|Subject: London Restaurants and Pubs|
As promised, here a few places we ate in London. Prices are in sterling and for two people.
La Tasca, 23-24 Maiden Lane. WC2. Near Charing Cross tube / rail. 36 pounds. Central. Spanish tapas restaurant. Good value. Fun. Good service. For six shared dishes, bread, a bottle of wine, a shared dessert and a bottle of house wine, This is a chain but as TimeOut Cheap Eats in London says, if only all chains were so good! Recommended.
The Stockpot, 38 Panton Street, SW1, near the Royal Haymarket theatre and Piccadilly. A chain again. Another convenient one is 18 Old Compton Street (Leicester Square tube). This is a strange mix of Mediterranean and English school lunches! But the service was good and the food was cheap. We didn't have time for a leisurely meal and this was great. I took a set meal of salmon with a particularly yummy pudding for dessert. Richard ate a la carte - kidneys which were well cooked. Their card says it all: English & Continental dishes at prices you can afford. I can't find my receipt but I think it was about 15 pounds without wine or tip. Recommended if you don't expect gourmet food. The upstairs at Panton Street was non-smoking.
Tate Modern Cafe, 26 pounds, one Guinness, a fancy hot sandwich (panini), dessert for Richard. Lunch special of main course and dessert for me. Nice service, Good food. Note that they have several restaurants in the Tate Modern. This price included 12.5% non-compulsory included tip!
Livebait, 42 pounds, for a glass of wine each, a main course each. No coffee or dessert. Included 12.5% non-compulsory tip and a compulsory 1 pound cover charge per person for bread and a few shrimps. We went to the branch on The Cut. We hadn't booked dinner (we hadn't for the other places either) and had hoped to eat at Meson Don Felipe or Tas but both were totally booked up. If we had been earlier in the evening at Livebait, we could have taken advantage of the specials. Outside this early evening time (before 6:30 or 7?), I wouldn't bother.
Deli Bar, 117 Charterhouse Street, EC1, near Smithfield Market in Clerkenwell and around the corner from Poirot's apartment building! 26 pounds, for 2 glasses of red wine, two main courses, bread basket, 2 cappuccinos. We shared two grazing plates, one Italian with good quality meats and one middle-eastern vegetarian. Very nice, friendly service, enjoyable. Recommended.
Paul, 29 Bedford Street, WC2, Covent Garden Tube. 13 pounds for a salad with cheese (Auvergne!), quiche for Richard, tea and Perrier. Very busy place. Well-established patisserie. You can do take out for less. Nice presentation.
Recommended guide: TimeOut Cheap Eats in London. Penguin, 2003.
Note that their cutoff for cheap is 20 pounds per person. Prices include two courses (starter and main course or main course and dessert) plus a half bottle of house wine or a couple of beers plus 10% service when it is not automatically added. Their price groups per person are: under 14 pounds, 14-17 pounds, and 17-20 pounds. They list more than 700 places.
We found a couple of nice ones based on online reviews. Some others looked appealing but were jammed.
The Victoria, a local near Lancaster Gate, 10a Strathearn Place. Stunning interior with etched glass and a friendly publican.
Glasshouse Stores, 55 Brewer Street, W1F 9UN, in Soho.
Red Lion, 48 Parliament Street (Whitehall), SW1, a short walk from the Travel Inn at County Hall.
If you don't mind crowds, try The Red Lion, 23 Crown Passage, King Street SW1Y 6PP. Mayfair near Pall Mall. It looked very attractive and during warmer weather, would have worked for us - people spill out into the passageway with their drinks. On a cool December evening, it didn't for us.
If you want to know more about pubs (ordering at the bar, etc.), see this site from the Social Issues Research Centre: http://www.sirc.org/publik/pub.html
Frances Toronto, Canada