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Really, really cheap eats (and drinks!) in London

On a super strict budget? Look no further for ultra-low-priced nibbles and tipples. Here's our guide to eating well on a shoestring

By Steph Dye and Time Out London Food & Drink
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They say London is the most expensive city in the world, but if you're shrewd and willing to put a bit of work in, you can find some incredibly good deals on food and drink. As part of our Cheap Eats series, Time Out proudly presents some of the lowest-priced noshes and drinky-poos you're ever likely to encounter in our fine capital.

RECOMMENDED: Find our full guide to the very best cheap eats in London

Food and drink for just £1 and under

Caffix
© Isabelle Aron

Caffix

Restaurants Cafés Fitzrovia

£1 for snacks and coffee

All of the items sold at Caffix cost one pound and the coffee is no exception. No Nescafe here, though – their coffee is made from Italian-roasted, Brazilian Santos beans for a creamy espresso. You can even get half a sandwich for just £1. For real.

Moonlighting, Soho
Photo: Matt Robinson

Moonlighting

Nightlife Clubs Soho

£1 for a G&T

Okay, so this might be slightly cheating, as you do have to pay £4 entry (with a flyer) to get into Moonies on a Wednesday. And you have to be able to stomach the grubby velvet sofas, sticky floors and animal print once you’re in, but these are small prices to pay for £1 G&Ts all night. Surely?

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Silk Road
Rob Greig Time Out

Silk Road

Restaurants Chinese Camberwell

£1 for a meat skewer

Pick up a skewer or two of lamb or tripe, priced at just £1 each. True, if you want the lamb skewers you have to order a minimum of four, which is technically £4 but so what? If you’re going to be that miserly, take three friends and split the bill. Plus they’re really quite delicious, so splash the cash, spend four quid and snaffle them all yourself. 

Food and drink for just £2 and under

Antepliler

Restaurants Turkish Islington

£2 for two lahmacun

This flatbread pizza, topped with spicy minced lamb, finely chopped onion, tomatoes and parsley, is available all over Dalston and Harringay, and it's BOGOF at one of our favourite spots, Antepliler.

Brick Lane Beigel Bake

Restaurants Jewish Brick Lane

£1.60 for a salmon and cream cheese bagel

This 24-hour bagel shop on Brick Lane has lots of great deals but their smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel is a particularly eye-catching steal, at just £1.60.

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CafeKick_JP_14.jpg
© Jonathan Perugia

Café Kick

Bars and pubs Sports bars Clerkenwell

£2 for a bottle of beer

This is by far one of the best happy hour deals we rate in the capital. The fooseball-focused pub sells house-bottled beer for just £2 a bottle from 4pm-7pm. Even those with an aversion to the beautiful game can get behind a team for a deal this good.

Chinatown Bakery

Restaurants Chinese Chinatown

£1.70 for a Chinese chicken floss bun

You sure won't find this floss at the fairground, but roll up, roll up to Chinatown for fluffy, freshly baked rolls of Chinese bread, topped with spring onions and filled with ultra-fine minced chicken.

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Indian YMCA

Restaurants Indian Fitzrovia

£1.80 for a vegetable curry

Lunchtimes at the Indian YMCA are the stuff of legend. You'd be hard-pushed to find a veggie curry in the central London area for under a fiver, never mind at just £1.80. You can upgrade your meal if you're feeling fancy and you'll never break the bank. Prawn curry for £3, dal for £1.40, mango lassi for £1.40. Somebody lock these jokers up, because these prices are criminally low.

Urban Tea Rooms

Restaurants Cafés Soho

£1.90 for posh tea

Sure, you can get a cheap cup of builders-style tea in all sorts of spots around town. But why not pick up an ethically sourced breakfast blend brew for just £1.90 from Urban Tea Rooms (where they even make the tea bags themselves)?

Food and drink for just £3 and under

Adam & Eve

Bars and pubs Homerton

£3 for a Bloody Mary

Adam and Eve should rename their happy hour 'ecstatic hour' – with Bloody Marys costing just £3 on Saturdays and Sundays (noon-4pm), we're struggling to think of a better fix for the hangover.

Bread Ahead

Restaurants Bakeries Old Street

£2.50 for a doughnut

Head here for doughnuts that come with a range of imaginative fillings for just £2.50. Even better, you don't have to plan ahead like in the past – the Borough Market vendors have opened up shop near Old Street. Also consider St John's famous custard doughnuts, also priced at £2.50. Both offerings are basically a meal in themselves.

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E Pellicci

Restaurants British Bethnal Green

£3 for a steak roll

While you can get a cheap sanger at any old Pret in the capital, we doubt you'll find a cheaper and better steak sandwich than the one served up at this Italian caff in east London. Everything is lovingly prepared here and you'll get a banging atmosphere folded into the price should you choose to eat in. Buon appetito.

