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As I said in my last post, I live a frugal lifestyle at home so I can play out with my friends and family. Believe me, I would like nothing more than to do my weekly shop at M&S and eat Chinese takeaways every third day, but it’s just not possible when I have bills and rent to pay. So by cutting back on my everyday life, I am able to go out and savor my precious evenings and weekends without maxing out credit cards left, right and centre.

While I do frequent the odd chain restaurants from time to time, I also enjoy eating at independent places as well. I mean, what is the point of living somewhere like London and not trying a few of the hundreds of thousands of eateries available? The places I’ve listed below are a combination of restaurants I tried thanks to recommendations from websites like Yelp, recommendations from friends and stumbling across them by pure chance. Please note, this is Credit Munched and it’s important to remember that I’m a massive fan of good food without the frills. If you’re after a hearty meal at a reasonable price, I’m your go to.

Bumbles

16 Buckingham Palace Road, SW1W OQP

http://www.bumbles1950.com/

What if I told you it was possible to eat an exceptional three course meal for only £10? You wouldn’t believe me right? It’s understandable. Before I witnessed it first hand I wouldn’t have believed this place existed myself. Situated in the heart of Victoria, it offers a range of options to choose from, from the £10 Bumbles menu to a £38, 8 course tasting menu all benefiting from a modern British slant.

What I ate last time

Chicken liver parfait, fish stew and chocolate brownie with yoghurt mousse. Plus a glass or two of wine.

Total cost

A £1.50 supplement for the brownie was totally worth it, bringing the final bill to £34.40 for two.

Verdict?

There’s only one thing to say – I would have paid a lot more money for the quality of food that came out of Bumbles’ kitchen. The choice for the £10 menu was varied and the end results were fantastic. Plus the house wine was not only high quality, but it was also reasonably priced. Add to that their lovely service and cosy ambience, and I’m sure you’ll find few places better.

Trattoria Mondello

36 Goodge Street, W1T 2QN

Walk only ten minutes north of Tottenham Court Road and you’ll find this quaint family run Italian that sells authentic dishes at a very reasonable cost. I happened upon it by chance with a couple of friends way before I moved to London and it’s helped me combat hunger many times since.

What I ate last time

Ham and mushroom pizza and a share of garlic bread and red wine.

Total cost

In all honesty, I can’t remember and without an online menu, I can’t confirm. But I do know that it’s fairly priced (we first found this place as students. Students who studied further north than London. So it can’t be bad!) and the wine if definitely a bargain.

Verdict?

Sure you’re packed in a bit so be prepared to get close to the other customers and staff. But everyone’s so friendly and the food both satisfying and inexpensive that you’ll be hard pushed to find fault.

Hi Sushi Soho

40 Frith Street, W1D 5LN

http://www.restaurantprivilege.com/hi-sushi/menus.html

Londoners love sushi. You can barely turn a corner without seeing some sort of fast food outlet or supermarket cashing in on its success. But unless you’re a fan of hard rice topped with COOKED FISH, you’re bound to be disappointed. One of my favourite places I’ve been to for sushi was a little restaurant in Soho. From sushi to bento boxes to ramen noodles, it does it all. And for a central London meal, you’ll pay no more than £10. Unless you opt for the all you can eat sushi for about £15. Then you’re a winner.

What I ate last time

Chicken katsu bento box and green tea. The bento box consisted of sticky rice, chicken katsu, sauce, a green salad and an Asian salad. Plus a serving of miso soup.

Total Cost

Less than £10 for one person. Like I said, it is cheap. Obviously sushi carries a slightly higher price, but if it’s mass amounts you’re after, go for the all you can eat. And I have a feeling the green tea is either free or unlimited, or both. But then I might be getting confused with Wagamamas.

Verdict?

I couldn’t finish my bento box it was that big. Which upset me because it was so delicious. The ambience seems a little strange at first – when you arrive you’re taken downstairs to a tiny room and seated at large oval tables than have leg room sunk into the floor. Like Trattoria Mondello, prepare to get cosy with other customers. But once you’ve got over Hi Sushi’s peculiarities you’ll be happy you paid them a visit.

Vitao

74 Wardour Street, W1F 0TE

http://www.vitaorganic.co.uk/

I was taken to this place by my vegetarian friend and I can’t recommend it highly enough. The concept is a simple one – pay £6 at the till for a plate, go to the buffet, fill the plate until you can barely lift it and then devour. Brilliant.

What I ate last time

Everything. Absolutely everything. The choice ranges from salads (green salad, bean salad, anything you can think of salad) to noodle dishes, curries, moussaka, potatoes….. basically, you name it, they have it. And all of it is home cooked. I think I had some sort of delicious homemade lemonade to wash it down as well.

Total cost

£6 for the plate of grub and if I remember rightly, a fairly hefty sum for the drink. But certainly no more than £10 altogether.

Verdict?

Fresh and healthy. Even the sheer amount of food I got down my neck wouldn’t have made me think otherwise. Alright, so it’s hard to gauge what will actually be served from day to day, but there is an exceptional range of dishes to help yourself to. The atmosphere is relaxing even – dare I say it – a little bit hippy-ish, and the smoothies and fruit juices are on the expensive side. But again, for a prime London location it’s cheaper than most.

 

That rounds off my take on some of central London’s independent restaurants. Thanks to my recent purchase of a bike for my commute to work, I am cutting down on yet more of my every day costs, which will hopefully allow for more gastronomic adventures. You never know, I may make it to a Michelin starred restaurant yet. Well, maybe if work is paying…….

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