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My main motivation for leading a credit munched lifestyle is so I am able to make the most of London town. I don’t want to spend my time here sitting indoors unable to afford to do anything. I’m luckily enough to have a fair few of my friends living down here but we’re scattered across the capital. Quite often the best place to meet for a catch up over food and wine is central, which can often leave a fair old dent in the purse. That is why I’ve become an expert at deal hunting from the best of chain restaurants, to some hidden London delights.

Now some people turn their noses up at the thought of eating at a chain. True, they can have a fairly high turnover and sometimes lack a little charisma. But you know what? They’re a safe option as you always know what you’re getting and more often than not, you can always find somewhere to go whatever the location. And let’s face it, we can’t all eat a Michelin starred restaurants every day of the week.

Here is a selection of some my favourite places to get a good deal. For the purpose of this scientific survey, it was essential that I ate as much food as possible for as little as possible. And that I consumed some sort of alcoholic beverage. It was hard work, let me tell you.

The Real Greek 

I went here for the first time just before Christmas and was pleasantly surprised. We took advantage of their Two Dine for £20, which enables you to enjoy your choice of seven Greek plates and a drink.

What I ate last time

Flatbreads, hummus, gigandes plaki, yiaourtlou, calamari, chicken skewers and new potatoes. We also ordered some loukaniko as an extra treat because we were starving. And to go with all, a glass of red wine and a bottle of beer….

Total Cost

£25.25 for two people, which included the extra plate!

Verdict?

Everything tasted great. Perhaps a little on the lighter side portions-wise and obviously the choice from the menu is limited, but the plates on offer are essential choices for any Greek meal so it’s hard to complain. Plus it has a relaxed atmosphere and a pretty decent (and authentic) wine selection which is always a bonus.

Pizza Express

There are endless offers at Pizza Express. So much so that I refuse to pay full price to eat here. Plus, I’m pretty sure you are no more than a 15 minute walk from the nearest restaurant and the satisfying thought that a meal out for £10 is always close to hand. From brilliant deals like four pizzas for £20 or the ever amazing Orange Wednesday, which allows you and a friend to have dough ball starters each followed by 2-4-1 pizzas, how can anybody complain?

What I ate last time

Of course I took advantage of Orange Wednesday and went for the Pomodoro Pesto Leggera to accompany my dough balls. Opting for the 500 calorie pizza helped combat my growing waistline thanks to all these cheap meals, which was immediately offset by a very large glass of wine.

The total cost

A jaw dropping £19 for two courses AND two large glasses of wine (which weren’t the cheapest ones on the list!).

The verdict?

Sure, Pizza Express is never going to be an authentic Italian experience. But I’ve always found the staff to be pleasant and the food to be consistent. But as I said, I would only go to take advantage of one of their mind boggling offers.

Gourmet Burger Kitchen

Kiwis do burgers like no others, and this national chain is no exception. Britain has seen an explosion in the popularity of the burger and this has led to most pubs offering some sort of burger option (just ask Burger Me). But if you want to step outside the comfort zone of your regular Royale with Cheese, GBK is the place to go for some scrumptious deals.

What I ate last time

The Chicken Jamaican – a panko breadcrumbed chicken breast with mango and ginger sauce, salad and relish. Plus some chunky fries and garlic mayo, all washed down with a Savanna Cider.

Total cost

Taking advantage of a ‘two burgers for £10’ voucher, it set us back £22.90.

Verdict?

Well the King of Burgers can’t be wrong, giving 8/10 to the humble bacon cheeseburger and matchstick fries. In my opinion, while my burger was gooooooooood, I think the drinks are a little on the pricey side (around £3.80 for a bottle of beer).

All in all, not a bad fare. Each bill came under £26 for two people and every meal was more than edible. However, if I STILL haven’t convinced you eating a chain restaurant is for you, then wait for next week when I let you in on my pick of some of London’s finest (and cheapest) eats.

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