston

As the name suggests, this teeny Euston backstreet basement serves up astounding Malaysian rotis, either stuffed or with first-rate curries for dipping. They’re crisp, chewy and feather-light but also dense – perfect with an ambrosial glass of teh tarik (chilled sweet tea). Also look out for ‘local’ dishes such as nasi goreng and beef rendang. RK is really is small, so go early evening to beat the queues – and don’t forget to BYOB (M&S in Euston station is just 30 seconds away).

BYO Mon-Sat; corkage £10 per table.

Salt Yard

Restaurants Spanish Goodge Street

The forefather of a pioneering group famous for its hybrid Spanish and Italian tapas, this smartly informal Fitzrovia favourite seamlessly combines two gastro cultures under one roof, with matching wines and sherries to boot. Its cheese-stuffed courgette flowers are the stuff of legend, but also expect anything from smoked haddock croquetas to confit pork belly with pickled apricots and almonds. Salt Yard goes corkage-free BYO on Mondays – ditto its siblings Dehesa, Opera Tavern and Ember Yard.

BYO Mon; no corkage.



Restaurants Indian Brick Lane

A Brick Lane stalwart, Sheba has been knocking out dishes from India, Bangladesh and Pakistan since 1974 and it’s still run by the original family. Spread over two floors, it deals in typical curry house fare with a regional slant – from tandooris and biryanis to Bengali fish dishes and veggies options. Beware the mouth-numbing ‘Bollywood blast’ (lamb cooked with kidney beans and four varieties of super-hot chilli). Sheba is licensed but you can also BYO.

BYO all week; no corkage.


Restaurants Turkish Kensal Rise

Following a successful three-year run as Shish Mangal, this kebab joint has been extended with more restaurant seating and a separate bar – hence the new name (a conflation of shish and liquor). Meze and BBQ grills are the main events, from baba ganoush and falafel wraps to chargrilled skewers, doners and shish combos – all served with salad and rice. The wine list is minimal, so it’s worth taking advantage of the BYOB offer.

BYO all week; corkage £5 per bottle (wine only).


Simply Indian

Restaurants Indian Southwark

Almost 20 years down the line, this aptly named Indian is still wowing Borough’s curry fans with its offer of BYOB and reasonably priced regional dishes from across the subcontinent. Beyond the unfussy black and yellow frontage is a light, airy dining room festooned with paintings of Indian railway scenes, while the menu travels far and wide, taking in everything from South Indian dosas and Keralan prawns to Punjabi tandooris, Sri Lankan burjis (pulled lamb pao) and even the odd speciality from Tibet.

BYO all week; no corkage.


Restaurants Thai Leytonstone

A veteran of the Leytonstone scene (and still something of a local secret), this tiny family-run Thai café scores in every department. The BYO policy is key to its boozy appeal, but the food is also a blast – staunchly traditional, potently spiced and delivered without ceremony from the open kitchen. Staples such as pad thai and massaman curry are terrific value, but also take a look at the chalked-up specials board. Be warned: Singburi is rampantly popular.

BYO Wed-Sun; no corkage.

© Rob Greig


Restaurants French Clapham Junction

An offshoot of Covent Garden’s Terroirs, Soif is très jolie – the kind of neighbourhood bistro you’d expect in rural France rather than Battersea Rise. There’s also a subtle whiff of mid-century Parisian cool about the place, while the food is a mix of pure-bred charcuterie, Gallic staples and Mediterranean tapas-style plates. Soif’s trump card, however, is its huge list of organic and terroir-led wines; note that customers who BYO are asked to respect the restaurant’s ‘natural’ credo when submitting a bottle.  

BYO Tue-Sun; corkage £10 per bottle.

Ssam Korean Dining

Restaurants Korean Holloway Road

Handy for students at the London Metropolitan University across the road, this dinky family-run Korean BBQ restaurant is a tight squeeze, so it’s worth turning up early or booking ahead to avoid the crowds. The double-cooked KFC (Korean fried chicken) is a massive plateful and there’s beef bulgogi too, but also look out for the various takes on bibimbap, katsu curries and the kimchi fried rice with beef (topped with a runny egg). Cash only.

BYO Tue-Sat; corkage £4 per bottle (wine); £1 per bottle (beer).


St John

Restaurants British Farringdon

The original ‘nose-to-tail’ pioneer and a Michelin-starred restaurant for those who run from the very idea, St John is a defiantly casual, bare-bones kind of place with come-as-you-please decor and famously full-on cooking. Powerful born-again British dishes are given a surprisingly sophisticated spin that often belies their humble origins (think pig’s tongue with chicory and pickled walnut or grilled ox heart with beetroot and horseradish). The wine list is unrepentantly French, but you can also BYO – at a cost.