Venue says A classic east London café serving the local community for over a century.

gozleme_making_hala.JPG
© Katrina Kollegaeva

Hala

Restaurants Turkish Green Lanes

£2.50 for cheese gözleme

You can watch the ladies sitting in the window hand-rolling gözleme (filled crêpes) at this smart Harringay spot. If that doesn't get the appetitie going, how about the fact that it's just £2.50 for a cheese-filled delicacy here?

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© Klas Strom / Scandinavian Kitchen

Scandinavian Kitchen

Restaurants Snack bars Fitzrovia

£3 for a hotdog

While many of the offerings at this small, busy café are under the £3 mark, the best value is in their Scandi Hotdog and trimmings. Help yourself to toppings of remoulade, pickle, dressing and crispy onions for three quid. 

Food and drink for just £4 and under

Homeslice

Restaurants Italian Seven Dials

£4 for a large slice of pizza

You can get a mighty large slice (it's more like a wedge) of pant-wettingly good pizza from Covent Garden's much-loved Homeslice for just £4. This may not sound like a steal, but it's filling stuff, especially when loaded with either salami and rocket or mushroom, ricotta, pumpkin seed and chilli.

The Ginger Pig017.jpg
© Rogan Macdonald

Ginger Pig

Shopping Specialist food and drink Victoria Park

£3.50 for a sausage roll

This isn't any old sausage roll. It's one of the finest sausage rolls in London and it's big enough to split between two people and keep you sated for a solid few hours at least. If you're feeling fancy, spend a little more on their specials, including the Full English sausage roll (which has the full works of a fry-up melded into one beautiful patty). Phwoar!

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Hot Mess Poutine

Restaurants Street food London

£3.50 for poutine

Ah, the gooey, delicious calorie-tastic wonder of good poutine. There’s nothing better for a self-indulgent lunch and Hot Mess sell theirs for just £3.50 a go. Definitely beats a bland supermarket sanger. Catch these guys at Street Food Union.

Yum Bun

Restaurants Street food

£3.50 for steamed buns

Steamed buns filled with all sorts of delicious, sweet and savoury fillings at both Dinerama and Hawker House. Grab one with slow-roasted pork belly, cucumber, spring onion and hoi sin sauce for £3.50.

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Rosetta

Restaurants Italian Covent Garden

£3.95 for am Italian sub

Still very much a work in progress, serving rustic food made from the exceptional produce of Italian countryside farms. For £3.95, the anchovy rosetta is a tasty (and cost-effective) treat, especially considering its Covent Garden setting.

Shilpa

Restaurants Indian Hammersmith

£4 for curry, rice and a chapati

The lunchtime deal at this west London Indian eatery is hard to beat. You get a steaming bowl of chicken curry with rice and a chapati for just £4. Upgrade your meal and opt for lamb or fish instead for just £4.50. If you're really counting the pennies, it's all about the £3 veggie option.

Food and drink for just £5 and under

Jael Marschner

The Bowler

Restaurants Fast food outlets Seven Dials

£4.50 for falafel and salad

In order to do aside with the childishness straight away, we’ll just come out and say it: these balls are bloody tasty. What’s more, most of the regular dishes keep just below the all-important five-pound mark. You can get the pork shoulder, green chilli chicken or veggie balls and still get change from a fiver, keeping wallets and stomachs happy. 

Bunnychow

Restaurants Cafés Shoreditch

£4.50 for a Full English

We're talking beans, fried egg, bacon and black pudding, but not as you know it. The winning brekkie package we all know and love is served here in a hollowed-out loaf. Fill up for the day for just £4.50. We're struggling to think of a better way to rise and shine.

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Jen Café

Restaurants Chinese Chinatown

£5 for dumplings

Order up the Beijing dumplings at this Chinatown favourite - watch chefs parcel them up right before your eyes. They're the cheapest dish in the house and the result is eight little white sachets, in either a pork or vegetarian version.

Seoul Bakery

Restaurants Korean Bloomsbury

£4.50 for bibimbap

Popular with students and locals alike, this Korean café is a great source of comfort food, including Bibimbap. Made from stir-fried veg, rice, egg and your choice of tuna, beef or chicken, it’s a steal at £4.50 for those in need of some hearty Seoul food.

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Piebury Corner

£4.50 for a meat pie

Just around the corner from the Emirates stadium, this Arsenal FC-themed pie shop is a match-day favourite. And you can see why. As most pies don’t rise above the £4.50 mark for a meat-and-pastry delight the size of a small frisbee, it beats the traditional, overpriced stadium fare on all counts: value, taste and (especially during the winter months) stodginess. 

Discover even more cheap eats in London

The Best Cheap Eats in London 2015, Stein's, Kingston-upon-Thames
Annie Armitage

Cheap lunches in London

Restaurants Street food

Still wasting your lunch hour noshing on disappointing supermarket sandwiches? You deserve better! Treat yourself to some of these brilliant lunch bargains selected from our guide to London's best cheap eats. RECOMMENDED: The 100 best cheap eats in London

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