Food & Drink in London
As a student in one of the liveliest cities in the world, you’ll never be stuck for choice when it comes to food and drink spots in London.
Whatever your palate, there’s a range of cuisines to suit everyone, and veggies and gluten-free diets are well catered for. And don’t worry – you won’t have to pay a fortune to enjoy these culinary havens.
Get your day off to a grand start with a breakfast at the Hummingbird Cafe. As masters in Moroccan and Eastern fare, these guys also know how to do breakfast right, with blueberry pancakes, free-range eggs on toast or the classic Hummingbird (full breakfast). You’re sure to love this locally-sourced grub.
In the mood for something sweet? Grab breakfast on the go from Laveli Bakery. This bright and warming brekkie spot can serve up whatever you may be craving; from refreshing smoothies and indulgent pastries, to various porridges and French toast.
For a sit-down lunch, The Princess Victoria in Shepherd’s Bush does a fantastic Sunday roast that’ll be sure to hit the spot when you’re feeling a little fragile. Not only will you be treated to a range of locally sourced meats, you’ll also love their homemade scotch eggs and their four variations on the Bloody Mary.
Meanwhile, North Indian cuisine doesn’t get much better than Tayyabs in Whitechapel, where the portions are huge but the price small. Be sure to make a reservation as this place fills up quickly.
And a lunchtime treat awaits you at Muriel’s Kitchen, where delicately prepared, homemade rustic food is as hearty as it is nourishing. Stop by at any of the South Kensington, Soho or Leicester Square nooks for mouthwatering mains, punchy breakfasts or an afternoon pick-me-up.
Ramen soup is always a favourite with students, and this becomes even more the case at Kanada-Ya. Based in Covent Garden, this fun, playful little nook serves up giant bowls of comforting and filling ramen, with mains costing no more than £10.
For a bit of traditional home cooking on the other hand, you might want to give Stockpot in Soho a visit. Cheap, cheerful and charming, this quaint little eatery carries a 60s theme and delivers the best in pies, crumbles, cakes and pastries. It’s truly stodgy food at its best.
When celebrating a special occasion (or if the parents pay a visit), it’s worth considering The Vincent Rooms in Westminster. Run by student chefs in training at the Westminster Kingsway College, everything is exquisitely prepared under the supervision of experts and a main will set you back no more than £12 Winner.
London’s vegetarian and vegan options are so mouthwatering, it’s enough to make anybody forgo meat! For a satisfying meal at any time of day, you can’t go wrong with Food For Thought in Covent Garden. While its menu is chock-full of bean stews, quiches, salads and burritos, it also caters for gluten-free diets and has a bring-your-own booze policy (no corkage fee involved).
Meanwhile, weekend brunch at The Gate in Hammersmith takes vegetarian breakfasts to the next level, with options such as truffled vegan ‘eggs’; Mediterranean frittatas and root veg hash.
And for a special treat, Manna in Primrose Hill is a must-try. A mix of oriental and Mediterranean cuisine, this place provides a vast selection of vegan and raw foodie options, with gluten- and wheat-free options and organic produce.
If you’re out and about for a busy day of shopping and socialising, London’s markets are usually the best place to fuel up with authentic culturally prepared street food. Try Kappacasein in Borough Market for an unbeatable three-cheese toastie you’ll never forget, or Luardos burritos on Whitecross Street for big, satisfying flavours.
For a bit of Indian street food, it’s got to be Mooli’s in Soho. Cheeky, daring and adventurous, this little cubby serves up delicious roti wraps like burritos, but with gloriously tantalising fillings and a side of rebelliousness.
When it comes to beer and cocktails in London, students are truly spoiled. After a heavy night or a busy day of sightseeing, The Lexington provides the perfect setting for recuperation with its comfy couches, moody lighting and plush boudoir décor. Sample the best of the American microbreweries and Brooklyn lagers, while catching DJs at the Sunday Hangover Lounge or part-taking in the Rough Trade Records pop quiz on Mondays.
The Social on Little Portland Street also does a great job of student nights out, offering free membership and two-for-one bar deals to those who are members. There’s also karaoke, live music and poetry nights for whatever takes your fancy, and members pay a reduced price.
Meanwhile, Bar Kick in Shoreditch offers the perfect night in- night out. Replacing a dance floor with foosball tables, the bar provides well-priced snacks and drinks and a laid-back atmosphere that’s ideal for those low-key groups.
And for a coffee shop with a difference, try out the Four Corners Café in Waterloo. Admired for its humorous A-boards, it delivers fresh blends from Shoreditch’s Ozone as well as unique gin infusions and lemon sherbet vodka.