BYO all week; corkage £25 per bottle, £45 for sparkling or dessert wine, from £40 for magnums.


Restaurants Moroccan Balham

With its alfresco tables, shisha pipes and North African lounge decor enhanced by a sprawl of Berber cushions, Tagine looks inviting – if a little oddly located, opposite the Bedford pub. This restaurant is an old hand when it comes to Moroccan food and the menu covers all bases: cold and hot kemia, grills, couscous, and (of course) the speciality that gives the restaurant its name. There’s a Sainsbury’s across the road if you’ve forgotten to BYO booze.

BYO all week; no corkage.


Tay Do Restaurant

Restaurants Vietnamese Hoxton

A trade-up from the Tay Do Café across the road, this family-run south Vietnamese restaurant specialises in serving delicious low-cost food in rather garish surroundings – don’t expect much in the way of atmosphere. Instead, focus on the big portions of authentic oriental nosh – cavernous bowls of hu tieu soup, bánh xèo (Vietnamese pancake stuffed with all sorts of savoury goodies), a fiery dish of chicken with chilli, lemongrass and soothing coconut milk, and so on.

BYO all week; no corkage.


Restaurants Indian Whitechapel

A huge, full-on East End curry house that has acquired almost mythical status since launching back in 1972, Tayyabs remains as frantically busy as ever – don’t come here expecting a relaxed chilled-out Ruby. No matter, because the food at this Punjabi stalwart is a bargain and the flavours are potent – tuck into the fiery grilled lamb chops, rich dahls and generous karahi bowls (‘small’ versions are big and cheap enough for one person). Corkage-free BYO is a budget-friendly bonus.

BYO all week; no corkage.


Viet Soho

Restaurants Vietnamese Soho

Formerly known as Viet Pho, this tiny fuss-free Vietnamese eatery not only serves very decent food at very decent prices but also does BYOB. The decor won’t get you excited and there are only a few tables, but crowds are still happy to wait in line. Huge bowls of pho are one of the main attractions, although the short menu covers most of the popular Vietnamese classics, from rice paper rolls to spicy bun bo hue (a pork/shrimp paste broth with thick vermicelli noodles).

BYO all week; corkage £4 per bottle (wine), £2 (beer).

Xi'an Impression

Restaurants Chinese Highbury

Chef Wei Guirong’s no-frills restaurant by the Emirates Stadium peddles street food from her birthplace, Xi’an (home to the Terracotta Army). Trained in the cuisine of Shan Xi province, her cooking is marked by rich combinations of spices and soft hand-pulled noodles – although hardcore fans come for the stonking Xi’an pork burger with special sauce, the pot-sticker dumplings, the smacked cucumber with garlic, and the shredded Xi’an bread in beef broth.  

BYO all week; corkage £4.50 per bottle (wine), £1.70 (beer).



Restaurants Middle Eastern Peckham

Located down a dingy cobbled alleyway opposite Peckham Rye station, Yada’s is a ramshackle Kurdish joint with zero interest in PR but a huge talent for producing honest, flavourful food. Its shish kebabs, shawarma and kubba (lamb-stuffed rice balls) are all grand but do save room for a qawarma lamb wrap with cheese and pickles. They also do Irn Bru shisha, if you’re interested. 

BYO Tue-Sun; no corkage.


Restaurants Japanese Greenwich

Wallet-friendly sushi and corkage-free BYO are the twin lures at this affordable little Japanese fusion joint just round the corner from Maze Hill station. Don’t be fazed by the aluminium-framed newsagent-style shop front because there’s much to enjoy amid Zaibatsu’s colourful tables and chairs. A full line-up of attractively presented nigiri, sashimi, maki and hand rolls are the headline acts, but don’t discount the massive bowls of tofu ramen, as well as crispy tempura, sizzling teriyaki and zingy fresh salads. Cash only.

BYO all week; no corkage (soft drinks not included).

Find more cheap boozing with bottomless brunch

Bottomless brunch at Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings
Bottomless brunch at Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings
Photograph: Rob Greig

The best bottomless brunches in London


We all know the British invented drinking, but did you know they invented brunch as well? At least that's how the legend goes. (Or, it was the Catholics, or some other group of people). Now this inbetweeny meal – not quite breakfast, not quite lunch – has been greatly improved by the addition of free refills on daytime-appropriate bubbly and cocktails. What could be a more natural activity for Londoners than the so-called bottomless brunch?


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